Bielefeld
BIG CITY WITH RURAL CHARM

A tower in front of the blue sky
The Sparrenburg© Daniel Schwen

Big city flair and rural life – in Bielefeld you have both. The city has a quaint historic district dating back to the Middle Ages and numerous greens and parks. The affordable prices and proximity to everything makes Bielefeld an ideal place to study. As a student in Bielefeld, you may occasionally hear rumours that the city doesn’t exist – a stubborn legend that still lingers today.

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WELCOME TO BIELEFELD

Bielefeld was founded in the ninth century and became a trading centre in the region during the Middle Ages. The city became known for its exquisite linen manufacturing. The historic city centre and the Sparrenburg give you an idea of how economically influential Bielefeld used to be in the Middle Ages.

The Sparrenburg, the central landmark of the city, is a mighty fortress dating back to the 13th century and is the scene of a medieval festival and market every July. This is where you can encounter fire-breathers, try out suckling pork on a spit or make your own pottery.

In the beautiful historic centre of town, you will enjoy strolling past the renovated patrician houses or window-shopping at speciality shops and small boutiques. In the “Neustadt” – the new part of town – you can find everything you need at the large chain stores.

If you’re more of a nature person, you can go hiking along the 160-km Hermannsweg. It starts in Rheine and leads all the way to the mountain Lippischer Velmerstot, and is one of Germany’s most beautiful hiking trails. It also takes you through the Teutoburg Forest, which many regard as Bielefeld’s “green lung”.

By the way, there’s a legend about Bielefeld that just doesn’t want to die. You might hear Germans tell you that Bielefeld doesn’t really exist. The reason: Twenty years ago students from Bielefeld wanted to find out how quickly information spread via the Internet. They started a conspiracy theory that “Bielefeld doesn’t exist”. The rumour swept across the country like wildfire and still lingers today!

LIVING IN BIELEFELD

If you appreciate the big city as much as you do country living, then Bielefeld is the perfect place for you. In town you can get around best by bicycle because the central points are all nearby. As a student of the University of Bielefeld, you can also take the tram for free.

Rental prices in Bielefeld are relatively inexpensive. A room closer to town in a flat-share can cost somewhere between 250 and 350 euros, and in a student hall of residence, you can get a room for just 170 euros including utilities.

Bielefeld also has its share of cultural activities and events. At the “Carnival der Kulturen“, a colourful Carnival parade, you can follow the exhilarating music through the streets. A large open-air movie event takes place every summer in the Ravensberger Park featuring the latest blockbusters and classic films. The city’s rich cultural life includes numerous museums, countless independent theatres and various choirs.

When it’s sunny outside, many students enjoy hanging out at the Oetkerpark in the west part of town, but also strolling along the Sparrenburg promenade or in the Nordpark. On warm summer evenings, you’ll find many people sitting outdoors at Siegfriedplatz or outside numerous cafés in Bielefeld’s west side or downtown until the early morning hours.

There are many small and large cafés which are affordable and cater to every taste – chic, old-fashioned, coffee house style or student-alternative. At „Ferdis Pizza Pinte“, Bielefeld’s student pub, you can get pizzas, salads and international dishes. Or you can go to the „Hechelei“ and drink a cocktail. The Hechelei is located next to a former spinning mill – it’s worth a visit if only to see the interesting building!

No matter what your taste in music – rock, pop or electronic – you’ll find it in Bielefeld. The entry fees are quite reasonable – around five euros on average. Numerous parties also take place at the university and the university of applied sciences. The “Westend Party”, held at the beginning of the semester, is known far beyond the borders of Bielefeld as Germany’s largest indoor university party with some 10,000 party-goers.

If you want to play sports, you have plenty of opportunities at the university. There is a wide range of available – from beach volleyball to step aerobics. Many of the courses are offered at no cost. Just make sure to register early enough because the courses fill up quickly. The university is also home to a diverse range of student organisations. For example, you can get involved in the university’s own radio station . The station offers students the chance to produce and broadcast their own pieces and gain experience as radio presenters.

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