Hanover with Sustainable Socrates

Tour Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade 54, 30159 Hannover, DE

The Inner City Development made rapid developments in the recent years. In our audio tour with "Sustainable Socrates" through Hanovers central district "Mitte" we will explain about the city's specialties regarding mobility, economy and social activities.

Author: Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institut für Umweltplanung

13 Stations

Sustainability at Hannover Main Station

Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade 71, 30159 Hannover, DE

Welcome to the first location of the audio guide in Hanover. The mascot Sustainable Socrates has had a long journey from our other audio tour in Thessaloniki and has now arrived at the main station in Hanover. He has arranged to meet you at the very common meeting point "unter`m Schwanz” which means "under the tail" in English. With this expression Hanoverians mean the Ernst August Monument in front of the main railway station. Take a minute to look around. Can you imagine that around 180 years earlier, instead of a monument and a railway station, there were only meadows and fields? It was only after the design of the royal court architect Laves that the first railway station in Hanover was built between 1845 and 1847. As the railway tracks were a major obstacle in the city, it was decided in 1873 to raise the tracks to a height of 4.50 metres, (STADTHISTORIE n.d.:www) which was revolutionary for the time. In the 1970s, a major reconstruction took place for the construction of the underground. In the course of the preparations for EXPO 2000, the main station was given its current appearance (STATIC-BAHN, 2009:www). With more than 260,000 travellers and around 750 long-distance and regional trains per day, Hannover Central Station is one of the busiest railway stations in Germany (HANNOVER-ENTDECKEN 2020.:www). The main station is well-connected to the European transport network and to various modes of public transportation, such as buses and trams. Therefore the main station promotes the use of public transport and reduces reliance on private vehicles, thereby minimizing emissions and congestion (VISIT-HANNOVER n.d.:www). What does the expert Jonas Lamberg from the Leibniz University Hannover think about the main station: (Interview with mobility expert Jonas Lamberg from Leibniz University Hanover)

Further interesting information:

Hannover-Entdecken, 2020.: Hauptbahnhof Hannover. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.hannover-entdecken.de/hauptbahnhof-hannover/

Stadthistorie, n.d.: Zentrum-Hauptbahnhof. Last visited 18.06.23, https://stadthistorie.info/frueherheute/zentrum/hauptbahnhof/index.htm

Static-Bahn 2009: Hauptbahnhof im Wandel der Zeit. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj3yZGf3b3_AhWsgf0HHVndBwQQFnoECB4QAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fassets.static-bahn.de%2Fdam%2Fjcr%3A2af33f92-dc55-44a9-9d77-baf4d98fb551%2FMDB69202-geschichte_des_hauptbahnhofs_hannover.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2VKfJ00waEC1EUzR7CkRTI

Visit-Hannover, n.d.: Hannover a great location in the centre of europe. Last visited 18.06.23,

Videos and Pictures: own illustration except: Visit Niedersachsen n.d.: Niedersachsen/Hannover - Zug & Bahn. Last visited: 15.08.2023, https://www.visit-niedersachsen.de/Hannover-zentrale-Lage-in-Niedersachsen/Niedersachsen-Hannover-Zug-Bahn

Discovering what's beyond the travel at Hanover Central Station

Niki-de-Saint-Phalle-Promenade 71, 30159 Hannover, DE

Since we are in the main station, sustainable Sokrates would Like to use this opportunity to explore what the station has to offer beyond travel. Upon entering the station you can already see the variety of cafes, restaurants, stores and even supermarkets that invite passengers to go Shopping or to enjoy a coffee while waiting for the train. Since 2006, the level below the station has been reopened with a shopping center. While all the retail and grossery Shops in Germany are usually closed on sundays, The Einkaufsbahnhof is Open every day of the year. Sustainable Sokrates is Happy about it because now He knows where to go in case He has a "shopping" emergency late at night or on If He wants to Go Shopping on a Sunday (HANNOVER.DE, 2020:www).
He also thinks that This type of offer can be seen as positive for the sustainable development of the inner city, because the services offered there induce the consumption of tourists, passengers and city residents. In Addition, He Highlights that in order to prosper in a sustainable way, this Kind of Shopping Centers should prioritize local bussiness.


