Facts about Heidelberg
With its glorious natural setting, the harmonious ensemble consisting of castle, old town and river set in the midst of hills, Heidelberg is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Every year millions of tourists are drawn to experience Heidelberg's mystique. Heidelberg was included in the preliminary German list for registration as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The city of the oldest university in Germany (established in 1386) looks back on over 800 years of history. Modern Heidelberg attracts people with its forward-looking science and research activities, is a quickly growing business location and the lively centre of the Rhine Neckar Triangle. Open-mindedness and internationality characterize the city on the Neckar that has cultivated town twinning relationships all over the world.
Life in Heidelberg
Around 150,000 people live in Heidelberg. Most of them have something positive to say if you ask them how they feel about living here: Nine out of ten Heidelberg residents feel particularly at ease in their city and two thirds even feel closely attached to Heidelberg.
A young old City
Young vigor flourishes in Heidelberg where one in five residents is a student. Naturally, Heidelberg's vibrant Old Town with its bistros, bars, boutiques, coffeehouses, cinemas and cultural meeting-places “ located right below the majestic ancient castle “ has nothing of a museum. Popular meeting-points are the cultural center Karlstorbahnhof (concerts, theater, cinema, parties and more), music clubs such as "Billy Blues", "Cave 54" (Germany's oldest student jazz club), "Schwimmbad Music Club" or "Musikfabrik Nachtschicht".
The Heidelberg City Hall is both the centre of local politics and the centre of the Heidelberg City Administration. The administrative bodies of the City are the City Council and the Lord Mayor.
The City Council meets regularly in the Council Chamber of the City Hall. Its 40 members were last elected in the local government elections of 13 June 2004.
Lord Mayor Dr Eckart Würzner is Chairman of the City Council and Director of the City Administration. He was directly elected in October 2006 for a term of 8 years.
Each one of Heidelberg's 13 city districts is represented by a District Council. The Foreigners' Council/Migrants' Council represents the interests of foreign residents of Heidelberg. It advises the City Council on questions concerning foreign residents.
The City Youth Council is a very recent institution. It took up its work in January 2006 and represents the interests of Heidelberg's pupils.
The Heidelberg City Administration consists of the 4 Departments "General Administration", "Building and Traffic", "Family, Social Welfare and Culture" and "Integration, Equal Opportunities and Citizens' Services"; 38 offices are assigned to these Departments. In addition to his overall responsibilities, the Lord Mayor is in charge of one department ("General Administration") as is each of the three Deputy Mayors.
Heidelberg, the university town rich in tradition, has turned into a future-oriented business location. World-famous enterprises such as Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, HeidelbergCement, ABB, MLP, SAS Institute, Springer Science and Lamy, the writing instrument manufacturer, are based here. Together with dynamic young enterprises such as LION bioscience AG they characterize this economic location situated in the Rhine Neckar Triangle. More than 80 per cent of the Heidelberg enterprises work in the service sector. Heidelberg is the centre of the BioRegion Rhine Neckar Triangle.
City of Science with elite university
Heidelberg hosts the oldest university in Germany which was distinguished, in October 2007, as an elite university. This distinction presented to the university by the 'Excellence Initiative' of the Federal and Laender governments confirms Heidelberg's leading position as city of science. The University, which is also called "Ruperto Carola" is going to celebrate its 625th anniversary in 2011. Several institutes of the university provide an internship for participants of the International Summer Science School.
Numerous colleges and research institutions are also based in Heidelberg:
The Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (University of Jewish Studies) was founded in Heidelberg in 1979. It is aimed at researching and studying Jewish culture, history and religion in Germany.
The Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg (College of Education) was established in 1904 and since then has developed into a modern academic institution with over 4,000 students.
SRH Hochschule Heidelberg (SRH College) offers a wide variety of practical courses of studies, ranging from architecture to commercial law.
As a center for science, Heidelberg is home to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and 4 Max-Planck-Institutes.