the habour in Emden city center © Sebastian Rothe
Emden city center© Sebastian Rothe

Far up in northern Germany lies a small seaport that offers ideal conditions for studying: In Emden, you can live inexpensively, find the peace and quiet you need for studying and try out all kinds of sports in your free time.

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Emden has a distinctly maritime character. Canals and „Tiefs“ (small channels) criss-cross the town. Many residents take rides in their own boats, or go for walks, bike or jog around one of the harbour basins. Every day many tourists board a ferry and take the two-hour trip to the island of Borkum.

At the west end of town stands a statue of Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg (1620-1688), better known as the „Grosser Kurfürst“ (Great Elector). The inhabitants of Emden erected the statue in his honour because it was his support of maritime trade that made Emden a wealthy city. And Emden still benefits from its seafaring history. You can sense it as soon as you arrive.

The economy is also driven by its shipping business. The German car manufacturer VW operates a gigantic production facility in Emden, and located right next door, a dockyard from which its cars are transported to every corner of the world. Other automotive suppliers have also built facilities next to the VW plant.

Maritime trade not only influenced Emden’s seaside district, but also the atmosphere in town. Wherever you go, you’ll find pubs where seafarers used to drink their beer long ago when they had time to go on land. Unfortunately, this unique charm no longer exists at most pubs, but Emden’s residents can tell you where you can still find it.

Tourism has become increasingly important for Emden. In addition to day tourists travelling to Borkum, the city attracts a large number of cyclists and sailboaters. Since the region around Emden is so flat, you can easily tour the region by bike. It’s also worth taking a sailing trip through the „Dollart“ (a large bay). However, it’s best to avoid sailing out into the North Sea during rough weather. Strong winds and heavy rain can make it very dangerous.

But even in bad weather, Emden has a lot to offer. For example, you can become acquainted with the humour of Emden’s inhabitants. Northern Germans have a very special sense of humour which is well-known far beyond the borders of Lower Saxony. Two of Germany’s most famous comedians come from Emden: Otto Waalkes and Karl Dall. You can get a taste of northern German humour by visiting the Otto-Waalkes-Haus located directly opposite of the Emden city hall.


Thanks to the maritime atmosphere in town, you can find plenty of opportunities to relax on sunny days and forget the stress of university life. The harbour basins are ideal for taking long walks, and the many trees along the so-called „Stadt-Wall“ provide welcome shade on hot summer days. Downtown you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze outside of restaurants and bars, or you can explore the small alleys and discover the history of the city.

Emden isn’t as large as Bremen, Hamburg or Hannover. That’s why it’s less expensive for students to live in Emden. All of the important places in town are within walking distance, and for longer trips, you can easily get around by bike.

If you enjoy playing sports, Emden offers perfect conditions. Many people in Emden are members in sports clubs and spend their free time jogging or playing football. If you’re interested in water sports like sailing, surfing, or stand-up paddling, you won’t have to look very long for an opportunity. There are more clubs and course offerings than „fish in the sea“!

Running is also a very popular sport in Emden, as you’ll notice three times a year. The best-known running events in the city are the „“ (usually at the end of May) and the „Silvester-Lauf“ on New Year’s Eve. And then there’s Germany „flattest ultra marathon“, the „Ems-Jade-Lauf„, which stretches from the Dollart all the way to Wilhelmshaven.

How to find a room in Emden

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 Emden.


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