The Romantic City on the Neckar River
Heidelberg, a small city with approx. 150.000 inhabitants, is located in the south west of Germany. The city is also part of a bigger area called Rhine-Neckar-Metropolitan-Region together with the larger cities Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.
When it comes to Heidelberg, people also refer to it as the most romantic city in Germany.
In fact, offering sights like in fairytales such as the world-famous Heidelberg Castle with its architectural beauty of the 17th century’s baroque period, Heidelberg is among the most frequented tourist destinations in Germany.
It also was declared as the most romantic city in Germany by the old song Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren.
Heidelberg is one of the warmest places in Germany. When you come in July, be aware that the temperature will rise above 30.
Most incomings get placed at the University Hospital of Heidelberg. The local team organizes internships on many different wards ranging from surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics and gynaecology to neurology, ophthalmology and radiology. It is also possible to do the internship in one of the other numerous hospitals within Heidelberg. After being accepted for professional exchange, it is recommended that the students inform the organisation well in advance, if they wish to work in a certain hospital.
History of the University
It was in 1386 when King Ruprecht I. founded the University of Heidelberg which makes the university the third oldest school of the Holy Roman Empire - and today, the oldest university in modern Germany. The University of Heidelberg served as a leading educational institution for primarily theological, medical and legal studies in the 15th century. The original ‘campus’ is still located in the Old Town of Heidelberg where you can study most of the humanities today and the university library still is the biggest and oldest in Germany. After the destructive ‘Thirty Years’ War’ the university had to face the loss of invaluable literature and scientific sources which eventually resulted in academic decline of the university until the end of the 18th century. However, the university, now entitled ‘Ruprecht-Karls-University’, thrived with the beginning of romanticism and liberalism. In the 19th century, the University of Heidelberg not only enjoyed a high reputation as a renowned law school, but also groundbreaking discoveries by scientists like Robert Bunsen, Gustav Kirchhoff or Hermann von Helmholtz contributed to the revival. Soon, the University of Heidelberg served as a stronghold for liberal ideas and played a main role in the Revolution of 1848 - an important political upheaval towards a democratic Germany (though the revolution failed). The university’s catch-phrase ‘Dem lebendigen Geist [der Wahrheit, Gerechtigkeit und Humanität zu dienen]’ ( = ‘dedicated to the spirit who is alive [in order to serve truth, justice and humanity]’) traces back to this period. Heidelberg’s liberal spirit notwithstanding, it was replaced by a more gloomy motto in Nazi Germany ‘Dem deutschen Geist’ ( = ‘dedicated to the ‘German’ spirit’). Unfortunately, the internationally renowned center of liberalism and democratic ideas shifted to a hub of Nazi ideology. Jewish and liberal scientists were banned and the students were even actively involved in the ‘Nazi book burnings’, where thousands of ‘ideologically incorrect’ books were destroyed. The medical faculty served as an experimental laboratory beyond any humanity in which ideologically infiltrated medical professors ruthlessly experimented on human beings.
Modern history of the University
Campus in summer
After World War II, the University of Heidelberg began to revive again under the original spirit of the university ‘to serve truth, justice and humanity’. Since then it has expanded and under growing number of students, the new campus ‘Im Neuenheimer Feld’ was constructed. While the humanities are still in the Old Town, the rest of the scientific faculties are located in the new campus, often abbreviated as ‘INF’.
Today, nearly 38.000 students are enrolled in the university in 12 faculties.
The medical faculty comprises 14 university hospitals and belongs to the biggest medical institutions in the country. The university strongly concentrates on medical research in cooperation with the German Cancer Research Center, the Max-Planck-Institute of Medical Sciences and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Most recently, a new interdisciplinary National Center for Tumor diseases (NCT) was built which is home to a state-of-the-art Heavy Ion Gantry (HIT) for innovative cancer research.
Notable researchers and physiologists affliated with the University of Heidelberg
- Dr. med. Hugo A. Katus (cardiologist)
Developed the Troponin T Test, which now serves as a biochemical detector for myocardial infarction
- Bert Sakmann
Inventor of the ‘patch clamp’ together with Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize in 1991
- Harald zur Hausen
Developed the HPV vaccine, Nobel Prize in 2008
- Markus Büchler
Director of the Department of General Visceral and Transplantation Surgery
Food and drinks in Heidelberg
In order to give you an insight about life costs in Heidelberg a few typical things are listed down below. In general, Heidelberg is in the upper ordinary ranks when talking about the price you pay here. Of course there are cities (especially in the east of Germany) which are cheaper, but also cities where life is more expensive (Munich for example). So here we go:
- Coca Cola 2- 3€
- Cafe 2- 3€
- Pizza 5- 15€
- Brezel 0.50- 1€
- Cocktails 4- 8€
- Schnitzel 5-10€
- Clothes (depends on the brand of course):
- Jeans 30- 100€
- T-shirt 10- 50€
- Pullover 20- 70€
- Jacket 30- 150€
- Cinema 5- 12€
- Open air pool 2- 5€
- Clubs 3- 10€
Mostly we will organize your lodgings from 1st to 30th/31st of the month. If you wish to come earlier or leave later, we might be able to organize you an apartment according to your wishes, but unfortunately we cannot garantuee that because it is not easy to find appropiate lodgings in Heidelberg. The sooner you inform us of your arrival dates, the more we will be able to do :)
Otherwise the best place to stay for a couple of days is the International Youth Hostel in Heidelberg (http://heidelberg.jugendherberge-bw.de/), which is also situated on campus in Neunheimer Feld next to the Children’s Clinic. The prices are around 24 euros per night for owners of the international hostel card, and 27 euros without it. (Breakfast included) There are 4-6 people in one room, sharing a bathroom. Early booking is recommended. You can also wish for a single or a double room, which will cost 5-10 euros more.
