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Brandenburg an der Havel: Old buildings, young life

Not far from Berlin lies the charming city of Brandenburg. Thanks to the Havel River and its nearby lakes, the city offers a diverse range of water sports and quiet places to have fun and relax.

by Corinna Schlun

Brandenburg an der Havel © Corinna Schlun
Brandenburg an der Havel . © Corinna Schlun

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
71,569
Students:
2,614
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
299 €
Tip:
An outing on the banks of the Havel River.
Website:
www.stadt-brandenburg.de

Welcome to Brandenburg an der Havel

The town of Brandenburg is located in the state of the same name and has much to offer – old churches, a beautiful historic centre and countless parks and greens. Not only do these appeal to students, but also to the many tourists who visit Brandenburg every year.

The city’s landmark: Roland. © Corinna Schlun
The city’s landmark: Roland. . © Corinna Schlun

Brandenburg is especially pretty in the summertime. With the Havel River flowing through the city and numerous greens, you will find lots of quiet spots in Brandenburg to relax, study and learn in the middle of nature.

A thousand years of history await you in the centre of town. The medieval city walls and various churches of modern times are quite beautiful. You should definitely pay a visit to St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral. People often call it the "mother of all Märkisch churches" which reflects its cultural significance for the region.

Life in Brandenburg an der Havel

The flats located near the university are especially popular. That’s where you’ll find a number of student cafés and bars. It’s also why the rental prices in this area are somewhat higher than in other parts of town.

The most beautiful buildings are located in the city centre. © Corinna Schlun
The most beautiful buildings are located in the city centre. . © Corinna Schlun

The rents are cheaper if you live in the outskirts of Brandenburg. The only drawback is that it’s too far to walk or take your bike to the university or into town. But don’t worry – every student receives a "semester ticket" from the university which allows you to use public transportation for free.

The Studentenwerk offers a wide selection of rooms to students. The prices range between 220 and 270 euros per month. The apartments vary in size: You can either live alone in a one-person flat or move into a flat share (WG) with five flat mates.

When you need to take a break, Brandenburg an der Havel offers a wide range of possibilities. Students like going to the Studentenkeller "IQ". Not only do they have a dance floor and serve drinks, but they also organise games and bar nights where you can relax and hang out with friends. At the "IQ" there’s something for everyone.

A city tour on the Havel River. © Corinna Schlun
A city tour on the Havel River. . © Corinna Schlun

The General Student Committee (AStA) at the University of Applied Sciences organises cultural events as well. Their programme is quite varied. For example, you can sing karaoke, play games or participate in stage readings. AStA offers other popular events and excursions, e.g. outings to a beer brewery, climbing trips and a poker tournament. The annual student ball and the popular Campusfest are big attractions for the university community.

If you ever get cabin fever, simply get on the train. In just 20 minutes, you can reach Potsdam, and in 45 minutes, you’re in Berlin! It’s worth taking a trip to both cities, and with your semester ticket, you can get there quite inexpensively.  

My tip

Sit down on the grassy banks along the Havel with your friends. There's no better place to relax.

The University Sports programme offers a wide range of sports courses. In addition to classical sports like football and handball, you can also try archery or even go climbing and hiking in the Elbsandstein Mountains.

The water sports courses are especially popular. Not only does the Havel flow through Brandenburg, it also connects the three main lakes Beetzsee, Breitlingsee and Plauer See. With so many nice lakes, students can enjoy water recreation throughout the year and during the semester breaks. You can choose sailing, canoeing or dragon boating. The University Sports programme even offers a certification course to get a sports boat license for inland lakes, and the Baltic and coastal waters.

Roshen is sitting in front of a river. In the background there is a brick building. © Corinna Schlun
Roshen from Sri Lanka . © Corinna Schlun

Interview with Roshen from Sri Lanka  

Roshen Punchihewa is 20 years old and comes from Sri Lanka. He is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in "Business Information Technology" at the University of Applied Sciences in Brandenburg.

Why did you decide to study in Brandenburg?

I’ve been in Germany for almost three years. I first learned the language in Mainz. But I had always dreamed of studying either in Berlin or in a city near Berlin. I had heard a lot about Brandenburg an der Havel. The city is only 45 minutes away from Berlin. There’s also a lot of interesting places to see here, and young people always find something to do, so you never get bored.

How did you find a place to stay? Do you have any advice for students looking for accommodation?

The Studentenwerk Potsdam was a big help to me. I simply wrote them an e-mail saying that I was interested in a room in a student hall of residence. And right away, I received an offer. My advice is to apply for accommodation at least three months before arriving. That way it’s less stressful.

What has been the most surprising thing about life in Brandenburg?

Definitely the quietness!! Although lots of students live in Brandenburg, it’s almost always quiet. That really surprised me. But there’s always something going on in the residence hall.

Havel River offers a lot of leisure activities. © Corinna Schlun
Havel River offers a lot of leisure activities. . © Corinna Schlun

What are your plans after graduation? Can you imagine staying here in Germany?

After I finish my bachelor’s, I’d like to get my master’s degree here as well. I can even imagine staying in Germany. Computer scientists have good career chances here. That’s why I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity.

What’s the best way to make contact with other students?

You always have to be open. Just be socially active! Attend a few events at the university. Most of my contacts are with people at the residence hall. That’s also where I met my housemates.

What do you like best about Brandenburg? Do you have any secret or favourite spots in Brandenburg?

The Havel is my favourite place. It doesn’t matter who you’re with – be it your girlfriend or your friends – it’s always the best place.

Complete the sentence: "For me, studying in Germany ..."

For me, studying in Germany was always a dream that’s now come true.

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