Welcome to Freiburg
Salli un willkumme in Friburg im Brisgau! - Welcome to Freiburg im Breisgau!
It's true. Freiburg isn't the most well-known German city. However, it has a lot to offer.
Freiburg is a laid back, charming university town full of life. Throughout Germany it is not only esteemed for its beauty, surrounded by the lovely landscape of the famous black forest, picturesque vineyards and it's good weather, but also for having one of the best and oldest German universities. Many Germans consider Freiburg to be one of the most desirable places to live!
Let us invite you to Freiburg, to discover this "hidden treasure". Let us show you the jewel of the black forest .
You will be surprised!
Landscape and Weather
Freiburg is located in the very south of Germany, and therefore it is the sunniest of all German cities. In summer we get an average temperature of about 26°C (=74°F).
Due to our continental climate we also get snowy winters with about -2°C (=28°F). Rarely we even get around -20°C (=-4°F)! So don't forget to bring your jacket ;)
Freiburg's scenic surrounding has many different faces. Lying at the so called "Dreiländereck", Freiburg is close to the borders of France and Switzerland. It's always worth a daytrip to visit our neighbours!
We are the gate to the Black Forest, one of the biggest wooden mountain ranges within Germany. Its name goes back to the Romans who referred to it as silva negra, because the density of the trees blocks out the light. The first ones to explore this dangerous region were christian monks, and there still remain lots of monasteries in the black forest nowadays. Besides its interesting history the mountains offer a range of freetime activities that you should not miss.
Due to the warm and sunny climate, Breisgau (the region surrounding Freiburg) is famous for its good wine and you should definitely try it if you like wine! But even if you don't, it is really beautiful to wander around in the spacious wineyards. (Be aware: You should not eat the grapes - the farmers will hunt you down ;) )
The border to France is built by the Rhine-river, one of the longest and most important rivers of Europe! It used to be a wild and dangerous tropical river, even Malaria was found here. But don't be scared, these times are long over.
Freiburg itself has a turbulent history. It was founded by the Zähringer, an old German royal family, as a free market in 1120. Its name Freiburg = free fortified town still referrs to that fact. Located at an important junction of trade routes, Freiburg fastly became a wealthy town. Freiburg also controlled several silver mines in the Mountain Schauinsland, which made Freiburg one of the richest cities in Europe in these times (you can still visit these mines today).
As all medieval towns back in these times Freiburg showed its wealth by building a representative church. In 1200 the citizens began with the construction of the Freiburg Münster Cathedral. Originally begun in the Romanesque style, it was continued and completed 1513 for the most part as a Gothic cathedral. This Münster is still the heart of the city and the best known sight. It is known around the world for its unique tower which is said to be the most beautiful in christianity.
Freiburg citizens were so rich, that in 1368 they decided to buy themselves free from the unliked "Earl of Freiburg" and placed themselves under the protection of the Habsburges, an Austrian royal family. Under their authority the university of Freiburg was established.
During the Thirty Years War (1618 - 1648) the control of the Habsburgers ended and Freiburg underwent several changes of regnancy. The city was dominated by French, Swedish, Spanish and Germans but finally came back under Austrian control. It wasn't until 1805, when Napoleon conquered most parts of Europe, that Freiburg became part of Baden.
As every German city, we have a sad and ashaming chapter of history during the Nazi-regime. Around 350 jewish citizens were deported from Freiburg to concentration camps. Walking through the city, you will find many golden brass plates with the names of the deported jewish.
Freiburg was heavily bombed during World War II, many people died and a large portion of the city center was ruined. Fortunately the Münster survived nearly undamaged.
Today, Freiburg is a modern growing city with a strong ecological consciousness. In the late 1990 a new neighbourhood, Vauban was built as a sustainable model district on the site of a former french military base, named after a French Marshall who fortified Freiburg in the 17th century. Solar power is used to power many of the ultra-low energy buildings here. This model district was even represented on the world fair 2010 in Shanghai.
Each year, about 630.000 tourists explore our wonderful town. Eventhough Freiburg itself is not a major tourist destination, there are still some sights, you should not miss
one of two remaining old city gates. Originally Freiburg was surrounded by a defensive city wall and five towers. Of this structure only two towers remain, the Schwabentor which was built in 1250 and the older Martinstor. Its name, "Gate to Swabia" derives from the importance of the trading route to Swabia for salt. That is why still today the street to the Schwabentor is called "Saltstreet".
the place where lots of students meet on a warm summer day, drinking beer and playing the guitar. You're sure to make new friends here!
Historic Merchants' Hall
located on the square surrounding the Muenster. Built in the 14th century and kept in great condition this house is a beautiful sight. The red colour goes back to the Austrian regnancy. You will find these colours, red and gold, on many historical buildings.
