Bremen citizenship

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Bremen citizenship
logo Parliament building
logo building
Basic data
Seat: House of Citizenship
Legislative period : four years
First session: 1433
MPs: 84
Current legislative period
Last choice: May 26, 2019
Next choice: Spring 2023
Chair: Mayor
Frank Imhoff (CDU)
Distribution of seats:
  • CDU 24
  • SPD 23
  • Green 16
  • Left 10
  • FDP 5
  • Magnitz, stanchion, rim carrier 3
  • Non-attached 3
    (AfD 2, BIW 1)
  • Website
    Meeting of the Bremen citizenship in May 2018

    The Bremen Citizenship is the state parliament of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen . It meets in the House of Citizenship on Bremen's market square . Frank Imhoff (CDU) has been President of the Citizenship since July 3, 2019 .

    Of the 84 elected representatives, the city of Bremen sends 69 and the city of Bremerhaven 15 representatives. The 69 MPs from the city of Bremen usually form (for exceptions see the section entitled “Eligibility to vote” ) at the same time the city ​​citizenship , the local people's representative body of the city of Bremen. The city of Bremerhaven, on the other hand, has its own parliament, the Bremerhaven City Council .

    The direct forerunner of the Bremen citizenship was the Appointed Bremen Citizenship , a body established after the Second World War to control the Bremen Senate , which met from April to November 1946. The tradition of the citizens of Bremen goes back to the 12th century.

    History of citizenship

    Middle Ages until 1848/49

    In the Middle Ages, the Bremen Council was elected according to the customary city law and the statutes of 1433 . The representatives of the citizens - the Meenheit - was organized in the parishes . The parents in Bremen ( Olderlude ) were the spokesmen or heads of the merchants who advised the council .

    After the uprising of 104 men , the “ Neue Eintracht ” of 1534 increased the influence of the guilds and thus of the craftsmen in the civic convention - separated by the four parishes.

    After the French period in Bremen , new regulations were passed for the citizens' convention in 1816. In monthly plenary sessions, it also took part in legislative and budgetary procedures in an advisory capacity. Laws only came into effect when the Council and the Convention agreed. The convent communicated its decisions to the city ​​council through the syndicus of the parents. In the convent were the parents of the merchant , the builders and deacons of the parishes, the representatives of the important guilds and the holders of the great civil rights from the old and the new town. Of the 300 to 600 representatives invited by the council or the senate, only about 60 to 70 took part in the convention. The businessman's parents practically always had the decisive influence in the convent. Deputations, in which councilors and members of the convention took part, were appointed for individual questions.

    After 1848

    After the revolution of 1848/49 , according to the state constitution, there was a citizenship elected on March 29, 1849. The first president of this citizenry was Christian Friedrich Feldmann (1813–1883) until October 1849 . This democratic citizenship was dissolved by the Senate in March 1852 without any legal basis.

    The Senate issued new election regulations for a citizenship that should have 150 members and that was elected for six years. Elections were made in eight classes: voters with academic qualifications, merchants with chamber of commerce voting rights, traders with chamber of commerce voting rights, other voters graded according to income, voters from Vegesack, voters from Bremerhaven, voters with agricultural chamber voting rights and voters from the rest of the country (see the table in the history of City of Bremen ). This class electoral law was valid until 1918. The majority of the population was severely underrepresented. The MPs were not represented by political parties. Only the few representatives of the SPD appeared as a parliamentary group from the end of the 19th century.

    After 1919

    The Constituent Assembly of Bremen in 1919 had 200 members and passed a new constitution in 1920. The citizenship - elected by all women and men over 20 years of age - now had 120 (1933 only 96) members (Landtag). Elections were held in 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1927 and 1930. The turnout varied between 77.8 and 84.5%. The MPs only received allowances. The mayor chaired the meetings. Deputations were formed from representatives of the Senate and the citizenry.

    After 1945

    In 1946 there was a short-term citizenship with 60 members appointed by the US military government. The first elected citizenship on October 13, 1946 had 80 members from the city of Bremen. It met for the first time on October 30, 1946. On February 13, 1947, 20 MPs from Bremerhaven were added. In 2003 the number of members was reduced from 100 to 83, 68 of them from Bremen and 15 from Bremerhaven.


    The Bremen citizenship is elected in general, direct, free, equal and secret elections according to the principles of a proportional representation connected with the person voting on the basis of list nominations by parties and electoral associations. The electoral period lasts - this is now unique among the German state parliaments - four years and ends on June 7th. The election for the 20th citizenship of Bremen took place on May 26, 2019 parallel to the European elections.

