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January 21, 2013

Famous house in old city of Bremen sold at public auction

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An old house in Bremen, built 1630 and a private museum until a few years ago, was sold at public auction last Wednesday.

The auction started at 10:30 a.m. in room no. 108 of the Amtsgericht Bremen, the local Court of the city. According to German law, the bidder was ready to pay 10 percent of the purchase price immediately. About 30 persons were watching, and the price raised from 119.000 to 206.000 euro in the end.

The building is internationally known as Shipper’s House and was registered as heritage monument in 1973. In the same year, many other houses in Schnoor, the oldest part of the city, became heritage monuments, but this house is largely preserved as it was since 1750 — the year of the last great renovation. Therefore, one can find many old objects from the last 200 years inside.

Historians believe that it was the first hotel in the town, and city guides are telling the story of an old bathhouse. A legend says the bishop of Bremen had visited the house through an underground passage. The exit door is still visible today through the windows from the street. In front of the house there stands an old fountain, and the modern form has numerous historical predecessors. Perhaps here was the point of the origin of Bremen. The idea for the museum came from a previous owner who was officer in the German Navy and bought this house after the First World War in 1919.

The former owner of the house, Wolfgang Loose, has a guestbook with entries from many visitors. Among these were — among some mayors — the German minister for Foreign Affairs Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Loose also managed the Schnoor-Archiv, a small document center constructed in the 20th century, and his wife Annemarie showed the Shipper’s House to groups of tourists in the years around 1980 until 2000. The city of Bremen was not ready to buy the house from Loose because Bremen had the highest Governemnt debt among German federal states. Thus the environmental scientist Frank M. Rauch managed the house from 2005 until 2012 with different usages. Now the citizens of Bremen are looking forward how the new owner will use the house.


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