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Ingolstadt: Big city with small-town Bavarian charm

In Ingolstadt you’ll find a perfect balance of Bavarian tradition, hometown pride, modern life and innovation. The city is constantly growing and now boasts over 100,000 inhabitants. Its long university history and high quality of life makes Ingolstadt an ideal place to study and live.

by Marlene Bauz

Neues Schloss © Bauz/DAAD
Neues Schloss . © Bauz/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
124,927
Students:
10,497
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
331 €
Tip:
Watch a a movie in the largest auditorium at the TH Ingolstadt!
Website:
www.ingolstadt.de

Welcome to Ingolstadt

Even though its population exceeds 100,000 inhabitants, when you’re in downtown Ingolstadt you almost get the feeling of being in a village. Quaint houses and narrow streets create a charming, relaxed atmosphere that you rarely find in other large cities. But that doesn’t mean that Ingolstadt can’t keep pace with other cities. The region’s economy is extremely strong, mostly due to the car manufacturer Audi which operates its largest production facilities here. Some 40,000 people work at Audi which has a noticeable impact on the prosperity of the region.

“High School” © Bauz/DAAD
“High School” . © Bauz/DAAD

Among the universities in Bavaria, Ingolstadt’s university enjoys a very good reputation. It was here that Bavaria’s very first university was founded in 1472, the “High School”. It later changed locations and has meanwhile become better known as the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich.

The Kreuztor, the most famous landmark of Ingolstadt, is located direct behind the Minster of Our Lady, a Catholic church on Kreuzstrasse.

Kreuztor © Bauz/DAAD
Kreuztor . © Bauz/DAAD

At Rathausplatz, you’ll find both the Old and New City Hall – a contrast which aptly reflects Ingolstadt’s development from a small town of provincial Bavaria into the modern city it is today.

Interestingly, the former university of Ingolstadt served as the setting to Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein”. The main character of the story (Dr. Frankenstein) studied and conducted his experiments here. Fans of conspiracy theories will also find Ingolstadt interesting as it was the birthplace of the Illuminati, a secret order founded by Professor Adam Weishaupt in 1776.

More photos

Living in Ingolstadt

You can reach most destinations easily by bike which is why you’ll see so many people riding bicycles. When the weather is nice, you should take a ride along the banks of the Danube River which runs through Ingolstadt. From there you can enjoy a nice view of the Neues Schloss (New Castle). A number of dukes once lived in the Neues Schloss, but now it’s home to the Bavarian Army Museum. The museum presents special exhibitions on Bavaria’s military history on a regular basis.

A few steps further in the opposite direction, you’ll see the Klenzepark – a beautiful place to enjoy the sunshine and take a break from your studies. The park also contains parts of the old fortifications which were built long ago to defend the city from marauders.

My tip

Once a month, the Student Union shows a movie in the largest auditorium at the TH Ingolstadt. Contact the Student Union to find out when the next movie is playing!

If all that sunshine makes you hungry, take a ride over the river into the old part of town and treat yourself to a delicious burger at "Goldbraun" on Poppenstrasse or "The Golden" on Kupferstrasse. Although burgers weren’t invented in Ingolstadt, you can rest assured that all of the ingredients come from local farms in the surrounding region.

As a true Ingolstädter, you have to go to the annual festivals in spring and autumn. There you’ll see people of every age wearing traditional Bavarian garb and you can try some Bavarian beer which native Bavarians are especially proud of.

Sports fans have a lot to be excited about as well; the football team FC Ingolstadt 04 and the ice hockey team ERC Ingolstadt are at the top of their game at the moment and are both playing in the premier league. As a student, you are eligible for concession rates (i.e. reduced prices) on tickets at both clubs.

Interview with Natalia and Álvaro from Spain

Natalia Usón is 19 years old and is enrolled in the Aeronautical Engineering bachelor’s programme at the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. Her fellow student Álvaro Vázquez, 20 years old, also comes from Spain. As part of their cooperative study programme, they are employed as part-time interns at Airbus Defence & Space located near Ingolstadt.

Natalia and Álvaro from Spain © Bauz/DAAD
Natalia and Álvaro from Spain . © Bauz/DAAD

Why did you both decide to study in Ingolstadt?

Álvaro: I wanted to study in Germany because studying in Spain isn’t all that great. The professors aren’t as nice as they are here; it’s a different mentality. I had always attended a German school, so that’s why I wanted to study in Germany. When I found out that they offered a cooperative study programme here, I applied and decided to study in Ingolstadt.

Did you receive any support from Germany before your departure?

Álvaro: Yes, the university put us in contact with a woman who’s responsible for international students in cooperative study programmes, and she always told us we could contact her whenever we had questions, like when applying, or if we had problems at the university. We also received links to pages where we could look for apartments.

Did you experience anything especially difficult at the beginning of your stay in Germany? And how did you deal with it?

Natalia: the Bavarian accent was the worst thing for me. I’m still not completely used it.

Álvaro: The hard thing for me was not seeing my friends and family so often. They always did things without me and I wasn’t there with them and that made me a little sad. But as time went on, I realised it wasn’t so important because I’ll be able to do those things when I’m finished here. And I think every student goes through that – while they’re off studying, there are always things they can’t be doing. But it doesn’t matter if you’re here or somewhere else.

Klenzepark © Bauz/DAAD
Klenzepark . © Bauz/DAAD

Do you already have an idea of what you’ll do after graduation? Can you imagine staying in Germany?

Natalia: We can stay on at the company in Manching (location of the Airbus production facility, ed.) for one year after graduation, and I’ll probably stay for that year. After that, we’ll see.

What do you like best in Ingolstadt?

Natalia: There’s a small garden in the Alte Anatomie which is really pretty. Whenever people come to visit me, I take them to this garden because it’s so hidden. I also like the green strip around Ingolstadt, that’s where we sometimes go jogging or biking.

Have you experienced anything in Ingolstadt which you especially enjoyed?

Natalia: For one, I think the city festivals (Volksfeste) are totally cool. We even bought ourselves Bavarian folk costumes – they make you feel really German.

Why do you think Ingolstadt is a good place to study?

Álvaro: The university here is very good. Many of the professors I’ve had were very good too and worked really hard for their students. The city isn’t gigantic, but there are many students and the atmosphere in Ingolstadt is also nice.

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