    Elective system and elective areas

    Each nomination can contain as many applicants as there are seats allocated for the elective area. Every eligible voter can distribute five votes to entire lists or applicants listed in them ( cumulating and variegating ).

    Because of the choice of persons, all applicants must be named on the voting slip and provided with five fields for the votes. That is why, since the 2011 state elections, ballot booklets in A4 format have been used.

    The electoral area is divided into the elective areas Bremen and Bremerhaven. Separate nominations are submitted for both areas, the 5% threshold is applied separately and seats are allocated separately - 68 seats for the Bremen area and 15 for Bremerhaven. The allocation of seats requires several steps:

    • During the counting, the votes cast on the lists (list election) and the individual applicants (choice of persons) are recorded.
    • The votes cast on the individual nominations via list voting and person voting are added up. These figures are the basis for the distribution of seats among the parties and electoral communities according to the Sainte Laguë / Schepers procedure .
    • According to Sainte Laguë / Schepers, it is determined from the number of votes cast for a nomination by voting on the one hand and voting on lists on the other hand, how many seats are allocated according to the ranking of the votes received by the individual applicants or according to the list.
    • First, the seats are awarded to the applicants with the highest number of votes. The remaining seats will be allocated to those applicants who have not yet been allocated a seat based on the choice of persons in the order of the list. These two steps must also be carried out when an applicant joins the citizenship.

    For the election for city citizenship, this procedure is repeated with the votes for the electoral area of ​​Bremen, whereby the votes cast by non-German EU citizens are included.

    Eligibility to vote

    Every German who has been living in the state of Bremen for at least three months and is at least 16 years old is entitled to vote for the election of citizenship. The right to stand as a candidate exists upon reaching the age of majority. Citizens of the member states of the EU are only treated on an equal footing with Germans when they are eligible for city citizenship. Therefore, the city citizenship can be composed differently than the city of Bremen part of the state parliament members.

    Election of the district councils

    In the city of Bremen, 22 advisory councils are elected to take care of district issues . These are in the 18 districts (excluding ports) and the 4 districts that are not assigned to any district (according to the list of administrative levels in Bremen ). Active and passive voting rights are based on the provisions for city citizenship. The advisory board elections have taken place parallel to the general election since 1991.

    See also the current distribution of seats in the Bremen advisory boards .

    Changes to suffrage since 1947

    The first general election took place on October 12, 1947. Therefore, the four-year terms ended on October 12th. On March 1, 1995, the citizenship decided to dissolve itself for the first time ( Piepmatz affair ) and set the end of the 13th electoral term to June 7, 1995. Since then the legislature of the citizenship ends on June 7th. In other parliaments, the end of the electoral term is usually determined by the meeting of the successor parliament, for whose election deadlines are again given.

    Initially, the citizenship consisted of 100 members - 80 from Bremen, 20 from Bremerhaven. By law of May 22, 2003, the number of MPs was reduced to 83. In the following 16th electoral term (2003-2007) Bremen had 67 members and Bremerhaven 16 members. As a result of an adaptation of the electoral law to the different population trends in the two cities, 68 members have been elected from Bremen and 15 members from Bremerhaven since 2007.

    Originally there was a pure proportional representation using lists with a fixed order of applicants. Each eligible voter could give one vote to a list. The current five-vote system was used for the first time in the 2011 state elections.

    The voting age was originally 21 years, since 1970 18 years and was reduced to 16 years in 2009. For the elections to the advisory boards, the active right to vote from the age of 16 applies since the addition of Section 3 (3) in the law on advisory boards and local offices by the local law of October 16, 2006 (BremGBl. P. 436). Non-German EU citizens have been eligible to vote in local elections since 1999.

    Election results

    Election results from 1919 to 1933

    Number of 200 members of the Bremen National Assembly by party:

    • 1919: SPD 67, DDP 39, USPD 38, state electoral association (DVP and DNVP) 29, KPD 15, economic associations 12

    Number of 120 members of the citizenship by party:

    Election results from 1946

    The lists contain the election results, the distribution of seats and the members of the Bremen city citizenships:

    Current election results

    In the election on May 26, 2019, the CDU became the strongest party for the first time.

    Distribution of votes

    CDU 26.7%
    SPD 24.9%
    Green     17.4%
    left 11.3%
    FDP 5.9%
    AfD 6.1%
    BIW 2.4%
    Rest 5.3%

    Current distribution of seats for the citizens of the state of Bremen

    SPD 23 seats
    CDU 24 seats
    Green 16 seats
    left 10 seats
    FDP 5 seats
    Magnitz, stanchion, rim carrier 3 seats
    Non-attached 3 seats (2 AfD, 1 BIW)

    On September 1, 2019 the MPs Felgträger, Magnitz and Runge left the AfD parliamentary group and founded the AfD group in the Bremen citizenship , which was renamed the Magnitz, Runge, Felgträger group shortly afterwards . The other two AfD MPs Beck and Jürgewitz have since been non-attached.

