Koblenz: International Flair at the “German Corner”
Nestled at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, you’ll find one of Germany’s oldest cities – Koblenz. It’s a place where wine and Carnival are as deeply ingrained in Rhenish culture as togetherness and cordiality. After their lectures at the relatively small universities, friends and students spontaneously get together and plan their next excursions.
by Sinah Vonderweiden
Facts & Figures
- Monthly rent:
- 325 €
- Treat yourself to the best ice-cream in town at the ice-cream parlour “egelosia”!
Welcome to Koblenz
Koblenz is situated in the northern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. Two rivers flow through the small city – the Rhine and the Mosel. Although Koblenz isn’t very large, there are plenty of things to do. It is located in a region containing numerous destinations for day-long excursions. Four mountains with woods, greens and lakes form the gorgeous backdrop of Koblenz. And the world-famous Loreley is located close by – this massive cliff formation is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Koblenz’s historic city centre is very picturesque. The Deutsches Eck (“German Corner”), where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers merge in the centre of town, is a popular site for tourists and a meeting place for residents. At the very tip stands a large monument, and up on the hill across the river, one can see Ehrenbreitstein Castle.
Koblenz attracts tourists from all over the world. That explains why you’ll hear snippets of French, Spanish and Asian languages interspersed with “Koblenzer Platt”, a German dialect particular to Koblenz. The city offers many opportunities to learn about Germany history and become acquainted with the celebrated Rhenish traditions. You can also visit numerous fortresses and castles built during the Roman times.
The historic district is located at the centre of Koblenz where you will find numerous well-preserved half-timbered houses. Downtown Koblenz is becoming more attractive all the time. A cable railway was installed several years ago, the promenades along the Rhine have been completely redone and the flowerbeds are constantly replanted with new flowers.
Living in Koblenz
Not only does the quaint historic centre make Koblenz a wonderful place to live in the summer. There’s even a beach just five minutes away on foot from campus where young people like to hang out. The grounds and facilities of the various universities in Koblenz are small, but have a modern design. Smaller universities offer students the chance to talk to professors informally, “in passing” so to speak. The atmosphere is very personal.
Besides biking and inline skating, many people in Koblenz enjoy hiking through the region. The best-known route is the Mosel Trail, which was completed just a few years ago. Walking along the Rhine Promenade and the Rhine terraces is probably the most popular activity among residents and tourists alike. As soon as the sun comes out, the inhabitants of Koblenz (or Kowelenzer, as they call themselves) flock to the banks of the rivers. You’re bound to meet people of all ages, sitting at tables, eating and enjoying the local beer “Koblenzer” – or wine from the region. It’s also nice to take a boat ride on the Rhine in good weather.
It can get really hot in Koblenz in the summer. Luckily for you, you can treat yourself to the best ice-cream in town at the ice-cream parlour “egelosia”.
Koblenz is located in the Rhineland, a region which takes its Carnival festivities very seriously. In fact, it’s one of the major Carnival locations in Germany! Normally people greet each other during Carnival by saying “Kowelenz, olau!” During the week of Carnival, the entire city switches to “party mode” starting on “Weiberfastnacht” (Shrove Tuesday) until Ash Wednesday. And on Rose Monday, a huge parade snakes its way through Koblenz’s historic city centre.
There are always occasions to go out and have fun in Koblenz. Depending on one’s taste of music, students usually go to pubs and locales like “Schiffchen”, the “Geckolounge” or the exotic Enchilada. If you’re new to Koblenz, it might be a good idea to take a pub tour so you can visit many of the smaller locations. If you want to party, Circus Maximus is the place to go, or you might want to try out the nightclub “Palais”. You’ll most likely be enjoying nightlife in Koblenz with your friends from the university, yet the city can get a little sleepy in the winter and at weekends. A lot of students go home to visit family on holidays. So when autumn days are grey and dreary, you can finally go to one of the small libraries and devote some time to your studies.
Interview with Natalia from Russia
Natalia Ustyuzhanina is 27 years old and comes from Russia. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Business Information Systems.
What do you like about your degree programme?
The programme is very multifaceted – everyone can find an area they’d like to specialise in. And the lecturers are nice and helpful. I really liked the programme from the very start.
What hurdles did you overcome when you started at the university?
You should start applying for a room in a student residence hall as soon as possible. All the info you need is on the Internet. I found my flat through the Studierendenwerk (Student Services).
It’s not always easy to make friends right away, especially if you’re studying in English and can’t speak German very well. But don’t give up! There are enough people who like learning your language and enjoy getting to know other cultures. My advice is, don’t only hang out with international student because otherwise you’ll have a hard time improving your German. Try getting to know German culture.
What do students in Koblenz do in their free time?
Besides the university, they have a movie programme called “Uni Kino”. They also offer international students many activities and excursions. Before you arrive in Koblenz, it’s a good idea to check in with InKO (the International Office at the University of Koblenz, ed.). There you can sign up for a mentor and receive a programme listing all the available activities.
I also enjoy exercising at the fitness studio or meeting up with friends to take walks along the Mosel. A picnic on the Rhine is fantastic!
How would you describe Koblenz in a nutshell?
Quaint, small, but classy and friendly!