HANNOVER.DE, 2020. https://www.hannover.de/Kultur-Freizeit/Freizeit-Sport/Echt-hann%C3%B6versch/Zehn-Dinge/Zehn-Dinge,-die-nicht-jeder-%C3%BCber-den-Hauptbahnhof-Hannover-wei%C3%9F/Wo-man-fast-immer-einkaufen-kann. Last visited 16.06.23

Images, video and audio: Own authorship


Herschelstraße 5, 30159 Hannover, DE

Now walking out of the train station and turning to your right side you will see the Ernst-August-Galerie. You may cross the street and take a closer look or even a walk inside of one of the largest shopping centers in the Hanover region. In terms of turnover, the Hannover region is one of the strongest retail locations in Germany. In 2021 it was indicated that retail sales in the Hannover region were around 7.2 billion euros (Region Hannover, 2021:21).
Hannover innercity is known around the region for having specialized retail centers, like this one, and attractive urban centers in its surrounding areas.
During the corona crisis, local shops supplying essentials gained in customer popularity. Visitor numbers in the inner city of Hannover have recently returned to pre-corona levels (Region Hannover, 2021:9 - 11).
Sustainable Sokrates noticed that at the Ernst-August-Galerie, most of the tenants are chain stores. In terms of retail space: 50% are from the fashion sector, 20% - Gifts and toys, 10% - Food and beverage outlets and 5% grocery area (Rewe supermarket). There are around 1,200 people employed at this shopping center (Ernst-August-Galerie.de nd:.www).
From the Sustainability point of view, Buildings like this one are big consumers of energy and generators of waste and CO2. Therefore, This shopping center guarantees that it is powered by 100 percent certified green electricity. It also has a green roof and natural ventilation as Well as cooling systems (Ernst-August-Galerie.de nd:.www).
Since the end of 2015, the so-called green lease agreements have been used for new leases. In these, the company and its tenant partners undertake to align the lease with sustainable criteria (Ernst-August-Galerie.de nd:.www).
The contracts include specifications on the use of materials in the construction and conversion of the leased areas as well as regulations on energy-saving management (Ernst-August-Galerie.de nd:.www).
Sustainable Sokrates thinks that by lowering CO2 emissions, this type of enterprise can represent something positive for the sustainable development of the innercity.
As long as it does not threaten local entrepreneurs, Hosting franchises in a specific location like this can be good from an economic point of view, as it is attractive to consumers, promotes job creation and brings variety to commerce in the innercity.


Region Hannover. 2021. Property Market Report 2021. Hannover: Team Medienservice Region Hannover.

Ernst-August-Galerie.de nd. https://www.ernst-august-galerie.de/center/nachhaltigkeit/. Last visited 15.06.23

Images and Audio: Own authorship

Micro-mobility: Cruising through Hannover's Bike-Friendly Zones

Ernst-August-Platz 4, 30159 Hannover, DE

Now that you are outside the Ernst-August-Galerie, Sustainable Sokrates is inviting you to walk through the Ernst-August-Platz heading to the next station.
While walking you may have already noticed all the cyclists, E-scooters and rental bikes either running around or parked somewhere waiting for the next use. This is what we call Micro-Mobility.
Micro-Mobility is an important contributor to the European Union’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. Offering a good micro mobility infrastructure enables carbon-neutral circulation of people to move around quickly, especially between short distances within the city. This reduces vehicle traffic and relieves the burden on public transport. It can be seen as a sustainable and efficient alternative for urban mobility (micromobilityforeurope, 2021:.www).

However, it is necessary to regulate space for circulation and adequate parking of these small vehicles to avoid accidents and prevent competition for space with pedestrians, who should be the number one priority in sustainable urban spaces.
Sustainable Sokrates asked Jonas Lamberg about his opinion in this regard, Jonas is a Researcher and Lecturer of the institute of Environmental Planning at the Leibniz University Hannover. Let's hear what he has to say about it - Interview with Jonas Lamberg -


micromobilityforeurope.eu. https://micromobilityforeurope.eu/micro-mobility-is-an-important-contributor-to-the-eus-sustainable-and-smart-mobility-strategy/. Last visited 17.06.2023

Images and audio: Own authorship.

Cuberlandsche Galerie: Art, Culture, and Conservation

Prinzenstraße 11, 30159 Hannover, DE

A little further away from the hustle and bustle is the Cumberland Gallery. The Gallery was built between 1883 and 1886 as an extension of the Museum of Science and Art. It owes its name to the planned exhibition of Guelph art treasures after the last Hanoverian crown prince, who had been Duke of Cumberland since 1878. Today the gallery is a listed rear wing of the Schauspielhaus and is used for events, including smaller theater performances, readings and parties. Especially the gallery's staircase is very charming (HANNOVER.DE n.d.:www). It is a nice place for social gathering and it's Sustainable Socrates favorite place to enjoy nice German wine.

