“My Leipzig will I praise! A little Paris, one that cultivates its people.”
(J. W. v. Goethe, Faust I)
The decision to study in Leipzig is a good one. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, possibly the city’s most famous student, even knew this. The New York Times annually publishes 31 destinations worldwide which one should absolutely visit. Not only does it elect Leipzig as the most interesting destination in Germany, but it also ranks the city as number 10, before Los Angeles and after Antarctica.
Leipzig is, today as then, a cosmopolitan, multidimensional and, first and foremost, a likeable major city spreading its provincial charm. Its inhabitants are tolerant and curious about all visitors. It offers excellent study and living conditions to the numerous students. You can study almost any subject at the Leipzig higher educational institutions, including its university. Rents are reasonable, libraries have modern facilities and there is a high density of cafés in the city.
New and historic, traditional and modern are intertwined. St. Nicholas Church, symbol of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, is located in the immediate vicinity of the 600-year old university. Also, St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach’s grave is situated, is only a few minutes away. Nestled in between these sights are sumptuous arcades and the impressive new building of the Museum of Fine Arts.
The self-image of the city has been forged by a strong bourgeoisie and a liberal world view over the centuries. The Leipzig fair was the first free trading place in the world and provided the city with cosmopolitan flair and great wealth. The splendid trading court arcades in the city centre, magnificent merchant buildings and entire living quarters which impress visitors and residents alike with its end of 19th century architecture, testify to it.
In more recent history, the city gained fame by its Peaceful Revolution of 1989, which eventually led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The courage of the Leipzig citizens in autumn ’89 brought about the political changes and created the prerequisites for the reunification of Germany.
Leipzig was and still is an attractive city for intellectuals and artists. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Wilhelm Ostwald, Max Beckmann and Bernhard Heisig – they all taught, studied or lived here. Currently names such as Neo Rauch, Josef Haslinger, Kurt Masur or Matthias Weischer establish the city’s reputation as a metropolis of arts and culture.
The university is the second oldest in Germany. At numerous higher educational and vocational schools, students can now be trained to become actors, musicians, artists, authors, directors to name but a few.
Today the diversity of the city impresses people with its mix of innovation and tradition. Leipzig calls itself the city of music with good reason. The 800-year history of the St. Thomas Choir is closely tied to Leipzig and the roots of the Gewandhaus Orchestra can be traced back to the 15th century. It is the blend of classical music tradition and the alternative music scene such as the music fair Pop Up or the world-famous music label Moon Harbour Recordings that makes the city unique. Contemporary art is showcased at the old industrial site of the cotton mill in the west of the city and has become firmly established within the international art scene.
Festivals and events such as, the Wave Gothic Meeting for the fans of dark music, the euro-scene for contemporary dance and theatre or the Designers' Open, a contemporary design fair, provide additional allure.
The hospitality industry in Leipzig excels in variety and affordable prices. You feel welcome at any of Leipzig’s hot spots, as hospitality has had a long tradition here after all.
On the following pages, you will find notes and hints that will facilitate the beginning of your stay in Leipzig.