FabLab Bremen combines workshop and computer lab. Along one side there are tool boxes, metal rails, screws, nails and heavy machinery, and along the other there are laptops, 3D printers, circuit boards and LEDs. A creative space for experimenters and makers – inventors for the digital age.
Just like Antje Moebus, one of the founders of FabLab Bremen and a driving force behind the project. “I’m excited by the variety of options on offer at FabLab. At the moment I’m particularly interested in programming with a Calliope board,” says Moebus, a sociologist working in the field of digital media in education at the University of Bremen. A Calliope board is a single-board computer that is controlled using a simple software interface. It is a great tool for learning how to write programs, and that is why Moebus runs workshops for primary school children.
Every Monday, Moebus welcomes visitors to the OpenLabDays as they make their way up to the first floor of the old post office building in Bremen. The OpenLabDay is just like an open house – anyone is welcome to watch, learn and try for themselves. And that is the thinking behind the whole FabLab idea: “It’s a ‘fabrication laboratory’ where anyone can use the new digital technologies to become a manufacturer. We help people to come up with ideas, with designing and developing them, and with turning them into a reality,” says Moebus. The idea of miniature factories originated in the US. The Bremen association was founded in 2013 and moved to its current location near the main train station in 2016 after three years based at the University of Bremen.
Moebus and a community of almost 60 enthusiastic tinkerers have filled the laboratory with plenty of kit. The well-lit, spacious premises house 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering areas, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter and a sewing machine for conductive yarns. At the moment, they are assembling four further 3D printers, which have been designed by a local engineer – digitalisation made in Bremen. 3D printers are a key technology of Industry 4.0, as they allow the custom manufacture of single items. Every piece is different and unique. “These technologies are changing our economy, and with it our lives. Anyone can come and try them at FabLab, there’s no need to be wary of them. We want to get people excited about technology,” Moebus explains.
People of all ages and from all walks of life have visited FabLab. Groups of school children regularly visit and learn about printing and programming from a relatively early age. At the 2017 Girls Day, for example, 22 school girls designed furniture for a miniature model house on the computer and then printed it right there. Masters students can manufacture parts for their theses, architects can design models, skilled tradespeople and engineers can discover more about this new technology, and start-ups can work on prototypes of their ideas. “This interdisciplinary mix is FabLab’s strength. Members share expertise, the Mercedes engineer helps the design student and learns about design at the same time. This is how we deliver education for digitalisation in a hands-on way,” explains Bernard Robben, research fellow and co-founder of the association. Like Antje Moebus, Robben is part of the digital media in education working group at the University of Bremen – FabLab was established in close partnership with the working group.
Both Moebus and Robben work as volunteers for FabLab, as do all members who organise workshops or help out on OpenLabDay. The association is funded by membership subscriptions, grants and commissions for work. The initial purchase of equipment was funded by Bremeninvest, among others, to provide small and medium-sized companies with easy access to new technologies. FabLab also collaborates with initiatives such as kraftwerk city accelerator, a business incubator supporting young Bremen start-ups that has moved into the floor above FabLab. This has allowed FabLab to establish a good network in Bremen. “We are facilitators between the creative economy, industry, education and science and research. We enable dialogue between all parties in a playful way, and we approach our task with plenty of curiosity and enthusiasm,” says Robben. He and the FabLab Bremen team plan to expand their offering, organise more workshops and extend the opening hours in the future. So that everybody can easily join the digital revolution.
FabLab Bremen’s OpenLabDay runs every Monday from 6pm to 9pm. Contact FabLab to find out about other opening times: email@example.com or call +49 (0)421 6967 9370
There are many other companies and research institutes in Bremen that work with 3D printing. You can find an overview in our article on how 3D printing made in Bremen is revolutionising our manufacturing technology (in German).
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Werder goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka owes his job to artificial intelligence. He was designed by the team of JUST ADD AI. Founder Roland Becker tells us how other medium-sized companies already benefit from AI today.
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Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.
A company founder lives for his or her idea – no distance is too far and no obstacle too high. Four foreign entrepreneurs in Bremen share their passion for their vision.
Jiani Chen recently moved to Bremen. The energetic young Chinese woman founded the start-up App CN in the Hanseatic city and is now looking to kick-start her international business. She loves things about Bremen that many locals would take for granted.
