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Weimar: The Cultural Heart of Germany

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, the Bauhaus – Weimar is famous for its illustrious artistic and cultural history. Weimar also offers everything a student needs to study and live – vibrant campus life, cultural diversity, lots of nature and short distances.

by Dominik Brüggemann

Goethe Schiller Monument © Brüggemann/DAAD
Goethe Schiller Monument . © Brüggemann/DAAD

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
63,000
Students:
5,100
Universities:
2
Monthly rent:
104€ - 298€
Tip:
Chill in the park on the Ilm River between classes!
Website:
www.weimar.de

Welcome to Weimar

The quaint town of Weimar is located between the cities of Erfurt and Jena in the state of Thuringia. Culturally speaking, Weimar has played an enormously important role in Germany’s history. Following World War I, the “Weimar Constitution” formed the basis for Germany’s first democratic government, provisions of which still exist in the present constitution. And in recognition of its cultural significance, Classical Weimar was added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998. For this reason, droves of tourists come to visit Weimar every year.

Indeed, tourism is now one of the main pillars of Weimar’s economy. Tour groups, day-visitors and tourists, pulled along in horse-drawn carriages, marvel at the city and its numerous historic sites. Many people are employed in the service sector and cater to the guests. But even apart from the touristic attractions, there’s always a lot going on in town.

Market square © Brüggemann/DAAD
Market square . © Brüggemann/DAAD

You can reach Weimar very well by car or Intercity Express train (ICE). The busses will take to most destinations in town quickly. But it’s even easier to get around Weimar by bike. The routes are short and the quaint historic city centre is relatively small.

The best known museums and historic sites are located in the centre of town. In front of the Deutsches Nationaltheater (DNT), you’ll see the famous statue of Germany’s national poets Goethe and Schiller. The Goethe Residence and the Goethe National Museum are located nearby, as is the Schiller Residence, formerly inhabited by the poet Friedrich Schiller.

Bauhaus Museum © Brüggemann/DAAD
Bauhaus Museum . © Brüggemann/DAAD

The Bauhaus Museum is definitely worth visiting. There you will learn all about the legendary history of the Bauhaus and its school of architecture. Weimar is also home to the famous Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, a centre of creative architecture and technical design. You will find the more musically inclined and gifted students at the University of Music Franz Liszt.

The Buchenwald concentration camp, now a national memorial site, is located near Weimar, and there’s a bus line that can take you there.

Weimar is also an important centre for the media branch. A large newspaper and a radio and TV broadcaster have their headquarters in Weimar. So if you’re interested in studying Media, then you’ll have several potential employers at your doorstep.

More photos

Living in Weimar

Although Weimar is one of the smaller university towns in Germany, its students are extremely active. The campus is close to the centre of town. You can apply for a room in the student residence hall, centrally located at Jakobsplan. You’ll find numerous small cafés and pubs, like the “Planbar”, all around campus. The most popular student meeting place is the “M18” – the student union in Weimar. Inside there’s a small café and student advisors who can answer any questions you have.

My tip

The Park on the Ilm River is a super place to chill between classes. There are meadows where you can play sports or simply dip your feet into the Ilm. If you need some relaxation, you’ll definitely find it in this beautiful park in Weimar!

You’ll find a number of useful shops and stores in the pedestrian zone around the Theaterplatz. In addition to clothing stores, a cinema and bookshops, there are also numerous souvenir shops where you’re certain to find a little something to remember Weimar by.

If you want to play sports, Weimar has a lot to offer. The swimming pools at the Schwanseebad are a perfect way to cool down. Both the indoor and outdoor pools are open every day of the week. The Stadtsportbund is an umbrella organisation for numerous sport clubs in Weimar. On the website, you can search for various sports which appeal to you. Joining a sports club is an easy way to meet people in Weimar.

Interview with Alya from Russia

Alya Grishko is 26 years old and comes from Russia. She studied Media Architecture at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

Alya from Russia © private
Alya from Russia . © private

Why did you decide to study in Weimar?

Because I got my diploma in Architecture in Moscow, I had naturally heard about the famous Bauhaus in Weimar during my studies. On the DAAD website, I learned that the Bauhaus-Universität offered a post-graduate degree programme in “Media Architecture”. That was just the thing I wanted to study.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

First of all, I realised I would have to speak German to enrol in this degree programme, at least at the B1 level. To be honest, I couldn’t speak a word of German back then. It was a huge challenge for me to learn German fast and thoroughly. I attended a German course at the Goethe-Institut in Moscow for an entire year and also had private lessons. After a year I was able to apply!

What should a student, who is planning to come to Germany, take care of before departing?

In my opinion, it’s very important to be able to speak a little German and be prepared to submerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture. I’d also recommend traveling to Germany ahead of time at least once to make sure it’s really the right country for you.

Bauhaus University © Brüggemann/DAAD
Bauhaus University . © Brüggemann/DAAD

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

I realised I was totally lost when faced with some of the small things. For example, when I wanted to go the doctor and drove to the hospital (“Klinikum”). In Russia, a “Klinikum” is the place where all the doctors have their offices and you can find one quickly. But in Germany, the physicians have their own practices, located all around town. At first, I felt so helpless. It was a little difficult in the beginning, but after three months, things got better.

How did you find a place to stay? Do you have any advice for others who are looking for accommodation?

I got my first accommodation through the Studentenwerk – in a student residence hall. I’ve moved several times since then, and now I’m living in a flat-share (WG). It’s nicer there – more comfortable and homey. What’s more, a WG offers you better chances to try German food or improve your German if you speak German to your flatmates.

What do you especially like about Weimar?

Having lived in Moscow, I can definitely say that I like the fact that everything is so close in Weimar. You can bike from one end of Weimar to the other under 30 minutes. And the routes you take are very short. My advice to future students and visitors – go to the M18, an organisation for students. It’s a great place, full of nice people and good coffee.

What makes Weimar a good place for students?

In my opinion, Weimar is a very special place. It’s the town of Goethe and Schiller, the Bauhaus and the tragic history of the Buchenwald concentration camp. It’s chock full of history and culture, artists, architects, musicians, and simply nice people.