Half-timbered houses © Thomas Lieven
Half-timbered houses in Paderborn© Thomas Lieven

Paderborn is one of the most important centres of the computer science industry in Germany. The German computer pioneer Heinz Nixdorf played a defining role in the town. A historical town centre, a wide range of cultural activities and plenty of green areas make it a very attractive place to live. This is also where Germany's shortest river flows!

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Paderborn was founded in the eighth century and is one of the oldest and most important towns in the northern part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Charlemagne visited the town on numerous occasions and commissioned the construction of the Pfalz (similar to a castle or palace) and the cathedral.



Despite heavy bombing during the Second World War, many old half-timbered houses and narrow streets have been preserved and still shape the historical town centre today. The Markplatz is dominated by Paderborn cathedral, which was built in the 13th century. One of its main features is the famous „Window of three hares“, which you can admire from the inner courtyard. The cathedral is open to the public all year. It looks especially resplendent at Easter, Christmas and during services held in honour of the Cathedral’s patron saint Liborius in July. The old Kaiserpfalz imperial palace is used today as a museum. It shows alternating exhibitions that are often related to Charlemagne and the Catholic church.

The IT industry plays an important role in Paderborn. Numerous IT companies are headquartered in the town, and it is also the home of the Heinz Nixdorf Museum. With over 6,000 square metres of exhibition space, it is the biggest computer museum in the world. In the different parts of the exhibition, you can trace the 5,000 year-old history of information technology, from the development of the written word in 3000 BC right up into the 21st century. Heinz Nixdorf was a German computer pioneer. His foundation also supports science and teaching in the field of information science at the university in Paderborn.


The student population has increased considerably in Paderborn in the last few years. In the town itself rent is relatively high but for between 200 and 380 euros you can find a room in one of the student residences. The Studentenwerk has around 100 apartments for international students.

You can join in a wide range of cultural and sports activities at the university. Sports courses are available in everything from classical dance and football to more unusual types of sport such as flunkyball. You should sign up early because courses are soon full. Alongside sports, the university also has a student theatre and radio station which you can also become actively involved in.

Just a few metres from the cathedral and Kaiserpfalz is the source of the river Pader. Fed by over 200 springs, the river is only four kilometres long, making it the shortest river in Germany! The source of the river Pader is a wonderful place to take a break from city life, and it attracts numerous students in the summer months. Walkers and nature lovers can spend an enjoyable and varied day in the nearby Teutoburg Forest.

Local companies offer students lots of discounts. Just show your student ID! But prices here are also affordable for students without a student ID: You can enjoy an inexpensive breakfast at BarCelona and cheap cocktails at Havanna. You also get a discount at the Heinz Nixdorf Museum: students pay just 4 euros.

Paderborn also has plenty to offer in the way of culture. Locally, the town is famous for the „Libori“ funfair. This traditional festival is held in honour of St Liborius and takes place twice a year, in April and July. Special events, concerts, culinary specialities and fairground rides are offered along a two-kilometre stretch through the town centre. The festival attracts around two million visitors every year.

Another highlight is a visit to Paderborn’s local football club SC Paderborn 07 at the Benteler Arena. In 2014, the team was promoted to the first German league. But the locals love their team whatever division it’s in! Lots of students like going to the matches at the Benteler Arena at weekends to cheer on their team.

How to find a room in Paderborn

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 Paderborn.


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