Sometimes you have to learn from other people's mistakes and trust your instincts. That is what Muhammad-Farhan Aslam believed when he took over his father's business. And it turned out to be one of many good decisions that he made.
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Bremen-based Flyline can look back on two decades of success and expansion. The British Airways (BA) subsidiary began as a call centre with a 30-strong workforce. Today, Flyline employs around 400 people at Bremen airport.
Many companies fail to choose the right approach when it comes to trademarks and Intellectual property right protection in general, according to Bremen lawyer Dr Eckhard Ratjen – not just in Germany, but also particularly when entering markets in other countries. But with the right strategy, many problems can be avoided from the outset.
Artificial intelligence is becoming part of everyday life, and Bremen-based companies are leading the way. We have put together a ‘who’s who’ in artificial intelligence in Bremen.
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Bremen’s IT sector is an important pillar of the local industry. We introduce ten IT service providers.
The best of both worlds. A young Indian from Bremen is helping German engineering to benefit from India’s factory capacities and vice versa. And everything is completely digitalised – with one click in real time, an order can be sent straight to the Indian factory. The benefit for manufacturers is huge.
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To the south of Bremerhaven, plans are taking shape for a new business and industrial park that will fulfil strict sustainability criteria. Situated on what is known as the Luneplate, a site close to the largest nature conservation area in the state of Bremen, the park is set to become the home of companies operating in the green economy.
How is the role of media and other forms of communication changing in society? What are the resulting challenges? The international MA in Digital Media and Society, which launches at the University of Bremen in time for the winter semester, aims to provide the answers.
Airbus is a global trailblazer in the field of 3D printing, and the aerospace company has established a technology centre for this new production method in Bremen. This is one of many reasons why the Hanseatic city has become a hub for 3D printing in Europe.
We don’t normally get to see Littelfuse’s products. And yet there’s hardly any electronic device that doesn’t require components from this global market leader. The European headquarters of the US firm are located in Bremen. And they’re far more than just a sales office.
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Exciting times in Überseestadt, Bremen’s New Harbour District. Large parts of the old 400 metre long Schuppen 3 building are to be demolished to make way for a new quarter featuring a mix of apartments, offices, retail units and services. And there is a good reason why it will be called EuropaQuartier.
It was a cold February evening when Paramjit Kohli first came to Bremen from India – and he loved it immediately. Read on to find out why he founded a company here and what lessons he has learned over the past year.
Stathis Stasinopoulos built his first bike so that he could get to and from work in Athens more easily. At the time, he could not have imagined that his idea would see him set up his own business in Bremen. We visited the entrepreneurial engineer in his new workshop in the north of Bremen.
Fish fingers have been made in Bremerhaven for almost 60 years. Over this period, they have withstood all food trends and are more popular today than ever before. On average, each German consumer eats 24 of them a year. And they were probably made in Bremerhaven, the fish finger capital.
The construction of the complex new EcoMaT research and technology centre at Airport-Stadt Bremen is at an advanced stage. Prospective tenants include Airbus and Testia, as well as a number of leading medium-sized businesses and scientific institutions. After the topping-out ceremony, work will get under way on the interior of the building.
The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. What is the precise composition of the seafloor? What flora and fauna inhabit it? Where has the delicate balance of the ecosystem been seriously disrupted? We still don’t have complete answers to any of these questions, but four young scientists from Bremen are aiming to change that.
Bremeninvest is currently managing the fifth construction phase at Bremen Industrial Park, scheduled for completion in 2020, and has already taken reservations from several companies. Businesses that have already relocated here are investing in their growth and their future.
Bremen is known in China as one of the world’s major ports. But that’s just one of the factors attracting Chinese companies to our Hanseatic city.
Bremen has the right location to suit any company, from the logistics sector at the Cargo Distribution Center (GVZ) to research institutes at the Technology Park and international companies at Bremen Airport-Stadt. Or perhaps you are looking for more of a mix of sectors to stimulate creativity? We can show you the right business park to suit your needs.
Even Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible would find it difficult to break into this data centre. Metre-thick concrete walls are just one of the many security measures protecting this bunker.
