Merian travel guide author Knut Diers has gathered 66 interesting and convincing reasons to spend a holiday in the Hannover region. Go on, surprise yourself!
Did you know that Hannover...
1. ...offers a great quality of life? Hannover philosopher and sociologist Oskar Negt opines: “Hannover is one of the most enjoyable places to live in Germany: a leafy city with its own natural rhythm.”
2. ...is a very liveable place? It’s widely appreciated as a green city with short travel distances, cultural diversity, culturally thriving district-level communities and affordable prices.
3. ...is a very lovable place? Eighty-nine per cent of Hanoverians like or love living in their city.
4. ... and its 20 surrounding municipalities have, since 2001, formed the Hannover Region which, with 1.1 million people in an area almost the size of Luxemburg, has model status?
5. ...is a city where everything’s within easy reach and with good transport links? An excellent public-transport system connects the region’s 21 municipalities. And it’s very quick to get from A to B in the city centre.
6. ... is a high-flying place? As demonstrated by more than 5.2 million air passengers a year.
7. ... hosts one of the largest public events in northern Germany, the Maschsee Lake Festival, every summer? It draws two million people who revel in that holiday feeling – for 19 days non-stop!
8. … is, with 11.36 per cent of green space, Germany’s greenest metropolis? The city forest, the Eilenriede, is – at 642 hectares – around twice the size of Central Park in New York, and Europe’s largest continuous urban woodland.
9. ... has about 45,000 roadside trees that help preserve the healthy climate, with 500 new ones added each year and 600 ‘adopted’?
10. ... has as many as 530 km of cycle paths, 170 km of which pass through lush green spaces? The total for the entire region is 1,000 km!
11. ... has, since 1529, staged the world’s largest Marksmen’s Fair every year?
12. ... ruled the kingdom of Great Britain for 123 years? Hannover’s rulers sat on the British throne from 1714 to 1837.
13. ... was, for 40 years, home to polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz?
14. ... has the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library, and that the Golden Letter from the Burmese king to King George II which is exhibited there?
15. … is in the middle of Germany – in terms of its convenient location transport-wise, with the important North-South and East-West motorways converging here?
16. ... has a mysterious Cookie Monster? In the summer of 2013, it stole a 20-kilogram gold-plated ornamental sign in the form of the iconic Leibniz biscuit from the facade of Hannover bakery firm Bahlsen’s office on Lister Platz square – demanding free cookies for children and a donation to an animal shelter – before hanging it around the neck of an equine statue in front of Leibniz University?
17. ... has one of the most attractive train stations in Germany?
18. ... is, with 26 exhibition halls, five pavilions, 463,285 m² of exhibition space and 58,000 m² of open space, the location of the world’s largest trade fair grounds – and that it all started in 1947 with the inaugural Export Trade Fair?
19. ... is home to more than 2,000 animals at the city’s Adventure Zoo? The zoo, five times voted Germany’s best, turns 150 this year.
20. ... hosts Germany’s oldest flea market? First held in 1967, it has, every Saturday morning since 1972, been a great place for browsing and haggling by the banks of the Leine in the Old Town.
21. ... is the place where the purest form of High German is spoken, and that this area has produced more celebrated newsreaders than any other?
22. ... is the country’s unofficial ‘kiosk capital’? It has 340 of these miniature corner shops – more than any other German city.
23. ... waltzes away the winter blues every year with its Opera House Ball? This year’s theme is “A thousand and one nights”.
24. … has, since 1991, hosted the world’s best pyrotechnic artists at the International Fireworks Competition? On five evenings, teams from different countries paint stunning works of art set to music in the night sky above Europe’s most beautiful Baroque gardens.
25. … will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its ‘Little Festival in the Great Garden’ this year? A perfect way to combine picnicking with cabaret.
26. ... is an extremely musical place? Since the end of 2014 it has held the title ‘UNESCO City of Music’.
27. ... pipes music through (of all things) a manhole cover? In front of the Central Station: programme available at www.gullyman.eu.
28. ... will really get into the swing of things with its Ascension Day open-air Jazz Festival on Trammplatz square? It regularly attracts an audience of about 35,000 who come to get the groove and feel the funk.
29. ... treasures artist Niki de Saint-Phalle? She created the ‘Nana’ sculptures on the banks of the Leine, redesigned and decorated the three rooms of the grotto in Herrenhausen and left many of her works to the Sprengel Museum.
30. ... has its own ‘backyard hills’? The Deister range – reaching 405 metres – is a great place for hiking, mountain biking or just taking a stroll.
31. ... boasts its very own sea? Lake Steinhude (the German literally means ‘Steinhude Sea’) lures visitors with a bathing island, the historic ‘Barn District’ in Steinhude, a paradise for climbers on its northern shore, and trips to the island of Wilhelmstein on the traditional Auswanderer boats.
32. ... calls Marienburg Castle the ‘Neuschwanstein of the North’? This magnificent former residence of the House of Guelph 30 km south of the city is truly a fairytale edifice and, on a tour through its rooms, visitors can enjoy splendid views of the river Leine.
33. ... is very much a ‘medical city’, with almost 65,000 people (one-seventh of the region’s working population) employed in around 3,600 healthcare institutions and companies.
34. ... hosted one of German’s largest drama festivals, called ‘Theaterformen’, in 2015?
35. ... not only has a zoo but also a Deer Park (‘Tiergarten’)? Here, free of charge, close encounters can be had not only with fallow and roe deer, but also wild boar.