Both the historic and the current city hall are about a five-minute walk from the Münster away. Every year the christmas market takes places on the square in front of the Town Hall.
A man-made lake and a popular escape from the urban housing estate of Betzenhausen. Complete with beer garden and a restaurant, Seepark is popular with families and those planning a walk around the stunning green-belt area.
A close by hill, not only offering a beautiful view from the top, but also nice places and beer gardens. Especially in the evening, at sunset, you will enjoy the romantic perspective of the town.
The second remaining city gate, which was built in 1200. This tower forms the main entrance to Freiburg’s city center. It’s not hard to miss with the McDonald's next door, which placed its logo on the tower’s gate.
Freiburgs most important and most popular sight in the city, one of the oldest and most beautiful in all of Europe. Especially the gargoyles are not to be missed - be sure to study every corner of the Munster closely. Make the effort to climb to the top of the tower for the fabulous views
small canals that crisscross through the streets of the inner city. These canals were once meant as a way to fight fires in medieval Freiburg and are perfect co cool your feet in on a hot summer day. But beware! The locals say that if you accidentally fall or step into a ‘bächle’, you will end up married to a Freiburger.
Annual Events and Festivals
January / February
- Freiburg-Grenzenlos-Festival - Freiburg borderless festival, international cabaret, music and comedy festival
- Rosenmontags-Umzug - big parade through the town celebrating the Swabian-Alemannic Carnival
- Morgestraich - a unique nightly parade in Basel (Switzerland) celebrating the beginning of the Swiss Shrovetide
March / April
- Stadtmarathon, with Half-marathon and Marathon Fair
- St.-Georgener-Weintage - wine days in the old suburb of St. Georgen.
- Frühjarsmess’ -spring fair on the Messe Freiburger with everything that belongs to a big fair
- Oberlindenhock – one of the traditional celebrations in the old town
- Zelt-Musik-Festival – international tent music festival
- Freiburger-Laufnacht – running competition, taking place at night
- Herdermer Hock - traditonal fest in Herdern Freiburg
- Freiburger-Filmfestival – Freiburgs film festival with outdoor cinema
- Freiburger-Weinfest – the biggest wine festival of its kind
- Fest-der-Innenhöfe – classic live music performed in the most beautiful courtyards of the old town
- Freiburger-Museumsnacht – museum night, when museums and exhibitions are opened until midnight
- Seenachtsfest – live music and big fireworks at the seapark
- Le-Gipfel-du-Jazz – international jazz festival with open air events in the old town free of charge
- Ganter-Open-Air – festival in the courtyard of the Ganter brewery
- Kunst-in-der-oberen-Altstadt – artists present their work in the upper old town open air
- Herbstmess’ – autumn fair on the Messe Freiburg
- Festival-Neuer-Tanz – international modern dance festival in E-Werk
- Weihnachtsmarkt – Christmas market on the town hall square
- Easily accessible Christmas markets all over Southern Germany
What else can you do after a exhausting day in the hospital? There are plenty of possibilities!
- Hike up the Schlossberg to get to the tower on top of it. Takes about 15 minutes from the old city and offers you an amazing view of the Black Forest, Freiburg, the Kaiserstuhl and the Vogues mountain range in France.
- Relax in one of Freiburg’s parks or squares. You will find many nice places to see, like the botanical garden of Freiburg with impressing vegetation, or the spacious seapark offering many freetime activities. Not to forget the Stadtgarten, or the grassy bank of the Dreisam which offer nice chill out places.
- Relax in the Eugen-Keidel-thermal bath in Freiburg or the Vita classica in Bad Krozingen. It’s not too cheap, but woth a visit! Check out the Sauna areas, but watch out: Germans only go completely naked in a Sauna! However, there are sessions for only boys/only girls! If you are not too much into thermal baths, there are also many other public swimming pools.
After a drink in one of Freiburg's bars you will probably wish for another one somewhere else or like to dance and have some fun. Although it seems as if Freiburg was a rather silent and sleepy town, the huge amount of students makes its nightlife quite thrilling. Depending on the type of music you prefer there are various bars and clubs. Normally admission is free or costs about 3 or 5 € (Look out for „students' days“!). You should consider the general restrictions on alcohol and entry: beer and wine are allowed at the age of 16, anything else at the age of 18; after 10 pm it is prohibited to sell and consume alcohol in the street; for many clubs you should be at least 21 years old!
Careful!If you go by bike, don't drink and drive, always use your bike lights at night! Police-controls in and around town aren't unusual!
