Braunschweig Things to Do

  • Rizzi House
    Rizzi House
    by Kathrin_E
  • Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace
    Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace
    by Airpunk
  • Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace
    Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace
    by Airpunk

Most Recent Things to Do in Braunschweig

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    Schlossplatz - statues and plaque

    by Airpunk Written May 29, 2013

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    If you visit the reconstructed palace, do not forge to pay attenion to some details on the square in front of it.

    The two equestrian statues depict Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand and Friedrich Wilhelm – both Dukes of Braunschweig. Though Braunschweig was first neutral in the Napoleonic wars, it joined the allies after Napoleon ordered the duchy to be dissolved and integrated into a puppet kingdom. Father and son both died in the Napoleonic wars.

    A memorial plaque in front of the palace has a quote from Heinrich Heine which can be translated as „Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.“ It commmorates the night of May 10th 1933 when books promoting „ungerman spirit“ where burned in several German cities. The plaque can be found right on the ground, close to the main entrance.

    Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand Commemorative Plaque
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    Happy Rizzi-Haus

    by Airpunk Written May 29, 2013

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    I like Rizzi illustration, but living in such a world would be a little too much for me. Although just called Rizzi-Haus, they are atcually a complex of 9 houses. Nevertheless, these houses are an unusual colorful addition to the cityscape of Braunschweig. The houses are appartment houses and are connected with each other. They were presented to the puiblic in 1999. They are part of the Magniviertel, the alternative-style area of Braunschweig which is popular with students and artists. Look for the Rizzi-Haus behind the Kaufhof department store, close to the palace (Schloss-Arkaden shopping mall). Similar to the Hundertwasser-designed train station in Uelzen, the Happy Rizzi House was an outside project of the Expo 2000 in Hanover.

    Happy Rizzi House
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    Rathaus (New Town Hall)

    by Airpunk Written May 29, 2013

    The neogothic Rathaus was built between 1893 and 1900 to treplace the medieval town hall which was becoming too small for its purposes. In early plans, it was planned to built the new town hall on the place of Dankwarderode castle which was in a dSimilar to the Houses of Parliament in London or Vienna town hall, an imposant tower was added. However, because of the high costs, it was proposed to build the town hall without the tower. In the same way, no big hall for festicities was included in the design and the one in the old town hall continued to be used. The figures above the entrance represent arts, crafts, trade and science in an allegorical way.

    Rathaus - New Town Hall Rathaus - New Town Hall Rathaus - New Town Hall
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    Altstadtmarkt (Old town market square)

    by Airpunk Written May 28, 2013

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    Like in every other medieval town, the market square played an important role in everyday life. St. Martini Church, the old Town Hall and other important buildings, including the Guildhall (Gewandhaus), were installed here. Unusual for a medieval town, two important buildings are located at another square. The castle, representing feudal power, and the main church, representing the eccleastial power. Although central Braunschweig was heavily damaged during WWII, Altstadtmarkt has kept its medeival flair. There are still markets taking place twice a week. The fountain of the Virgin Mary is hard to spot on market days.

    The fountain was casted in 1455 and remained almost unchanged until its destrcution in 1944. Remains of the original are seen in the old town hall, he current fountain is a post-WWII reconstruction.

    Altstadtmarkt on market day View from Old Town Hall Altstadtmarkt fountain

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    Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

    by Airpunk Written May 28, 2013

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    The old town hall is one of the oldest preserved town halls in Germany and dates from the 13th century. It is a fine example for high medeival Gothic architecture in this part of Germany. The 17 figures depict medieval German emperors and important peers and were most probably all placed there in 1455. The old medeival ell, the standard measurement unit of the city, is still visible in the walls.
    There is an interesting exhibition about Braunschweig's history at the ground floor. On the first floor, there is little to see for the public, though you may be lucky and get a glimpse into the big hall or get a view from the balcony. Entry is free, public guided tours are free as well. Only if you want a private guided tour, you will have to pay a small fee.

    Altstadtrathaus (Old Town Hall) Splendid Gothic architecure of the Old Town Hall Splendid Gothic architecure of the Old Town Hall Some of the late medieval figures Splendid Gothic architecure of the Old Town Hall
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    Gewandhaus (Cloth Merchant's Guildhall)

    by Airpunk Written May 28, 2013

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    The old market square (Altstadtmarkt) is dominated by the old town hall and a big guildhall. The latter is called Gewandhaus, the guild hall of the cloth merchants which was built in the 14th century. However, it is less noted for its size, but for the beautiful renaissance eastern façade. This façade was designed in 1590 but was destroyed in WWII. It was reconstructed in the 1950s using old photographs, but the responsible architects included a little joke and added the face of Pablo Picasso. The western façade is a reconstruction was well, but has always kept its medieval (Romanesque and Gothic) style. The northern side, facing the market square, was hidden for centuries behind half-timbered buildings. The only one remaining is a post-war reconstruction as well, but does not resemble any of the original buildings. The gewandhouse is in use by two restaurants as well as by the local chamber of commerces.

