Besides Dankwarderode Castle, St. Blasii Cathedral and the picturesque half-timbered buildings around St. Magni Church, it is the Lion Statue, even today heraldic animal of the city, which demonstrates the rich and over a thousand year long history of Braunschweig.
The group of buildings around Altstadtmarkt (old town market square) with the Gothic Altstadtrathaus (old town hall) as well as the Gewandhaus (old cloth hall of the drapers) still bear witness to the city’s heyday as a member of the Hanseatic League. The recently rebuilt Residential Palace with its elaborately reconstructed facade documents Braunschweig’s role as the residence of the Guelphs. This building was restored using many of the original parts and its quadriga is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.
The Guelphs and the Hanseatic League have influenced the city and with them many other clever minds. Carl Friedrich Gauß, Agnes Pockels, Richard Dedekind and Heinrich Büssing have their roots here and are part of the history of this modern city of science. Today with its many internationally renowned research institutions, universities and research companies Braunschweig is one of the most research intensive regions in the whole of Europe. According to the EU Eurostat office Braunschweig is the leading region in Europe in terms of expenditure as a share of GDP in the sectors research and development. The Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany was also impressed by the amount of science and research in the Lion City and awarded Braunschweig the title of Germany’s ‘City of Science’ in the year 2007. This dialogue between sciences, economy, cultural institutions and the population, that was started then, now continues in the ‘Haus der Wissenschaft’ (House of Sciences).
Big cultural names like Louis Spohr, Wilhelm Raabe, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Till Eulenspiegel have lived here and with them Braunschweig has developed into a lively cultural city. The Herzog Anton Ulrich – Museum was opened in 1754 and was the first public museum in Germany and one of the first in Europe. An active art and cultural scene influences life in Braunschweig. The ‘Hochschule für Bildende Künste’ , the only university of art in Lower Saxony and the second largest one in Germany, always generates new creative potential. Today the State Theatre, private theatre and artist groups, museums as well as exclusive events like the Burgplatz Open Air, Soli Deo Gloria or the international ‘filmfest Braunschweig’ that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year provide further impulses. In 2011 the city honoured a very special mastermind: the Braunschweig teacher Konrad Koch who paved the way for soccer in Germany and who died here in 1911.
With its big city atmosphere and short routes the attractive city centre offers a wide spectrum of shopping opportunities and welcoming catering. In a city comparison Braunschweig has for years been named Lower Saxony’s shopping city number one. The Christmas Market around the cathedral is one of the most popular ones in Germany.
Sporting highlights are the charismatic soccer club ‘Eintracht Braunschweig’, the American football team ‘Braunschweig Lions’ as well as the league basketball team ‘New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig’. Furthermore, the lion city is known as a stronghold for ballroom dancing with its formation dance team that became world champions seven times.
Glorious parks, lakes close to the city and the European Bird Sanctuary Riddagshausen all offer a high quality of life and recreational opportunities in and around this city. You can also circle nearly the whole city centre in a boat on the river Oker. With its closeness to the ‘Lüneburger Heide’ (heath area) and to the Harz Mountains Braunschweig is the ideal starting point for excursions into this remarkable nature region.