Heilbronn: A Green City with an Active University Community

Heilbronn is located close to some better known cities such as Heidelberg and Stuttgart. The Sontheim campus, about two kilometres away from the centre of town, is relatively new and well-equipped. There you will find everything a student needs in their free time – a flea market, restaurants, parties and captivating lectures.

by Sophie Nagel

Götz Tower © Nagel/DAAD
Götz Tower . © Nagel/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
162 € - 363 €
Take a walk down Dammstrasse and see stones with sayings engraved on them!

Welcome to Heilbronn

Heilbronn is situated about 50 kilometres north of Stuttgart on the Neckar River. The region is often called the “Unterland” as it is lies in a valley surrounded by rolling hills. Heilbronn is a winemaking city, which you will recognise by the expansive vineyards outside of town. It’s also called the “Käthchen City”, named after the main character in the play “Das Käthchen von Heilbronn" by Heinrich von Kleist. In fact, you’ll even find the "Käthchen House", at the marketplace downtown – the oldest building in Heilbronn.

Käthchen House © Nagel/DAAD
Käthchen House . © Nagel/DAAD

There are a number of other sites downtown worth seeing, such as the city hall, St. Kilian’s Church in Kaiserstrasse, and numerous sculptures and artistic fountains in streets and corners all over town. For example, atop the Götz Tower, formally part of the city’s fortifications of 1392, you’ll discover a figure hanging “Over the Abyss” 30 metres above street level.

The Pottery Market Tower in Sülmerstrasse has become symbol of the resurrection of the city after its destruction in an aerial bombardment on 4 December 1944. Five different German folksongs are played there every day shortly before 11 am and around 7:20 pm (the exact minute when the city was bombed).

Many industrial companies have set up operations in and around the region of Heilbronn due to its well-developed infrastructure with the nearby autobahn, harbour and extensive industrial and dock-railway system. In addition to several logistics companies, Heilbronn is home to suppliers to the automobile industrial, tool and mechanical engineering firms, trading companies and even salt-mining operations.

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Living in Heilbronn

Heilbronn has everything a student needs. Thanks to its proximity to Stuttgart and Heidelberg, you have good chances of finding internships. The modern "RobertA_Flat student residence hall" is located in the popular district of Sontheim only two kilometres away from downtown and offers a low-priced alternative to renting a private flat. And being so close to the university, you will find it easier to take part in campus life and come in contact with other students faster, which is very important at the beginning of your studies.

My tip

If you take a walk down Dammstrasse, you’ll stumble across numerous stones with sayings or “food for thought” engraved on them. For example, one reads: “He, who cannot show gratitude, cannot love either.” (Jeremias Gotthelf) Which one is your favourite?

AStA organises a big party once every semester. AStA is a student organisation which helps students with problems and provides information about the university sport programme. In addition to traditional sports, you can also sign up to train for a marathon or take part in a running meet-up on a regular basis. There are also several fitness studios and a swimming pool in town. You can take advantage of concession rates at these and other institutions in town.

Kneipp station at Wertwiesenpark © Nagel/DAAD
Kneipp station at Wertwiesenpark . © Nagel/DAAD

On the university’s website, you can find information about numerous student events, such as the “Students Tour", the "Spring Break Party“ at the club Laube and the "Summer Jam“ im Green Door. Of course, we recommend checking out all of the activities offered on Sontheim campus. For example, Wednesday is “party day” on campus and there are always parties going on at the weekends. If you like electronic music, you should pay a visit to Bukowski.

For moments of deeper reflexion, you might be interested in the university faith group. In addition to regular “Evenings of Silence”, they also hold workshops, film nights and info events with the director of the Alien Registration Office. Are you interested in performing music? The university band meets once a week for rehearsals. There are many other student groups which specialise in everything from business consulting to radio.

On a day when you have no classes, you can take an excursion to the Wartberg Tower, situated on a hill called the Wartberg in the direction of Weinsberg. The tower offers visitors a wonderful view of Heilbronn, Neckarsulm and Hohenlohe in the distance. The Wertwiesenpark is located halfway between Heilbronn and Sontheim where you’ll find Kneipp stations, ponds, barbecue areas, lawns for sunbathers and gardens.

Hungry students usually converge at the student dining hall or grab a sandwich at the Clocks Bar. In the summer, Lehner‘s beer garden is a popular place to enjoy a cold beverage along the Neckar River. In fact, the surrounding area is a nice place to take walks when the weather allows. On hot afternoons, we recommend enjoying a big ice-cream sundae at GelatOne in Sülmer City – very yummy!

Interview with  Elza from Latvia

Elza Cīrule is 22 years old and is studying Tourism Management for one semester at the University of Applied Sciences in Heilbronn.

Elza from Latvia © Nagel/DAAD
Elza from Latvia . © Nagel/DAAD

Why did you decide to study in Heilbronn?

I chose Germany because I wanted to study German. I had already lived in Germany for a time, and so I was familiar with life here. I chose Heilbronn because I liked the degree programme the best.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

I tried to improve my German by watching more German TV and reading some books. Of course, I also looked for accommodation, booked my flight and read up on Heilbronn and the surrounding region on the Internet. That’s how I was able to find out before leaving home where the city hall was, where I had to register and whether there was a supermarket near my residence hall.

What surprised you about life in Germany?

I found it strange that all the stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. In Latvia, those are the best shopping days. But now I’m used to it and I make a shopping list on Saturday with enough food to get me through Sunday too. I also discovered a bakery near my residence hall which is open on Sundays.

The Neckar © Nagel/DAAD
The Neckar . © Nagel/DAAD

What do you like best about Heilbronn?

Heilbronn is a green city. There are a lot of parks where I like taking walks. I especially like the Wertwiesenpark on the Neckar.

What’s the best way to make contact with other students?

You just have to make small talk between lectures. A good way of getting to know other people is by joining a study group, because you and your fellow students will have a common goal and have to work a lot together. Joint excursions also bring students closer together.

Describe Germany in one (two or three) word(s)…

Reliability and security!

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