Iserlohn: University life in Green

Iserlohn is located in the rural region of Sauerland near the Ruhr conurbation. Surrounded by woods and nature, this green city is home to two universities and offers lots of room for relaxation. And in the summer, you can certainly enjoy yourself in Iserlohn’s charming historic city centre.

by Lisa Tüch

Seiler Lake © Tüch/DAAD
Seiler Lake . © Tüch/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
333 €
Learn how a "Dechen Cave" forms in the Cave Museum!

Welcome to Iserlohn

The geese and their goslings waddle along the shore of the Seiler Lake in Iserlohn. They don’t appear to be bothered by the human visitors who come to enjoy the nature. That’s one side of Iserlohn – surrounded by woods, it’s a quiet, green town, ideal for getting some rest and relaxation. The two universities in Iserlohn are also situated in the green countryside. The campus of the University of Applied Sciences South Westphalia is situated in a parklike landscape. And the campus of the private university BiTS (Business and Information Technology School) is located right on the lake.

But only a few hundred metres away, it can get quite loud – especially when the enthusiastic Iserlohn fans root for their ice-hockey team, the "Iserlohn Roosters". Iserlohn offers you and its approximately 95,000 inhabitants a wonderful mix of big-city attractions and pristine nature.

University of Applied Sciences © Tüch/DAAD
University of Applied Sciences . © Tüch/DAAD

Iserlohn lies between the Ruhr region conurbation and the rather rural Sauerland region in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Hometown pride is not only evident at those ice-hockey games when the Roosters play, but also every day at 6 pm. That’s when you’ll hear the “Westphalia Song” from the bell tower located on the plaza at the end of Unnaer Strasse.

Iserlohn has a cosmopolitan flair – you’ll definitely be welcomed with open arms. You can also take a quick train trip to other multicultural cities in the Rhine-Ruhr region. The international character of Iserlohn is evident in the fact that BiTS established a branch campus here; its two other campuses are situated in the major cities of Berlin and Hamburg. The students of the “entrepreneurial university” regularly organise the "Campus Symposium", an international economics conference which invites well-known speakers from around the world – a great opportunity to make professional contacts. In the past, internationally renowned figures have spoken at the event including Kofi Anan and Al Gore.

Stadium of the Iserlohn Roosters © Tüch/DAAD
Stadium of the Iserlohn Roosters . © Tüch/DAAD

Iserlohn’s economy is primarily supported by the service sector and the metal-working industry. Other leading corporations in the pharmaceutical industry and waste-management sector have set up operations here as well.

You can learn more about the region’s manufacturing and industrial past at the Stadtmuseum near the train station and the Historic Factory Grounds in Maste-Barendorf. Events are held regularly at the 19th-century industrial settlement, such as the "Rock in Barendorf" music festival and art fair "Art to Take".

More photos

Living in Iserlohn

Because the town is relatively small, many places are close enough to walk to.

You’ll find a number of quaint cafés and bars downtown. Most of them, like the café "Fuchs und Hase", are located in the narrow and winding side streets. The cinema "Filmpalast" is very close by. There you can enjoy international meals, such as Greek or American dishes at Onkel Dimos American Diner. They serve delicious burgers!

My tip

Don’t miss the extraordinary stalactites and crystalline formations in the Dechen Cave. In the Cave Museum, you can learn how such caverns form.

The Cashbox is somewhat hidden between the large building facades of the shopping street. This little ticket shop, which sells concert tickets and CDs, has a nostalgic charm which makes it almost cult. You can attend concerts, comedy shows and plays at the "Parktheater" in Iserlohn.

Smaller concerts are regularly held at the bar "Stay Wild". On Fridays and Saturdays, you can party till the early morning hours either at one of the many motto parties or at a jam session.

Dechen Cave © Tüch/DAAD
Dechen Cave . © Tüch/DAAD

Not only is the disco "Living", located next to the cinema, an ideal spot to go dancing, but also for hanging out with friends in the lounge and smoking a shisha. You can also go dancing at the "Schauburg". During the week, it’s a bistro, but on Saturdays, it transforms into a disco. You can “get down” to the hits of the 80s and 90s in the Burgkeller. The Schauburg also has a great beer garden where you can relax and watch football games on the big screen in the summer time.

Sports can help you work off all those calories. There are numerous opportunities to get some exercise around Seiler Lake – at tennis courts, swimming pools and mini golf.

Interview with Surin Kumar from Malaysia

Surin Kumar is 20 years old, comes from Malaysia and is studying Public Relations for one semester at BiTS in Iserlohn.

Surin from Malaysia © Private
Surin from Malaysia . © Private

Why did you decide to study in Iserlohn?

I wanted to study in Germany because there are beautiful lakes, castles and mountains here. I had only seen the lakes before in the media and always wondered whether they were as pretty in real life. I chose to study in Iserlohn because I wanted to concentrate on my studies instead of partying all the time. I thought Iserlohn would be a small town. I was very surprised that there were clubs here.

How did you prepare for your study visit?

I read through the “do’s and don’ts” on the Internet because I was worried I’d insult someone by accident. I also exchanged money, installed a translation programme on my mobile and packed warm clothes like a heavy jacket and winter boots.

What was the hardest thing about living in Germany when you first came and how did you deal with it?

I came to Germany in March. It was still very cold. I come from a hot, tropical region, and I’m not used to cold weather. Before my stay in Germany, I had never seen snow before. But my jacket kept me warm.

Can you imagine staying in Germany?

After I finish my studies in Malaysia, I might like to apply for a job in Germany because the country is so beautiful. That would also allow me to work in an international setting – which I’m sure would open up more possibilities.

What is your favourite place in Iserlohn?

I like the bar Sparstrumpf. It’s one of the first bars I visited when I came to Iserlohn, and it’s the first bar I’ve ever been in which is located underground! It has a very unique atmosphere.

What’s the best way of coming in contact with other students?

To meet people, I recommend going to the parties at B7. Lots of local students go there. Also try not to be too shy and talk with your fellow students.

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