I'm looking to study abroad and there is this master in Saarbrücken which I really like. The problem I find with it is that it doesn't look like a big city at all. I've been living in Barcelona for the past three years and I was looking for a smaller city.

However, I really like living a cosmopolitan life in a city with lots of cultural offer and festivals, music, night life... I was wondering, is Saarbrücken as bland as it seems? For what I've been able to find it looks more like a small town in the middle of nowhere.

So, is Saarbrücken worth moving to, or is it just a more or less little city with almost nothing to do in it?

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    I used to pass through there a lot. It's not really in the middle of nowhere as much as it is convenient to lots of places with traditional European character. Having Mainz, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Nancy, etc all within about an hour is nothing to sneeze at.
    – Gayot Fow
    Aug 21 '15 at 11:15
  • a cosmopolitan "live" in berlin ? good joke. berlin is far from being international, and don't start with tech companies and the so called art scene, that is just a very insignificant part of what is going on there, in the ocean of hartz IV empfanger, of provincial germans who act design savvy and "international" and depressed expats who have been lured in the disneyland and found a city with no good jobs and perspective.
    – mikado
    Mar 2 '17 at 11:44
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    "Is Saarbrücken worth living in?". Obviously not, given that its suicide rate is almost 100%. Oh wait, that's not true. In fact, a couple of hundred thousand people do think it is worth living in. That Title question really needs to be reworded. Oct 17 '19 at 13:09

Saarbrücken is indeed a middle-size town. It is certainly no Berlin and also smaller than Hamburg, Munich, Cologne or Frankfort. But I don't quite agree with ectomorph and do not think that it is as bad as it sounds or much worse than Göttingen or Heidelberg. Having lived in an actual small town or two (and even briefly in a village), I certainly don't think there is nothing to do in Saarbrücken.

As far as location is concerned, it's not in the middle of nowhere at all. The area is actually quite densely populated, with a string of middle-size towns, and not so far from Luxembourg, Metz, Nancy and very well connected to Paris. By comparison, Berlin (where I lived for some time as well) is much farther away from anything interesting (apart from itself, obviously). If there is a town in the middle of nowhere in Germany, then that's Berlin!

As far as culture is concerned, Saarbrücken is the capital city of Saarland so probably offers more than you would expect from a town this size, including a theatre/opera house, concerts, etc. It also has a university, some student life, some cinemas showing non-dubbed films so here again, not a metropolis or a “cool town” but not completely dull.

The most striking (and potentially off-putting) characteristic of Saarbrücken and the Saarland, compared to places like Göttingen, Heidelberg (which feels like a fairy tale town frozen in time for the benefit of tourists) and countless middle-size German towns is that the region was deeply marked by heavy industry and its steep decline. You still see many traces of it in the landscape (including huge ironworks that are now a museum and cultural venue in Völklingen).

And in spite of all the effort to foster new activities (including a few small tech companies on the university campus and the province much touted “Frankreich-Strategie”), it never completely recovered. So you can easily see that it's poorer than many other parts of the country.

  • Thnx for the insight. This seems a more detailed review. I guess I am looking for a "cool town", living somewhere else I feel trapped.
    – Athe
    Aug 21 '15 at 15:56

I am german and I am living a "cosmopolitan" live in Berlin. I would definitely say that Saarbrücken is a small boring and bland town in the middle of nowhere. If you like nature it would be a great starting basis for trips to e.g. France or Switzerland. But for cultural stuff it is not comparable to other german cities or Barcelona.

I would recommend to visit Göttingen which offers great possibilities to study and is culturally very diverse. It is also close to the Harz which is a wonderful area for trips. It is kind of in the middle of germany and well connected by transportation infrastructure. This would be much more interesting and the university has a very good reputation. Nearly all the "great" german heads like Goethe, Gauss etc. lived or studied there and before WWII most of the the german nobel price winners studied in Göttingen.

Otherwise there is Heidelberg which should be very nice for studying and living. Never been there.

You could also read up on Leipzig and Dresden which are two beautiful and diverse cities in the eastern part of germany.

  • Thnx for the honesty... :(
    – Athe
    Aug 21 '15 at 13:30
  • Heidelberg is very small, smaller than Saarbrücken and with less to do. Of course it's richer/posher but that's something else.
    – Gala
    Aug 21 '15 at 14:52
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    @Athe Someone from Berlin dissing the province is not “honesty”.
    – Gala
    Aug 21 '15 at 15:09
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    @Gala It is neither honesty nor dissing. It is an opion based answer to an opion based question.
    – user937284
    Aug 21 '15 at 17:33
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    @ectomorph Yes, yes but my point is much simpler. Admitting a place you live in or hold dear is bland can be called honest. Finding the province dull when you have made it to the big city or perhaps never lived in the province is an opinion that's comfortable to hold. It does not mean that you don't believe it or even that it's inaccurate, it's just that it does not make sense to praise it for being honest.
    – Gala
    Aug 21 '15 at 18:02

Do not come here. I live here and have the hardest time to find a social circle. People are like villagers. Enjoy watching tv, working on their homes, being alone...and so on. They are really nice but you will be lonely. It's almost guaranteed. If you don't speak the language, that is 10 times worse. It's just really horrible and isolating.

Germany in general is not so easy for foreigners to integrate. Saarland is by far the worst. If you don't have a car, forget it.

  • Had exactly the same feeling in Bremen, even though I am a gamer and enjoy being alone gaming, I'd have enjoyed making friends and hang out with them +1.
    – stbr
    Oct 17 '19 at 8:29

Honestly I would not rely in a middle sized German city to offer many cultural activities for an active young one. I have lived in Bremen for a few months last year and I found it boring, pretty much everything is closed on Sunday, on Saturday people rather stay home (to chill I guess ?).

Anyway, I think Munich, Berlin or Dusseldorf would be a great choice to meet your requirements but I would not rely on Saarbrüken to offer a great cultural life. + if you don't speak German it will be a real pain.

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