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Bingen: The Pearl on the Rhine

In Bingen you feel you’re on vacation every day. The picturesque town is situated on the Rhine, surrounded by forests, hillside vineyards and the Rheingau Mountains. Bingen is one of the most beautiful places to study in the Middle Rhine region where you can still benefit from the infrastructure of larger cities nearby, such as Mainz, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main.

by Janine Funke and Charleen Florijn

When looking at the Rhine and the vineyards near Bingen, students can relax. © Esther & Heiko Brendel
View of the Rhine and its vineyards . © Esther & Heiko Brendel

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
23,812
Students:
2,641
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
302 €
Tip:
A boat trip on the Rhine to get to know Bingen from the water.
Website:
www.bingen.de

Welcome to Bingen

Regardless of whether you come by train from the north or the south, the views will blow you away! The Rhine River winds its way through the picturesque landscapes with lush vineyards rising up on both sides. It is no wonder that the upper Middle Rhine Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After passing the town’s best-known landmark, the Bingen Mäuseturm (Mouse Tower), you will enter the main train station which is also situated directly on the Rhine.

View from Bingen city center to Klopp Castle, a popular destination for students as well. © Esther u. Heiko Brendel
View of Klopp Castle from downtown . © Esther u. Heiko Brendel

Right next to the train station, you can take the Rhine promenade all the way to the old part of town (Altstadt) with its many historical buildings. When you arrive in the Altstadt, you’ll find numerous cafés, bars and restaurants where you can rest and find something to eat before continuing your tour. Klopp Castle, another important landmark of Bingen, is located outside the Altstadt. If you’re willing to take the arduous climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded by a fantastic view of the town and its surroundings. Not only is the castle a popular tourist attraction, but it’s also where the mayor of Bingen goes to work every morning.

With just over 25,000 inhabitants, Bingen is also a popular vacation spot. Many visitors come to Bingen to see where Saint Hildegard von Bingen spent much of her life. Her legacy continues to strongly influence the region to this day. Not only did she write books on medicine and religion, but she also actively composed music. You can learn more about the life and work of Hildegard von Bingen at the Museum am Strom.

The harbor promenade in Bingen, there are often many students on the walk. © Esther u. Heiko Brendel
Harbour promenade . © Esther u. Heiko Brendel

Living in Bingen

The best way to get around Bingen is on foot or by bike. There are some places, however, you can only reach if you’re willing to climb hills. But the effort definitely pays off! In the summer, practically every little village in the vicinity holds its own winemaking festival. At these events you have the chance to become acquainted with the local customs and try out the wines produced in the region.

My advice

The Rhine isn’t just a great place to enjoy water sports. For centuries it has served as one of the most important trade routes in Europe and is largely responsible for putting Bingen “on the map”. You should definitely explore the Rhine region by water, for example, by booking a Lorelei cruise.

Bingen offers countless opportunities to play sports and stay fit during your studies. The Rhine is the ideal location for numerous water sports; Bingen has its own rowing and water sports club. If you get tired of gazing at vineyards, you can travel to one of the big cities in the region in no time flat. There is a direct train connection to Mainz, Wiesbaden and the metropolitan city of Frankfurt am Main and the Frankfurt airport.

In contrast to these neighbouring cities, the rental prices in Bingen are quite reasonable. The best thing to do is contact the Studentenwerk as soon as possible to apply for a room at the student hall of residence. The residence hall is only a few minutes away from downtown, but you can also hang out with friends at the in-house bar “Spektakel”. Or you can take an evening walk along the Rhine promenade which takes you across the medieval Drusus Bridge.

Interview with Conny Goetz from Luxembourg

Conny Goetz is from Luxembourg and 20 years old.  A student of environmental protection at Technische Hochschule Bingen, she has been in Germany since August 2018 and is now enrolled in her first semester at university.  

Girl smiles into the camera © privat
Conny Goetz . © privat

Conny, why did you choose Bingen?

One reason was that my vocational school in Luxembourg recommended the university in Bingen to me because many students had had positive experiences there.

The second reason was that my boyfriend had already moved to Bingen a year earlier. So I came to visit him, and the first thing I saw were the vineyards. I was immediately in love.

What is your favourite place in Bingen?

My favourite place in Bingen is the Rochusberg. To get to the top of the mountain you have to hike 40 minutes up a zig-zag path. But once you’re up there you have a beautiful view and are surrounded by nature. 

Describe Bingen in three words?

Friendly, wine and nature. 

What do you particularly like about Germany?

Driving in Germany is a pleasure! Everyone is so nice, drivers always let pedestrians cross the road. When I’m in my car here I never get angry. And everyone here is also generally very friendly. If I approach people on the street and ask them for directions they are always happy to help. It’s not like that back home.

What did you think of Germany before you came here?

I thought that Germans are sticklers for rules and really fussy about paperwork. When I came to Bingen that turned out to be true. I had to provide a statement from my landlord to the municipal authority, but he had forgotten to fill in a date. That turned out to be a problem and I had to submit the statement again. That was the first time I encountered German bureaucracy. 

Did you have difficulties in the beginning? 

In my case everything went surprisingly smoothly. I was even lucky when looking for accommodation. I left a note on the door of a residential building where some of my friends were already living, and the very same evening the landlord contacted me and offered me a vacant flat. It was a complete coincidence, I hadn’t expected it to be so easy.

 What surprised you?

The German breakfast culture! Bakeries sell so many different kinds of bread rolls, that’s not something we have at home. I had also never seen bread rolls with a cheese crust before. Breakfast is special here, it’s celebrated. After just a few months of living here I’ve started going to the bakery every Sunday to buy fresh rolls. 

What do you do on weekends?

I like to explore the surrounding area. You can drive from Bingen to Andernach or Bad Kreuznach in less than an hour. Those are really beautiful places, I feel like I’m on holiday when I’m there. I also like to go hiking or for a walk along the Rhine. If you like nature, Bingen is the perfect place for you. 

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