    Distribution of seats for the citizens of Bremen (Parliament of the City of Bremen without Bremerhaven)

    CDU 20 seats
    SPD 19 seats
    Green 13 seats
    left 9 seats
    FDP 4 seats
    Magnitz, stanchion, rim carrier 3 seats
    Non-attached 1 seat (AfD)

    Committees / Deputations

    The Bremen citizenship forms permanent and non-permanent committees as well as, if necessary, committees of inquiry to clarify certain issues in order to perform its tasks as parliament. In the state constitution of Bremen in article 105 only the committee of rules of procedure, the budget and finance committees, the petition committees and the committee for port affairs are mandatory.

    Standing parliamentary committees

    In the 18th electoral term, the state parliament set up ten standing parliamentary committees:

    • Budget and Finance Committee (Country)
    • Audit Committee (Country)
    • Constitutional and Rules of Procedure committee
    • Petitions Committee (country)
    • Legal Committee
    • Equal Opportunities Committee
    • Committee for Integration, Federal and European Affairs, International Contacts and Development Cooperation
    • Committee on Science, Media, Data Protection and Freedom of Information
    • Committee on Combating and Preventing Poverty and Social Division
    • Committee on Port Affairs

    The city citizenship set up four Standing Parliamentary Committees in the 18th electoral term:

    • Budget and Finance Committee (City of Bremen)
    • Audit Committee (City of Bremen)
    • Petitions Committee (City of Bremen)
    • Committee on Citizen Participation, Civic Engagement and Advisory Boards

    The standing committees also include:

    • the board of the Bremen citizenship
    • the parliamentary control commission and
    • the control committee according to the police law

    Temporary parliamentary committees

    In the 18th electoral term, the following were set up as non-standing committees:

    • Committee to Expand Suffrage and the
    • Non-permanent committee according to Art. 125 BremLV (Art. 70 BremLV and others)

    Committees of inquiry

    Committees of inquiry also belong to the so-called temporary committees. The Bremen citizenship has so far set up a total of 23 committees of inquiry. In the (previous) 19th electoral term there have been two committees of inquiry so far. A committee of inquiry examined the reasons and the course of the anti-terror operation from February 27 to March 1, 2015 in Bremen (PUA anti-terror operation), the other suspected social fraud in Bremerhaven (PUA suspected social fraud).


    Deputations are committees that support administrative activities. They act like committees, but are based in the responsible senatorial authorities. They are filled by the parliamentary groups of the Bremen citizenship with members of parliament and so-called deputies (competent citizens). The respective senator holds the chairmanship. The representatives of the citizenry elect a spokesperson and at least one deputy from among their number.


    Frank Imhoff Antje Grotheer Christian Weber (Politiker, 1946) Reinhard Metz Dieter Klink Hermann Engel August Hagedorn Wilhelm Kaisen Max Jahn (Politiker) Emanuel Backhaus Johann Osterloh Otto Bernhardt Richard Dunkel Rudolph Quidde

    The powers and tasks of the President of the Citizenship are set out in Article 92 of the Constitution of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen :

    “The President of the Citizenship opens, leads and closes the deliberations. It is up to him to maintain calm and order both in the assembly itself and among the listeners. If the listeners disturb the calm, he can have them removed. The President of the Citizenship has the income and expenses of the Citizenship in accordance with the budget and represents the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen in all legal transactions and legal disputes of the Citizenship. The board of directors of the citizenship is the superior of all persons in the service of the citizenship of Bremen, it hires them and dismisses them. He has to observe the position plan. "

    List of presidents


    1911 to 1918 Rudolph Quidde
    1920 to 1930 Richard Dunkel ( DDP )
    1931 Otto Bernhard ( NSDAP )
    1931 Johann Osterloh (SPD)
    1931 to 1932 Emanuel Backhaus (NSDAP)
    1933 Max Jahn (SPD), March 6-15, 1933
    1946 Wilhelm Kaisen (SPD)
    1946 to 1966     August Hagedorn (SPD)
    1966 to 1971 Hermann Engel (SPD)
    1971 to 1995 Dieter Klink (SPD)
    1995 to 1999 Reinhard Metz (CDU)
    1999 to 2019 Christian Weber (SPD)
    2019 Antje Grotheer (SPD)
    since 2019 Frank Imhoff (CDU)

    House of Citizenship

    February 2008: The new building of the House of the Bremen Citizenship on Bremen's market square, inaugurated in 1966 .