Hannover.de, n.d.:https://www.hannover.de/Kultur-Freizeit/Bühnen,-Musik,-Literatur/Bühnen/Spielstätten-in-und-um-Hannover/Cumberlandsche-Galerie

Videos and Pictures: own illustration

Kröpcke: Sustainability Meets Urban Solutions

30159 Hannover, DE

We have now arrived at the heart of Hannovers inner city which is called Kröpcke. When Hanoverians don't meet under the tail of the Ernst August monument, they often arrange to meet at the historic Kröpcke clock (HANNOVER.DE n.d.:www). The Kröpcke, which originated around 1843, is a square in Hanover (STADTHISTORIE n.d.:www). It is located at the intersection of several big streets like Bahnhofstraße and Georgstraße which are among the longest and most popular shopping streets in Germany. If you take a look in the direction of the main station you can see Bahnhofstraße which is a two-level pedestrian zone, with the Niki de Saint Phalle promenade extending into the "basement". Thus the Kröpcke is the most central square in Hannover it is car-free. It is also an important junction for the city railway (VISIT-HANNOVER n.d.:www). The square was named after Wilhelm Kröpcke, a head waiter who ran a café on the square from 1876 onwards and named it after himself. From then on, the square was publicly known as Kröpcke. But it was only in 1947 that the square was officially called Kröpcke (STADTHISTORIE n.d.:www). Let's listen to the expert Jonas Lamberg (Interview with mobility expert Jonas Lamberg from Leibniz University Hanover)

Further interesting information:


Hannover.de, n.d.: Kröpcke. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.hannover.de/Kultur-Freizeit/Freizeit-Sport/Echt-hannöversch/Zehn-Dinge/Zehn-Jubiläen-2019-in-Hannover/150-Jahre-Café-Kröpcke

Stadthistorie, n.d.: Kröpcke. Last visited 18.06.23, https://stadthistorie.info/hannover/172/Kröpcke

Visit-Hannover, n.d.: Kröpcke. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.visit-hannover.com/Sehenswürdigkeiten-Stadttouren/Sehenswürdigkeiten/Kröpcke

Videos and Pictures: own illustration

Step by Step: Greening Hannover's Pedestrian Areas

Bahnhofstraße 13, 30159 Hannover, DE

As you leave the cumberlandsche galerie and arrive at kröpcke station, you may have noticed considerable pedestrian traffic and how this brings life to the innercity.

This could not have been imagined more than 60 years ago, when Der Spiegel magazine praised, in an article entitled "The miracle of Hanover", the highway-like streets on which long-distance and passing traffic circulated without speed limits. The subject of the article was the strategy of the influential urban planning official Rudolf Hillebrecht, who used the severe war damage in Hanover to build a "car-friendly city" that would become an example for other cities at that time (spiegel.de.1959:www)

You can see in the image what the Kröpcke station looked like in the 60s, where despite having pedestrian crossings, there was a significant amount of car traffic.
Anyhow this scenario changed, when few years later, the kröpcke underground station was constructed leaving more free spaces for pedestrians on the surface, let's hear what Jonas Lamberg has to say about it - Interview with Jonas Lamberg -
Sustainable Sokrates also asked him about his point of view when comparing the pedestrian zones in Germany with other European countries, let's hear his thoughts about it - Interview with Jonas Lamberg -

Well, over the past 60 years, the world has changed and so have urban environments. With climate change worsening, the concept of sustainable cities has become increasingly popular, betting that cities that can develop more sustainably have a better chance of adapting to climate change.

Therefore significantly fewer cars, more space for people, more greenery and a higher quality of life are the guiding ideas adopted in the Hanover City Center Strategy 2035 (hannover.de.2023:.www)


spiegel.de.1959. https://www.spiegel.de/politik/das-wunder-von-hannover-a-b95ea3e9-0002-0001-0000-000042625552. Last visited 17.06.2023

hannover.de.2023.https://www.hannover.de/Service/Presse-Medien/Landeshauptstadt-Hannover/Meldungsarchiv-f%C3%BCr-das-Jahr-2022/Rat-Hannover-bringt-Innen%C2%ADstadt%C2%ADkonzept-auf-den-Weg. Last visited 20.06.2023

Images 1 and 2: Copywrite 2020 - Madsack Medienagentur GmbH & Co. KG.

