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Expansion of the Sea Zoo in Bremerhaven

Sea Zoo

The North Sea Aquarium was opened in 1913, becoming the nucleus of today’s Sea Zoo. In 1928, the North Sea Aquarium was extended to include a small external site, the Animal Grottoes, housing mammals and birds. However, the aquarium remained at the heart of the zoo, which was renamed Zoo am Meer (Sea Zoo) in 1984. The zoo was modernised between 2001 and 2004 – not least with ERDF funding. The new concept abandoned the continuation of the aquarium.

Together with the Climate House, DAH, Sail City and, the Sea Zoo is a core component of the overall concept of the Havelwelten Bremerhaven tourist centre. As the longest-standing attraction in the area, the Sea Zoo is one of the tourist highlights of the State of Bremen and one of Bremerhaven’s brands which is known beyond the region.

Further to this, the Sea Zoo also conducts scientific research. Many academic projects and dissertations for Bachelors and Masters degrees have been completed there (for Bremen University, Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences). In 2005, the Sea Zoo was involved with the Pier of Sciences for the title Bremen und Bremerhaven as a City of Science. This led to lasting co-operation with the other research bodies in Bremerhaven, e.g. in the form of the Water Summer School since 2005 or the Water Academy since 2011. Joint events were organised in the zoo with the German Shipping Museum and the Alfred Wegener Institute to mark the 2007 International Polar Year.

The State of Bremen’s 2007-2013 ERDF programme currently envisages investment of €1.5m in the construction of nine aquariums with a total volume of 150 m³ on an area covering 325 m². The visitors’ area provides 50-70 m² of seating, interactive teaching displays and experiments which can be used by the visitors free of charge.

The aquarium’s planned thematic orientation can be summarised as human influence on the North Sea fauna – animals and habitats, information and research, e.g. due to climate change, invasive new species, pollution, offshore wind power plants, etc. The construction of a North Sea aquarium will broaden the existing platform for co-operation with universities and scientific institutions like IMARE and the AWI. The proximity to the Conference Center Bremerhaven also opens up the possibility of scientific congresses in this field.

The new facility will host research and will also present scientific facts and findings in an accessible manner and provide insights via interactive services.

Further to this, the use of the existing space for the construction of an aquarium aims to provide a popular, all-weather attraction which creates a significant reason to visit the zoo even when the weather is poor and in off-season periods. The facility will also provide an attractive space for events, the rental of which can generate revenues to lessen the continuing need for public-sector grants.

The official opening of the aquarium is planned for early summer 2013.

urban development, tourism
ERDF Bremen 2007 - 2013
Degree of priority / area of funding
Priority Axis 2 Activating Urban and Commercial Areas
2.2: Developement or Urban Economic Areas with Special Potential strand
Total volume of money (in €)
Proportion of funds
of which public-sector funding: 1.526.115 €
of which ERDF funding: 763.057 €
01.07.2012 - 30.06.2013
Bremerhaven north
Ms Maja Pfeifer
Ministry of Science and Ports
Division 34
Zweite Schlachtpforte 3,
28195 Bremen
Tel.: +49 421 361-8582
Fax: +49 421 496-8582