    The Citizens' House (Am Markt 20) was built in 1962/66 according to plans by the architect Wassili Luckhardt . It has been a listed building since 1992.


    From the end of the 15th century there were several gabled houses here, which were demolished from 1860 to 1863. In its place, the neo-Gothic New Bremen Stock Exchange was built until 1864, with the alignment being withdrawn . However, this building was felt by large parts of the population to be too bulky and unsuitable at this point. The stock exchange was largely destroyed in an air raid in 1943; the ruin was torn down in 1955 and the land of the Bremen Chamber of Commerce was sold to the State of Bremen. In 1958, the country announced an architectural competition for a new seat of the citizenry. Of the 71 submitted designs, the two winning designs were to be revised.

    A controversial discussion about the design of the building broke out in public. A new competition was announced in 1960, which was won in 1961 by the internationally recognized architect Wassili Luckhardt . The design, which was revised several times after long discussions, provided for a vertical stone and glass structure of the facade with eight indicated gables in the roof line. For many Bremen citizens this plan still seemed too modern for the marketplace . The Lüder von Bentheim-Gesellschaft , founded in 1961 for this reason , has been speaking out against a modern new building since 1961 and wanted several gabled houses to be built at this point. The President of the Citizenship August Hagedorn decided with a majority of the House that the revised Luckhardt draft should be implemented. In 1966 the new house of the citizens could be opened.

    The sculpture garden on the south side of the building is harmoniously designed, but not a green space.

    The reinforced concrete skeleton building with brick masonry opens, as it were, as a democratic gesture, with its glazed facade towards the market. The relief panels on the exterior were cast in aluminum according to designs by Bernhard Heiliger . The building was awarded the BDA Prize in 1974, u. a. with the jury's reasoning: "The convincing, clear, functional solution corresponds to a design formulation that takes the standard of the historically shaped situation in a good way". The building received a nomination for the so-called “ Nike ” of the BDA in 2016 in the “Classic” category.

    The provisional rear exit via a wooden staircase, which had been in use for forty years, was replaced by a stone staircase at the beginning of the 21st century; the remains of the old stock exchange were supplemented with two modern floors according to plans by the architects Schomers and Schürmann and connected to the town hall by a bridge.

    October 2019: The house of the Bremen citizenship under renovation

    The House of Citizenship has been under construction since June 2019. Above all, fire protection deficiencies will be eliminated, new safety glazing installed on the ground floor and new cables for the digital technology laid. The renovation should take 18 months and cost almost ten million euros. The offices of the president, the director and other members of the presidential staff were relocated to Börsenhof A shortly after the general election on May 26, 2019. From August 2019 the members of the Bremen Parliament will meet regularly in the ballroom of the New Town Hall.

    Administration of the Bremen citizenship

    The administration of the Bremen citizenship is subordinate to the president of the citizenship, the director leads the state parliament in administrative matters in permanent representation of the president. The administration is divided into two departments, each with two sections. The citizenship staff prepares plenary and committee meetings and ensures continuity and transparency in the parliamentary process by documenting all parliamentary processes. The staff supports the incumbent President in all administrative tasks. In addition, the citizenship staff supported the members of parliament in carrying out their parliamentary tasks.

    The Information Services / Administrative Services / IT Technology Department is responsible for event management, press and public relations work, the library as well as the protocol and budget, organization and staff as well as IT technology. The press office processes and distributes information for representatives of all media. The department is also responsible for answering questions about parliamentary events.

    The parliamentary services department includes the committee service, the legal advisory service, the plenary service and the protocol service. In addition to the direct support, preparation and follow-up of the meetings of the plenary and the committees, this includes the preparation of policy papers, which have also been published on the Internet since August 2016.

    Offers for citizens

    Individual interested parties and registered groups can attend a parliamentary debate at any time. In addition to information about the historic House of Citizens, the work in the parliamentary process should be conveyed. Discussions with members of parliament are also possible by arrangement.

    Cultural event

    Cultural events take place regularly in the citizens' premises. Various exhibitions with changing themes such as historical documentaries or caricatures are shown. Honors, readings and classical concerts are also held in the House of Citizenship. As part of the Bremen Art Scholarship , which the Bremen citizenship has been awarding in cooperation with the Bremer Heimstiftung since 2003, the cultural exchange between Bremen and its numerous city partners is to be promoted. The grant enables professional artists from Haifa and Gdansk , Riga , Izmir , Windhoek or Dalian to stay in Bremen for three to five months.