36. ... not only has a zoo but also a Deer Park (‘Tiergarten’)? Here, free of charge, close encounters can be had not only with fallow and roe deer, but also wild boar.
37. ... is extremely popular with students and researchers (of which it has 40,000 and 10,000 respectively)? Of the eight higher-education establishments, the best known are Leibniz University, Hannover Medical School and the University of Veterinary Medicine.
38. ... has four of the world’s most cited researchers? Three of them teach at Hannover Medical School.
39. .... is home to world-famous rock band The Scorpions? Vocalist Klaus Meine says of Hannover: “You rock like a hurricane.”
40. ... will, in 2016, be honouring its inventor of binary arithmetic (which involves the two digits 0 and 1, i.e. basis for present-day computers)? This year marks the 300th anniversary of the death of universal genius Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
41. ... has 117 geographical namesakes throughout the world? In many cases, these places, rivers and bays are spelt with only one ‘n’.
42. ... has unusual inclinations? A ‘tilting’ lift – the only one of its kind worldwide – takes visitors to the dome of the New Town Hall, with the observation point offering them views as far as the Deister hills.
43. ... has, as of 2013, its own palace once more? Situated in the Herrenhausen Gardens, it houses both a museum and a conference centre.
44. ... attracts some 600,000 visitors to ‘Sophie’s World’ every year? Not the book, but the Herrenhausen Gardens created by Electress Sophie. The mother of the first King of Great Britain from the House of Hanover, she is remembered affectionately to this day.
45. ... leads its visitors a merry dance? The ballet at the State Opera House is world-class, and other highlights are innovative dance theatre, the ‘TanzTheater International’ festival and the Easter Dance Festival.
46. ... has a building shaped like a brain? Neurosurgeon Madjid Samii runs the International Neuroscience Institute (INI), visited by VIPs from all over the world. In Teheran, a five-storey museum is being built to honour the life’s work of this Iranian-born specialist.
47. ... is a Mecca for megastars? Coldplay, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Madonna: they’ve all been here!
48. ... loves singing? It has more than 400 choirs, a number unmatched in most other cities.
49. ... has a stomach? The ‘Belly of Hannover’ is what locals call the Market Hall, where customers enjoy the many culinary delights and a catch-up over lunch.
50. ... embraces gourmets? From slow food to vegan, from regional organic meat and vegetables (asparagus, kale and potatoes) to hearty fare featuring Bregenwurst sausages or the ex-Chancellor’s favourite Currywurst, there’s something for everyone. Also typical are the yellow and white Guelph pudding and Gersterbrot, a ‘flame-cured’ rye and wheat bread.
51. ... has a taste for beer? As early as 1526, Cord Broyhan brewed up the city’s first; the Broyhan Haus in the Old Town is a lively inn to this day. And don’t miss Lüttje Lage – that’s beer with Korn schnapps but drunk out of two glasses at the same time!
52. ... likes treading the boards? Its theatrical passion is evident at the Opera House and Schauspielhaus theatre, the GOP venue with its variety and acrobatics, the Theater am Aegi and the TAK cabaret venue in Linden.
53. ... is where not one but two Bundesliga teams call home? Both footballers Hannover 96 and handball club TSV Hannover Burgdorf (nicknamed die Recken which means ‘The Warriors’) play in the top divisions of their respective sports.
54. ... has a ‘Green Ring’? This is a 160-km circular recreational route around the state capital, passing through nine different types of landscape and picturesque villages.
55. ... can lay claim to its own Apollo programme? The ‘Apollo’ in Linden, the first arthouse cinema in Germany, opened in 1908 and is still going strong.
56. … has Germany’s largest luxury cinema? The ASTOR Grand Cinema, which opened at the end of 2014, boasts reclining seats, a cloakroom service and a lounge with a fireplace.
57. ... has an inventive heritage? Werner von Siemens (the dynamo), Karl Jatho (powered flight), Emil Berliner (the gramophone and gramophone record) and Walter Bruch (colour TV) came from here.
58. ... offers sightseeing tours in a double-decker bus? These 100-minute tours provide an excellent introduction to Hannover’s highlights.
59. ... has a ‘Red Thread’ you can never lose? This line painted on the ground, 4.2 km long, guides visitors on a tour of 36 sights. An app is available in the App Store and an accompanying book from Tourist Information.
60. ... has, around its Central Station, created one of the largest continuous pedestrian zones in Germany? The 300,000 m² of retail space make shopping trips a really enjoyable experience.
61. … also offers temptations for shoppers outside the city centre? Boutiques in the List district, the market on Linden’s market square and the little shops in the Old Town make for a refreshingly different shopping experience.
62. … is a paradise for museum fans? For example, with the Wilhelm Busch Museum, the Sprengel Museum and the Lower Saxony State Museum, art lovers are spoilt for choice here. As well as many museums of art, visitors can explore a museum of theatre, a Museum of History, an EXPO museum (‘Exposeeum’), a Museum of Aviation and the world’s smallest museum of design.
63. … was the birthplace of news magazines Der Spiegel and Stern?
64. … is a paradise for leisure sports enthusiasts? Hanoverians have 20 bathing lakes and countless jogging routes to keep themselves fit.
65. … hosts the world’s most important industrial fair (Hannover Messe) and the leading IT trade show (CeBit)?
66. … is rather fashionable? Not only is an Academy of Fashion and Design (fahmoda) located here, but many small outlets in the Linden and List districts also focus on authentic and individualised fashion design.