Deggendorf: Enchanting Bavarian town on the Danube River

The Lower Bavarian town of Deggendorf is often called the gateway to the “Bavarian Forest”. Located in an idyllic valley at the foot of the Bavarian mountains, Deggendorf is the perfect place to start exploring eastern Bavaria. And there are many cultural and culinary highlights waiting to be discovered there, as well.

by Bettina Ruhland

The Stadtplatz is the central meeting place in the city © Bettina Ruhland
The Stadtplatz is the central meeting place in the city . © Bettina Ruhland

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
350 €
A trip along the Danube River and a visit to a beer garden.

Welcome to Deggendorf

Legend has it that a “dumpling” once saved Deggendorf from its enemies. This might sound like a joke, but it’s no laughing matter to the locals when they tell the story of a mayor’s wife who threw a dumpling into the face of an enemy spy. He returned home to report that the people of Deggendorf had so much food they even used it throw at enemies, upon which they surrendered. For this reason, the Bavarian dumpling, a speciality made of potatoes or breadcrumbs, has a special meaning for Deggendorf. There’s even a monument honouring the famous “dumpling thrower” – a fountain in the historic quarter. And when you order a coffee, you often receive a small, sweet “Deggendorf dumpling” made of sponge cake on the side.

You can find a quiet place for coffee at the Stadtplatz, for example. The square is situated right in the centre of town and is a popular meeting place with its many beer gardens, ice cream parlours and cafés.

St. Peter and Paul’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre © Bettina Ruhland
St. Peter and Paul’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre . © Bettina Ruhland

Like all Bavarian towns, Deggendorf has its fair share of churches and monasteries. The best-known church in Deggendorf is the St. Peter and Paul’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its steeple is quite extraordinary. It was completed 400 years after the church was built and is regarded today as one of the most beautiful Baroque church steeples in southern Germany. A former Capuchin monastery where the friars of the Capuchin Franciscan Order had lived until 1802 was converted into a centre for culture, music and art in 1990. Today it goes by the name Kapuzinerstadl and is a great place to enjoy yet undiscovered bands, experience an “Irish Night” and see theatre performances.

Apart from its famous dumpling, the residents of Deggendorf have a second great love – the Danube River. For the second year in a row, the “Deggendorf Danube Festival” will take place along the banks of the Danube in summer 2017. This cultural festival is open to all generations and features live music, dancing, sports events and delicious food. But even during the rest of the year, the Danube is a popular place to take walks, go jogging or spend a beautiful summer evening with friends.

The restaurant “Zur Knödelwerferin” at Stadtplatz © Bettina Ruhland
The restaurant “Zur Knödelwerferin” at Stadtplatz . © Bettina Ruhland

Living in Deggendorf

If you decide to study in Deggendorf, you can quickly be outdoors in nature and take marvellous excursions. For those who like biking (or “radeln” as the Bavarians say), there are many bike paths in and around town. You don’t have to be a professional cyclist either; there are easier tours that are doable in a day. A hike along the “Böhmweg”, however, is a little more challenging for your condition and your feet. This hiking trail starts at the Stadtplatz in Deggendorf and ends about 52 km away in the town of Bayerisch Eisenstein on the border to the Czech Republic. You can break up the trip into shorter sections and take your time exploring the vast expanses of the Bavarian forest.

My advice

If you want to go on an excursion – either jogging or biking – head out toward Metten along the Danube River. And in the summer, go to a traditional Bavarian beer garden as often as you can. The restaurant “Zur Knödelwerferin” is the perfect place!

Most students kick off their evenings in Deggendorf at one of the many pubs and bars downtown. From there, you can go out dancing at a club. The most popular student discos are the “Kings Club” and the “Freudenhaus” on Michael-Fischer-Platz. If you’re looking for good coffee or cocktails, go to “C2 Coffee & Cocktails” (Oberer Stadtplatz 5). For an even cosier atmosphere, we recommend ordering a hearty Bavarian meal at a beer garden and a thirst-quenching “Radler” (mixed beverage with beer and Sprite).

Numerous festivities are held in Deggendorf throughout the year. A special event is the “Bavarian-Bohemian Cultural Week”. Bohemia was once a kingdom which now lies on the other side of the Bavarian border in the Czech Republic. Readings, concerts and exhibitions on Bavarian-Bohemian culture are staged all over town during that week, and restaurants and pubs serve up specialities that match. Every year in April, the town’s inhabitants meet in the festival tents at the Deggendorf Spring Festival on the festival grounds at Ackerloh. And at the end of November, residents ring in the Christmas season with a Christkindlmarkt. It’s a small Christmas market which hasn’t lost its traditional character and most of the visitors are locals. About 40 booths are set up at the Altes Rathaus (Old Townhall) where you can drink mulled wine, eat piping-hot waffles and warm your hands around an open fire.

Interview with Francis from Colombia

Francis Catherine Tenorio Rodriguez is 23 years old and studies Resource and Environmental Management (Environmental Engineering) at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT).

Francis from Colombia © Private
Francis from Colombia . © Private

Why did you decide to study in Deggendorf?

When I started my degree programme in my home country of Colombia, I knew I definitely wanted to do a semester abroad in English. My university told me that the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT) offered various degree programmes in English for international students and that you could also learn German there as a second foreign language. And what’s more, there are no tuition fees. I chose Deggendorf because it met all of my expectations with respect to the degree programme and structure. And also because it’s in Bavaria, the most beautiful state in Germany in my opinion, with its many festivals, like the Oktoberfest in Munich.

How did you prepare for your studies abroad? Was it hard for you to leave home?

I got all the information through the Internet ahead of time, for example, about semester fees, the admission requirements, accommodation and student life. I even contacted several international students and got a lot of information from them about their experiences abroad. The support I got from the staff at the International Office was fantastic. They quickly answered my questions and gave me advice on how to speed up the visa process. Leaving home wasn’t too hard. My parents knew I wanted to study abroad so that I could have this great experience. They were always very supportive and helped me out financially.

Have Deggendorf and Bavaria met your expectations? Were there any surprises? If so, what were they?

I had imagined that most people in Deggendorf would speak High German. But the inhabitants who I’ve met speak “Bayrisch” (the Bavarian dialect). It was difficult making conversation at first because I had learned High German at university and not dialect.

Was it hard for you to get situated in Germany (because of the language, looking for an apartment, etc.)? What was the hardest thing for you?

It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy either. I find the language fascinating for its complexity. The academic system is also very different than at my home university because at home we have to take three exams instead of just one for each subject. I’m not used to the weather either, and winter is a new experience for me. Finding an apartment was very easy because the staff at the DIT helped me.

Danube River with Strandbar  © Bettina Ruhland
Danube River with Strandbar . © Bettina Ruhland

What do you like best about Deggendorf? Is there a place here that you especially like?

Deggendorf is small enough that you can bike everywhere. In that sense, I can combine my studies, additional work, a job and leisure. I love taking walks along the Danube and going to the “Strandbar” (beach bar). I also like being so close to the Bavarian Forest which is the perfect place to go hiking.

Please complete the sentence: “For me, studying in Germany is...”

…both a challenge and chance. I have to work hard, but once I’ve finished my studies, it will be easier to find a job in Europe.

Describe Germany in three words

Multicultural, engineering skill, technical progress

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