Big city and country life, both are possible in Bielefeld. The city has a beautiful medieval old town and many green squares. Low prices and short distances make Bielefeld an ideal place for studying but also for family life.
Bielefeld was founded in the 9th century and was a regional trading center during the Middle Ages. The city became famous for its flax production. The economic importance of the city in the Middle Ages can still be seen in the Old Town and the Sparrenburg Castle. The town’s landmark is the mighty fortress Sparrenburg. Every year in July, the fortress, which was built in the 13th century, hosts a medieval festival and market. There you can meet fire-swallowers, eat a pig over the fire or make your own vase. The beautiful old town with its restored patrician houses, specialty stores and small boutiques is a great place to stroll. The New Town, on the other hand, offers shopping at large chain stores.
Nature lovers can hike the 160-kilometer Herrmansweg trail. It stretches from the Rheine to the Lippischer Velmerstot. It is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Germany. You pass through the Teutoburg Forest, the so-called “green lung” of Bielefeld.
Incidentally, the myth about Bielefeld has survived to this day. It may happen that Germans tell you that Bielefeld does not exist. The reason: 20 years ago, students from Bielefeld tried to see how fast the Internet spreads information. At that time, rumors started that “Bielefeld doesn’t exist”. The news spread “like mushrooms after the rain”, that is, very quickly. To this day, there are rumors that there is no such city on maps of Germany.
If you like both big city and country life, Bielefeld is the place for you. The best way to get around the city is by bicycle, as central points are nearby. You can also use the streetcar, which as a Bielefeld University student you can use for free.
Rental prices in Bielefeld are relatively cheap. A room in a shared apartment near the city center usually costs between 250 and 350 euros, depending on the size, and you can even find a place in a dorm for less than 170 euros.
Bielefeld has a lot to offer in terms of culture. The Carnival of Cultures is a colorful carnival parade, and you can let yourself drift through the streets to rousing music. In the summer, there is an open-air cinema in Ravensberger Park, where you can watch current films as well as classics. The city’s rich cultural offerings include numerous museums, countless independent theaters, and various choirs.
Oetkerpark in the western part of the city is particularly popular with students on sunny days, as are Sparrenburgpromenade and Nordpark. On warm summer evenings, many people sit out late into the night on Siegfriedplatz or in one of the many cafes in the western part of Bielefeld or in the city center. There are many small and large cafes that are reasonably priced and have something for everyone, whether it’s chic, rustic, café-style or student-style. At “Ferdis Pizza Pinte”, the oldest student-run place in Bielefeld, you can have pizza, salads and other international dishes. You can also sit at the “Hechelei” and have a cocktail. Hechelei is located next to an old spinning mill, so it is worth a visit if only for the interesting building itself!
Bielefeld has something for every musical taste, rock, pop or electro. Admission is cheap everywhere and averages 5 euros. The university and the Fachhochschule also host a lot of events. The Westend Party, which takes place at the beginning of the semester, is Germany’s largest indoor student party. Around 10,000 people attend, and it’s a university party that is well known even far beyond Bielefeld’s borders.