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Trossingen: A musical town in the Black Forest

Deep in the Black Forest lies the historical town of Trossingen. If you’re interested in studying in a picturesque setting with a long tradition of instrument-making, then Trossingen is the place for you.

by Janine Funke

University of Music © Janine Funke
University of Music . © Janine Funke

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
15,034
Students:
485
Universities:
1
Monthly rent:
300 €
Tip:
Visit the dinosaur excavation site and the dinosaur museum!
Website:
www.trossingen.de

Welcome to Trossingen

The route to Trossingen takes you through Germany’s most beautiful forests: the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) and the Swabian Alb in southwest Germany. The Black Forest is the largest mountainous region in Germany and the Swabian Alb leads directly to the foothills of the Alps. This region has been inhabited for almost 2,000 years, which is why you’ll certainly encounter a lot of history on your way there and in Trossingen itself.

City Hall Trossingen © Janine Funke
City Hall Trossingen . © Janine Funke

If you take the train, you will arrive directly in the centre of town. From there you can either walk to the important sites, or even better, take a bike. Strolling through the quiet and idyllic streets of Trossingen, you will pass the Türmle (Little Tower), the town’s best-known landmark, the Jugendstil city hall and numerous historical and recently built church buildings.

Today Trossingen is best known for being a musical town. In the 19th century, it was home to the world’s largest harmonica industry. More than 30 million harmonicas were produced there! That’s why it is not surprising that a university of music was established in Trossingen in the middle of the 20th century. Today its reputation attracts students from around the world.

Life in Trossingen

Trossingen has a familiar atmosphere which is ideal for relaxing, as well as for studying. Gauger Lake, located just outside of town, is surrounded by hiking trails and a wildlife enclosure. You can also take countless hikes over the mountains and through the valleys of the Black Forest and Swabian Alb. And in the summertime, the Naturbad Troase is the perfect place to go sunbathing and swimming.

Museum © Janine Funke
Museum . © Janine Funke

My tip

There’s a dinosaur excavation site in Trossingen with its own dinosaur museum. It’s definitely worth a visit!

If you’re not in the mood to take excursions into nature, you can always visit one of the museums in town. At the German Harmonica Museum, there are some 25,000 different harmonicas on display, and visitors of the Museum Auberlehaus can become better acquainted with the history of the region. Every year at Pentecost, Trossingen puts on one of its largest festivals of the year: the Trossinger Pentecost Market which draws numerous guests from around the region. If you’d like to get acquainted with local traditions, then you’ve come to the right place! As one might expect in such a musical town, Trossingen hosts numerous music festivals that are definitely worth seeing, like the accordion festival "Akkordeon-Grenzenlos". And after a long day, you can wind down at the Brauhaus Krokodil. The Krokodil is a popular meeting place for students in town.

Interview with Giulia Guarneri from Italy

Guilia is 26 years old and comes from the Italian city of Piacenza. She studies Organ and Singing at the Trossingen University of Music.

Giulia from Italy © Janine Funke
Giulia from Italy . © Janine Funke

Why did you want to study Organ and Singing in Germany?

My chamber music instructor in Italy is an Erasmus advisor. He had studied here himself ten years ago and had had a very good experience. He recommended that I go to Trossingen. I myself wanted to study abroad at some point during my studies, and so I was very happy to have the opportunity. I’ve been here since October 2015 and I hope to stay here longer after my Erasmus year ends in July 2016.

What do you especially like about Trossingen and the degree programme here?

First of all, the instructors are very nice and the programme is incredibly interesting and varied. I can take courses here that aren’t offered at my university in Italy, such as “Breathing” or “Posture Training”. Secondly, the university is very well organised and offers many opportunities that go beyond academics. For example, you can take sports courses like Yoga, Zumba and Pilates or get involved in AStA, the organisation that represents the students at a university. In Italy, students only go to university to practice and take lessons, but here in Trossingen, they also go there to meet their friends. In between lectures, for example, we play a pick-up game of football or just relax in one of the sitting corners. The University of Music does a lot for our social life!

How did you prepare for your studies in Germany?

When I got accepted, the International Office contacted me and gave me the address of my student hall of residence. I called them about getting a room, and they assigned me one. The residence hall is very inexpensive, but it’s a little far away. It’s also not too hard to find a flat share in town.

When did you start learning German?

I first started learning German here at the adult education centre (Volkshochschule). For Erasmus study visits, it’s not absolutely necessary to speak German. The university is very international and everyone speaks English. But you do need a German language certificate to enrol in a full bachelor’s or master’s degree programme. And since I want to stay here, I’ll need such a certificate, and so I’m learning German very intensively right now.

Marketplace © Janine Funke
Marketplace . © Janine Funke

Is it hard for you to learn German?

No, not really. It’s pretty simple to learn German as long as you speak German to lots of people here. But then you have to be open to speaking with others. I’ve got lots of German friends with whom I speak German, and that’s why I’m learning very fast.

How do you like Trossingen as a university town?

At first I didn’t like Trossingen at all. But now I think it’s a great place to study. It has everything you need actually: A shopping centre, swimming pool, fitness studio, restaurants and pubs. The student dining hall is also very good and not too expensive, like life in town in general. In addition, Trossingen is located very close to Switzerland and not too far away from Italy either. But you definitely need a car to do things. That’s a problem sometimes.

What would you recommend to students who come to Trossingen?

I’d definitely recommend that they take along warm clothes for the winter. It’s also a good idea to buy a bike as soon as your arrive. With a bike, you can get around easily.