Reconstruction of a historic landscape park:
The grounds include the biggest part of the still mostly well-preserved historically significant landscape park, which is a listed monument since 2007.
The Park goes back to the Bremen shipowner and merchant Diedrich Heinrich Wätjen, who in 1830 had Isaak Albert Hermann Altmann, the creator of Bremen’s ramparts, lay out a park in Blumenthal modeled on an English landscape park.
His son, Heinrich Christian Wätjen, extended the park and designed it generously, based on the Altmann plan.
In 1858, he erected with the help of his friend, the Bremen architect Heinrich Müller, a castle-like summer seat in a neogothic Tudor style.
They oriented themselves towards English models, which both had studied at length in England.
The landscape park was designed with clearings towards the Weser and the old tower of the Blumenthal church.
Its greatest dimension had the park in 1890 with about 50 hectares.
For the park design, Christian Wätjen used many foreign shrubs, which he ordered from his son, Diedrich Heinrich, who worked in America.
For him he built the so-called Schweizerhaus in the extension part of the park and for his daughter the Villa Magdalena.
Unfortunately, both buildings, which were completely preserved and intact until the end, were demolished recently.
The garden historian Gustav Brandes mentions in his book „Aus den Gärten einer alten Hansestadt“ the Wätjen manor in the same breath as the country seat of Baron Knoop in Bremen-St. Magnus.
The Park is a “[…] reflection of the great effectiveness of individual successful men of Bremen’s economy in the 19th century, and
at the same time, it is indicative of the architectural aspirations of the time.”
The commemorative monument for the firm founder D.H. Wätjen and his son Christian, however, built by their son, respectively grandson, in 1888, is preserved till today.
Until the First World War, the family used the castle and the grounds. With the beginning of the war, the family had lost its important overseas estates and great part of the shipowners’ fleet. More assets were subtracted through estate partitions, so the family was forced to give up its possessions in Blumenthal.
In 1916, the park grounds were divided up between the Bremer Vulkan shipyard and the Bremer Wollkämmerei (Bremen wool combing works) as an expansion area for their premises.
In the following years, the grounds were unfortunately hardly maintained or thinned out, but on the other hand, much of the historical substance has been preserved due to the long period of “abandonment”.
After the bankruptcy of the Bremer Vulkan, it became necessary to connect the future industrial park Bremer Vulkan to the motorway and to restructure the whole old shipyard premises.
This also meant new possibilities for the preservation of the park. The construction of the development road with rail connection in the shore area of the Blumenthaler Aue caused considerable encroachment on nature and landscape, which led to compensation claims under the Nature Conservation Act. This was complemented by means from the “Wohnliche Stadt”(Livable City) foundation to restore the cultural elements of the park.
So, the measures commenced stayed not piecemeal, but became a benefit for the population at large.
Förderverein Wätjens Park e.V.
1. Vorsitzender: Rainer Frankenberg
Phone: 0421 – 60 45 05