The free Hanseatic city of Bremen (population: 550,000) is 1200 years old. It is situated amid beautiful surroundings along the river Weser. Bremen and the port city of Bremerhaven, situated 60 kilometers away, owe their status as an international trading centre to their extensive port facilities. With its young university (founded in 1972) and three other institutes of higher learning, Bremen has research facilities strongly geared towards innovation and practical applications. Bremen has plenty of cultural life to offer, with more than a dozen museums large and small. It is home to the Bremer Tanztheater, the Bremer Shakespeare Company and the German Chamber Philharmonic, to mention just a few of the more renowned names. Every year in September the Bremer Musikfest draws an international audience of lovers of old and new music. The historic old city with its many sights and lively restaurant scene guarantees a rich and diverse experience. In addition, the city and its surrounding area is replete with spacious parks, gardens and green belts. There are lakes for swimming and surfing and outdoor cafés for lingering. You can take a river steamer excursion on the Weser, go to the races or attend a match of the Werder Bremen football club. The region around Bremen is ideal for an enjoyable bicycle tour in the country.