On the south side of the Europahafen, it’s full steam ahead for a new urban development showpiece – the Überseeinsel peninsula. Formerly the business premises of Kellogg’s, this 15-hectare pocket of land now has investment backing from Europa Immobilien GmbH, represented by Dr Klaus Meier. In our interview, he talks about opportunities, challenges, and visions for the future for the Überseeinsel.
Unloading shipping containers requires manual work, which is pretty unusual in the automated and digitalised world of logistics. But a Bremen-based research project aims to change all this with its IRiS robot.
How will we be working in the future? Daimler’s Innolab in Bremen’s Überseestadt district provides an answer to this question. And anyone can come and see it.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is ideally situated for businesses in the automotive industry, located in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen just off the A1 autobahn. But it also offers a number of benefits for service providers, trading companies and the skilled trades. If you want to set up business here, you need to act quickly.
Artificial intelligence isn’t just a matter of computer programming. It’s a challenging question: how can a robot successfully deal with real, unpredictable surroundings? For 30 years, solutions to this problem have been developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). This Bremen-based facility has been so successful that its employees are now founding their own company.
In April 2018, Team Beverage AG moved its headquarters from Wildeshausen in Lower Saxony to Bremen. The company provides services to the drinks industry in wholesale, retail and the catering and convenience sectors. Now, its success story is set to continue at Bremen Airport-Stadt with the relocation of its head office and 90 or so employees.
Huong Thi Hoang is the new voice of Bremen’s economic development agency in Vietnam. The country has one of the world’s fastest growing economies and is extremely popular with international investors. Now, Hoang visited Bremen for the first time – and had a big surprise right on her first day.
Tizz & Tonic: Two sisters from Canada are producing and selling sustainable and organic underwear in the centre of Bremen. But what was it that attracted them to Bremen? We caught up with the two well-travelled fashion designers to find out.
Bremen Airport-Stadt is an international transport hub and a centre of excellence for the aerospace industry and for research and learning. It occupies a leading position among Germany’s airport locations. Here are ten benefits that Bremen Airport-Stadt offers.
Hard facts take top priority when it comes to the choice of location for international or domestic businesses. But the faster we feel comfortable outside the workplace in the everyday routines and culture of a foreign country, the sooner we feel at home. In addition to trade, science – and of course its port, Bremen has plenty to offer when it comes to quality of life.
Home to 19,500 on-campus students, several research institutes and high-tech companies, parks, hotels, restaurants, cafés and the Universum Bremen science centre, the technology park in Bremen is one of Germany’s most successful. So what is the secret behind its 30 years of success?
In December 2014, ORTEC GmbH moved from Lower Saxony to Bremen. The software specialist hoped to strengthen its market position by moving to the city’s Überseestadt district. Around three and a half years later, we got in touch with the company again to ask whether the move has been a success.
Chinese honey has come a long way – and in January 2018, ten containers full arrived in Bremerhaven from China. But is it actually organic? It certainly is – Lin Zhao, managing director of Dewin, works closely with laboratories in Bremen to confirm the quality of his honey. The proximity to these laboratories was a deciding factor in his choice of location for his business.
Wind energy, geophysics, translation, design and communication – we portray five diverse women, who have successful careers and shared their fascinating stories with us. What is their industry and working life like? What motivates them? Why Bremen?
The production line hardly ever stops at the second-largest Mercedes Benz plant in the world. Thousands of components have to be delivered to the right place at the right time – there is no room for errors or delays. LOREL Logistik GmbH undertakes a huge logistics operation every day to ensure that everything runs like clockwork.
You are or want to become self-employed – but you do not know where to start? In this video, we show you how the Unternehmensservice Bremen helps you to deal with official approval procedures, forms and funding.
When it comes to Brexit it’s not about a hard-fought international contest to attract relocating businesses; it’s about coming together to manage the change, says Andreas Gerber of Bremeninvest in our interview.
Bremeninvest has announced the opening of a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City in the hope of pushing up trade cooperation in Vietnam. The agency operates as a link between the German state of Bremen and Vietnam in two-way trade and business activities.
Fatih Özdemir has furniture made in Turkey and sells it to customers mainly in Africa and the Middle East. In theory, he could run his business from anywhere in the world, but there are good reasons why he chose to relocate to Bremen and found Brefeo Hanse GmbH.
Savannah’s economic developers have done their homework: in their search for German partner cities for trade and cooperation, they have put Bremen at the top of their list. During a visit to Bremen, the city’s representatives explained why the relationship with Bremen and Bremerhaven is so important to them.
