Leipzig: A lighthouse in eastern Germany

Home to universities and research centers, plenty of culture and nightlife, the world’s oldest trade fair and a growing local economy — Leipzig stands out in eastern Germany.

City profile

Leipzig is eastern Germany’s most populated city, with over 500,000 inhabitants. Situated in the northwest of Saxony-Leipzig impresses with its beautifully renovated historical city center, complete with picturesque alleys and larger pedestrian areas lined with fashionable shops and cafés. The city also boasts a long tradition of business and learning: The Leipzig Trade Fair, which began in the Middle Ages, is the oldest trade fair in the world, and the University of Leipzig, founded in 1409, is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Leipzig is also home to three Max-Planck Institutes (for anthropology, neuroscience and mathematics) as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology and the Fraunhofer Center for Central and Eastern Europe. 

Overview of universities

University of Leipzig

About over 30,000 students currently attend the 14 departments at the University of Leipzig; among its alumni are such famous names as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The school is well-known for its expertise in natural science: Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics and chemistry have taught here, and the psychology department is one of the most renowned in Germany. The media departments have made quite a name for themselves, as well, with prominent public relations and journalism programs. The university offers bachelors, masters, doctoral and post-doctoral programs.


Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (HGB)
The work of artists from the New Leipzig School varies in content, style and quality, but the painters “share a technical skill, a devotion to figurative art and a predilection for dry-eyed, melancholy subject matter,” the New York Times wrote about the phenomenon.


University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”

Founded in 1843, the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” was the first music school in Germany. Students can enroll in artistic and teacher training in all orchestral instruments; classes teach piano chamber music, orchestral conducting, composition, jazz, pop, church music and more. In addition, the school’s drama department offers acting and dramaturgy courses. With roughly about 500 shows a year, the university offers its students possibilities to test their musical and dramatic development in front of a real audience. The university’s orchestra is famous for its guest conductors, which have included Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt and Fabio Luisi. The programs lead to bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees.


Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTKW)

The students at the HTKW can take courses in subjects ranging from engineering to the cultural sciences. This range mirrors Leipzig's economic traditions and strengths in commerce, book publishing and printing and, more recently, in the media and services industries. The HTWK has built up an especially strong reputation in the areas of IT/communications, media technologies and construction — which covers quite a broad field, including civil engineering, architecture and industrial engineering.


Did you know?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe studied law in Leipzig between 1765 and 1768. A scene from his closet drama Faust made the Auerbach's Keller restaurant world-famous.

The peaceful revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall started in Leipzig in September 1989, when citizens of the former GDR marched for freedom and democracy. The so-called ‘Monday Demonstrations’ were repeated all over the GDR and culminated in the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Things to check out

Be sure to visit Leipzig Zoo, the second-oldest zoo in the world, and one of the most innovative: Officials launched an ambitious remodeling project that is intended to transform the Leipzig Zoo into several continental regions so animals can be seen in their natural habitat. Pongoland, for example, has 30,000 square meters of tropical habitat housing orangutans, gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees;

Leipzig is famous for its bustling nightlife. The city has numerous and varied restaurants, bars and clubs, including the largest student bar in Germany — the Moritzbastei. The Moritzbastei today is the city’s main venue for Indie pop/rock concerts and dance parties.

Useful links

The International Center of the University of Leipzig helps foreign students

Cheap student housing in Leipzig

Leipzig Tourist Service — all you need to know about the city