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Information about Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg
Lange lieb ich dich schon, möchte dich, mir zur Lust,
Mutter nennen und dir schenken ein kunstlos Lied,
Du, der Vaterlandsstädte Ländlichschönste,
so viel ich sah.(...)

Friedrich Hölderlin, 1895

 

Heidelberg, once the capital of the Palatinate and the spiritual centre of Calvinism, nestles in the picturesque Neckar valley and is known for its particularly mild climate. Over the years, Heidelberg’s beauty has attracted a number of poets, painters and scientists. In the early 19th century, the city on the Neckar became the most important centre of German Late Romanticism, inextricably linked with the poets Arnim, Bretano, Goethe and Eichendorff. Germany's oldest university, the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, "has once again asserted its leading position among universities in Germany" and in 2017 upholds its reputation as one of the best-ranked universities in the world. The University library tops the prestigious BIX Library Index where, in each of the four assessment categories it is "the only major academic university to place among the leaders - and for the sixth consecutive year" (Heidelberg University in International Comparison, Heidelberg University hompage).

Many monuments bear witness to a diverse history. Overlooking the river Neckar some 70 metres below ist he city's most famous landmark, Elector's Castle, standing on the slope of Königstuhl on its eponymous mountain. Its ruins belong to one of the most impressive sights to behold on any tour of Germany (in 2016, the castle was one of Germany's most popular destinations for international holidaymakers). Visitors climbing up to the castle first pass through the gate into the famous "Hortus Palatinus" garden, created at the beginning of the 17th century. From the castle garden, there is a breathtaking view of Heidelberg, including the Philosophers’ Walk, which lies on the opposite bank of the Neckar. Fascinating buildings dating back to a variety of epochs surround the inner courtyard. Situated in the Royal Wine Cellar is the world’s largest barrel, which was once filled with wine. It has rarely failed to impress - except in the case of Perkeo, the barrel's gnome-like guard. Once, when asked if he could drink the barrel dry, his answer was a nonchalant “Perché no”- why not? – which is how he came to earn his name.

The baroque townhouses and their ornamental facades and portals are a striking feature of any walk round the Old Town. The heart of the Old Town is the market place, between the Evangelical Church of the Holy Ghost and the grand renaissance building "Zum Ritter". Leading away from the church of the Holy Ghost are many old alleyways lined with pubs and restaurants. Spanning the Neckar is the Old Bridge, one of the most beautiful stone bridges in Germany. Not far from University Square is the Jesuit Church. Built in the early 18th century and adorned with several figures of the Virgin Mary and saints, the church is the Old Town's symbol of Catholicism regaining its foothold in Heidelberg following the upheaval of the Thirty Years War and the Palatinate War of Succession. The wooded hills around Heidelberg cloak the city in a handsome green. There is also plenty to explore in the surrounding area, including the Neckar valley castles, the German wine route, ancient cultivated landscapes along the Upper Rhine and the Odenwald mountains, while proximity to Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart airports means Heidelberg is easily accessible to its guests from all over the world.

The name Heidelberg is synonymous with tradition and romanticism, but also stands for a modern, world-class location for science and business. Heidelberg is home to the tradition-steeped university, the Academy of Sciences, the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), four Max Planck institutes, the European Laboratory for Molecular Biology (EMBL), the Print Media Academy of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, the SAS Institute and several research centres belonging to international companies. Such a concentration of the sciences is unparalleled in Germany and forms the basis for a dynamic, science-orientated economy that elevates Heidelberg - despite a population of just 150,000 - to its position as one of Germany’s leading economic centres.

Heidelberg is also one of Germany’s leading cultural centres, as demonstrated by its wealth of museums and theatres. Literature is ubiquitous in the city and as of December 2014 Heidelberg bears the honorary title of "UNESCO City of Literature". Together with the neighbouring cities in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan area (Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Speyer, Schwetzingen, and Worms to name the most important), Heidelberg offers a large variety of nationally significant cultural events:

  • Heidelberg Castle Festival
  • International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg
  • Heidelberg Theatre-Festival
  • Heidelberg Literature Festival
  • Heidelberg Spring Festival
  • Heidelberg ‘Stückemarkt’ Theatre and Drama Festival
  • Festival of German Film
  • Mannheim Summer Mozart Festival
  • Schwetzingen Castle Festival
  • Niebelungen Festival - Worms
  • International Schiller Festival - Mannheim
  • International Street Theatre Festival Ludwigshafen
  • Photography Festival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg
  • Enjoy Jazz, International Festival for Jazz - Heidelberg
  • Ludwigshafen Festival

See also F+U leisure and cultural programme.

See external links about Heidelberg, official website and tourist information.

Stadt Heidelberg
Fremdenverkehr
Panorama cities
Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar - Internationale Fach- und Führungskräfte


 
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