Hanover

For other places with the same name, see Hanover (disambiguation).
Hanover City Hall (Neues Rathaus)

Hanover (German: Hannover), is the capital of Lower Saxony in Germany. Having a huge exhibition complex built for the World EXPO in 2000 and being host to several of the biggest exhibitions in the world, Hanover calls herself the "EXPO City" or "Exhibition City" (EXPO Stadt/Messestadt). Hanover also played host to the 2006 Football World Cup. The major language spoken is German. English is not common, except during CeBIT or major international events nevertheless most people understand English and will be able to help you find your way around.

Understand

Hanover is not a typical European city. Don't expect to see beautiful centuries-old buildings; the city was one of the hardest hit during World War II, leaving it with only a few historical landmarks. Even the Old City (Altstadt) area is "new"; all the old houses left standing after the war (around 40) were taken from throughout the city and collected in one place. This area is surrounded by some 1950's and 1960's buildings that give a somewhat heavy atmosphere to the streets. However, there still are several residential neighborhoods consisting of late-19th-century housing stock with often elaborate historicist (Victorian) and Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) decorations just outside the downtown area, such as Oststadt, List or Linden.

Hanover has large green areas, with forests and big parks. The landscape is mostly flat, with the river Leine going through the city. The lake Masch (Maschsee) is rather spectacular, considering its size as a man-made object.

The city had a special relationship to the late French artist Niki de Saint-Phalle. She had several of her works in public spots in Hanover (i.e., "the Nanas", "the Cave" in the Great Garden) and also in the Sprengel Museum. To honor her contribution to Hanover, she was granted an honorary citizenship from the city government. Moreover, the recently renovated "underground" shopping passageway from the central station to Kröpcke was named "The Niki de Saint-Phalle Promenade". Hanover's public services are excellent, due to major reconstruction for the World EXPO 2000. The shopping area under the train station was renovated in 2005-2006 in preparation for the World Cup.

History

Hanover was founded in medieval times on the south bank of the river Leine and became a comparatively large town in the 13th century. Its original name Honovere may mean "high (river)bank". There was a time of personal union of the crowns of the United Kingdom and Hanover (1714–1837). Soldiers from Hanover emigrated to Great Britain, leading to the formation of the King's German Legion, which was the only German army to fight throughout the entire Napoleonic Wars against the French. They later played an important role in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Kröpcke

Kröpcke is a large pedestrian area in the heart of Hanover. It is Hanover's major shopping spot, home to the Opera house and has lots of places to eat. The main station in the Hanover Stadtbahn network, is also located here. All Stadtbahn lines except the 10 and 17, call at the station and it is the main interchange point for the network. It has six platforms in total on three lines that cross each other in independent tunnels. There is a big green clock in Kröpcke (  Kröpcke-Uhr. ) which makes an ideal meeting point.

Using English

Hanover became more of a tourist destination since it began hosting CeBIT, and especially following the EXPO in 2000. English translation was just recently introduced to some official tourist portals such as the train ticket machines. Germans are generally helpful, but you have to ask for help as they don't like to jump into other people's business without being invited. Most university students speak English. For general information, it's safest to go to the Tourist Office, Prinzenstr. 12 (close to central station), +49 511-12345-111, M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-2PM.

Tourist office

The   Tourism Office, Ernst-August-Platz 8 (nearby Central Station),  +49 511 12345111, fax: info@hannover-tourismus.de. - has self-guiding maps. Follow the red line which starts from the exit of the Tourism Office. The red line will pass all the major attractions of Hanover and can be completed on foot in 1.5 hours. Refer to the map for explanation every time a number on the red line is encountered.

Get in

By plane

Hanover airport (IATA: HAJ) is located about 11 km north of the city center. It is served by many european network airlines (through their respective hubs) and some budget airlines flying point-to-point.

On line S5, S-Bahn (stations are indicated by this sign) trains run twice-an-hour from the airport to central station (Hauptbahnhof) (and on to Hamelin or Paderborn). A 2-Zone ticket is needed from the airport to city center. The fare is €3.40 (2016) for a single ticket (see chapter public transportation for other ticket options) and will take around 17 minutes. The last train departs around midnight. A taxi ride to the city center costs about €20 and will take about 15 minutes.

