Saturday, May 7, 2016

A short birchlined path alongside Bremen's historic “Kuhgraben” canal: the “Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg”

Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg alongside Bremen's Kuhgraben
The Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg is a birchlined path on a levee that follows the Kuhgraben within the neighborhood of the University of Bremen (Universität Bremen) in the city of Bremen in northern Germany.

This path is named in honor of Friedrich Bremermann (1889-1980), who established a home for riparian water sport at the Kuhgraben, called Wassersportheim Bremermann. It included a boat house, a workshop and a small harbor. The Wassersportheim had to give way for the construction of the university in the 1970s. In 2014, city authorities allowed Bremermann's two daughters, Ilse Stange and Helga Bremermann, to put up a sign remembering her father and the Wassersportheim [1]. And the once unnamed path alongside the Kuhgraben became the Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg, a scenic little path for a short stroll between classes and seminars or to warm up for a longer hike or run through the Wümmeniederungen—the wetlands of the Wümme river system.

The Kuhgraben is introduced by a small informative panel on site, saying that the exact origin of this canal is not known, but it has been mentioned as early as in the 13th century. Built for drainage and boat traffic, the Kuhgraben once connected Bremen with nearby Borgfeld and Lilienthal. Within Bremen, there were waterway connections with the Dobben and the Weser River. Especially peat—the main energy source during Bremen's early days—was shipped via the Kuhgraben and joined canals in the past.

Composed of the words Kuh and Graben, the name Kuhgraben may be thought of to literally mean cow ditch or cow canal. However, Kuhgraben derived from cograve (mentioned in 1277), containing the word co that became koh, meaning border [2]. Cograve referred to a canal that establishes an administrative boundary.     

The Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg runs parallel to the Kuhgrabenweg on the other side of the canal. The latter is open to non-motorized traffic and turns into a highly frequented bike path on sunny holidays. Halfway between the Universitätsallee and the Hochschulring, a foot bridge connects the Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg and the Kuhgrabenweg.

Getting there
From downtown Bremen take the tram line no. 6 (Linie 6), northeast-bound to the university (last stop: Universität/Klagenfurter Straße) and exit at the Universität/ Naturwissenschaften 1 stop (see: map) on Universitätsallee. Follow the sidewalk of this street, northwest-bound, towards the “silvery whale” (Science Center). Continue on the sidewalk to the Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg/Universitätsallee junction next to the Kuhgraben; across the Haus am Walde, a restaurant with a coffee and beer garden. Usually, it takes about fifteen minutes to get from the Universität/NW1 stop to the beginning of the Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg.

In the map above, the Friedrich-Bremermann-Weg is indicated by a grey dashed line following the right side of the Kuhgraben northeast of the red circle.

[1] Renate Schwanebeck: Bremermann als Namensgeber. Weser-Kurier, 25. Mai 2014 [,-Bremermann-als-Namensgeber-_arid,858262.html].
[2] Chronik Horn-Lehe: Kuhgrabenweg [].

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