Aachen is a city famous for its chocolate and rain, home to a technical university famous for mechanical engineering. This green city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the most popular university towns in the region, close to the Dutch and Belgian borders.
Aachen is Germany’s westernmost city – during the Middle Ages it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and home to prominent kings. Historically, its importance began when the Romans discovered its sodium and sulphur-rich hot springs, known for their health benefits, but its most significant historical impact came after the invasion of the Franks, led by their ruler Pippin the Younger. The ruler’s son and successor, Charlemagne, loved swimming and bathing in Aachen’s hot springs so much that he built the Palatine Chapel, a magnificent work of old Baroque style, to manage administrative and religious affairs there permanently. For 30 generations this chapel was the crowning place of German kings.
Everywhere you look in Aachen, history is alive with its old architecture. The old center of Aachen is characterized by old buildings and walls in the early Baroque style (old Roman and Byzantine style). The atmosphere of the city is very attractive with its streets, fountains, churches and historical museums.
We visited this university town during the RWTH open days to get to know both the university and the city. Interestingly, during the World War II bombings, Aachen was almost completely destroyed. After the war, the medieval walls, gateways, monuments and fountains were meticulously restored and the historical atmosphere of the city was perfectly preserved.
Its geographical location is ideal for transportation with other important cities in Europe. We took a 1 hour and 10 minute train ride from Cologne. The cross-border Avantis Industrial Zone between Aachen and Heerlen in the Netherlands offers new job opportunities for many people living in the city. Developing rapidly in recent years, Aachen has become a high-tech city famous for the pharmaceutical, machinery and engineering works of multinational companies such as Ford, Philips, Grünenthal, Continental AG.
Speaking of Aachen, for those who love sweets, we should not forget to mention the wonderful Printen (a kind of gingerbread cookie) and chocolates unique to the city. Suffice it to say that Lindt and Lambertz are based in Aachen.
Aachen is one of the largest university locations on German soil. 50,000 students, which ranks 15th in a comparison of all locations. Most of those enrolled are students at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule RWTH. Other schools in the city are FH Aachen and Aachen Business School.
According to research by Maastricht University: The average grade point average of first-year students in Aachen starts at 2.1 (in the German grading system, 1 is the best and 5 is the worst), an indication of the popularity of the city’s universities among German youth. 67.3 percent of the students said that their first goal was to obtain a bachelor’s degree. 71.1 percent said they would like to do a master’s degree if possible, while 20.8 percent would like to go one step higher: a doctorate. Students are currently enrolled for about 6.3 semesters on average.
LIFE IN AACHEN And RENT COSTS
In terms of cost of living, Aachen is somewhat cheaper than the big cities. Nevertheless, it is realistic to say that a student will spend around 1,100 Euros per month. University students in Aachen spend most of their money on rent, and students who do not find a place in a dormitory (at least for the first year, you are unlikely to find a place in the dormitories) pay an average of 570 Euros per person for room or apartment rent and additional costs such as electricity / gas / water, radio license fee, internet.
Studierendenwerk dormitories are very popular due to their central location and low rents and you have to wait at least 6 months. From the classic single room with shared kitchen and bathroom, to shared apartments for students with children and family apartments: A total of 5,119 people are accommodated in 24 housing complexes in Aachen and Jülich. Almost all living spaces are partly furnished and have high-speed internet access. In addition, washing and drying machines are available for a fee in all housing complexes.
The biggest problem you will face when you go to Germany will be housing. Take care of it if you can before you go. Although most of the private dormitories accept credit cards for the first registration, they will ask for a SEPA form for subsequent rents. (SEPA form is a form similar to our automatic payment instruction) You will also be asked for a SEPA form for the WG or private apartments you will find outside the private dormitory. However, you need to have a bank account for the SEPA form. So you must open a bank account. However, you must also have a residence address for the bank account. For the residence address, you need to get a “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” from your landlord. So it is a vicious circle.
You need a bank account to rent a house, you need a house for your bank account. Therefore, you may need a place where you can stay temporarily until you find a permanent place, but where you can get a “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”.
Fortunately, some apartment hotels in Germany will provide you with a “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” for stays of 30 days or more. Below is a booking.com link to independent apartments in Aachen where you can stay for a longer period of time and cancel free of charge. Once you are clear on your departure dates (try to make them as early as possible, or if not, plan for 1 week before the opening date of your school), book one of these options. Immediately afterwards, make an appointment with the Aachen Citizenship office to apply for residency a day or two after your departure date (if you do not act early, it can be very busy at the beginning of the semester and appointments can be pushed back up to 20 days). Once you have the residence certificate, you have no obstacles to open a bank account. I felt the need to remind you since I have readers who have a lot of problems in this regard.
There is also a wide range of rental options and prices are around 550-650 euros for studio apartments. It is also possible to find a shared apartment for 350-400 Euros. However, when choosing a place to rent, I would say to avoid places near Kaiserplatz, especially at night. Below I am sharing links to public and private dormitories.
Check these sites to search for housing:
When it comes to student accommodation, one of the must-haves in temporary accommodation is of course Hostels. Below you can see the economical options where you can stay in Aachen.
AACHEN BY THE NUMBERS
|Number of Students
|Number of beds provided by Studierendenwerk
|Rents for accommodation provided by Studierendenwerk
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