    Sculpture garden

    The Citizenship Sculpture Garden, which is directly adjacent to the Citizens' House, is a contact point for tourist groups and a popular venue. Sculptures by the sculptor Gerhard Marcks are exhibited in the garden. Two more Marcks sculptures can be found on the first floor of the citizenry. The reflective “ Tantalos ” and the “Girl with a Large Shawl” are on loan from the Gerhard Marcks House in Bremen, which manages the sculptor's estate.

    Broadcasting of the plenary sessions

    The state parliament sessions of the Bremen citizenship can be followed on Radio Weser.TV or via live stream on the Internet. Radio Bremen broadcasts the state parliament sessions on the radio wave 95.0 MHz (98.9 MHz in Bremerhaven). The citizenship meetings can be received on Radio Weser.TV's radio program. The live stream is supplemented by a plenary ticker that contains additional information on items on the agenda and the course of the meeting.

    See also


    • Bremen Citizenship: Handbook of the Bremen Citizenship , Bremen.
    • Norbert Korfmacher: Directory of members of the Bremen citizenship 1946 to 1996 (= local politics. Volume 1). LIT, Münster 1997, ISBN 3-8258-3212-0 .
    • Bremische Bürgerschaft (Hrsg.), Karl-Ludwig Sommer: The Nazi past of former members of the Bremische Bürgerschaft. Project study and scientific colloquium (= small writings of the Bremen State Archives. Issue 50). State Archive Bremen, Bremen 2014, ISBN 978-3-925729-72-0 .
    • Renate Meyer-Braun: Women in Parliament! Portraits of female MPs in the Bremen citizenship . Hauschild, Bremen 1991, ISBN 3-926598-44-1 .
    • Herbert Schwarzwälder : Bremen through the ages . Carl Schünemann Verlag , Bremen 1970.
    • Barbara Fischer: The House of the Citizenship in Bremen - The parliament building by Wassili Luckhardt . Bremen: Edition Temmen, 1995.

    Web links

    Commons : Bremische Bürgerschaft  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. Bremen electoral system (citizenship election) . In: . Retrieved May 27, 2019.
    3. Citizenship election 2019 in the district 'Land Bremen' - overall result. Retrieved July 26, 2019 .
    4. Printed matter 19/803. (PDF) Bremen Citizenship, State Parliament, October 27, 2016, accessed on October 28, 2016 .
    5. Bremen election ABC. (PDF; 310 kB) Status: March 2011., accessed on June 5, 2011 .
    6. § 6 BremWahlG. Transparency portal Bremen, accessed on April 15, 2016 .
    7. Citizenship election 2011: voting slip will be in the form of a booklet. Senate Press Office, accessed on November 7, 2010 .
    8. § 7 Electoral Law. Transparency portal Bremen, accessed on April 15, 2016 .
    9. § 1 Electoral Law. Transparency portal Bremen, accessed on April 15, 2016 .
    10. AfD in the citizenry loses parliamentary group status., August 30, 2019, accessed on September 2, 2019 .
    11. This is what AfD country chief Magnitz calls his group in the citizenry. , September 5, 2019, accessed on September 9, 2019 .
    12. Art. 105 of the Bremen State Constitution
    13. Application for appointment on Drs. 19/24. Bremen Citizenship, July 14, 2015, accessed on July 26, 2015 .
    14. Application for appointment on Drs. 19/695. Bremen Citizenship, August 17, 2016, accessed on August 8, 2018 .
    15. Law on Deputations. Transparency portal Bremen, accessed on April 15, 2016 .
    16. Bremen citizenship: Bremen citizenship: Former presidents. Retrieved October 13, 2017 .
    17. ^ Monument database of the LfD
    18. See also House Balleer
    19. ^ House of Citizenship on the market in Bremen; Report of the President of the Citizenship ( August Hagedorn ) on the construction of the House of the Citizenship on the east side of the market square from October 25, 1961; (also published as a brochure)
    20. Detlev Scheil: Bremen citizenship moves in stages ., May 16, 2019
    21. ^ Documents from the legal advisory service to the Bremen citizenship
    22. ^ Bremen citizenship: Bremen art scholarship. Bremen, 2017, accessed on July 15, 2020 .
    23. Bremische Bürgerschaft: Art on and in the house. In: Bremische Citizenship. Retrieved July 15, 2020 .
    24. media lab north. Radio Weser.TV, accessed on July 15, 2020 .

    Coordinates: 53 ° 4 ′ 31 ″  N , 8 ° 48 ′ 28 ″  E