Sometimes foggy in winter, but therefore even more lovely in summer, and with 120,000 inhabitants it is just the right size to feel quickly at home. That is Ulm. Numerous cultural and leisure activities are on offer here in a compact area. Ulm has it all – from hip-hop concerts, theatre performances, pubs and live basketball games. And best of all, if you live close to the city centre, nearly all the event locations can be reached comfortably on foot.
Thanks to the excellent public transport network, even students who live in the suburbs are able to enjoy the nightlife in Ulm. The two central elements of the city geography are the Danube – which separates Ulm from its sister city Neu-Ulm and also connects the city with the culture of the Danube region – and the famous Ulm Minster, with the highest church tower in the world. However, even native citizens of Ulm only climb it on special occasions, for example, when they have visitors.
"Oath Monday" (Schwörmontag) is Ulm's unofficial public holiday. The Mayor of Ulm publicly swears to uphold the town constitution, a tradition dating back to the "Great Civic Oath" of 1397. This is still celebrated in great style today. Particularly popular on this day is the "Nabada", where thousands of participants take their rubber dinghies, lilos or home-built craft onto the Danube to float – or "nabaden" – down the river.
Another favourite is the International Danube Festival which takes place every two years. For ten days there is a lively hustle and bustle on both banks of the river. International artists and visitors to the festival come together for encounters with people from countries all along the River Danube. The international cultural programme offers a diverse mixture – music, dance, literature and exhibitions. Every year, during Advent, the traditional Christmas market takes place on the Münsterplatz in Ulm. The 130 stalls give the heart of Ulm a really Christmassy atmosphere for four weeks.
Friends of high culture will find their spiritual home in the Ulm Theatre. The oldest civic theatre in Germany offers classical and modern productions in three types of performing arts – opera, acting and ballet. The City of Ulm Philharmonic Orchestra can also be heard here regularly. In the Ulm Museum you can see the "Lion Man", carved from mammoth ivory. This is one of the very oldest human-animal shaped sculptures in the world. Modern art aficionados will be drawn to the Kunsthalle Weishaupt in the Neue Mitte, where works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol can be seen. There are also cultural projects
taking place at the Hochschule Ulm – such as the university choir or the university orchestra – where participation is expressly welcomed.
Typical "student parties" are on Wednesday nights at "Frau Berger" or Thursday nights at "Myers". For the the rest of the time, you will find numerous pubs, bars and clubs in the city centre – in the picturesque "Fischerviertel" and around the Münsterplatz.
For lovers of live performances, in the summer there is the six-week "Ulmer Zelt" festival in the Friedrichsau, offering cabaret and live music.
For over 25 years, the "Roxy" has been the place to go for the alternative scene in Ulm. Large concerts and shows take place in the Ratiopharm Arena in Neu-Ulm. The "Ulm Students' Alternative for University Life and Culture" (originally the Independent Students' Committee) operates the three event locations "Sauschdall", "CAT" and "Studentencafé" as a not-for-profit organisation. These are located in the old fort walls, very close to the university of applied sciences.
As well as the "Xinedome" in Ulm and the "Dietrich Theater" in Neu-Ulm, the UniKino
at Ulm University offers big cinema for small prices. Every Tuesday and alternate Wednesdays (in English) and Thursdays you can enjoy sophisticated, classic and exotic films with your fellow students,in an unconventional ambience in the lecture theatre, with a big screen and surround sound. Snacks and drinks are on offer at cost price.
The River Danube, which separates Ulm from Neu-Ulm, enables joggers, rollerbladers, rowers and other sport lovers to practice their sport directly next to or on the Danube.
A very special event is the annual Einstein Marathon which runs through the whole of Ulm. Thanks to Ulm's excellent location between Stuttgart and Lake Constance, if sports are your hobby there are many other training options: skiing in the Alps, cross-country skiing on the Swabian Alb, hiking in the Allgäu or sailing and windsurfing on Lake Constance.
ratiopharm ulm plays in the first division of the national basketball league. This generates great interest locally – both in Ulm/Neu-Ulm and in the region.
As the largest sports club in the city, SSV Ulm 1846 is the home of many recreational and elite athletes. For students, the University Sports Club
offers the chance to do a lot of training without having to pay much money.