Images 3 and 4, videos and audio: Own authorship

Fairkauf: Exploring Hannover's Sustainable Retail Scene

Limburgstraße 1, 30159 Hannover, DE

Now we arrived at the Fairkauf, which is a store of various second-hand products that has seven branches spread around Hanover and its region, before going into more detail about this store, let us to point out that second-hand stores and flea markets are a tradition in Hanover, in fact the city has the oldest flea market in Germany (fleamapket.com.nd:.www), which you will have the opportunity to visit and hear a little more about it when you arrive at station number 12.

That said, let's continue with this station. the fairKauf is a non-profit cooperative, which uses part of the profits from sales to qualify long-time unemployed people for a job in retail (fairkauf-hannover.de.nd:.www) you might be wondering how they do it?
Well, fairKauf accepts donations of good used products and sells them at low prices, in addition they offer professional qualification for retail. By offering training, job opportunities and subsidized jobs in retail and the commercial sector.

People who take part in the fairKauf qualification offers, receive vocational and socio-educational support. The average unemployment in Hanover for the year 2022 was 7.1% according to Statista data (statista.com.2023:.www), initiatives like this demonstrate proactivity in contributing to getting more people back into the labor market.


fleamapket.com.ND.https://www.fleamapket.com/listing/altstadt-flohmarkt-am-hohen-ufer/. Last visited 22.06.2023

fairkauf-hannover.nd https://fairkauf-hannover.de/. Last visited 22.06.2023

statista.com.2023.https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1199173/umfrage/arbeitslosenquote-region-hannover/. Last visited. 22.06.2023

Images and audio: Own authorship

Sustainable Stories: Unveiling the Secrets of Hannover's Old Town

Hanns-Lilje-Platz 2, 30159 Hannover, DE

Now we have arrived at the old town station, in front of you there is the Marktkirche, as the name suggests, means "church in the marketplace".

This church was Built on the 14th century and is Hanover's main Lutheran church (en.wikipedia.org.2023:.www). As a matter of fact, Hanover grew up around it and at the same time a market was established immediately close to the church, which continues to exist today as a farmers' market and opens every Thursday (hannover.de.2022:.www).
As you may have noticed, the Market Church is surrounded by bars and restaurants, forming a dining area full of beauty and historical buildings.

During the Christmas season, this area comes even more alive, becoming one of the main stations for Christmas markets. Sustainable socrates finds interesting that a place like this, with its history, can have a mixed use.
Giving place not only to local history, but also using it as an opportunity to do business, bringing life to the innercity, creating jobs and fostering the local economy, which certainly can be seen as a sustainable practice.


en.wikipedia.org.2023.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marktkirche,_Hanover.Last visited 23.06.2023.

hannover.de.2022.https://www.hannover.de/Veranstaltungskalender/M%C3%A4rkte/Wochenm%C3%A4rkte-in-der-Stadt-Hannover/Bauernmarkt-an-der-Marktkirche. Last visited 23.06.2023


Ballhofplatz 5-7, 30159 Hannover, DE

From the Market church, the tour continues through the old town. On the way you will see many half-timbered houses until you arrive at Ballhofplatz. Sustainable Socrates explains: once, Hannover had a large historic old town center with half-timbered houses and narrow streets, some of which dated back to the Middle Ages. However, because of the destruction in World War II, only around forty buildings remained of the historical old town. In the late 1950s, the decision was made to dismantle the remaining scattered half-timbered houses throughout the city and to relocate them to the old town. This created an old town quarter around the Market Church and the Old Town Hall, which serves as a historical island (VISIT-HANNOVERa n.d.: www). Life quickly returned to the old heart of the city. Shops, pubs, and cafés opened, and a modern residential area emerged around the Cross Church. In the 1970s the old town became a catalyst for innovation. The first street festivals and neighborhood celebrations were held here (FORUM ALTSTADT n.d.:www). Nowadays the life in the old town can serve as a model for new urbanity: the immediate proximity of work, housing, and culture could be an example for a contemporary mix of uses. The city of Hannover aims to overcome the separation between the old town and the city center, reduce car traffic to a necessary minimum, and create space for functional and design qualities. The goal is to achieve new mixtures in business occupancy and cultural offerings, bring more life to streets and squares, and create an attractive historic center (VISIT-HANNOVERb n.d.: www). Hannover's efforts to revitalize its old town while embracing modern concepts of sustainability demonstrate a commitment to preserving the past while embracing a more sustainable future.

