The city of science with a unique quality of life. Heidelberg is a lively, international and cosmopolitan city of science and culture. Thanks to its stunning landscape, pleasant climate, outstanding infrastructure and urban flair, it offers its citizens a very high level of quality of life. As a pioneering location for science and education, as a business location with strong development, and as a cultural centre, Heidelberg plays a central role in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
Heidelberg – the city of science. Education has a long tradition in Heidelberg. As a city of science, it brings together many educational institutions and is home to Germany’s oldest university, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, which was named an elite university once again in June 2012. This award from the excellence initiative run by the federal and state governments is proof of Heidelberg’s top position as a city of science. The many other universities and academic and research institutions also based in Heidelberg have played their part in this as well. Around 35,000 students are registered at the four universities in Heidelberg, 29,000 of them at the University of Heidelberg itself. Heidelberg is also home to many internationally renowned research institutions, such as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and the four Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy, Comparative Public Law and International Law, Nuclear Physics and Medical Research.
Business location Heidelberg. Heidelberg is also an attractive city for both employers and employees. More than 55,000 commuters flood into the city every day. Academics from all over the world come to Heidelberg to teach and research. Heidelberg stands for science and scientific companies, as well as for a health economy with many small and medium-sized companies.
Healthy mix of business sectors. The city administration is strengthening Heidelberg as a business location in a targeted way and campaigning for new companies to settle here. With over 7,600 companies, of which over 90 per cent are service companies, Heidelberg harbours a healthy mix of sectors with many small and medium-sized companies. The largest employer is the university hospital and university. Around 60 per cent of jobs subject to social security payments in Heidelberg can be attributed to knowledge-intensive services and industrial high technology. Together with the university hospital, the university is Heidelberg’s largest employer, with more than 14,000 full-time employees. The very high proportion of academics in Heidelberg’s population – 20.9 per cent – is reflected here (average for Baden-Württemberg: 11.4 per cent).
Unique opportunities for the future. The release of the American military areas, the further development of Heidelberg as a science city and the good development of Bahnstadt with its innovative mixture of science, living and culture are future issues in town planning, which, as a whole, offer Heidelberg the opportunity of the century. The goal is to make sustainable development possible for current and future generations. In doing so, Heidelberg is relying on an open culture of discussion and dialogue with its guidelines for civic participation. The idea is that citizens’ views on large-scale future projects are listened to early and regularly.
Bahnstadt – one of the world’s largest passive house quarters. The new Bahnstadt quarter – the world’s largest passive house settlement – gives Heidelberg new space for living and working right in the centre of the city. The unique mix of residential and commercial properties, culture, leisure and science has already impressed large numbers of new inhabitants and users. Soon, 5,000 people will live and 7,000 work here, predominantly in research and science-based companies. A total of around two billion euros will be pumped into the quarter, located on the site of the former goods station.
Bahnstadt is one of the largest city development projects in all of Germany and has matured into a showcase project for the entire world. Along with a good social infrastructure, Bahnstadt offers ideal transport connections thanks to its central location.
Conversion offers unique prospects for city planning. The areas vacated by the US Army are also opening up unique prospects for city planning. Almost 200 hectares will become available for civilian use over the next few years, offering an outstanding opportunity for the city. The conversion and re-use of the sites is to be developed in cooperation with the citizens. The goal is to create vibrant and extremely mixed quarters with a high quality of life and attractive areas for science and business.
“Wissen schafft Stadt” – Internationale Bauausstellung for Heidelberg. With its tradition as a city of science, Heidelberg is hoping to develop further as a European model city in the knowledge-based society of the 21st century. This is happening as part of the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA). The IBA is a German format for construction culture and city development with over 100 years of tradition. Each IBA has a particular theme. In Heidelberg, it is being held under the heading “Wissen-schafft-Stadt” (knowledge makes a city). For ten years, it will be a laboratory of city development in the knowledge-based society in lively exchange with the city’s inhabitants. The IBA will end in 2022 with a large international closing presentation.
A city with a high quality of life. Heidelberg is not only a city of research and work, but it is also an attractive place to live and enjoy life, as well as being a popular tourist destination. It is a lively and creative city with a varied cultural scene. It offers an extensive range of childcare, leisure and educational services for all age groups. The historic old town, the traditional, evolved suburbs or the new urban quarters, such as Bahnstadt or the vacated American military bases, are all great places to live for both families and single people.
Heidelberg – one of the most creative cities. Heidelberg is one of the most creative cities in Germany. The city is promoting the cultural and creative economy in a targeted way. It is hoped that creative minds and artists of all kinds can find good conditions for their work in Heidelberg. This includes establishing and expanding Heidelberg as a city of literature, strengthening architecture and design and promoting new foundations in the cultural and creative industries.
A lively and varied cultural scene. Almost no other city of comparable size in Germany has such a varied cultural scene as Heidelberg. Large festivals such as “Heidelberger Frühling” international music festival, the “Heidelberger Stückemarkt”, “enjoy jazz” and the “International FilmFestival Mannheim-Heidelberg” radiate far beyond the region. The latest highlight to make waves across the entire city was the reopening of the city’s theatre.
A family-friendly city. As well as the economy, science and culture, the excellent range of services offered for families and children is also very attractive for young people and families. Heidelberg is a family-friendly city: at 47 per cent, Heidelberg boasts the highest number of children under three years in childcare facilities in western Germany. In addition, over one hundred per cent provision for three to six-year-olds and citywide after-school care for primary school children provide good opportunities for combining work with family life. For young families of academics in particular, these are important criteria when deciding where to set up home.
Strong when it comes to education. Heidelberg actively encourages life-long learning with a wide range of offers – from early childhood to seniors. According to the Lernatlas published by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Heidelberg is number one in Germany for school-based learning. There are 44 state and private schools – from primary schools to vocational colleges. Between 2007 and 2014, the city is investing 150 million euros in renovating school buildings. From pre-school to academic education, the next generation has the best opportunities in Heidelberg.
A popular city with three million guests every year. Last but not least, Heidelberg is also a popular city for tourism and for national and international conferences. Three million guests visit the city on the Neckar river every year. The number of overnight stays is well over a million each year; two thirds of overnight guests are business travellers and those attending conferences and congresses.
Heidelberg is a young city with a unique quality of life. It has no trouble in combining things which seem to be complete opposites: a pulsating city of science and yet still a worldwide symbol of romanticism; an environment close to nature and a lively cultural scene; a tourist highlight yet still a family-friendly and socially balanced place to live.