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Wätjens Park

Reconstructing a historical landscape park. The park grounds comprise the greatest part of the widely preserved, historically significant landscape park, heritage-protected since 2007.

The park has been initiated by the Bremen shipowner and merchant Diedrich Wätjen, who commissioned in 1830 Isaak Herbert Altmann, the creator of the Bremen Wallanlagen, to create park grounds after the model of the English landscape garden. His son, Christian Heinrich Wätjen, extended the grounds and created, basedon Altmann’s drafts, a generous, spacious design. In 1858, he erected together with hisfriend, the Bremen architect Heinrich Müller a neogotic, Tudor-style, palatial mansion. They oriented themselves on English models, which had been studied extensively by the developer and the architect in England.

For the landscape park, they conceived forestaisles in direction of the River Weser and to the old tower of Blumenthal Church. The park had its biggest extent around 1890, with an area of ca. 50 hectares. For the actual park design, Christian Wätjen used a lot of foreign shrubs, which he imported via his son, Diedrich Heinrich, who has business in America. He built for him, in the extended part of the parkgrounds, the so-called Schweizerhaus (Swiss cottage) and for his daughter the “VillaMagdalena.”Unfortunately, both buildings, which had been well-preserved and completely intact to the last, were taken down a short time ago. The garden historian Gustav Brandes mentions in his work “From the gardens of an old Hanseatic town“ the Wätjen property together with the country seat of Baron Knoop in St. Magnus. The park was a “mirror image of the great impact of singular, successful men in Bremen business in the 19th century and, at the same time, typical for the architectonical notions of their times.”

The stone memorial for the founder of the company and his son Christian, which had been set up by his own sonand grandson in 1888. The family used the park grounds until the First World War. By the beginning of the War, the family company had lost most parts of his foreign properties and big parts of its shippingfleet. Other assets had been reduced by estate distribution, so that the family was forced to give up their Blumenthal property. In 1916, the grounds had been shared between the Bremen wool combing works and the Bremer Vulkan shipyard as an extension of their respective premises. There was, however, hardly any care maintenance or forestation done. On the other hand, the long neglect had also preserved much of the historical substance.

After the bankruptcy of the Bremer Vulkan shipyard it became necessary to link the future industrial park Bremer Vulkan to the motorway and to reorganize the old shipyard area. This provided also new opportunities for the preservation of the park. The construction of the access road with railway connection in the waterfront area of the Blumenthal Aue caused notable disruption in landscape and nature, which incited demands for regress accordingto the Nature Protection Laws. This was complemented through financial means by the foundation ”Wohnliche Stadt” (livable city) for the reconstruction of cultural elements within the park grounds. Therefore, the measures taken did not remain piecemeal, but could benefit the people integrally.

 

Contact

Förderverein Wätjens Park e.V.
Rainer Frankenberg
Landrat-Christians-Str. 6
28779 Bremen

Tel.: 0421 – 60 45 05
kontakt@waetjens-park.de
www.waetjens-park.de

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