Life in Aachen is defined partly by the student atmosphere centered on its elite university, but there's more to the city than that. Aachen's location at several borders creates a uniquely cosmopolitan environment.
Settlements at Aachen have been dated back to more than 5,000 years
Life in Aachen is greatly influenced by the city's geographic location. Everywhere you turn, you can hear fragments of conversations in Dutch, French, Flemish and English. Apart from the large number of foreign tourists, the local students also inject a dose of cosmopolitanism into the city.
The hotspot for going out: Pontstrasse
Pontstrasse is Aachen's main street for bars and nightlife. It's a good place to be after dark, filled with numerous bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Although the inner city also has some bars and cafes on offer, most students prefer to meet up in Pontstrasse.
International meeting point INCAS
All organization-related queries that foreign students might have can be answered at the International Office. For the less official questions, there's the Intercultural Center of Aachen Students (INCAS). The staff there can help you find accommodation, invite you to the "International Evening" on Tuesdays, organize excursions and arrange language partnerships. The main language spoken in the office is German, but the staff members can also speak many other languages.
Accommodation in Aachen
Aachen offers numerous shared apartments for students, in which you can also stay for a short period of time. However, if you're after an even cheaper alternative, you can try getting a place in one of the dorms. It's important to arrange this well ahead of time, though, because the waiting time can be up to nine months. This is especially the case in the winter semester, when many students are looking for apartments at the same time.
Culture, horses and Carnival
Aachen has four movie theaters, one theater, numerous smaller performance venues and several museums. And during the so-called "fifth season," celebrated in the period leading up to Lent, the city adopts an unusual frame of mind as it celebrates carnival under the motto "fun in joy." Also on the cultural events calendar is the annual World Equestrian Festival CHIO - a renowned international tournament, which attracts equestrian champions from all over the world.
Not far from Aachen, in the middle of a forest, is the famous border triangle or so-called "Dreilaendereck." This is where the German, Belgian and Dutch borders meet. On a bicycle, you can get there in about 10 minutes, while walking takes a little longer. Almost everyone who studies in Aachen visits this spot at least once. After all, where else can you stand - with a little physical flexibility - in three countries at once?
Into the green
Whoever has had enough of the city can escape to nature - and nature begins right in the city center. The Lousberg park has lawns, alleys and several look-out points from which you can get a good view of the city and its surroundings. The park is especially popular in the summer. Those who desire even more open space can take a trip to the nearby Eifel plateau. In the summer, you can go hiking here, and in the winter, you can go sledding.
Author: Anna Grabowski