Stuttgart is the oldest new city in Germany. Depending on who you ask, Stuttgart came into being either in 1 A.D., when the Romans located a central fort there, or just before 950 A..D when Duke Liudolf of Swabia founded a town for the purpose of raising horses for warfare. Almost 60% of the city had to be demolished and rebuilt after World War II, making this old city home to some of the most modern architecture and conveniences in Europe.
The 6th largest city in Germany, the population of Stuttgart has been on a steady decline from its heyday in the 90s and now has approximately 613,392 inhabitants located in the city proper. Stuttgart is the capital of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg. The city is the hub of a surrounding wheel of towns and is built in a basin between the Black Forest and Swabia Alps and near the Neckar River.
The city is mostly known as the “cradle of the automobile” due to its role in the development and manufacture of automobiles: notably the Mercedes Benz and Porsche brands. It is a considered an industrial manufacturing and business area, but because of its geography, one never gets the feel of the dense urbanity that is found in other, similar industrial cities such as Detroit. The city has vineyards, valleys and an extensive parks system that gives it a green and open feel.
There is a large immigrant population represented in the city, with over 40% of the urban residents being of foreign descent. German is the predominant language, but native residents speak a Swabian dialect. The city has fared well during various economic crises due to its willingness to embrace innovation and reinvent itself. It is currently undergoing a transformation of its infrastructure to better allow for connections outside of the city to increase its appeal to new business and industry. The slogan for the city, “Stuttgart offers more”, is being replaced by both “The hew heart of Europe”, and “Where business meets the future”.
Home to 7 top universities, the university population is blended in with the city and its culture; so while there is a discernible university area, there is little animosity between residents and students. There is a shared enjoyment of the festivals and celebrations that have made Stuttgart a popular tourist destination including a two month wine festival and a beer festival that rivals Oktoberfest.
Stuttgart is ranked 30th out of 50 in affordable German cities, but is #7 on the list of preferred places to live. Its many cultural offerings and green spaces have much to do with its appeal to students, tourists and business travellers. The 23 districts of the city make exploring Stuttgart a life time adventure and not something that can be done with a quick trip.
The climate in the area is considered “oceanic” because of the nearness of the Neckar and the protection afforded by the Black Forest and nearby mountains. It has humid summers and milder winters than northern parts of the country. It is prone to rain and storms, as most oceanic climates are and can have a moist quality to the air that some can find beneficial. There are natural mineral spring spas located in the centre of the city and a general attitude toward life that promotes health and well-being.
Stuttgart has a lot to offer students of all disciplines. It is a thriving modern city with a balanced emphasis on business and the arts and a sizeable immigrant population. The city culture is friendly and curious; an attitude that has given rise to a business and academic culture that appreciates history but also embraces new ideas. Living as a student in Stuttgart can be more expensive than in other German cities, but Stuttgart offers so much more that it is worth making the extra effort to find a way to take up residence without breaking your budget.
In addition to the major universities represented in the city, there are private language schools that focus on increasing proficiency in the German language. This is an ideal place to raise your A level to a C. Not only are there many courses and programs you can take, but the openness of the city population makes being in Stuttgart a total immersion experience.