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Leipzig: Dynamic, diverse and hip

Leipzig is a large, dynamic city in the state of Saxony which hosts a number of international trade fairs. Renowned institutes, a diverse range of cultural activities and numerous lakes around the region make the city attractive to students. Leipzig is very popular and captivating to young people.

by Dominik Brüggemann

Unitower © Brüggemann/DAAD
Unitower . © Brüggemann/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
510,000
Students:
35,400
Universities:
6
Monthly rent:
251 €
Tip:
Go on a bike tour to the Leipzig New Lakeland!
Website:
www.leipzig.de

Welcome to Leipzig

In newspaper articles about Leipzig, some journalists have taken to nicknaming the city “Hypzig” – a combination of the words “hype” and “Leipzig”. Over the course of several years, the city has become extremely popular among students. Even many Berliners have moved to this Saxon city. Leipzig has wonderful landmarks and cultural highlights. The St. Thomas Boys Choir, for example, is one of the oldest choirs in the world. It has existed for over 800 years. The composer Johann Sebastian Bach lived and worked in Leipzig and even conducted the St. Thomas Choir, which still performs concerts today.

St. Thomas Church © Brüggemann/DAAD
St. Thomas Church . © Brüggemann/DAAD

A number of famous artists live and work in the city. For example, the painter Neo Rauch works in his studio at the Leipzig Baumwollspinnerei (Cotton Mill). The former factory building in the Lindenau district is now a creative venue with numerous studios and galleries. You can look over the shoulders of artists at work or view their artworks displayed in the galleries.

Next to the historic city hall downtown, you’ll find the Alte Börse (Old Stock Exchange) at Naschmarkt. Among the covered courtyards and alleyways in the luxurious Mädlerpassage, you’ll discover the famous “Auerbach’s Cellar”. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe used this venerable locale as the backdrop in a scene in the literary classic “Faust I”. If you love shopping, there is a large pedestrian zone around the city hall with an extensive selection of shops and stores.

Auerbachs Keller © Brüggemann/DAAD
Auerbachs Keller . © Brüggemann/DAAD

Not far from there, you’ll find St. Nicholas Church, the Forum of Contemporary History and the “Runde Ecke” Memorial Museum. At all three sites, you can learn about an important chapter of Leipzig’s history: life in socialist East Germany until 1989, the Peaceful Revolution and German reunification.

The gigantic “Monument to the Battle of the Nations” in the southern part of the city commemorates the major battle against Napoleon in 1813. You can enter the monument and climb the stairs to the top. From there, you can view the entire city all the way to downtown.

Monument to the Battle of the Nations © Brüggemann/DAAD
Monument to the Battle of the Nations . © Brüggemann/DAAD

You’ll also notice how green Leipzig is from up there. The Leipzig Auwald stretches across the city from north to south and offers a great place to relax in the middle of the city. A gigantic network of waterways criss-crosses the city thanks to several rivers which meander through town. These rivers and canals lead to manmade lakes situated to the south of the city, such as Cospudener Lake – one of Leipzig’s most popular swimming places.

More photos

Living in Leipzig

Cultural life in Leipzig mainly takes place downtown and in the Südvorstadt district along Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse all the way to the Connewitz district. Lots of students live in this area. In the summertime, you can relax outside on warm evenings at one of the many bars and pubs on Barfussgässchen. There are also a number of popular, trendy clubs and cafés on Gottschedstrasse in the Schauspielviertel.

My tip

The New Lakeland is comprised of several large lakes around Leipzig. It’s a great recreation area. You can rent paddleboats, go cycling or swimming or just sit back and enjoy nature. The best way to get to the lakes is by bike.

Conne Island, the Haus Auensee and Moritzbastei are among the best clubs and concert halls in Leipzig. If you’d rather get some R&R in nature, the Clara Zetkin Park is located very close to downtown.

If you like literature, Leipzig is the right place for you. The city regularly hosts the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair, and is also known as the “Book City”. Numerous publishing companies have their headquarters in Leipzig. At the German National Library you’ll find every piece of media ever printed in Germany since 1913.

The Leipzig Zoo is “beastly exciting”. The zoo has attracted droves of visitors since it opened the new “Gondwana Land” – a huge tropical hall. The zoo is especially proud of its bonobos. Even if animals don’t interest you too much, these rare monkeys are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on you.

Interview with Serena from Italy

Serena Bissolo from Italy is 21 years old and is studying German as a Foreign Language for one semester in Leipzig.

Picture of Serena from Italy © Serena Bissolo
Serena from Italy . © Serena Bissolo

Why did you decide to study in Leipzig?

I study German as a Foreign Language (GFL), German Studies and English at the University of Trento in Italy. Leipzig was my first choice in the Erasmus programme. I chose Leipzig because of the Herder Institute. The courses are really great if you want to become a GFL teacher. I come from a small town near Verona and don’t like “big-city stress”. That’s why I read a few Erasmus reports and found out that Leipzig is super for young people who don’t want to live in a huge city, but are dynamic, curious and above all, open to learning about other cultures.

Karl-Liebknecht-Straße © Joeb07/wikicommons
Karl-Liebknecht-Straße . © Joeb07/wikicommons

How did you prepare yourself for your stay in Germany?

Out of curiosity, I read up on German habits on the Internet and in books, but I wanted to be surprised by the country.

What was the hardest thing about living in Germany? How did you deal with it?

I come from a relatively communicative country where people talk and converse with each other everywhere. When I came here, it was different. On the train, at the bakery – hardly anyone talked with each other. I had to get used to that.

How did you find your accommodation? Do you have any advice on finding a flat?

I found a place to stay on the website wg-gesucht.de. I recommend the same to any student who is interested in taking a room in a flat share. But the student halls of residence are definitely a good alternative.

German National Library © Andreas Schmidt
German National Library . © Andreas Schmidt

What do you especially like about Leipzig?

I like the diversity. You can easily get around if you have a bike. The Südvorstadt is especially appealing to young people because of its alternative scene. Beautiful museums and elegant shopping arcades downtown and amazingly pretty parks in Zentrum-Ost. You can reach four different lakes within 20 minutes and you immediately feel like you’re on holiday. Cool atmosphere, music, fresh water and nature. My favourite place in Leipzig is the Clara Zetkin Park. You can relax there and lie out in the sun with friends.

Why is Leipzig a good place to study?

Leipzig is a great place to live and study. The university is well organised and there are programmes specially tailored to foreign students. Student life is very active and there’s always something to do. Leipzig simply has a very rich culture, and the best thing is that its culture is developed and practised by young people.