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Aachen is international, student-oriented and always open to new ideas. It is also the westernmost city in Germany, located on the Belgian and Dutch border. Two prestigious higher education institutions, the central location in Europe and agreeable size have made Aachen a magnet for international students.
Aachen was well-loved even by the Romans. They knew how to take advantage of its hot springs and constructed public baths there. The water is said to have healing properties. Today, real thermal water still flows from the Elisenbrunnen located in the centre of town in front of the stunning backdrop of the cathedral.
Emperor Charlemagne chose Aachen as the centre of his empire in the 8th century. It was he who commissioned the construction of the city’s massive cathedral and beautiful city hall. The cathedral is situated right downtown and contains the remains of Charlemagne. Aachen’s cathedral was the first German landmark recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
The city hall used to be part of Charlemagne’s former palace. Today, this is where the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen is presented each year. The prize honours individuals who dedicate themselves to promoting European unity. Former German chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the many former prize winners.
Aachen is one of the most important centres for students who are interested in science and technology.
Aachen lies directly on the border to Belgium and the Netherlands – a so-called “three-way border”. That means you could easily visit three countries in one day!
Another highlight is the annual Christmas market around the Aachen cathedral and city hall. This is where you can enjoy the holiday atmosphere and try the famous Aachener Printen, a delicious gingerbread biscuit.
Everyday life in Aachen is shaped by its many students to a large degree. There is a wide variety of sports courses for every interest. The also organises numerous sport events each semester, such as the popular Lousberg marathon. The runners have to complete a 5,555-metre zigzagging course over the Lousberg, the largest hill in Aachen.
Sporting events are also held at the “Tivoli”, the stadium where the local football team “Alemannia Aachen” plays. Every time there’s a home game, several thousand people show up to root for their team. Nothing compares to the atmosphere in the stadium!
When the weather’s nice, students especially enjoy going to the Westpark. In the middle of the city, there’s a pond, large meadow and grills for barbecuing – perfect for a sunny afternoon. You can also relax or take a walk on the Lousberg which offers a nice view of the city.
Pontstrasse is where most students like to hang out. There are numerous restaurants, pubs and nightclubs which are affordable and very popular among students.
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