No. 7-9 HAG House/House of the Seven Lazy Brothers
No. 7-9 HAG House/House of the Seven Lazy Brothers
With its traditional forms and materials, the row of houses strung out on the western side strongly defines Böttcherstrasse. The two architects Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland created their magnum opus in Böttcherstrasse with this complex of buildings for use as shops, eateries and function rooms.
named after the heroes of a Bremen legend
Construction period: 1923 to 1926, attic destroyed in 1944, rebuilt until 1954
Architects: Alfred Runge and Eduard Scotland
Use: Shops on the first floor, event and museum rooms on the upper floor


Having purchased No. 6 (Roselius House) and redeveloped the adjacent two gabled houses into No. 4 – Bremen-Amerika-Bank (now Glockenspiel House) – it was Roselius’ plan to erect a completely new buildFundamental, on both buildings: Kirsten Leuenroth: Das HAG-Haus und das Haus St. Petrus, in: Hans Tallasch (ed.): Projekt Böttcherstrasse, Delmenhorst 2002, p. 119-145 on the right-hand side from the point of view of the market square. The concept of Böttcherstrasse as a ‘town within the town’ for tourists visiting Bremen took shape with this project (Fig. 2). Roselius realised right away that a tourist attraction needed excellent places to dine. The plan was for the building to provide space for shops, eateries and function rooms. Ludwig Roselius acquired a 60-year lease from the city on a total of nine properties – all very different in terms of size and layout – in 1923. The properties were small, in some cases run-down craftsmen’s houses, and some sites were already vacant. The planning process began in 1922 and the date of completion of 1926 is writtenThe genesis of planning was much more complicated than described here. See Leuenroth ibid. in relation to this. on the corbels of the dormer at Glockenspiel Square (Fig. 3).

  • to erect a completely new buildFundamental, on both buildings: Kirsten Leuenroth: Das HAG-Haus und das Haus St. Petrus, in: Hans Tallasch (ed.): Projekt Böttcherstrasse, Delmenhorst 2002, p. 119-145
  • is writtenThe genesis of planning was much more complicated than described here. See Leuenroth ibid. in relation to this.
Fig. 5: St Petrus House facing SW 1936-44
Runge & Scotland often used the stepped gable, which is reminiscent of mediaeval Hanseatic merchants’ houses.
Stickelmann (Photo)


Ludwig Roselius set Runge and Scotland a challenge in commissioning them with the new build. They had to fit the desired large, prestigious function rooms within the narrow confines of the site but also keep the varied character that the small houses had evolved over time. Still, the complex had to be seen as a unified whole and as contemporary, not an exact copy of what stood there before.

The architects came up with a brilliant solution. They divided the elongated building very cleverly: the narrow street at the front was widened with arcades to create space for pedestrians. Looking down the street from the market square, you see a slight curve at the arcades (Fig. 4). This makes the street appear longer than it actually is. At the same time, the regularity of the arcades unifies the construction, which is divided at first floor level and at roof level into a varied landscape. The stepped gable (Fig. 5) is a repeating theme, which is reminiscent of the gabled houses in old Hanseatic streets. Also, Runge & Scotland’s use of large medieval bricks laid in traditional cross bond is a nod to North German architecture.

HAG House

The northern section at the market square end with its arcades and large shop windows was called HAG House after the coffee to which the street ultimately owes its development. It is number 7–9. Runge and Scotland clad the two-storey building on the side facing Hinter dem Schütting with a façade (Fig. 6) that with its expansiveness and its large gable of only three steps creates an impression of great scale in the narrow street. This sense of the monumental is heightened by seven oversized, male statues, some holding spades and some with their hands on their hips, looking like they’re about to set to work (Fig. 7). They represent the ‘Seven Lazy Brothers’ from an old Bremen legend and were created by Münster sculptor Aloys Röhr.Aloys Röhr (1887-1953) Mainly Münster-based sculptor. Roselius admired their inventiveness and pioneering spirit and that is why he erected a memorial to them in Böttcherstrasse. There are further sculptural works on the window and door frames of HAG House (Fig. 8). Bremen sculptor Engelhard TölkenEngelhard Tölken (1882-1928) produced the small, allegorical figures in the style of burred lines typical of the time.