    Eastern facade of the Gewandhaus Eastern facade of the Gewandhaus Northern side of the Gewandhaus
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    Landesmuseum Braunschweig

    by Airpunk Written May 28, 2013

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    The Landemuseum is a historical museum for the former state of Braunschweig and has a huge colletion of exhibits about local and German history. It is pretty easy to spend more than three hours in the museum, especially if you like whatever is on exhibition in the temporary exhibition rooms in the ground floor. If short in time, pick your favourite age and go straight there, but do not forget to have a look at the 1937 copy of the Braunschweig Lion and the exhibits related to Henry the Lion in the ground floor. A suprisingly large museum and far better than its counterpart in Hannover.

    Entry fee is 4,00 EUR (2012), reduced prices available for children and concessions.

    Landesmuseum Braunschweig Statue of Henry the Lion Some random exhibits from the Landesmuseum Some random exhibits from the Landesmuseum Some random exhibits from the Landesmuseum
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    Dom St. Blasii (Cathedral)

    by Airpunk Written May 28, 2013

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    Notel the medieval frescoes which are visible in the transepts. They were most probably painted over during the reformation and were not redeiscovered until 1845. The twisted columns are said to be inspired from English Gothic Architecture (the Dukes of Brunswick were closely related to the Plantagenets, the then-ruling dynasty in England). They are from the late 15th century. Note also the cannonball which dates back to a siege from 1615. Braunschweig's Dom St. Blasii is only called a Cathedral outside of Germany. Though an important church, it has never been the official seat of a bishop.

    Henry the Lion, who has contributed to the construction of the Cathedral, is buried here. His effigy and that of his wife are located in front of the main altar. Their coffins however are in the crypt. When the Nazis wanted to use the historical figure Henry the Lion for their own purposes, they ordered the crypt to be remodelled according to their ideas. Therefore, the crypt cries out 1930s monumental architecture. According to sagas, he also had a faithful pet lion who tried to get into the Cathedral after Henry died. The scratches on the Romanesque portal are said to be from his paws. See my tip about the Braunschweig Lion for more informatioon on the lion.

    Visit to the cathedral is free, however a donation of 1 EUR is suggested, if you visit the crypt.

    Dom St. Blasii (Braunschweig Cathedral) Twisted Columns Side Chapel of Dom St. Blasii Dom St. Blasii (Braunschweig Cathedral) Dom St. Blasii (Braunschweig Cathedral)
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    Dankwarderode Castle

    by Airpunk Written May 27, 2013

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    Braunschweig's castle was built in the 11th century, but today's castle has only little to do with that one from the middle ages. In 1252, the city and the castle were destroyed by a big fire. As the city was rebuilt with a wall and new defence structures, the castle lost its importance. By 1580, most of the castle was pulled down and in 1616, the remaining part was rebuilt into a Renaissance palace. This palace is what now is currently called Dankwarderode Castle. However, between the 17th and the 20th century, the castle went through several reconstructions. In the 19th century it was used as barracks and it was even considered to be demolished in the 1870s. It was only saved after local protests. Between 1887 it was rebuilt and got back its medieval, mainly Romanesque features. In WWII however, it was hit by a bomb and almost completely destroyed. Therefore, the current castle is a reconstruction from the 1960s.
     
    Today, the castle houses the medieval collection of the local art museum. This part is commonly referred to as "Knappensaal" (squire's hall). Here, you will also find the original copy of the Braunschweig Lion, the city's best-known symbol. The upper floor is used for temporary exhibitions and festivities, but it is worth a visit on its own. It was refurbished in the 1990s. A small collection of paintings is shown in the upper floor as well and includes mainly dutch 17th century masters like Rubens, Rembrandt end even a Vermeer! (The Girl with the Wine Glass) This upper floor is called the "Rittersaal" (knight's hall) and has been given a marvelous medieval appearance. Prices were 5 EUR per person (2,50 EUR for concessions, 1 EUR for children) as of 2012.

    Dankwarderode Castle The Girl with the Wine Glass Inside the Knight's Hall Relief in the staircase Dankwarderode Castle, New Town Hall & Cathedral
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    Schlossmuseum - Palace Museum

    by Airpunk Updated May 27, 2013

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    The Palace Museum occupies only a small section of the current building which is not the original palace any more. The original building was damaged during WWII and pulled down in 1960. The reconstruction was finished in 2007 and is mainly occupied by a big shopping mall. In the lower left side of the building, you will find the museum with 15 reconstructed rooms giving you an idea of the original palace. Many items were placed and used in the original building, including the original throne. The dining room was reconstructed as a multimedia educational room where you can sit down at the long table and watch a different video on each place. Note that each era of he castle is represented by a cup - tha smashed one represents the nazi years. The videos are about the history of Braunschweig as a city and country as well as about the building itself.
    With only 2 EUR, this museum is more than worth its price. The entry fee includes an audioguide (though I am not sure which languages are offered). Disocunts are available for children under 15 (all as of early 2012).

