Way to Bristol

We won't let Europe be taken out of our hands so easily, Brexit or not:


I am homesick for the Europe that I was able to get to know personally. However, not in the condition in which my grandparents experienced it. But after Europe as a community. For me, Europe and democracy are like a garden: you have to go out every day to work on it and protect it. Otherwise it will simply disappear at some point.

England helped create Lower Saxony after the Second World War.

And many things that are simply part of it today, such as HANNOVER MESSE, the world's largest industrial trade fair, marketplace for the world and an important identity factor for Hanover.

England established the free press here, as we still value it today, in the form of the first German weekly news magazine. Here in Hanover, just two blocks away from my HANNOVER GIN distillery on Weidendamm, the “Spiegel” and a short time later the “Stern” were born in the Anzeiger high-rise. Not in the Russian sector in Berlin, not in the French sector in Saarland and not in the American sector in Munich. Here in Hanover. It's all about this.

Bristol and Hanover – twin cities since 1947!

Shortly after the war, the British from Bristol approached us to overcome the hostility of the war and to make friends with us. This connection still exists today.


Hanover-Bristol twin town partnership

For international friendship and understanding

Finding common ground and supporting each other – that has been the goal of the twinning between Bristol and Hanover for over 70 years, one of the first Anglo-German partnerships after the Second World War. To this day there is a lively exchange through social and cultural activities, through joint media projects and, last but not least, through youth encounters and citizen trips by the Bristol Hannover Council and the Hannover-Bristol-Gesellschaft eV

(Photo: Hannover-Bristol-Ges.eV)



We are embarking on a long journey to experience the British Connection and to bring it to life!

It begins with the ship's naming ceremony on October 16, 2021 - our year-long journey from Hanover to our British sister city , on our traditional open wooden ship HANNOVER Spirit of Lower Saxony.

We set off in the old school way - 12 men and women. With a heavy 190 liter barrel of HANNVOER GIN BRITISH CONNECTION, from Hanover via German waters and the rough sea route to England. This is how Hanover becomes a Hanseatic city again!

We then continue overland, across northern England to Bristol , our sister city. To do this, we stand on the English country roads with the heavy gin barrel and hold up our large handwritten cardboard sign “HANNOVER–BRISTOL”. Because we want to hitchhike, just like we used to in the 80s.
We want to maintain the town partnership; we are concerned with maintaining our community. So that today, alongside the important historical links between our nations, we also build bridges within the new generation of people on both sides of the Channel who might not normally be so interested in it. We do this so that these connections do not disappear and are forgotten.

History can be experienced and approached.

Again and again we will come across clues along the way that connect England with our homeland. We get to know places and people that we would never have gotten to know without the trip. We want to talk to each other again.

And you can be there!

Just follow us on this page and you'll find out where we are and what we're experiencing! Talk to us if you would like to meet us on the way.

You can find out more about the campaign on our club's website at:

WAY TO BRISTOL – a non-profit trip.

The profits from the trip and the donations collected will go towards half of the German War Graves Commission and the other half was given over to the Invictus Games , a Paralympic sporting event for disabled soldiers. The trip is an open project; anyone can take part or donate money, whether as a private individual or as a company.



    Here you will find published information about our trip. You can also find further information about the campaign at: www.spirit-of-niedersachsen.com and on our Instagram channel .


    Hanover, September 16, 2021

    Announcement: ROYAL SHIP christening

    Of course, we can't set sail with our marine cutter - or put it on the line - without giving it its real name:

    HANNOVER Spirit of Lower Saxony

    On October 16, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. CET, Heinrich Prinz von Hannover , Royal Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, will christen our wooden ship in the heart of Hanover, on the leash at the Historical Museum .

    After the barrel of HANNOVER GIN BRITISH CONNECTION was hoisted onto the ship with the help of the TSV Victoria Hannover-Linden rugby team and secured there, the motto was: cast off, the journey begins - the “HANNOVER” sets off.