A pioneer in the field of advertising, Ludwig Roselius also used Böttcherstrasse to advertise his product, not just indirectly as a patron of the arts, but also directly. Roselius had Runge & Scotland install a ‘propaganda room’ at the corner facing the market square: the most prominent part of HAG House (Fig. 9): it was here that, in eye-catching black and white, a demonstration of the origin and production of decaffeinated coffee was put on for visitors, with a model of the innovative HAG factory in the Holzhafen area of Bremen at the centre. HAG used this prominent location to advertise its products until as recently as 1979 (Fig. 10). An extensive range of souvenirs and articles from Bremen are sold here today. Right next door, visitors could sample decaffeinated coffee in the coffee tasting room decorated with old Delft tiles (Fig. 11). This shop is the only one that has retained its original appearance to this day. Nowadays, it sells tea instead of coffee. A passage led to a retail outlet for the Deutscher Werkbund (German association of artists, architects, designers and industrialists), which Roselius actively supported. At the beginning of the 1930s, it was home to the tourist information office, a forerunner of today’s tourism centre (Fig. 12). Bremen poet and designer Rudolf Alexander Schröder fitted out the next premises for renowned export bookseller G.A. von Halem[i] (Fig. 13). It continued to operate as a bookshop after the war until 1996, partly in leasehold, partly as a unit of Böttcherstrasse GmbH. The company name was not deregistered until 2019. The elongated premises were divided up and are still used for retail.

Das schmale Grundstück des HAG-Hauses durfte im südlichen Teil nur eingeschossig errichtet werden. Das Obergeschoss bauten Runge & Scotland zu einem einzigen großen Saal aus, den Ludwig Roselius für seine Sammlung VäterkundeWeitere Informationen zu dieser Sammlung im Artikel Der gebaute Mythos von Bernd Küster nutzte (Abb. 14). Mit offenem Dachstuhl und niedrigem Wandsockel wirkte der Raum wie die Diele eines niedersächsischen Bauernhauses. Im Krieg zerstört, wurde er für den Saalbetrieb der Gastronomie vereinfacht wiederaufgebaut (Abb. 15) und mit dem Einzug der Bremer Spielbank in die gesamte obere Etage des HAG-Hauses und Haus St. Petrus 1981 nach deren Bedürfnissen weiter stark verändert. Seit 2010 ist er zurückgebaut an das benachbarte Hotel vermietet (Abb. 16).

Der Saal über dem Propaganda-Raum hat eine sehr wechselvolle Nutzungsgeschichte. Fläche und Raumhöhe ließen eine Nutzung als Ausstellungsraum zu. Er war aber 1926 zunächst als Verkaufsraum für niederdeutsches Kunsthandwerk vorgesehen. Mit der räumlichen Verbindung über eine Brücke konnte er ab 1927 an das Paula-Becker-Modersohn-Haus als Ausstellungsraum angeschlossen werden. Als einer der wenigen im Krieg nicht zerstörten Räume, diente er in der ersten Nachkriegszeit wieder als ‚Kunsthandwerk-Musterlager‘ den jetzt verstärkten Ambitionen der Böttcherstraße als Ort des Einzelhandels. Mit dem Abschluss des Wiederaufbaus des Paula-Becker-Modersohn-Hauses 1954 wurde er wieder zu einem Ausstellungsraum, bis 1979 als sogenannte ‚Permanente‘ für permanent wechselnde Verkaufsausstellungen aktueller Künstler. Von 1981 – 2010 als Nebenraum Teil Bremer Spielbank, wird dieser Raum seitdem wieder vom Museum genutzt. Neben die Bezeichnung HAG-Haus trat schon vor dem Krieg der Name ‚Haus der Sieben Faulen‘. Nach dem Verkauf der HAG 1979 war auch der Name HAG-Haus nicht mehr gebräuchlich.