The airport offers the option to check in the day before your departure (6-9 PM) for some airlines (TUIfly, Condor, Air Berlin, Sky Airlines, and Croatia Airlines).

Central station (Hauptbahnhof)

By train

Due to its location, Hanover has good connections from all major cities in Germany through Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German rail service. There are also direct trains to the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria several times a day, including night train connections with Nachtzug sleeper trains (CityNightLine).

Hanover is also reachable by regional trains, making it possible to use the cheap and popular “weekend tickets” (German: Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket) on weekends, the “travel throughout Germany tickets” for the rest of the week. Both are applicable for the whole republic and cost €40 or €44 (2016) for a single person. It gets even cheaper if you travel in a little group of up to five people. If you are already in lower saxony, you can use the “Lower-Saxony-Ticket” (German: Niedersachsen-Ticket) for €23 (2016).

The high speed Inter City Express Trains (ICE trains) can take you all over Germany to places such as: Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne, and Berlin. The trip to Hanover from Berlin takes 1:30, from Hamburg 1:20, from Frankfurt 2:20, and from Munich 4:30. Prices vary depending on time of travel and the ticket type such as an economy, freedom or comfort ticket, but a freedom ticket from Berlin to Hanover will cost you from €75.

By bus

Hanover is linked to the rest of Germany and parts of Europe by frequent bus services. Bus rides tend to be fairly quick avoiding unnecessary hold ups but they are not the most comfortable way to travel especially for long distances. The Central Bus Station (Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof or "ZOB") is located behind (to the north-west of) the Central Station (Hauptbahnhof).

By car

Hanover is served by the excellent German road system, being on both the Hamburg to Kassel (Autobahn A7) running north and south and the Berlin to Düsseldorf (A2) running east and west. The city is easily reached after leaving these two motorways. In Germany they drive on the right and the autobahns have no speed limits unless individual speed limits are clearly indicated.. While the limits on the B-roads are quite high (usually 100kph, even more on motorway-style B-roads), they can drop to as low as 50kph in built up areas. From Hamburg the drive is around an hour and a half. From Berlin and Düsseldorf, the drive is around 3 hours, but heavy (truck-)traffic on the A2 can play havoc to plans.

Low emission zone

Much of Hanover (= more or less the rectangle formed by motorway A2 in the north and the three freeways west, south, and east of the city center) has been declared a low emission zone (Umweltzone). All motor vehicles need a badge (Feinstaubplakette) indicating their pollution category; this also applies for foreign registered cars !. In Hanover the most stringent category indicated by a green badge is required. Entering without a badge will cost you a fine if you are caught.

Get around

By public transportation

Hanover has a fantastic network of public transportation, so it's best to just park your car and ride. If you plan to make more than two trips by tram, bus, or subway, a day ticket is your best bet, buying you unlimited travel on the public transport system. Day tickets are valid until the last connection of the day (which normally ends sometime after midnight). The public transportation adopts an honor system for tickets, but they do have ticket inspections once in a while (also late at nights and early mornings). The fine is quite high, so make sure you have a ticket all the time. Be aware that some tickets will need to be validated (stamped on the 'blue box'), and some not, depending on the machine.

  • Day ticket: € 5.00 (1 zone), € 6.60, (2 zones), € 8.20 (3 zones)
  • Group day ticket (up to 5 persons): € 9.80 (1 zone), € 12.60 (2 zones), € 15.50 (3 zones)
  • Single-trip ticket: € 2.60 (1 zone), € 3.40 (2 zones), € 4.30 (3 zones)
  • Short-trip ticket (up to 3 stops for tram and 5 stops for bus): € 1.50
  • Reduced ticket (children 6-14y, big dogs): € 1.30 (all zone)
  • Special price for a carnet of 6 single-trip tickets (SammelTicket): €14.30 (1 zone) and €17.90 (2 zones) resp. 4 single-trip tickets €15.30 (3 zones)

Note: If you are a returning visitor and have any carnets or day tickets left: Bring them along ! All tickets issued after 01-JAN-2002 (= those with € as currency) have unlimited validity.

By bicycle or on foot

Bike paths are provided in almost every street that runs through the city. There is no law on using a helmet, but make sure that the bike has both front and rear lights if you don't want to get stopped by the police (Fine: €10). Always keep in mind that in pedestrian areas in general bicycle riding is not allowed unless otherwise stated ().

