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Osnabrück: Vibrant culture and numerous recreational activities

Life as a student in Osnabrück is never boring. You’ll discover a multifaceted city with numerous cultural organisations, shopping opportunities, the Hase River running through downtown, and nice festivals and markets in the historic quarter. In other words, you are sure to find something to love in Osnabrück.

by Julia Regel

Market square © Quersus/wikicommons
Market square . © Quersus/wikicommons

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
154,000
Students:
27,656
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
301 €
Tip:
Take a night-time stroll through Osnabrück with the night guard!
Website:
www.osnabrueck.de

Welcome to Osnabrück

Osnabrück is located in the southern part of Lower Saxony. Larger cities nearby include Hannover, Bielefeld and Münster. The health care sector is one of the most important branches in the city. More than 14 percent of the population is employed at hospitals, clinics and nursing/geriatric care providers.

Osnabrück suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. Nonetheless, numerous historically significant buildings still exist in the old part of town. For instance, there’s the “Heger Tor”, the main gate leading to the historic district and the “Town Hall of the Peace of Westphalia”. In and around Osnabrück, you’ll find numerous greens, parks, forests and meadows where you can bike, take walks or simply relax.

City hall © Quersus/wikicommons
City hall . © Quersus/wikicommons

If you are interested in culture, Osnabrück offers a broad range of cultural highlights. The “Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra”, founded in 1919, is well-known far beyond the city limits. The orchestra has performed concerts in Volgograd, Kiev, Minsk and Tehran. You can attend their regular concerts during the season, held in the large auditorium at the university.

In addition to the “Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra”, the Theater Osnabrück also stages performances all year round. You can see them at numerous venues, such as the Emma-Theater, Hoher Dom zu Osnabrück, Lagerhalle, Limberg-Theater, Melanchtonkirch, OsnabrückHalle, Theater am Domhof and other locations. You can even go see plays in English at the Ostensibles, Osnabrück’s Theatre in English.

Felix Nussbaum House © Stadt Osnabrück
Felix Nussbaum House . © Stadt Osnabrück

The Felix Nussbaum House is a must-see for art and architecture enthusiasts. There you can enjoy the largest collection of paintings by the painter Felix Nussbaum. The museum itself was designed by the famous American architect Daniel Libeskind.

Living in Osnabrück

There are many things to do in Osnabrück in your free time. The historic district is multicultural and possesses a very unique charm.

More photos

You can visit the former quarry and mining operations at the Piesberg Cultural and Landscape Park. Long ago the Piesberg quarry was the largest stone quarry in Central Europe. Today, you can dig for fossils there or discover the quarry on your own via geocaching. At the Piesberg Gesellschaftshaus, you can learn to dance the tango under the chestnut trees or, when it’s hot outside, take a trip 30 metres underground down the “Rabbit Tunnel” at the Museum of Industrial Culture.

Attersee © Ub12vow/wikicommons
Attersee . © Ub12vow/wikicommons

The Hase River runs straight through Osnabrück. It’s a great place to relax after a tiring lecture. The two lakes in Osnabrück are also ideal for finding some rest and relaxation. Rubbenbruchsee is situated in the middle of a recreational park and the Attersee is both an excellent swimming lake and a popular destination for excursions.

If you’re a nature lover, we recommend visiting the Botanical Garden. You and your friends can enjoy the wonders of nature in the expansive grounds or even venture into the jungle. The Botanical Garden is centrally located and admission is free.

My tip

Definitely take a night-time stroll through Osnabrück with the night guard! It’s a great way to become familiar with the city from a different perspective. And you’ll discover details and places you would have never noticed otherwise.

If you enjoy spending time in pleasant conversation with friends, you will find numerous bars, restaurants and pubs downtown. The “Grüner Jäger” (Green Hunter) is one of the bars you should definitely go to. It’s located in downtown Osnabrück and offers a cosy, old-fashioned atmosphere, perfect for whiling away the hours. If you’re looking for music and dancing, then you should go to the Alando Palais, a club where you can leave your stress at the doorstep and enjoy the Mediterranean décor.

There are many beautiful bike paths where you can enjoy nature outside the city. The region around Osnabrück is flat which makes it easy to explore the countryside by bike. If you’d like to see more of the “Osnabrücker Land“, we recommend hiring a “Draisine” – a small railway vehicle – with your friends.

Interview with Tatiana from Russia

Tatiana Shakhtyr is 30 years old and comes from Russia. She studies European Studies at the University of Osnabrück.

Tatiana from Russia © private
Tatiana from Russia . © private

Why did you decide to study in Osnabrück?

I had spent a year in Osnabrück as an au-pair before I began my studies. During that time, I thought about enrolling here. I found the degree programme “European Studies” very interesting and applied directly to the University of Osnabrück. Currently I’m working on my master’s in “Management in Non-Profit Organisations” at the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabrück.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

I had already finished an undergraduate degree in Russia and got certification as a German and English teacher. Without a doubt, that prepared me very well for my stay in Germany.

Do you have any advice for making it easier to leave home?

I recommend not getting your hopes up too high with regard to studying and living in Germany. You can’t be prepared for everything, that’s why it’s better to be open to surprises. Once you’re in Germany, you feel like you’re in a new world. Be prepared to expand your horizons and learn lots of new things!

What was the hardest thing for you about living in Germany in the beginning? And how did you deal with it?

When I first came to Germany, I didn’t know anyone. You first have to get your foot in the door. I attended public events to make my life more interesting and to get to know people. Luckily, there’s a lot to do in Osnabrück, not only organised by the universities, but also the city itself. That allowed me to see what life was like in the city.

How do you finance your studies and living expenses in Osnabrück?

I have several part-time jobs with which pay for my studies. Here at the University of Osnabrück, I work as a student assistant at the “German History and Culture” courses in the summer and spring schools. I also had a great job coordinating the cultural programme “JoinOS”, a joint programme for foreign students at the University of Osnabrück and the University of Applied Sciences.

What do you like best about Osnabrück? Do you have a special tip or favourite place, and why?

The “student infrastructure” in Osnabrück is fantastic. You have everything you need for studying – inexpensive flats, a great dining hall, very good library, a wide range of sports at both universities and naturally numerous cultural events. All of the facilities are located close together and you can reach them quickly by bike or on foot. There are many greens and parks in town where you can relax after a long day of lectures. My favourite spot is the old Hasetor cinema – very charming and cosy.

Do you have any advice on how to get along with Germans?

Accept Germans the way they are! You go to another country to get to know a new culture and different way of life, so you have to expect that there’ll be differences and even misunderstandings. That makes one’s stay abroad all the more interesting!