Investors are increasingly looking to Bremen. For three years in a row, the city has registered record-breaking levels of domestic and foreign investment. Bremeninvest's 2017 real estate report shows what makes Bremen such an attractive location for investors.
There is a buoyant mood among investors and project developers with regard to Bremen’s real estate market, which has seen a record take-up of office space and the lowest vacancy rate for ten years. Bremeninvest’s 2017 real estate report shows how construction activity, occupancy rate and prices are developing in Bremen’s office property market.
Dr Zareer Dadachanji was not going to wait around for Brexit to happen, and has held a German passport since the beginning of the year. He firmly believes that Brexit has no plus points. He and his wife have chosen to locate their new business – Model Quant Solutions – in Bremen, despite the fact that the company’s customers are mainly based in the UK.
Low property prices and a good infrastructure – logistics real estate in Bremen is the sort of thing many investors dream of. But anyone wanting to take advantage needs to be quick, because vacant spaces are getting increasingly rare, as the 2017 real estate report from Bremeninvest shows.
You rarely get the opportunity to try out musical instruments when you buy them online. Bremen-based start-up TonePedia has developed a piece of software that allows musicians to properly compare guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and effect products online. This saves time and reduces the number of returns and the associated cost.
Quinoa is already very popular, but hardly anyone in Europe is familiar with purple corn powder. Peruvian Alejandro Leon has founded a company in Bremen, Albrecht und R GmbH, through which he imports and export fruits and vegetables from South America, and he is a firm believer in the health benefits of eating purple corn.
Space technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, leading to increasing demands from the business and research sectors. To meet these requirements, Bremen University now offers unique master’s degrees in Space Engineering and Space Sciences and Technologies.
Buoyant mood thanks to record take-up rate, encouraging market trends and strong occupancy levels. The 2017 Bremen property market report shows once again that the city is an attractive location for investors and developers.
Formula Student is a world-wide competition for self-built racing cars, with the season’s final race held at Hockenheim. A Bremen-based team has been taking part in the competition with an electric racing car since 2013, and their ambitious goal is to break into the top ten.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
Is this what sales assistants of the future will look like? Bremen start-up company Blackout Technologies develops software based on artificial intelligence, unlike any other software in Europe. Before long, we’ll be greeted by their robot Pepper in shops, at trade fairs or even in care homes. We visited Bremen’s robot lab to find out more.
Stathis Stasinopoulos was unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work across Athens. So he developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. This has given Stasinopoulos an unexpected new direction in life.
The research alliance ROBEX is sending robots up active volcanoes and down into the deepest and darkest seas. Working across disciplines, the 120 scientists of the 16 institutes involved are breaking new ground on this project. They have been eagerly waiting to find out what has happened to the TRAMPER diving robot, which has been exploring the deep seas around Spitsbergen for a year. Now they are ready to bring it back.
A growing number of companies are becoming more aware of their social and environmental footprint, and are looking for ways to act with greater environmental and social responsibility. Germany’s north-west is set to become the national centre for social entrepreneurship in logistics. A new platform is under development and the first round of events is being planned to achieve this goal.
This new master’s degree at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences prepares students for the future and offers them excellent job prospects.
As both Airbus and Mercedes already know, when it comes to infrastructure and commercial property, businesses should look to Germany’s north-west. To Bremen, to be more precise. The Hanseatic city boasts the following five locational factors.
BLG Logistics Group is a major player in logistics with 18,000 employees. It established the Digilab in Bremen as a core element of its digitalisation. The company’s premises are reminiscent of start-ups in Silicon Valley, and there are good reasons for that.
Irina Lucke has been at the helm of WAB since December 2016. We talked about her role in the german-wide trade association and the challenges that an ever-changing business and regulatory environment poses for the international wind energy industry.
In June 2016, the UK voted in favour of Brexit, and the exit negotiations are currently in progress. Which industry sectors in Bremen will be particularly hit, and what effect will Brexit have on the Hanseatic city?
Bremen's sweetest side is made of chocolate. No matter whether it’s milk or dark chocolate, nougat or marzipan. Take a walk around Bremen and taste it.
