Can intelligence be passed on through osmosis? If it can, a trip to Göttingen could be the ticket to enhancing your intellectual prowess. Home to the famed Georg-August University, it has churned out no less than 43 Nobel Prize winners, and a roster of notable alumni that includes the Brothers Grimm and Otto Von Bismarck. Besides its scholarly laurels, Göttingen is also rich in cultural heritage. Once a wealthy, medieval town, its old market square still boasts of structures from the 14th to 18th centuries. Also, with its youthful population, the town is always alive with theater productions, concerts, and a vibrant night life.
Location: Right in the Center of Germany
Located in Lower Saxony, Germany, Göttingen was one of the wealthier medieval towns in the district. Today, it is known as a picturesque university town with majestic views of the Harz Mountains and the River Leine running through it. The charm of Göttingen lies in the way the past and present co-exist: old medieval structures have been turned into lively student pubs, and the market square now houses the central shopping district. Its proximity to larger cities is also a plus: Hanover is 30 minutes away, Frankfurt 2 hours, and Berlin 3 hours.
Business: Science and Engineering
Göttingen has two major industries apart from education: optical and precision-engineered machinery. It is base to big German companies like Carl Zeiss, Inc. and Sartorius AG. The Max Planck Society, a German organization for scientific research, was founded here.
Culture: Youth and Kisses
With its youthful vibe and student population, Göttingen’s culture, though highly intellectual, is also playful. When you take a trip to the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus), make sure you look for the statue of the Gänseliesel (Goose Girl). It is Göttingen’s tradition for newly graduated PhDs to be carted here in their togas and caps to lay a peck on this statue’s cheek, making the Gänseliesel the “most kissed girl” in the world.
Activities: Museums, Art Exhibits, Orchestras, and Taverns
In Göttingen, there is something to do for everyone. For the more cerebrally inclined, the Göttingen City Museum houses an impressive exhibit. For the art enthusiast, the Altes Rathaus offers art shows and symphony orchestras. For the history buff, there are several medieval structures and churches to look at. One of these is the Jacobikirche (St. James Church), which has an interior not unlike a barber pole, stained glass windows, and an impressive Ott pipe organ. Finally, for the more laidback traveler, the shopping district Weender Street will give many opportunities, not only for shopping but for people watching as well. The underground bar Trou is also worth a try—once a student jail, it is now one of the most popular drinking spots in town.