If you feel hungry after an exhausting night, try a croissant from the „Lienhart“ bakery just behind the Schwabentor! All through the night, and into the early morning they sell freshly baked goods straight from their bakehouse.
Living in Freiburg
In Freiburg the majority of the inner city is reserved for pedestrians. You can reach all the shops, cafés or historical buildings very easily on foot. Especially in summer, you can spend your time wandering around in the historic city center, climbing up the Schlossberg or walking along the Dreisam river. Be aware of the bikers, if you are accidentally walking on their lane, they will knock you down.
Freiburg is very proud to be a bike-city. In 2011, Freiburg was given the award of “Fahrradfreundliche Stadt” (bike-friendly city) from the state of Baden-Württemberg. In Freiburg, there are more than 400 kilometers of bike paths and every day more than 35,000 cyclists commute to or through the city. Bikes can be rented at various shops, but we might also be able to provide a bike for you. If you want to be a real “Freiburger”, you definitely have to go by bike!
By public transport
If you don’t have a bike, the best way to get around Freiburg is by use of public transit and walking. Freiburg has an excellent, but slightly expensive, bus and tram (Straßenbahn) system. However, the fare system is not too complicated. There is a fare zone map and fare information leaflet on the Freiburg website . In every tram and bus, and at the most import stations, there are vending machines where you can buy your ticket. Although passengers are rarely controlled, using the tram without a valid ticket (Schwarzfahren or "Black riding") results in a 40€ fine!
Shopping and Groceries
There are plenty of possibilities and places to buy your groceries in Freiburg. Most students go to the supermarkets Aldi and Lidl since they are cheap but of decent quality. More expensive are Edeka and Rewe, but these have a much bigger range of products. Freiburg is the town in Germany to buy biological products. Each day till 13h there is a big farmers market in front of the cathedral. The chain Alnatura only sells biological products, just like the many small whole-food supermarkets that can be found around Freiburg.
The main shopping street in Freiburg is the Kaiser Joseph Strasse, or KaJo, as the locals call it. Here you can find everything you need. Even though there aren’t any big shopping malls, we have a diversity of smaller, charming shops.
Below we´ve made a pricelist to give you an idea of the regional prices. These are not set prices, but a rough estimation of the expenses of daily life in Freiburg.
Coffee: 2-3 €
Coke: 2 €
Beer: 3 €
Bottle of water: 1€
Bread: 3 €
Bretzel: 0,60 €
Cocktail: 6 €
Kebab: 4-5 €
Dinner: 10-15 €
Ice cream: 1 euro
Cinema ticket: 8-13 Euros
People in Freiburg are generally very open-minded and tolerant. Most people are catholic and Freiburg is an important city for the Catholic Church, with a seat of a bishopric. In 2011 the Pope even visited our city. Nevertheless there is also a Jewish and Muslim community and the possibility to visit respective prayer centres. The synagogue is located in the centre of the town and there are several mosques.
Do`s and Don’t`s
- Wear a white coat at the hospital – it’s the doctors’ uniform.
- Recycle – Germans love recycling. We separate paper, plastics, organic waste, white, green and brown glass and everything else. There’s even a fine on not sorting the waste correctly.
- Ride a bike – Freiburg is a bicycle city, and it’s the fastest and greenest way to get from one place to another. However, be careful: never leave your bike unlocked!
- Be straightforward – it’s not considered impolite in the same way it is abroad. If you only beat about the bush, we take it as a mild suggestion, not as something you actually feel strongly about.
- Try German bread – there are more than 300 different kinds of bread, and we love them all.
- Sit while peeing if you are a man (or woman). In Germany the women have trained the men into a submissive state and if you do not follow the rules it is likely you will be chased with a bucket of water that will then be poured over your head.
- give tips to the waiters (usually 10%)
- try german beer. It is said to be one of the best in the world. In Freiburg, we have several really good regional breweries.
- always use the formal “Sie” and the surname to address a person, even inferiors, until offered otherwise.
- be late! Punctuality is crucial in Germany and coming even a little late is considered rude.
- cross the street at red lights – it’s frowned upon here because you set a bad example for children. For bikes there’s even a 100 Euro fine for crossing the street at red light)
- wait till after ten to buy booze for your party night – by law shops are only allowed to sell alcohol till 10 pm.
- waste energy! Modern germans, particularly students in Freiburg, are very ecoconscious. Nuclear phase-out and renewable energies are Germany’s ambitious aims.
- walk in the bike lane. You will only make that mistake once.
I love Freiburg! I had the most exciting month of my life here in Germany, thanks to you guys (IFMS ppl)! My host family was amazing, the international dinner was a blast and I learned so much from the doctors here! Doctors in Germany rock!! Hope I can come again, and get together with you guys and my exchange buddies, ‘cuz you ppl are amazing.
