Verden is Horse City, Germany. There are places to ride and many horse-related things to see. This is the first city that I visited with a distinct theme. But you certainly do not need to love horses to appreciate this little jewel of a town, just 25 minutes away from Bremen. The architecture here is especially charming, with many especially colorful old buildings and farmhouses. I am not a historian, but I believe that Verden has a certain German spirit preserved that many other towns and cities may have lost through the wars.
Information on Riding or Just Getting Around
There is a large map at the exit from the train station, which directs you into the center of town. Looking at the map, start walking right and you will head straight towards the horse museum. From the museum, follow the many signs pointing into the town center. The Info Center is located in the pedestrian zone on Große Straße. While I usually prefer to have an info center close to the train station, this city is so well marked for tourists, that it is not difficult to find and just a 15 minute walk into the city. The staff at the Info Center were really friendly and the tourist map I received was easy to read and included information on some of the riding centers on the outskirts of town. The inner city pedestrian street was charming and had lots of nice restaurants and cafes, especially around the cathedral.
I was surprised to find a cathedral in the middle of the city, as I normally associate cathedrals with larger cities. This was a highlight of the trip. Use the north entrance (all the other entrances are closed) and walk past a small cloister. Once inside, there is information in several languages printed on laminated cards. You can pick up a card and walk through the sanctuary and read some of the unique stories that pertain to the history of the cathedral. A trip around the outside of the cathedral is also worthwhile. The west side is particularly beautiful, as you can see how wonderfully old the building is while viewing the tower. (see picture above)
Aller, the River
The river in Verden is the Aller. There is a footpath along the banks, and while the river is not very wide, it is still a nice place to sit and relax on a nice day. There are many signs for the Aller bike path, so it also looks like a great place to bring a bicycle in the summer. Just be careful of the traffic on some of the small streets. Cars seem to be coming and going quite fast throughout the town.
The horse influence in this town is very strong, and this is made clear by the statues and horse related artwork throughout the city. The horse museum, Deutsches Pferdemuseum, is located very close to the train station, and is a must for any horse enthusiast. There are permanent exhibits on horse anatomy, horse racing, horses in the military and much horse artwork. There are also many short films available to watch throughout the museum and many exhibits seem kid friendly. The negative here is that the museum is completely in German. However, a trip with someone who speaks German, or possibly even a handheld dictionary may make the trip enjoyable. The movies and artwork were all possible to enjoy without any German knowledge.
The Verden website has an English section, and there is information there on more horse related activities, including twice yearly horse auctions.How to get there: Trains leave twice an hour from the Bremen main train station.
Great things: This town is really cute and easy to reach. It has a wonderful horse tradition and is a relaxing place to visit.
Date of visit: February 17, 2006
Verden website: www.verden.de