The Climate House Bremerhaven is a stunning building. A giant dome next to the new port of Bremerhaven that is particularly noticeable when illuminated in the evening.
A big revolving door leads into the building right into a modern hall that marks the beginning of a journey around the world following the 8th degree of longitude.
The journey tells a fictitious story. Axel Werner went on this journey for real. He started in Bremerhaven and toured the world following the 8th degree of longitude. His different stops along the way are reconstructed in the Climate House in Bremerhaven and are made more tangible for visitors. His personal impressions that he documented in pictures and videos influenced the exhibition and made it a really personal journey around the world.
Our journey in the Climate House Bremerhaven begins
After a brief introduction, we follow some train tracks that bring us to the first stop along the 8th degree of longitude.
In Switzerland, in the canton Uri, at 8º 33′ e / 46 º 55’ n, there is Isenthal. We stand in a room that is modelled on the highlands. One can hear alphorns and cows here and it might have been in my head but I think I also smelled them. Different audiovisual info points tell visitors interesting details from the life of a farmer and their family. What I like is that this information isn’t rose-tinted at all, it reflects problems that arise with climate change.
We climbed higher into the mountain range via some stairs and enter an area about something that I find utterly fascinating: Glaciology. A short film takes us on a hike across a glacier and I learn about melting ice and the consequences. In a little passage, we suddenly find ourselves inside a real glacier. Real ice and the cold that comes with it evoke the feeling of being in an icy cave. I am deeply impressed by how well the multitude of information is presented and how it gives us an idea of what to expect from the rest of the tour through the Climate House Bremerhaven.
Seneghe – Sardinia
8º 35′ e / 40º 8′ n are the coordinates of our next stop on the journey. We are on the island Sardinia. The first focus point of this area in the Climate House are the changes in the habitats of insects due to climate change. Our perspective is shrunken down to bug size and we walk past huge blades of grass and an enormous metal can. Terrariums with live animals from the habitat are installed here and give insight into the so-called butterfly effect.
Small rooms bring visitors into the life in Seneghe. We are introduced to a local family and experience the climate and the temperatures of the region ourselves. The problems on the island, like the hot summers and the extreme aridity, which can quickly lead to wildfires, are made perfectly clear.
Kanak – Niger
After having left Sardinia we arrive in Kanak, Niger (9º 2′ e / 15º 31′ n). We suddenly are in a room full of sand that is supposed to symbolize the desert of Niger. I am moved as I follow the reports about the changes in the country. It is shown in a very impactful way that not too long ago (not even 100 years) this region had plenty of rivers and streams and sufficient rain to make plants grow healthily. Many animals used to live here that now cannot find a suitable habitat in this barren land anymore.
Mightily impressed I stand in a big room in an arid climate and 35º Celcius. I stand on the edge of a rocky desert. Only a single, dry tree rises from the ground. The rifts in the ground look like a larger than life spider web. In the adjacent rooms, I learn more details about life in the Sahelian Zone. Water is the most precious thing there is and deep wells are needed to reach this treasure. A short movie shows a boy who has to drive his animals forward for 70 meters before the bucket full of water is finally pulled up to the edge of the well.
Another topic that I have never looked into before but that has a huge impact on many areas in Niger is uranium mining. The most important industry of the country changes not only the ecosystem but also furthers climate change.
Ikenge – Cameroon
9º 6′ e / 5º 16′ e – welcome to Ikenge in Cameroon!
Vast areas of the country are covered in rainforest. The next segment of our journey in the Climate House Bremerhaven is an expedition into the world of the rainforest. It is humid and warm and there is a light shower of rain every once in a while. We walk through a labyrinth in the twilight. Animals are calling in the distance, we hear thunder and raindrops. As we finally leave the winding paths we discover a little village with huts and a river that runs through the forest. We see fishes swimming in the water as we cross a wonky chain bridge to the other side of the river.
Just like at the previous stops of our journey, here, too, the environmental problems are shown that arise from the deforestation of the rainforest. In one of the rooms, we hear a chainsaw, falling trees and we see many marks on the wall that stand for the deforestation.
Queen Maud Land – Antarctica
My personal favourite of all the stops in the Climate House Bremerhaven is at 8º 34′ e / 73º 30′ s in Antarctica.
What a difference! Directly after the heat of Africa, we are in a room that is cooled down to -6º Celcius. This is the temperature found in Queen Maud Land during the summer. At other times during the year temperatures can drop to -80º Celcius. We walk through real snow and ice towards a tent. It is really cold and I am glad that we get to enter the research facility. The temperature in here is a lot more pleasant and we find instruments and equipment that is used by the scientists.
Antarctica offers many opportunities for scientists to research climate change. The ice masses shape the world‘s climate. I thought that the info panels about the changes in the ice shelves were particularly interesting.
Satitoa – Samoa
After the cold, we come back into warmer temperatures again. We are at 171º 22′ w / 14º 1′ s.
This is where Samoa, it’s wonderful beaches and the blue sea are. Humidity rises again, it is warm and tropical, I begin to feel the island’s vibes as I hear the music play. We stand amongst small huts, continue down to a sandy beach and the water is full of colourful fish – a little paradise on earth.
In this section of the exhibition, I learn a lot about life in the South Sea, about traditions and cultures. But I also learn that this paradise is threatened. The increased number of hurricanes, the rising risk of floods and the destruction of coral reefs due to rising water temperatures are all effects of climate change that are very tangible here. Deep in thoughts, I continue to Alaska.
Gambell – Alaska
Here, at 171 º 44′ w / 33º 46′ n, we are in Gambell, on St Lawrence near the North American coast.
This is where tribes live that are still allowed to hunt whales because it is their main food source. The modern world also left its mark on this area. The big whale fin that is surrounded by plastic garbage in the sea is a very impressive picture. A topic that we touch every now and again in our life and where we try to find ways to reduce our plastic consumption to protect the environment.
Another focus of the Alaska section is the fauna, which has adapted perfectly to live in this environment. But visitors are also shown how the lives of the inhabitants changed due to melting ice.
Hallig Langeneß – Germany
Melting ice and rising sea levels are also an important topic on the Hallig Langeneß. Here, at 8º 36′ e / 54º 38′ n, land is flooded when a storm stirs up the sea or when water levels rise. A simulation visualises how the lives of the locals changed over time. The only protection against flooding is a small, artificial hill. This is where the houses were built.
Bremerhaven – Germany
The last stop on our journey around the world is Bremerhaven (8º 34′ e / 53º 32′ n). This is where Axel Werner started his journey and where he came back to in the end.
My thoughts on the Climate House Bremerhaven
I am still deeply impressed by our visit to the Climate House Bremerhaven. We spent over three hours in there and the variety of information was enormous. I realised how my capacity to take in new impressions decreased significantly over time so that I am sure that I might have missed one thing or another. I think one should visit the Climate House more than once and focus on a different section every time. We, for example, skipped the offshore centre, the weather studio and the topics „how climate changes“, „energy revolution“ and „shaping the future“. An amazing and unforgettable visit that I am going to remember for a long time.
Klimahaus® Betriebsgesellschaft mbH
Am Längengrad 8
April – August:
Monday to Friday: 09.00 – 19.00
Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays: 10.00 – 19.00
September – March:
Daily: 10.00 – 18.00
24.12., 25.12., 31.12., 1.1. closed
Other discounts are available
The visit to the Climate House Bremerhaven was sponsored as part of a promotion trip and entry was free for us. Thanks a lot!