Freiburg, the “Black Forest” city in Baden-Württemberg, is home to one of Germany’s oldest universities. Freiburg, the sunniest city in Germany, is a perfect city for nature lovers with its long lasting sunshine and magnificent nature. Don’t just think of Freiburg for its beautiful nature, the ancient charm of the city center is also fascinating.
With narrow, winding streets, old houses and rustic entertainment venues, Freiburg is known in Germany for its high quality of life. Located in the triangle between Germany, France and Switzerland, the city’s inhabitants make short trips to France and Switzerland for big purchases (Strasbourg and Basel are within an hour’s drive) and rarely leave the city except to participate in joint programs with the universities of Strasbourg, Mulhouse or Karlsruhe, members of the “Upper Rhine European University Confederation”. There are many lakes around the city to visit in summer. The wide meadows and vineyards give it the feel of Toscana, Italy. If you are into skiing or snowboarding, the Feldberg ski resort in the Black Forest is just an hour’s drive away.
Freiburg is a student city: 30,000 of the city’s 220,000 inhabitants are students. Being a student city, everything in Freiburg revolves around the university and the university clinic. In addition to the various universities (there are 5 universities, but 24,000 of them are students at the University of Freiburg), the city also has many research institutes with strong ties to universities. There are five Fraunhofer Institutes, two Max Planck Institutes and a Leibniz-Gemeinschaft institute.
Freiburg’s distance from the big cities is an advantage for students: University life is vibrant and there is constant activity! Because for students from far away cities, the weekends are too far away to make it worthwhile to go home (so let’s party). By the way, about 16 percent of the students are foreigners. One more tip: the locals are sensitive to the fact that the city is “in Baden” (not Baden-Württemberg !)
If you go to the city center you will find it crowded and full of people at almost any time of the day. The city is flat and people usually use bicycles. There are trams and buses for public transportation. Trams also run at night on weekends. The university semester ticket costs 94 Euro and is valid in the city and on the regional train (RB) to the Black Forest and Emmendingen.
The most difficult thing for me to adapt to every time I visit Germany is the bicycle lanes. Cyclists have the right of way and my naive attempts to walk on the reserved paths always result in warnings and rebuffs. It took me a week each time I visited to get used to it and get into the habit of constantly checking my surroundings. Be prepared for this in the first few weeks in Freiburg, as in many small cities in Germany. One of my main recommendations for students in Germany is that if you are going to buy a bike, don’t buy a new bike. It is common to steal parts on bicycles, so buy a second-hand but sturdy bicycle that is not too expensive around 80-90 Euros.
LIFE IN FREIBURG
Freiburg is a city with a very high quality of life. Especially the advantages of climate and winemaking have led to economic development, and with one of the oldest universities in the country attracting more and more students every year, housing prices and rents have skyrocketed. As the surrounding countryside is more rural than in big cities, students are looking for accommodation within the city.
If you want to live near the university or the city center, you need a lot of luck and money. It is definitely in the top ten of the most expensive university cities in Germany in terms of rent. Especially during the winter, the housing market is booming with first-year students and the search for a place to live can be particularly frustrating. Even if you lower your expectations and sacrifice a central location, living in Freiburg is not really cheap. In Freiburg, offers for flat sharing are managed by the student union. If the location is great and the rent is noticeably cheaper, be a little skeptical. (If something is too good to be true, there’s probably a scammer behind it! ) In addition to Wg-gesucht.de for shared rooms, you can check the Facebook page “Zimmer frei in Freiburg” for many offers, Schnapp for regional classified ads and the university’s room database.
Information on student residences in Freiburg is available from Studierendenwerk Freiburg; a list of private residences is also available on the website. The student settlement, known everywhere as “StuSie”, is the largest student village in the city with 1,500 inhabitants. There is a lot of fun, especially on weekends, because StuSie even has its “own” bar. If you don’t like to party, are bothered by noise and like to sleep, you should take a look at one of the other dormitories.
In the “famous student dormitory” Fizz, the apartments have underfloor heating, a concierge and private parking spaces. However, it’s hard to find a place here too, so book in advance if you intend to stay.
FREIBURG BY THE NUMBERS
|Number of Students
|Number of beds provided by Studierendenwerk
|Rents for accommodation provided by Studierendenwerk
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