Bremerhaven is the second largest port in Germany after Hamburg in terms of tonnage handled, the largest German container port, and the largest German fishing port. The port was constructed from 1827 some 31 miles downstream from the port of Bremen lying higher up the Weser estuary. Bremen is an ancient town that joined the Hanseatic League in 1358, and with Bremerhaven constitutes a separate town state. The Marktplatz in Bremen has the Rathaus (Town Hall) with a late Renaissance façade constructed between 1405 and 1410, as well as Bremen Cathedral. A 32 foot statue of the knight Roland dated 1405 stands in front of the Rathaus. As the port of Bremen gradually silted up, shipping moved down the estuary to the new deep water port of Bremerhaven. Bremen petitioned the King of Hanover to acquire the land between the Geeste and Weser rivers to found Bremerhaven in 1827.
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