    Schlossmuseum - Throne Room Schlossmuseum - Reconstructed living room Schlossmuseum - Multimedia dining room Schlossmuseum - Multimedia dining room Schlossmuseum - The smashed nazi cup
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    Braunschweig Lion / Castle Lion

    by Airpunk Written May 27, 2013

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    The Braunschweig Lion is commonly regarded as the smybol of the city. It dates back to Henry the Lion, one of the most powerful princes in medieval Germany. Henry got his name from his coat of arms which featured a lion. As a symbol of power, he had this bronze sculpture of a lion cast around the year 1166. The sculpture is supposed to be the first hollow sculpture since antiquity and the first of its kind cast north of the alps. According to a saga, he also had a lion as a faithful companion. The mourning lion is said to have left scratches of his paws above a door on Brunswick Cathedral where Henry the Lion was interred (though the scratches were probably marks from soldiers sharpening their swords). The original, medieval copy is located in the museum of Dankwarderode Castle, the copy from 1937 in the Landesmuseum. The Lion which is currently on display dates from 1980. Beside those three copies, there are several copies of this very same lion all over the world. Locals say "Burglöwe" (Castle Lion) instead of "Braunschweig Lion".

    Lion on Burgplatz The Lion and the Cathedral The 1937 copy in the Landesmuseum The original Lion in Dankwarderode Castle Lion on Burgplatz

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    Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace

    by Airpunk Written May 27, 2013

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    The Braunschweig Quadriga is the largest of its kind in Europe. It is a replica of the one which was destroyed during a fire in 1865 and was placed in 2008 on the reconstructed palace. Almost 26 tons of bronze were used to make this nine metre high sculpture. In the staircase, you will find a small exhibition about the Quadriga and Braunschweig in general. From the base of the Quadriga, you can have a view of all over Braunschweig. However, the view is not that great as all the 1960s and 1970s building are in front of the old town. To get up there, use the Quadriga entrance which is right of the main entrance. Entry fee is 2 EUR (as of 2012).

    Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace Quadriga on Braunschweig Palace

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    Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace

    by Airpunk Written May 27, 2013

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    Behind this classicist façade, you wouldn't expect a 21st century shopping mall. Unfortunately, that is the truth behind Braunschweig Palace. It was built in 1841, replacing two predecessor buildings, including the Old Residential Palace. Until 1918, it was the residence of the Dukes of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. In the inter-war years, it was used for administration purposes and became a museum until the nazis kicked out the museum and installed a military school. During WWII, it was severely damaged and the ruins were left into decay. In 1960, when the ruins of the palace were becoming a dangerous threat to bypassers, the city decided to tear down the building and create a new city park on the former castle grounds. Some parts of the palace were buried in a mound outside of the city. Public pressure to rebuild the palace was growing in the 1990s, but the city did not have the funds for the reconstruction. On the other side, an investor was interested in building a shopping mall on the park. In 2004, a compromise was done between the initiatives, the city and the investor: The palace was rebuilt on its former site, using the remaining bits and pieces which were preserved underground. The building however, was to be used as a shopping mall. That meant, that it is mainly the façade that reminds of the old castle while the interior is glass and steel. A small part was reserveed for the new Schlossmuseum (Palace Museum) which shows some of the former palace rooms in a reconstructed way, but including original furniture. For detials on that, please check my respective tip for the Schlossmuseum. The Quadriga on the roof is described in a separate tip as well.

    Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace Schloss Braunschweig - Brunswick Palace
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    Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina

    by Nemorino Updated Feb 24, 2013

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    The Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina in Braunschweig is Germany's oldest technical university. It was founded in 1745, and now has around 15,000 students (10,000 men and 5,000 women), including nearly 1,600 non-German students from over 80 different countries.

    The university has about forty courses of study in such fields as Life Sciences, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Information Technology and Physics, but also Humanities and Educational Sciences.

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    The reconstructed Alte Waage

    by Nemorino Updated Feb 24, 2013

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    This half-timbered Old Weighing Station was first built in 1553 and went through various phases of use, neglect, re-design and mis-use over the centuries, including a seven year stint as the headquarters of the "Hitler Youth" from 1937 to 1944, before it was completely destroyed, along with the rest of Braunschweig's Old Town, by bombing near the end of the Second World War.

    Half a century later three local carpentry companies were chosen to rebuild the Alte Waage from scratch, using the same kinds of materials and techniques that their sixteenth-century forebears had used. They needed 360 cubic meters of oak beams (not as easy to obtain as in 1553, since there aren't so many oak trees anymore), which they joined together in over three hundred places without using a single iron nail or screw.

    Since re-opening in 1994 the Alte Waage has been used as the main building of the Braunschweig Adult Education Center (see next tip).

    Second photo: The text on the cornerstone says: "The Old Weighing Station was destroyed by bombs in the Second World War and was rebuilt fifty years later in 1994."

    Third photo: Side view of the Alte Waage.

    Fourth photo: Looking up at the Alte Waage. The top three windows are of the seminar room where I did a presentation and workshop in 1997.

    1. The reconstructed Alte Waage 2. The cornerstone 3. Side view of the Alte Waage 4. Looking up at the Alte Waage
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