Lange lieb ich dich schon, möchte dich, mir zur Lust,
Mutter nennen und dir schenken ein kunstlos Lied,
Du, der Vaterlandsstädte Ländlichschönste,
so viel ich sah.(...)
Friedrich Hölderlin, 1895
Heidelberg, former capital of the Palatinate, lies in the lovely Neckar valley, south of the Odenwald, and is distinguished by its particularly mild climate. Over the years, Heidelberg’s beauty has drawn a number of poets, painters and scientists, and today is one of the most written about cities in Germany. In the early 19th century, the city on the Neckar became the most important centre of German Romanticism. Inextricably linked with this epoch are the poets Arnim, Bretano, Goethe and Eichendorff. Even today, the oldest university in Germany (est. 1385) continues to attract many students and counts as one of the most important seats of academic learning in Europe. In the renowned Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), it was ranked as Germany’s top university in a worldwide comparative survey.
Many monuments bear witness to a diverse history. Sitting approximately 70 metres above the river Neckar, the city’s landmark, the elector’s castle, rises from the slope of Königstuhl, its very own mountain. Its ruins belong to one of the most impressive sights to behold on any tour of Germany. Anyone climbing up to the castle first passes through the gate into the garden, the famous "Hortus Palatinus,” created at the beginning of the 17th century. From the castle garden, there is a wonderful view of Heidelberg and, across the Neckar, the Philosophers’ Walk. In the inner courtyard are fascinating buildings dating back to a variety of epochs, as well as the Grand Terrace. Situated in the Royal Wine Cellar is the world’s largest barrel, which, it has been documented, was filled with over 220,000 litres of wine. Only Perkeo, the gnome-like guard of the barrel, was undaunted by its size. When asked if he could drink the barrel dry, his answer was a nonchalant “Perché no”- why not? – a response from which he came to earn his name.
A walk round the Old Town will reveal outstanding ornamental facades and portals. The heart of the Old Town is the market place, with the church of the Holy Ghost and the grand renaissance house “Zum Ritter”. Leading away from the church of the Holy Ghost are many old alleys with pubs and restaurants. Spanning the Neckar, the Old Bridge is one of the most beautiful in Germany. The surrounding area too, with its castles in the Neckar valley, old cultivated landscape along the Upper Rhine and mountains of the Odenwald, offers an array of experiences for visitors from all over the world. Heidelberg is also easy to access, being only 90 km from Frankfurt airport and 120 km from Stuttgart.
The name Heidelberg also stands for a modern and internationally renowned location for science and business. As a result, Heidelberg is home to, among others, the “Ruperto Carola” University, with its rich tradition, the Academy of Sciences, the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), five Max Planck institutes, the European Laboratory for Molecular Biology (EMBL), the Print Media Academy of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, the SAS Institute and many other international companies’ research centres. This concentration of sciences is unparalleled in Germany and forms the basis for a dynamic, science-orientated economy, which elevates Heidelberg, despite its modest population of 145,000, to its position as one of Germany’s leading economic centres. In September 2008, two of the five winners of a national competition for new technologies came from the Rhine-Neckar region; thus the region can be seen as the number one location for innovation in Germany.
Heidelberg is also one of Germany’s major cultural centres, to which the extraordinary number of museums and theatres testify. Together with the affiliated neighbouring cities, Heidelberg offers a generous variety of cultural events of national significance: Heidelberg Castle Festival, Heidelberg Literature Days, the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg, Heidelberg Spring, Heidelberg ‘Stückemarkt’ Theatre and Drama festival, Photo-Festival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg, Enjoy Jazz, the International Festival for Jazz and more, the Festival of German Film, the Mannheim Mozart Summer, the Schwetzingen Festival, the Nibelung Festival in Worms, the International Street Theatre Festival, Wunder der Prärie (dance, theatre and art), and the Ludwigshafen Festival. See also F+U leisure and cultural programme.
See external links about Heidelberg, official website and tourist information.
Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar - Internationale Fach- und Führungskräfte