If you feel adventurous you could also stay in a tent on a campsite in Heidelberg. (http://www.camping-heidelberg.de/english.php)
Generally, the price of rent in Heidelberg is high and living spaces – especially inexpensive ones – are scanty. Therefore, it is difficult to tell the students the exact location of their stay until a few weeks in advance. The organisation's efforts are directed towards placing the students at a mixed student hall or a small apartment. There they have the advantage of having their own room, while sharing the kitchen and bathroom with other flatmates.
(Also, in some very rare exceptions we might accomodate you for one night in the room of one of our members of local comittee, but please have understanding that it is not always possible.)
There are several ways to come to Heidelberg:
- By train:
Airport - Heidelberg main station: As most of you will arrive at Frankfurt International Airport, we will give you the most relevant interrail connection to Heidelberg: The fastest way is taking the ICE from the airport to Mannheim Hbf (Hbf = main station) and then get a connection train (mostly ‘S-Bahn’ = city rail) to Heidelberg Hbf. At the airport, the ICE connection between Frankfurt Airport and Mannheim main station will run about every 30 minutes, so you won’t be in trouble in case you should miss your train. A local exchange officer will collect you at Heidelberg Hbf.
- By car:
For those of you who will come by car, Heidelberg is connected to the following Autobahns (highways): A5, A6(exit Mannheim, intersection with A656), A656.
The Castle of Heidelberg is a very famous tourist feature. It lies on a hill surrounded by green trees and is visible from the whole old town. Inside the castle you can find the German Pharmacy Museum with its collection with over 20.000 objects representing the rich history of medical sciences, especially the history of pharmacy. Other place worth seeing is the Palatinate Museum which contains a big archaeological collection, paintings and sculptures, as well as subjects concerning Heidelberg’s urban history. The representative symbol of the University of Heidelberg is the assembly hall in the old university building which is sure worth a glimpse.
Day trips and destinations
Heidelberg is an ideal place to go hiking: You could start with the Philosopher’s Walk at the Heiligenberg. Its name derives from the fact that Heidelberg's philosophers and university teachers are said to have once walked and talked there. Even today, this world-famous path offers new sights and insights. Enjoy a beautiful view of Heidelberg. After that you could either continue your journey uphill and visit the Thingstätte, a huge amphitheater out of the Nazis' period, or head over to the castle and either climb the hill or use the mountain railway to get there. It goes up to the top of the Königsstuhl, a mountain mostly surrounding the old town. Other places to visit are the two beautiful churches: the Heiliggeistkriche and the Peterskirche. There is also a zoo right on the university campus. The surrounding offers a lot of attractive places, too: The Castle of Schwetzingen or the downtown of Mannheim for example
Since Heidelberg is the perfect town for university students it offers a lot of free time and night life activities. During the day you can ramble through the Hauptstrasse – a long shopping street between the Bismarckplatz and the market square. It is about 1.6 kilometers long and contains a lot of various boutiques, café shops and antiquarian booksellers besides the common shops.
You can alsoexplore the small streets branching off which seem to contain an endless number of little cafés and unique small shops.
Especially in summer the Neckar meadows are an attractive place to socialize, to barbeque and play volleyball during warm days.
The Studentenwerk, an organisation providing social, financial and cultural support services to students in Germany, offers a lot of fun opportunities to spend your free time: For example there is the cinema coffee bar, live music in the Marstall Café, lectures, (photo-) exhibitions and Tatort-Football-Sundays.
What would a student’s life be without nightlife? Even concerning this topic you won’t get bored in Heidelberg. A good place to visit is the "Untere Strasse" ("Lower Street"). It contains a plentitude of bars and pubs of different style and location: Very famous are the Destille, Reichsapfel & Lager, Großer Mohr and Kleiner Mohr. Other nice locations are: Café Extrablatt, Hardrock Café, Regie, Mel’s Bar, Havanna, Los Amigos Cantina Mexicana. If you want to visit a club you can choose between Tangente, Ziegler’s, Nachschicht, acht grad, Halle 02, Deep Club and Cave 54. All of them are recommendable and fun to go to.
Interns are required to wear white coats and have their own stethoscope; moreover it is advisable to bring along a clinical book in order to be able to refresh their knowledge in the field of their internship. Furthermore it is extremely important for students to bring proof of their liability, accident and health insurance with them. For those that forget to do so, it is inevitable to make a new insurance contract upon arrival.
So long, we are looking forward to welcome you in Heidelberg.
Here ist some last information:
Homepage of the university: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/
Hompage of the university hospitals: http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/
Article on Heidelberg in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidelberg
Article about the university in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Heidelberg
Planning your trips by train or public transport: www.bahn.de
Local public transport: http://www.vrn.de/