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Hannover: A vibrant, green city in the north

Hannover is home to the largest city forest in Europe. In fact, eleven percent of the city is covered by parks and gardens – a perfect balance to the hectic pace of life in downtown Hannover. The city regularly hosts several internationally acclaimed trade fairs and is home to the world-famous Leibniz shortbread biscuits.

by Bettina Ruhland

New Town Hall and Maschsee © DAAD
New Town Hall and Maschsee . © DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
506,416
Students:
45,907
Universities:
7
Monthly rent:
327 €
Tip:
Discover the multicultural district Linden!
Website:
www.hannover.de

Welcome to Hannover

Hannover is a very modern city. The state capital of Lower Saxony is an important centre of science and business thanks to numerous companies and organisations. Six institutions of higher education are located throughout the city. Trade fairs and conventions take place all year round. The whole world looks to Hannover twice a year during the “CeBIT”, the most important event in the digital industry, and the “Hannover Messe”, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial products.

Maschsee © Ruhland/DAAD
Maschsee . © Ruhland/DAAD

Downtown Hannover was almost completely destroyed during World War II. That’s why there are very few historic buildings in town. One of them is the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall). You can take a special lift into the dome of the Gothic building. It follows the arc of the dome and can only take five people at a time. From the 100-metre high viewing platform, you can enjoy a great view of the entire city. In the oldest part of the city centre, you’ll find the Marktkirche (Market Church). This is an example of the typical architectural style you often find in northern Germany. Red-brick buildings are distinctive features in many towns and villages in the north. In Burgstrasse near the Marktkirche, you can visit the oldest half-timbered house in Hannover which dates back to the 16th century.

Clock at Kröpcke square © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Clock at Kröpcke square . © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

The Maschsee is a manmade lake and is remarkable in that it has no natural river inlet. The “Kröpcke”, located at the centre of town, is the best-known meeting point for city tours with numerous shops and stores. Aegidientorplatz, lovingly nicknamed “Aegi” by the locals, is an important centre of town. There you’ll find modern buildings where banks and insurance companies have their headquarters.

In the past, Hannover was the residence of kings and princes. It was when the Herrenhäuser Gardens and Herrenhausen Castle were built. Today you can visit the gardens with all their different flowers and plants, as well as the museum inside the castle.

Living in Hannover

Many inhabitants and especially students like to go jogging, study or barbecue in the Georgengarten, a large park. The Eilenriede, Germany’s largest city forest, is located on the outskirts of Hannover.

Herrenhäuser Gardens © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Herrenhäuser Gardens . © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

Culture plays an important role in Hannover. There are over 20 museums which exhibit art of every period and style, and familiarise visitors with the history of the city. The Sprengel Museum is one of the most prestigious museums of modern art of the 20th and 21st century.

Many students live and spend their free time in the Linden district. The “Limmer” – a pedestrian street – is the centre of this vibrant quarter. The nightlife in Linden is alternative and uncomplicated. In addition to a summertime beer garden, the cultural centre FAUST hosts parties, exhibitions and flea markets on a regular basis. There are many cafés, each with its own individual flair, on what is called the “Lister Mile” in the north part of the city.  At “Carrots and Coffee”, you can get a vegan-vegetarian breakfast, and at “Lulu” free tables on the small plaza in front of the café are always in short supply.

My tip

My favourite city quarter is Linden. There you’ll discover lots of little shops and cafés and enjoy its multicultural charm. Arrange to meet your friends at “Unterm Schwanz” – the statue of Ernst August on his horse in front of the main train station – a popular starting point for many activities.

The “Fête de la Musique” is Hannover’s largest music festival. In fact, it’s an international festival, celebrated in more than 340 other cities around the world. Musicians perform at venues all over town under the open sky for free and fill the entire city with music.

In August many residents spend their evenings on the shore of the Maschsee. With its mixture of culinary delicacies, good music and relaxed atmosphere, you almost feel like you’re on holiday. The Schützenfest and Oktoberfest, on the other hand, are more old-fashioned and traditional. You can start by trying a “Lüttje Lage” – a mixed beverage of beer and schnapps, typical of the region around Hannover.

Interview with Diana from Romania

Diana Apostol is 27 years old, comes from Romania and is working on her master’s in “Communication Management”.

Picture of Diana from Romania © Diana Apostol
Diana from Romania . © Diana Apostol

Why did you decide to study in Hannover?

I’d like to work in corporate communications someday. In Hannover, they offer an interdisciplinary degree programme which is both theoretical and practice-oriented. The master’s degree programme in “Communication Management” focuses strongly on strategic corporate communication. Only a handful of universities in Germany offer this programme, and Hannover was my first choice.

Did Hannover meet your expectations? Were there any surprises, and if so, what were they?

I was positively surprised by Hannover. There are lots of pretty places here, such as the List district or the gigantic forest in the middle of the city – the Eilenriede. I used to study at a large university, so I had to get used to small seminar groups at my university of applied sciences. There are a total of 14 students in my class. That’s a huge difference to the 1,000 students I used to sit with in the crammed Audimax in Vienna.

Sprengel museum © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Sprengel museum . © Hannover Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

Why is Hannover a good city to study in?

There is a very large range of student activities in Hannover – covering almost every academic field. They also invest a lot of money in the university system. As the state capital, Hannover is an important economic, scientific and cultural centre in Lower Saxony. Compared with Munich, Hamburg or Düsseldorf, life is definitely more affordable here and yet you can still enjoy all of the advantages of a big city. So it’s perfect for students.

Linden © Ruhland/DAAD
Linden . © Ruhland/DAAD

What do you like best about Hannover? Is there a place you especially like?

I like the fact that everything is close by. Hannover has a good infrastructure, but when the weather’s nice, you can easily get around by bike or on foot. Although you might not notice it at first glance, Hannover is a very green city. You can relax at the Maschsee Park in the summer or go walking in the Eilenriede. What many people don’t know is that cultural events are very affordable for students in Hannover. They offer student concessions on opera, theatre and cinema tickets and the museums offer free admission on Fridays.

For you, studying in Germany is…

…both a challenge and an opportunity.

How would you describe Germany in three words?

Neat, punctual and absolutely beautiful.