Germany's smallest city-state, Bremen, is also Germany's oldest and second-largest port (only Hamburg is larger). Together with Hamburg and Lübeck, Bremen was an early member of the merchant-run Hanseatic League, and its rivalry with the larger port on the Elbe River is still tangible. Though Hamburg may still claim its title as Germany's "gateway to the world," Bremen likes to boast, "But we have the key." Bremen's symbol
is, in fact, a golden key, which you will see displayed on flags and signs throughout the city.