Nour from Lebanon
Hey you! This month is gonna finish for me in two days, but I can’t say that I’m sad, at least not too much, because I bring back with me a lot of good moment, good mates of exchange and the best of my medical practices, the best ever done. Before coming I’ve never listened a word about Freiburg, but now I think that it’s a wonderful city and very familiar, a pace to come back.
Diana from Spain
Mar Ha Ba, Hello All! This month was amazing. I had my best experience in my whole life. I learned a lot, met many people, enjoyed a lot of things and of course will never ever forget any moment that I lived here in Freiburg!! Million thanks to each and every person who made this dream come true…
Maryam from Bahhrain
There is always one word to describe a city. For Freiburg I choose: hidden treasure. Thank you for making me feel like at home. Thank you for the people in my General Surgery Department for trying to make sure that I learn something, they even brought a medical dictionary to explain things to me. Thank you to all bvmd members.
Dhinta from Indonesia
One in six people living in Freiburg is enrolled at a college or Freiburg's Albert-Ludwig-University. The university is a big part of Freiburg's life and the collegiate flair of the city is famous all over Germany. It is not only one of Germany's oldest universities, but also ranges among the top 100 worldwide! Not less than 18 Nobel Laureates studied or taught here. In regards to natural sciences it ranks 6th in Europe and 2nd in Germany (in a ranking of the European Commission of the universities to their overall impact on scientific research)
In 1457, Albrecht VI, Regent of Further Austria, established the Albrechts-Universität. It started with four faculties: medicine, philosophy, law and theology. Shortly after its foundation it became a centre of humanist jurisprudence and even the famous Erasmus from Rotterdam lived and taught in Freiburg.
Due to political troubles the university began to struggle and was nearly closed. Thanks to Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Baden, the university was saved in 1820. Since then, it was named Albert-Ludiwigs-Universität Freiburg
During the Nazi-Regime the university's role was ambivalent. Under the rector Martin Heidegger all jewish faculty members where forced to leave the university. However, there where brave humanist members of the university, like Otto Krayer, who was the only one to refuse to replace a jewish professor and called all the others to join him. He had to leave Germany for this.
There are many different hospitals in Freiburg: the University Medical Center Freiburg, the St. Josefs hospital, the Loretto hospital and many others. Incoming students will usually work in the University Medical Center. On your first day a member of the exchange team will bring you to the hospital, help you register and introduce you to the doctors. Your work depends on the ward, your experiences, your knowledge and the doctors you are working with. Most people know English, but being able to speak German would mean a big advantage, especially concerning the contact with patients. Unfortunately, students without basic German skills are not allowed to work in the department of internal medicine. Please keep this in mind when you fill out the application form.
ONLY with EXCELLENT (=B2) German skills:
- Internal medicine
- Sleep Disorders
- Sports Medicine
- Surgery - Transplantation Surgery
- Tropical Medicine
University Medical Center Freiburg
The University Medical Center Freiburg (Universitätsklinikum Freiburg) is the teaching hospital and part of the medical research unit of the University of Freiburg and its Faculty of Medicine. The medical center is one of the largest and most reputable in Europe, due to its extensive clinical capabilities and advances in research. Medical services at the University of Freiburg date back to the university's founding in 1457, as the Faculty of Medicine was one of the four founding faculties. Today, the hospital boasts 1,600 beds and treats 55,000 in-patients each year. Around 357,000 out-patients are seen annually. The University Medical Center employs approximately 7,750 people, including over 1,150 doctors and around 2,150 nurses.
Freiburg is the gateway to the High Black Forest. Its peaks, valleys and lakes, churches and monasteries are all within easy reach of the city. To the north of Freiburg lie the Taubergießen conservation area, the Europa theme park and the impressive ruins of numerous castles and palaces. To the south stretches the Margrave region with its vine-clad slopes, wine villages and spas. The wine-growing Kaiserstuhl and Tuniberg regions to the west of Freiburg are also an absolute delight for art lovers (offering gems such as the Minster in Breisach).
Daytrips and Excursions
The Freiburg region is situated in the heart of Europe: it is intersected by key trade routes from north to south and from east to west. There are over two million people living in an area of 8,680 square kilometers, which includes the conurbations of Basel (Switzerland), Colmar and Mulhouse (France), and Freiburg.
IMPORTANT DEPARTMENT INFORMATION:
August, September and March are the months of our holidays, therefore departments are quite full and limited choice might be possible.
ONLY with EXCELLENT (=B2) German skills:
- Internal medicine
- Sleep Disorders
- Sports Medicine
- Surgery - Transplantation Surgery
- Tropical Medicine