Pedestrian paths are also provided along every street and there is also a pedestrian area (indicated by this sign) in front of Central Station to Kröpcke (allowed for bikes between 19.00 and 11.00).

It is possible to take your bike on the tram or bus for free on M-F 8:30AM-3PM and after 7PM. There are no time restrictions on weekends.

By taxi

Unless you have limited time, lots of heavy baggage, or are traveling after public transport stops at night, you might want to think twice about using taxi, as it is very expensive. However, it could be cheaper if traveling in a big group: You can order a 7- or 9-seat taxi by phone and get more people in at the same price.

See

Aerial view of the Great Garden

Museums

Many museums (including the Landesmuseum, the Historical Museum, and the Kestner Museum) can be visited for free on Friday.

Landesmuseum
Hannover Tramway Museum in Wehmingen
Fireworks in Herrenhäuser Gärten

Fireworks

Hanover's people enjoy a lot of fireworks during the year. In addition to the world competition held every summer, there are fireworks every night of the Kleines Fest, every weekend during the Spring Festival (Frühlingsfest) and Oktoberfest, and on the weekend of the Lake Masch Festival. For the first two, the best spot to see is inside or outside the Great Garden, while the latter ones can be seen from any point around Lake Masch. Fireworks usually start at 10PM. Hanover is also place of the annual fireworks world contest (or at least one of the many world contests happening during the year around the world) in the Herrenhäuser Gärten. Six nations participate on six Saturdays, three of them around May - Jun, three in Aug - Sep.

Do

Opera

In Spring

The huge bavarian-style restaurant, Münchener halle at the fair ground is almost a tourist attraction itself

In Summer

In Autumn

In Winter

Learn

Work

As Hanover regularly hosts a number of big exhibitions (eg. CeBIT, Biotechnica), temporary jobs are always available. However, these are very popular side jobs for students and recruitment may be restricted to local residents.

Buy

Souvenirs

Shopping center Ernst August Galerie near central station

Shopping

Flea Market

A flea market located along the Leine River takes place every Saturday, 7AM-4PM. However, it's dominated by electronic goods and overpriced "antiques". Watch out for pickpockets.

Eat

In most cafés and small restaurants, paying individually is accepted, as Germans like this system. Tips are not compulsory but most people do. In smaller cafés, if paying separately, rounding up to the next full euro is common; in bigger restaurants, 10% is best.

German Sausages and more

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Lüttje Lage
Beergarden at Lister Turm

Beer Gardens

Cocktail Bars

Hot drinks

Nightlife

Sleep

As Hanover frequently hosts big exhibitions, booking your room well in advance is highly recommended as hotels can easily get full and/or raise their rates during these times.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

WLAN connection

For those of you with portable computers, WLAN connection is available inside the Central Station. There are also several cafes providing WLAN connection free of charge:

When you supply a German mobile number, each McDonald's restaurant in Hanover provides one hour of free Wifi. The phone number is not used for advertising.

Internet access

Café Mezzo provides a public computer with internet access. Internet cafés are easy to find in Steintor area, especially along the Goethe Strasse, Lange Laube and Am Marstall. The price varies, but normally is from €1 to €2 per hour.

Mobile phone

It is possible to buy prepaid SIM cards from several operators. However, it is compulsory to register your identity, so make sure to bring your passport with you. And since it is registered, take necessary care of the SIM card when you stop using it.

Stay safe

Hanover is normally very safe. Before and after a soccer match there might be quite a few drunken people around, especially in the central station, but there always are police patrolling.

In Kröpcke you may get asked for money by the homeless. Pickpockets may act in crowded area such as inside the trams during a big exhibition.

Important telephone numbers

Stay healthy

Cope

Laundromat

Go next

There is a special ticket called the "Niedersachsen Ticket" (one to five people, €22/€26/€30/€34/€38) which offers unlimited travel by regional trains inside Lower Saxony area, up to Bremen and Hamburg within one day. This ticket is not valid in fast trains (D, EC, IC, ICE) so make sure you board the right trains (RE, RB, S-Bahn, Metronom) when using this ticket. This ticket is also valid on the public transport network in some of the cities (Hanover, Hamburg, Bremen, Brunswick).

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.