Forum Altstadt, n.d.: https://www.altstadt hannover.de/geschichte#:~:text=Neue%20Weichen%20stellte%20Herzog%20Georg,“%20Hannover%20die%20„Altstadt“!

VISIT-HANNOVERa, n.d.: https://www.visit-hannover.com/Sehenswürdigkeiten-Stadttouren/Sehenswürdigkeiten/Altstadt/Altstadt

VISIT-HANNOVERb, n.d.: https://www.hannover.de/Leben-in-der-Region-Hannover/Politik/Bürgerbeteiligung-Engagement/Innenstadtdialog-Hannover/Innenstadtprojekte/Von-der-hannoverschen-Altstadt-lernen

Videos and Pictures: own illustration

Open book shelves

Schmiedestraße 4, 30159 Hannover, DE

Next to the Market church there is another special feature that Sustainable Socrates wants to show you: The open book shelf. There are more than 30 bookshelves in various places in the city of Hanover. The concept emerged from an initiative by a city councilor in 2004 and is very simple: the open book shelf is open to everyone and accessible around the clock. Anyone who wants to read a book can take it out and either return it after some time or keep it and put another book in the bookshelf instead. A patron checks the book shelf for damage caused by vandalism and weathering. By sharing the books, they do not have to be bought new, which is resource-saving and sustainable.

Hannover.de, n.d.: Offene Bücherschränke. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.hannover.de/Kultur-Freizeit/Freizeit-Sport/Freizeiteinrichtungen/Stadtteilkultur/Offener-Bücherschrank

Picture: Google Maps

Leinewelle and flea market

Burgstraße 14A, 30159 Hannover, DE

You are now at the edge of the old town, which is recognisable by the old town wall. You can find the Leinewelle by looking over the railing. The Leinewelle is one of the first semi-natural river waves in Germany. A hydraulically controllable system creates a surfable wave. The Leinewelle was developed by the Leinewelle e.V. association on a voluntary basis. It was financed by Hanoverian companies, including enercity. (LEINEWELLE E.V. n.d.:www) . But this wave is not the only thing to be discovered here, says Sustainable Socrates. A flea market has been held here every Saturday for over 50 years. It is located in the street "Am Hohen Ufer" between Schlossstraße and Goethestraße. No new or mass-produced goods are offered at the flea market. Instead, you can find art, jewelry, comics, records, CDs, toys and tools. (RL NS, n.d.:www) But if today is not Saturday, it doesn't matter, because there is still something to see here and you don't have too look far…


Enercity, n.d.: Leinewelle. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.enercity-leinewelle.de

Reiseland Niedersachsen, n.d.: Altstadt-Flohmarkt. Last visited 18.06.23, https://www.reiseland-niedersachsen.de/aeltester-flohmarkt-in-hannovers-altstadt

Videos and Pictures: own illustration


Am Hohen Ufer 3, 30159 Hannover, DE

The colourful Nanas catch the eye of every visitor who lets their gaze wander from Hanover's historic city wall over the Leinewelle. The Nanas are an art installation consisting of three larger-than-life, colourful sculptures of female figures. The three are named Sophie, Charlotte and Caroline, representing the namesakes of the Electress Sophie, Charlotte Buff and Caroline Herschel. They were first designed by artist Niki de Saint Phalle in the 1960s and became an iconic symbol of the feminist art movement. With the Nanas, the artist wanted to question traditional ideals of beauty and convey a positive image of women as well as feminist ideas and emancipation. The Nanas in Hanover were erected as part of Expo 2000, the world exhibition in Hanover. The sculptures were initially a thorn in the side of many citizens. The protest was followed by an intensive discussion about art in public spaces - with a happy outcome: the Nanas have become a popular destination and an important cultural symbol of the city. They stand for the city's openness and tolerance towards art and how it can enrich and inspire the environment. Niki de Saint Phalle has left an impressive legacy in Hannover with her Nanas and has left a lasting mark on the city with her art (VISIT-HANNOVER: www)
Thank you for taking the time to do this audio tour. We hope you have gotten a good impression of sustainable aspects in Hannover.

Further interesting information:

Visit-Hannover, n.d.: Nanas. https://www.visit-hannover.com/Sehenswürdigkeiten-Stadttouren/Sehenswürdigkeiten/Nanas/Nanas

Videos and Pictures: own illustration