    The journey first takes you across the Leine across the city of Hanover, then from the Hanover region via Aller and Weser across Lower Saxony to the North Sea, and then sails from the coast to northern England.


    Hanover, September 15, 2021


    With the barrel through the hometown: From the HANNOVER GIN DISTILLE we will roll the heavy 190 liter oak barrel by hand across Hanover to the Leineschloss of the Guelphs.
    We look forward to anyone who would like to join us on the journey and support us part of the way with their muscle power! We will inform you about the time and route.
    We then fight our way through the Georgengarten to the Lower Saxony state parliament. We will finally embark there on the Leine opposite the Historical Museum, right in the heart of Hanover.

    And we have to lift the barrel of HANNOVER GIN BRITISH CONNECTION into our wooden cutter and secure it there. Who will help us with this strenuous maneuver? Only the strong players of the TSV Victoria Hannover-Linden rugby team can achieve something like this!

    But before that there is something else to do, because: Our cutter doesn't have a name yet!


    Wischhafen, September 14, 2021

    Acquisition: THE SHIP

    Of course, the only option for us to travel over water is a very traditional – completely analogue – wooden ship . That's why we procured an 8.50 meter long naval cutter made of oak and mahogany from Bremen, refurbished by the Hatecke shipyard , one of the oldest, fifth-generation wooden ship shipyards in Wischhafen, Lower Saxony.

    To move the cutter you can “pull” (row) or row it transform into a sailboat after erecting two masts. Before we reach the open North Sea on our journey and set sail, we will use muscle power and a diesel-powered auxiliary engine against the current on the inland waters.

    Naval cutters were already used in the Imperial Navy as combined training and transfer boats; they were used in sea rescue and as a means of transport from ship to ship or from ship to land. And: Both the Imperial Navy and the Kriegsmarine fought against the English with these boats . The origins of the Kiel Week are closely linked to naval cutters, as the first regattas were held with them.

    “On the cutter you will learn the fun of sailing, solid seamanship and navigation with spatial thinking without a lot of technology and frills. So the solid tools for later years. And above all, you get to know and appreciate life in a community in a small space.”


    “You can't argue about comfort on board the cutter - there is none, and yet the boat exudes a unique atmosphere that is enormously attractive. People live under the most important piece of equipment: the large living and harbor cover. You sleep either luxuriously on the floorboards or “on the upper deck” on the straps tied together over the thwarts.

    (Text + research: Ulrich Körner)

    There were identical training ships in the GDR navy, and the Federal Republic still uses naval cutters - made of glass fiber reinforced plastic - for training today. Since I was part of the German Navy for a short time in my life, I have a special relationship with seafaring...


    Hanover-Nordstadt, September 13, 2021

    Preparation: WHERE DO WE START?

    The plan for the start of the trip is: Our starting point will be at the old main freight station in Hanover, at Weidendamm 20. That's where you'll find ours HANNOVER GIN DISTILLE, probably the only 4-story distillery under the roof of a self-created rooftop garden in Germany .

    In addition to the aforementioned roof garden, we also created a vertical plantation on the facade of the distillery building. This means we can plant and harvest rare local and natural botanicals in the immediate vicinity of our production facility. In the middle of the city of Hanover. That makes me – Joerma Biernath, a passionate master gardener in the tradition of over 70 years of family botanical knowledge – now a “city farmer”.

    Our work with the natural plants that have been resettled on the brownfields of the urban “wasteland” increases biodiversity and helps to cool down urban districts that have become heated as a result of climate change. In doing so, we are tackling one of the problems that many cities in the world have.


    Wischhafen, September 2021

    Idea and decision: WE GO!

    We've had the idea for a long time - now we've decided:

    We're on our way! With the right vehicle in sight and the core crew hired, a rough schedule is drawn up and the route is determined.



    The whole trip can be found at: Spirit of Niedersachsen eV – We sail for European understanding (spirit-of-niedersachsen.com)