The founders of Mac Panther Materials, two brothers from Bremen, produce an open-cell metal foam for use in a number of different applications. Its secret lies in the production process that is based on a brilliant and yet simple idea.
An engine under the bonnet drives the wheels – this is the configuration that has been powering cars for over a hundred years. However, wheel hub motors – i.e. motors in the hub of the wheel, not under the bonnet – promise many advantages. Electric drive systems make this possible.
The digital revolution has reached every branch of industry. Many of the technological trends associated with the Industrial Internet of Things originated in Silicon Valley. Rene van den Hoevel, managing director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco, and Christoph Ranze, managing director of encoway GmbH and executive board member of the association bremen digitalmedia, explain why it is not only large corporations who should be looking closely at the epicentre of technological advancement.
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Bionics is the application of forms and functions found in nature to technology. Marine biologist Dr Christian Hamm and his team of researchers in Bremerhaven are leading figures in this field thanks to ELiSE. They are particularly interested in the tiny, yet incredibly complex, diatoms – nature’s experts in lightweight construction.
A new process has been attracting attention in the food industry. Developed by the Bremerhaven Institute for Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering, the new method enables deep frozen fish to be defrosted in record time. And the fish tastes as fresh as the day it was caught.
For over 15 years, Jacobs University in Bremen has attracted young, talented individuals from all over the world. Students from 106 countries make up a community that contributes to academic achievement and produces graduates that are highly sought after by companies.
Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.
Photography studios, workshops and professional kitchens are rarely fully occupied round the clock. So why not let others share them? The german start-up Craftspace brings together providers of production spaces with entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists on a single online platform. It’s an arrangement that benefits everyone.
It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
GeoSea, a subsidiary of the Belgian DEME group, is helping to construct of some of the largest offshore wind farms in the German North Sea – and in Bremen, the company has found the ideal location to carry out its work.
Art, design and people with disabilities make up the fascinating focus of the work of two young designers from Bremen. Working together with employees from community-based workshops, they develop and improve on designs for handmade products – and are continually thrilled by the potential they see in their co-designers.
Companies wishing to access the European market should be careful about their choice of location. Brexit could result in significantly higher financial and tax burdens for UK-based companies. Under these circumstances, setting up a base on the continent might be a better option. Find out what challenges companies will be facing.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing and ethical standards are the principles on which the fair trade clothing sector is based. Leela Cotton, a successful German-Turkish textile company, produces clothes for children and adults that are not only stylish, but also make a positive contribution to the environment in the way they are manufactured.
Why have so many IT companies chosen to establish themselves in Bremen? We asked five key business figures and researchers from various organisations to tell us what makes the city such an attractive location for the IT sector.
3D imaging with millimetre accuracy for underwater industrial activities and deep sea exploration – company founder Jakob Schwendner has a very clear goal. The first prototype of a camera with brand new sensor technology was built in Canada and presented to industry professionals at the Ocean Business conference in Southampton, United Kingdom, in April.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
Of all the states in Germany, Bremen has the highest density of major research institutions in relation to its population – a fact that also benefits those who study there. It offers a range of international education opportunities for prospective academics with strong practical relevance and research activities that span a diverse range of fields.
Weatherproof displays for transport services, and screens that don’t produce glare in bright sunlight – these are just some of the devices provided by AlfaNet Computer und Electronic Handels GmbH, a Bremen-based company founded nearly 25 years ago by Thomas Lie.
They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
Lighter, more bespoke and more intricate: for companies open to new ideas in manufacturing and construction, metal parts produced by 3D printers present an economic alternative to conventional die cutting, rolling and milling. Leading the way is Materialise, a company with its own metal printing plant in Bremen.
Bremen has been twinned with the city of Dalian in north-eastern China since 1985. Find out more about the similarities and connections that the two port cities share.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
Wearables and smart glasses provide hands-free digital information. A visit at the headquarter of the global market leader for Industrial Wearable Computing, Ubimax in Bremen.
In 2016, companies invested a combined total of €229 million in the federal state of Bremen. Where do these investors hail from, how many jobs have they created, and what is their line of business? Our infographics provide an overview.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
Keen to remain in Bremen? Then why not combine residency status with self-employment? Manuel Kühn from Bremeninvest’s welcome service knows all about how a start-up could allow British citizens to beat Brexit and kill two birds with one stone.
From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the ...