NewsStories from the "village with a tram"

Stories from the "village with a tram"

From 1993 onwards, Eckhard Stengel reported for FR from Bremen and Bremerhaven. Just in time for his retirement, he has compiled his favorite stories in his “Bremer Rundschau”. Here are three samples.

Tatwaffe air balloon: Bremen’s top government reported because of flying “plastic waste”

Bremen’s Mayor Carsten Sieling has only been in office for a few months – and already he has his first complaint on his neck: on duty for pollution. What did he do, the 57-year-old social democrat? Has he thrown Senate files in the Weser? Or does his company car emit too much exhaust fumes? No, in the old mayoral tradition, Sieling opened the annual raffle to finance the Bremen Bürgerpark. And as is customary, he also let 500 balloons with attached bye vouchers rise.

What he did not suspect: A certain Ernst Hasenfuss from Großenkneten in Lower Saxony would also find out about it from the newspaper. And with the 65-year-old bio teacher i. R. is not to be trifled with when it comes to balloons – especially when small plastic cards and ribbons are attached to them.

Hasenfuss has been writing letters to the editor for years to warn of such dangerous flying objects: “The rubber residues with attachments then end up somewhere: in the sea, on the meadows and fields, in the forest – pollute nature, are eaten by fish, cows, horses, sheep, and these poor creatures die miserably. ”For example, from an intestinal obstruction. And all just for the entertainment of the people.

So far, Hasenfuss has contented himself with writing letters to the editor (…). But with a public role model like Sieling, the pensioner preferred to use the sharpest weapon: a complaint for “deliberate pollution”. Shortly afterwards he also denounced Sieling’s deputy, the Green Senator for Finance, Karoline Linnert, after she had set up 200 colorful weapons in Bremen-Nord, again for the Bürgerpark. Plastic waste by air freight! (…)

His eyes were opened when he visited the national park house on the North Sea island of Juist. There he saw a display case with balloon strings. They had been collected on the beach: a total of 500 meters in four months. (…)

Der Bremerhavener Containerterminal an der Außenweser.


The Bremerhaven container terminal on the Outer Weser.

As a look on the Internet shows, dogs sometimes also eat balloons. According to the “Schnauzer-Pinscher-Portal Schnaupi”, however, a home remedy helps: sauerkraut in cans. “This surrounds the foreign body and transports it out safely.” A procedure that is less suitable for cows or seagulls, however. (…)

How it went on:

The public prosecutor’s office and environmental authority checked the reports, but could neither identify a criminal offense nor an administrative offense. The public prosecutor wrote that the rise of balloons constitutes “socially typical behavior”. (…)

Despite the public prosecutor’s charter, the Bürgerpark raffle refrained from balloon launches in the following years. (2016)

Proud and free: About the Bremer as such – and the Bremerhaven as such

The Bremer himself and the Bremen woman as such are considered open-minded and tolerant, but also a bit stiff – perhaps because a stiff breeze often blows on the Weser. Only at the Freimarkt, their Oktoberfest, do the Hanseatic people get sociable, shout “Ischa Freimaak!” (“It’s Freimarkt!”) And lift beer mugs in the “Bayernzelt”. The Freimarkt is not called “Bremen’s fifth season” for nothing. The other four are spring, fall, fall, and fall. It just rains a lot in the city of half a million, which is also known as the “village with trams” because of its manageability.

To person

Eckhard Stengel reported from 1975 to 1989 for FR and other media from Göttingen. In the year of the fall of the Wall, he moved to Bremen, where he worked as a freelance correspondent initially primarily for the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and from 1993 on again for the FR. He also photographs for the Imago Images picture agency. His retirement book is called “Bremer Rundschau. Bremen and Bremerhaven since 1989 from the perspective of a newspaper correspondent ”. FR

“Nonsense, it’s all just clichés,” protests a native. “The summer was great this time, and we’re not all that reserved. A man from Düsseldorf once said to me: ‘The people of Bremen are a bit introverted at first, but afterwards they get really clingy.’ “(…)

In any case, the Bremer himself and the Bremen woman as such have some comical customs:

– When it gets cold, they go on a “cabbage and pee tour”: In the typically dreary weather, they move into the countryside with handcarts and beer crates and break into country inns to eat kale and so-called pee sausage.

– If men are still bachelors on their 30th birthday, they have to sweep the cathedral stairs until they are kissed by a virgin. This takes a while.

– Single women have to clean various doorknobs at the age of 30 and wait for a male virgin. That takes even longer. If the festival guests have mercy, they accept the zodiac sign Virgo instead of real virgins.

Eckhard Stengel.


Eckhard Stengel.

The Bremer himself and the Bremer as such also exist in the “Bremerhaven” version. The harbor townspeople belong to the two-city state, but feel constantly disadvantaged. They don’t even allow the “Stadtbremern” the few ships that were stationed as tourist attractions on the Weser promenade. (…)

The people of Bremen are proud of themselves and the people of Bremen as such of the independence of their “oldest city republic in the world”. The land is flat, no castle towers over them – that’s why they don’t look up to anyone. Titles and medals are frowned upon. The mayor is greeted with a simple “Moin!” And the Protestant regional church does not have a “bishop”, but only a “secretary” without authority.

The Bremer himself and the Bremerhaven resident as such believe that they speak pretty much the best standard German. However, they like to emphasize words differently than in the rest of the republic: They call a Kirchweg Kirchweg, and the collapsed volcano shipyard is only called “the volcano” here.

Everything is a little different in Bremen. (2003)

Cheeky sole

With bare feet, the Bremen MP Kai-Lena Wargalla (33) got Parliamentary President Christian Weber (SPD) excited: The green woman with turquoise hair came barefoot to the plenary session during the recent heat wave – and immediately spread this on Twitter: “I am in the air-conditioned plenary hall and can report that the carpet there is extremely barefoot-friendly. ”A citizen’s spokesman replied:“ Are you still planning comparable tests with your armchair today? ”For Wargalla, this was a great step forward: she promptly sent a photo of her feet on the red upholstery and wrote on this: “Armchair works like this.” (…)

Mayor Weber apparently saw the dignity of the House trampled underfoot and asked the parliamentary board to include a dress code in the house rules.

But only the CDU voted for it – a good 33 years after the legendary swearing-in of the green Joschka Fischer as Hessian environment minister in sneakers. (2018)

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