A city that combines the traditional with the modern, Braunschweig is blessed with a wealth of monuments from its rich history as well as beautiful quarters that have retained their charm over the centuries. But its appeal also extends to modern architecture such as the Happy Rizzi House, together with a lively arts scene and extensive parkland.
Braunschweig's history is closely associated with that of the Guelph dynasty. Henry the Lion made the city his ducal residence in the 12th century and transformed it into a Hanseatic city and trading power. The memory of this great Braunschweig figure lives on at Dankwarderode Castle, St. Blasius Cathedral and through the bronze lion statue on Burgplatz square. During the reign of Otto IV, another Guelph ruler, Braunschweig became a centre of imperial power and one of Europe's most important political hubs. The House of Guelph continued to shape the development of the city until the early 20th century, promoting architecture, science and the arts. This is part of the reason why Braunschweig has attracted so many great minds, who made it the hotbed of innovation it is today. A vast amount of research and development takes place here, and the city is home to numerous international institutes. Indeed in 2007 it became an official 'city of science'.
Braunschweig has always appealed to art lovers as well. The Duke Anton Ulrich Museum, for instance, is considered Lower Saxony's foremost art museum and boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of old masters anywhere in Germany. Its main building is closed for renovation until 2015, but parts of the museum's collection and its temporary exhibitions are currently being displayed at Dankwarderode Castle. Culture of a more modern variety is offered by the State Theatre, as well as by the many independent theatres and performance groups that offer high-calibre entertainment across a range of genres – all part of Braunschweig's thriving arts scene. Braunschweig is equally impressive when it comes to retail therapy. A stroll through the attractive city centre, for example, reveals world-class shopping opportunities. And for world-class architecture look no further than Ackerhof square in the Magni quarter, where you can marvel at the outrageously colourful Happy Rizzi House – the work of American artist James Rizzi. And just around the corner lies what is believed to be the oldest timber-framed house in Germany. A contrast typical of Braunschweig, where the old and the new come together in perfect harmony. And somewhere in the middle is you.