Living in Heidelberg
Living and working in Heidelberg as an international doctoral candidate
Heidelberg University has an excellent academic reputation nationally and internationally and the city of Heidelberg has one of the highest standards of living in Germany. Therefore, it is not surprising that Heidelberg attracts doctoral candidates from all over the world. This page provides information about living in Heidelberg and working at the University as well as about services available to international doctoral candidates.
Finding housing in Heidelberg can be difficult as rents are high and there is a chronic shortage of suitable apartments and rooms. We hope that the following information is helpful to you in your housing search:
► Information flyer on housing
License Fee for Public Broadcasting Services (formerly known as GEZ)
Every household in Germany must pay a license fee of 17.50 Euro per month to support public broadcasting services. This includes apartments, dormitory rooms, houses etc. The fee is independent of the number of inhabitants and broadcasting devices (radios, televisions, computers, tablets, smartphones etc.) in the household. Please make sure to register within one month of moving in to your new room or apartment; failure to register and pay the license fee will result in monetary fines and legal problems. Please make sure to respond to any correspondence you receive from the "Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio". If you need assistance with the correspondence, you are welcome to contact the Graduate Academy Service Point.
► Information on the License Fee for Public Broadcasting
► Information flyer on the License Fee for Public Broadcasting (English)
Multifunctional Student ID
You can obtain a multifunctional Student ID by enrolling at the University.
The Student ID can be used:
- as a student identification card,
- as a library card at the University library,
- to access services at the library and computer center that require a login,
- to access and pay for services at the sports center,
- as a payment card for student services such as the cafeterias, the photocopy machines, the washing machines in student dormitories, at the central language laboratory etc.,
- as a free pass for the public transportation system (within a limited area, namely the whole VRN tariff zone, except for the Western Palatinate) on weekdays after 7 pm and all day on weekends and holidays.
► Uni Heidelberg: Student ID
Doctoral candidates who choose not to enroll at the University can obtain a guest card with limited functions. This card is available from the Studierendenwerk InfoCenter or InfoCafé International if you show your letter of admission from your faculty (Annahme als Doktorand) and pay a security deposit of 5 Euros. This limited guest card can be used only as a payment card.
► Studierendenwerk: CampusCard
Food and Drink
The Studierendenwerk’s four cafeterias and nine cafés provide a large variety of meals at reasonable prices.
The addresses, opening hours and menus are available on the website of the Studierendenwerk:
► Studierendenwerk: Eat and Drink
Mobility in Heidelberg
Getting around in Heidelberg and the metropolitan region is relatively easy. You can choose from various modes of transportation.
Multifunctional Student ID
The multifunctional Student ID you obtain when you enroll at the University also serves as a free pass for the public transportation system (Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar – VRN) within a limited area on weekdays after 7 pm and all day on weekends and holidays.
► Heidelberg University: Student ID
Information about the VRN transportation network, tickets and timetables:
► VRN (German)
The VRN Semesterticket can be purchased by all doctoral candidates who are enrolled at the University. The Semesterticket is valid for six months as of the date of purchase in the entire region covered by the VRN with the exception of the Westpfalz. You can purchase the Semesterticket at the VRN service center across from the main train station, at the Studierendenwerk InfoCenter or InfoCafé International or online.
► VRN-Semesterticket (German)
The Jobticket can be obtained by almost all University employees, including doctoral candidates who have a contract with the University as a research associate (wissenschaftlicher Angestellter) or as an academic assistant (wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft). Because the Jobticket is valid for a year, the employment contract must also run for at least twelve months. The Jobticket can be used in the entire region covered by the VRN.
► Heidelberg University: Jobticket (German)
► VRN-Jobticket (German)
Carsharing is available in Heidelberg through the Stadtmobil-Gruppe. The holders of annual or six-months passes from the VRN are eligible for a reduction in the registration fee and security deposit.
