Göttingen: A university with a city

There's some truth to the notion that Göttingen isn't a city with a university but rather a university with a city.

City profile

Yet unlike other cities, Göttingen was never marginalized — thanks to the international connections of its university. Despite its small size, the city has a cosmopolitan flair to it. Guests from other parts of the world are nothing out of the ordinary and foreign languages can be heard everywhere.
Just like Tübingen, Heidelberg or Freiburg, Göttingen is a city whose character has been forged by its university. It’s the prototypical student town, bustling with pubs and street cafes, thousands of bicycles and even more students. Academic genius is commemorated everywhere — on statues and memorial plaques all over the romantic center of the town. Göttingen is a unique town with an intriguing combination of idyllic tranquility and a strong sense of activity.

Overview of the universities

Georg-August Universität of Göttingen
Its history of attracting academic genius is just as impressive — 45 Nobel Prize laureates have studied or lectured in Göttingen as well as many other famous professors or students, such as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Otto von Bismarck and Wilhelm von Humboldt, who later set up the University of Berlin.

The academic tradition continues today. The University of Göttingen has developed into a modern university, offering a wide range of courses in 170 departments and a comfortable study environment in the new campus just outside the old city center, where most classes are held. In addition to the traditional departments like physics, chemistry, law and medicine, there are four Max-Planck Institutes and countless special research institutes, including the newly founded Göttingen Center for Molecular Organic Sciences and the Center for Tropical Research.

University of Applied Sciences Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen 

The “HAWK” educates engineers in the high-demand technology, natural sciences and resource management sectors. It's spread over three cities and offers 16 bachelor degree and 16 master degree courses of study in six faculties and one department. Currently, over 5,500 students are enrolled, and they're taken care of by an impressive number of about 200 professors and many more assistant lecturers. It's a family-friendly university with a model day-care service.

The Private University of Applied Sciences Göttingen (PFH)

This is a private, state-accredited university that offers both practice-oriented teaching and research in the areas of management, innovation and technology. It's aimed at training qualified junior managers, and as current university rankings in newspapers such as DIE ZEIT show, it's one of the leading universities in the field of economics.

Did you know?

The “most-kissed girl in the world” comes from Göttingen. It's a statue called “Gänseliesel” and it stands smiling on the fountain in the market place. By tradition every post-graduate student who attains his doctorate must kiss the cool beauty. 

Göttingen Mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was one of the most familiar faces to Germans until 2002. His portrait graced the 10-Deutschmark bill, but his fame vanished with the introduction of the Euro in 2002.

Things to check out

Göttingen's town hall is the architectural gem of the city. The building dates back to the 13th century and it has been altered and expanded time and time again throughout the centuries. There are many decorative details worth seeing. The town council moved into new offices in 1978 and now the old building serves as headquarters of the Tourist Office. 

The “Café Botanik” is a popular place to have breakfast. It's situated within the confines of the Botanical Gardens near the center of the city, which makes for nice post-meal walks. Just keep in mind that the place is usually packed. 

The “theater for young audiences” (Junges Theater) caters to Göttingen's student crowd. It's the city's second theater venue after the more traditional “Deutsches Theater” and the shows tend to be more experimental. Sometimes these experiments include the audience — so don't blame us for not warning you.

Useful links

A comprehensive website for everyone interested in studying at Göttingen. The page offers an overview of various institutions and gives useful tips for foreigners.  

The Studentenwerk provides students with affordable living spaces and offers a range of services for international students.

The Office of Student Affairs is a good address for foreign students with questions. They give advice and information about applying and acceptance, visas, financing, studying and living in Göttingen.