Hannover is the capital city of the state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) with a population of over 500,000. It is located on the river Leine, approximately 150km south of Hamburg and roughly 200km west of Berlin. The city hosts many famous annual events, such as the Schützenfest Hannover and Oktoberfest Hannover, however, it is most widely known for its hosting of the Expo in 2000. Hannover won the right to host the Expo 2000 back in 1990, by 1992 the masterplan was created and in 1994 a new company was created by the government to plan and execute the large event. In 1996 construction started and the event saw over 25 million people attend between the 1st of June and the 31st of October 2000. The exhibition had 12 themed pavilions (including Human, Health, Environment and Future of Labour), as well as 155 participating nations. To this day, the area where the Expo was held is used for major fairs, as it had been since 1949. Hannover has much to offer its visitors – from museums and galleries, theatre, cabaret and musicals to rock concerts and sporting events. However, the city is still most commonly known as one of the leading Exhibition Cities in the world
Top 3 Tourist Attractions:
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) – The new city hall in Hannover was opened on the 20th of July in 1913. The New Town Hall is the residence of the mayor, as well as the venue for political sessions and welcoming of official guests of the city, home to many art exhibitions and the ‘Citizen’s Office.’ The New Town Hall has an open-door policy for its residents and visitors. Whilst the outside of the building is very impressive, the inside also has much to offer, such as a monumental mural painting, a Mosaic Hall and many other paintings and sculptures. The building also features a lift from the bottom floor to the building’s dome where visitors can enjoy a view of the whole city and even of the Harz Mountains (on a clear day). Finally, the New Town Hall has a restaurant, the ‘Gartensall’ (Garden Hall), which overlooks the pond behind the building and offers visitors a combination of regional and international cuisine.
Herrenhauser Gärten (Herrenhausen Gardens) – The Herrenhausen Gardens are located in one of Hannover’s urban districts and are made up of the Groβer Garten (Great Garden), Berggarten, Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hannover. The Great Garden is 50 hectares large and contains grass, hedges, walkways and statues. The Great Garden hosts a variety of festivals throughout the summer, as well as hosting musicals and theatrical performances. It is also the site of one of Niki de Saint Phalle’s last works (her Nanas can also be found along the Leibnizufer in Hannover). The Berggarten (Mountain Garden) is a part of the Herrenhausen Gardens featuring exotic plants in a Regenwaldhaus (Rainforest-house) and different species of tropical butterflies and birds. The Georgengarten houses the Wilhem-Busch-Museum, a caricature museum and the Leibniz Temple, named after Gottfried Leibniz (German philosopher), dating back to 1790. Finally, the Welfengarten is the ground of the University of Hannover and the Welfenschloss (Welf Castle) is used as the university’s main building.
Maschsee – The Maschsee is a manmade lake in the southern part of Hannover’s city centre. The lake covers an area of 78 hectares and is the largest body of water in the state. The annual Maschseefest is a large summer festival held on the banks of the lake and is attended by approximately 2 million visitors every year – it was first held in 1986 to commemorate 50 years since the lake’s opening. The lake is also a popular site for water sports during the summer months, including rowing, sailing and the annual European Dragon Boat Race. As well as this, it is a regular route for local runners and walkers, cyclists and roller skaters who use the path running parallel to the park. Finally, the lake is frozen in winter and when the thickness of the ice exceeds 13km the city hoists a flag up at the northern shore of the lake to indicate that the lake is safe for winter activities, such as ice skating and ice hockey. If the thickness of the ice exceeds 20cm, stallholders are permitted to set up on the ice; this last occurred in 2003.
Notable People and Residents of Hannover:
- Niki de Saint Phalle – French sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle became an honorary citizen of Hannover in 2000. Whilst she is famous for many works, such as her sculpture garden in Tuscany, in Germany, she is most famously known for her Nana sculptures – full-figured, colourful female figures.
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – German philosopher known for his contribution to the history of mathematics and history of philosophy. Furthermore, his contributions to logic were arguably the most important between Aristotle and modern formal logic. Leibniz was the Privy Counsellor of Justice in Hannover from 1677 until his death in 1716.
- Per Mertesacker (see below – holding the World Cup trophy) – Per is a famous German football player, born and bred in Hannover, currently playing as a centre back for Arsenal FC. He was a part of the German national team for the 2006, 2010 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup and retired from the team after winning the World Cup last year.
- Lena Meyer-Landrut – Lena won the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest with her hit single ‘Satellite’ and set an all-time chart record in Germany by debuting three songs in the top five of the German singles chart. She has since released four studio albums, been featured on many TV shows and as the voice-over on two major movies and been nominated and won many music awards.