Dortmund U © Tüch/DAAD
Dortmund U© Tüch/DAAD

Dortmund is a modern, cultural city. But it hasn’t always been that way. For a long time, it was associated with coal mines and smelting furnaces. You constantly run into football-crazed fans who root for their club, the BVB, with deep-felt pride.


588,250 Inhabitants ¹

52,049 Students ²

3 Higher education institutions ²


With almost 600,000 inhabitants, Dortmund is the largest city in the Ruhr Region. Although it offers all the benefits of big-city life, it’s not a concrete wasteland. Almost half of the city is covered by parks and greens.

Dortmund was long known for coal mining and steel manufacturing. The mines, furnaces and shaft towers were distinct features of this working-class region. Thanks to coal mining, the whole “Ruhrpott” was the centre of heavy German industry. Meanwhile, Dortmund has reinvented itself as a cultural city. The entire region – home to more than five million people – was named the European Capital of Culture back in 2010.

You can experience the transformation of the region at „Extraschicht“, the Night of Industrial Culture. Former industrial complexes are used as venues for music, dance and theatre productions. The Dortmund-based and the both participate in the event. The “Zeche” used to be a mining site. Now it’s a museum of industrial culture.

The – a centre for art and creativity – is a famous city landmark near the train station. The “U” hosts regular exhibitions, lectures and concerts. The building had once housed the Union Brewery. The illuminated “U” and the video installation on top of the building highlight its past. At the top of every hour, virtual pigeons appear and sometimes it looks as if the tower were being filled with beer. Dortmund is also known as a beer-brewing city. There used to be many breweries here at one time. Today you can go to the and learn how beer is brewed.


For a wonderful evening, I recommend going out to the night-time flea market at the . From 5 pm until midnight, you can rummage through the treasures while listening to live music.

The inhabitants of Dortmund are big football fans, especially when it comes to their own club – the BVB (Ballspiel-Verein Borussia). Whenever there’s a home game, Dortmund goes into football overdrive. Everyone hangs banners, puts on jerseys and decorates everything in the club colours – black and yellow. The BVB stadium is Germany’s largest football stadium with capacity for 80,000 fans. But you can also watch the games at numerous pubs in Dortmund.



After your lectures, you can experience lots of things in Dortmund and recharge your batteries from all that learning. What’s great about Dortmund is that there are so many places to go and so many cultural and recreational possibilities. Lots of students live in residence halls or find affordable rooms in flat shares around the city. The Kreuz and Klinik districts are popular residential areas. There are lots of pubs located in the Kreuz district. And the Neue Kolonie West is home to many creative artists who have set up studios there.

For the best impression of Dortmund, you ought to go up the “Florian” – the TV tower in the – and view the city from the 140-metre-high platform. When the weather’s nice, you can go to the Phönixsee (Pheonix Lake) in the Hörde district. The manmade reservoir sits atop a former industrial site. It’s the perfect place to go jogging, inline skating or boating. You should also see the Dortmund harbour where the “event ship” Herr Walter is docked. You can also wind down from a stressful day on deckchairs and beanbags on the beach.

This is a city where you can shop till you drop. The Westenhellweg in downtown Dortmund is one of the most-frequented shopping streets in all of Germany. You can also go to the „Thier-Galerie“ – a large mall where you can go shopping or just hang out when the weather’s bad. They also have a BVB fan shop there.


There are many pubs in Dortmund, for example in the Kreuz district. In some places, they switch on a football game and serve potato salad – reminiscent of the good ol’ coal-mining times. In other locations, you can partake in a true German tradition on Sunday evenings: watching the latest episode of “Tatort”, a famous German crime series.

How to find a room in Dortmund

Many university and college towns have dormitories or student halls, and a room there is often the most affordable accommodation. To obtain a room in a dormitory or student hall, you have to apply to your college or university’s student union (). Our ‘Find Student Hall’ function can be of practical help. You only need to make a few mouse clicks to get to the online application form. Find a room and more information about dormitories and student halls in Dortmund.



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