Women’s night taxi
The women’s night taxi allows women who live in Heidelberg to take a taxi between 11 pm and 6 am anywhere within the Heidelberg city limits for a flat rate of 9 Euros. Tickets must be obtained in advance from the Local Administration Office (Bürgeramt) and are valid for up to four eligible users travelling in the same direction.
► Frauen-Nachttaxi (German)
Bicycling is a popular mode of transport in Heidelberg – you can reach practically any destination in the city, including all parts of the University, by bike. It is possible to take your bike free of charge on the bus or tram on weekdays after 9 am and on weekends all day.
Information about second hand bicycles:
► Heidelberg University: Second hand bicycles
The public transportation company VRN offers bikes for rent in Heidelberg, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Speyer. There are many rental stations located throughout these cities, usually close to bus or tram stops. The rental bikes can be returned to any station within the area served by the VRN.
The self-help workshop URRmeL
The self-help workshop URRmeL provides tools and instructions to students who want to repair their bicycles themselves.
► Self-help workshop URRmeL (German)
Leisure activities, sports and culture
Heidelberg and the nearby cities Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Ludwigshafen offer a great variety of interesting cultural and leisure activities.
The courses provided by the university sports center are open to all doctoral candidates. If you are enrolled at the University, you can access and pay for the courses with your CampusCard. Doctoral candidates who are registered at their faculty can obtain a pass for the sports center by showing their letter of admission from the faculty (Annahme als Doktorand) and paying a fee of 5 Euro.
► Hochschulsport (university sports center) (German)
The following links provide information about movies, theater, cultural and sporting events and much more in the region.
► Gloria Kino Heidelberg (German)
► Heidelberg Aktuell (German)
► Naturpark Bergstraße Odenwald (German)
► Naturpark Neckartal Odenwald (German)
► Mannheim: Kultur erleben (German)
► Karlsruhe: Kultur (German)
► Heidelberg University: Sports & leisure activities
► Heidelberg University: Culture
Information for emergency situations
If you are in an emergency situation, you will need help quickly. The Graduate Academy has compiled an information brochure containing the most important contacts and information in case of an emergency.
► Emergency information for doctoral candidates
Doctoral candidates with children
If you have children, you can take advantage of the child care services provided by the Studierendenwerk and by the city of Heidelberg.
The Studierendenwerk also has some housing available especially for families and single parents. In order to use the Studierendenwerk services, doctoral candidates must either be enrolled at the University or have an employment contract with the University.
Kinderhausbüro / Service for Families der Universität Heidelberg
The Service for Families, part of the Office of Equal Opportunities, is the central advising office at Heidelberg University for questions regarding childcare, family issues and balancing a family and a career. The Children’s Center (Kinderhausbüro) offers childcare services covering a variety of ages and hours. Long-term, full-day childcare is available at the Crèche / Kinderkrippe 685, the Day Care Center / Kindertagesstätte INF 159, and the Kids-Club INF 370. There is a separate holiday care program to cover school vacations and holidays, a congress program to assist visiting scholars attending a conference in Heidelberg and even a backup service for short-term emergencies. The childcare services are all located on the campus in Neuenheimer Feld and have flexible hours that suit the working hours at the University.
Further information and advising:
► Kinderhausbüro / Service for Families at Heidelberg University
► Nursery management of the Studierendenwerk Heidelberg
Childcare services by the city of Heidelberg
► Additional childcare offers from the City of Heidelberg
► Children and Youth Office (Kinder- und Jugendamt) (German)
The Studierendenwerk offers particularly reasonable prices to doctoral candidates who are enrolled at the University.
Doctoral candidates with disabilities or chronic illness
The office for students with disabilities or chronic illness is happy to advise doctoral candidates about organising university life.
They give information on such issues as barrier-free access to campus buildings and access to technical aids and assistants. The office also provides information about barrier-free housing and living with a disability or chronic illness in general in Heidelberg.
► Commissioner for disabled and chronically ill students