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Shops lining town square.

Tübingen is a traditional university town in Baden-Württembergmarker, Germanymarker. It is situated 30 km (19 miles) southwest of the state capital, Stuttgartmarker, on a ridge between the Neckarmarker and Ammer rivers.


Immediately north of the city lies the Schönbuchmarker, a densely wooded nature park. The Swabian Albmarker mountains rise about 20 km to the southeast of Tübingen.

The Ammer and Steinlach rivers discharge into the Neckar river, which flows right through the town, just south of the historic old town in an easterly direction. Large parts of the city are hilly, with the Schlossberg and the Österberg in the city centre and the Schnarrenberg and Herrlesberg, among others, rising immediately adjacent to the inner city.

The highest point is at about 500 m above sea level near Bebenhausenmarker in the Schönbuch forest, while the lowest point is 305 m in the town's eastern Neckar valley.In the Botanical Gardens of the city's university, in a small forest called Elysium, lies the geographical centre of the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Regional structure

Tübingen is the capital of an eponymous districtmarker and an eponymous administrative region marker, before 1973 called Südwürttemberg-Hohenzollern.

Tübingen is, with nearby Reutlingenmarker, one of the two centre cities of the Neckar-Alb region.

Administratively, it is not part of the Stuttgart Region, bordering it to the north and west (Esslingen am Neckar and Böblingen marker). However, the city and northern parts of its district can be regarded as belonging to that region in a wider regional and cultural context.


The area was probably first settled in the 12th millennium B.C. The Romans left some traces here in 85 AD, when they built a Limes border wall at the Neckar. Tübingen itself dates from the 6th or 7th century, when the region was populated by the Alamanni. There are even some arguments that the Battle of Solicinium was fought at Spitzberg, a mountain in Tübingen, back in AD 367, though there is no evidence. The city officially first appears in records in 1191, and the local castle, Hohentübingen, has records back to 1078 when it was besieged by king Heinrich IV of the Holy Roman Empire). By 1231, the city was a civitas indicating recognition of civil liberties and a court system. Its name ends with the familiar suffix -ingen, indicating it was originally settled by the Alemanic tribes. In 1262, an Augustinian monastery was established by Pope Alexander IV in Tübingen, in 1272, a Franciscan monastery followed. The latter existed until Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg disestablished it in 1535 in course of the Protestant Reformation, which the Duchy of Württemberg followed. In 1300, a Latin school (today's Uhland-Gymnasium) was founded.

In 1342 Tübingen was purchased by count Ulrich III from the Counts of Tübingen and incorporated into the County of Württemberg and has since been part of the Duchy of Württemberg (1495-1806), the Kingdom of Württemberg (1806-1918), the Free People's State of Württemberg (1918-1945) and Baden-Württembergmarker (since 1952).

Between 1470 and 1483, St. George's Collegiate Churchmarker was built.

The collegiate church offices brought the opportunity for what soon afterwards became the most significant event in Tübingen's history: the founding of the Eberhard Karls Universitymarker by Duke Eberhard im Bart of Württemberg in 1477, thus making it one of the oldest universities in Central Europe. It became soon renowned as one of the most influential places of learning in the Holy Roman Empire, especially for theology (a Protestant faculty (Tübinger Stiftmarker) was established in 1535 in the former Augustinian monastery). Today, the university is still the biggest source of income for the residents of the city and as one of the biggest universities in Germanymarker with more than 22 000 students, it is by far the most important institution in the city and students make up the biggest chunk of the city's population.

Between 1622 and 1625, the Catholic League occupied Lutheran Württemberg in the course of the Thirty Years' War. In the summer of 1631, the city was raided. In 1635/36 the city was hit by the Plague. In 1638, Swedish troops conquered Tübingen. Towards the end of the war, French troops occupied the city from 1647 until 1649.

In 1789, parts of the old town burned town, but were later rebuilt in the original style. In 1798 the Allgemeine Zeitung, a leading newspaper in early 19th century Germany, was founded in Tübingen by Johann Friedrich Cotta. From 1807 until 1843, the poet Friedrich Hölderlin lived in Tübingen in a tower overlooking the Neckar.

In the nazi era, the Tübingen Synagogue was burned in the Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. The Second World War left the city larged unscathed, mainly due to the peace initiative of a local doctor, Theodor Dobler. It was occupied by the French army and became part of the French occupational zone. From 1946 to 1952, Tübingen was the capital of the newly-formed state of Württemberg-Hohenzollernmarker, before the state of Baden-Württemberg was created by merging Baden, Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern. The French troops had a garrison stationed in the south of the city until the end of the Cold War in the 1990s.

In the 1960s, Tübingen was one of the centres of the German student movement and the Protests of 1968 and has ever since been shaped by left and green political views.

Although it is largely impossible to notice such things today, as recently as the 1950s Tübingen was a very socio-economically divided city, with poor local farmers and tradesman living along the Stadtgraben (City Canal) and students and academics residing around the Alte Aula and the Burse, the old universitymarker buildings. There, hanging on the Cottahaus a sign advertises Goethe's stay of a few weeks while visiting his publisher. The German tendency to memorialize every minor presence of its historical greats (comparable to the statement "Washington slept here" in the United Statesmarker) is parodied on the building next door. This simple building, once a dormitory, features a plain sign with the words "Hier kotzte Goethe" (lit.:"Goethe puked here").

In the second half of the 20th century, Tübingen's administrative area was extended beyond what is now called the "core town" to include several outlying small towns and villages. Most notable among these is Bebenhausenmarker, a village clustered around a castle and Bebenhausen Abbeymarker a Cistercian cloister about 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of Tübingen.


 the city had 82,885 inhabitants, including approx. 22,000 students. Tübingen is best described as a mixture of old and distinguished academic flair (including liberal politics and German-style fraternities) with rural, agricultural and typical Swabian elements. The city is home to many picturesque buildings from previous centuries and lies on the river Neckarmarker.

, the German weekly magazine Focus published a national survey according to which Tübingen had the highest quality of life of all cities in Germany. Factors taken into consideration included the infrastructure, the integration of bicycle lanes into the road system, a bus system connecting surrounding hills and valleys, late night services, areas of the town that can be reached on foot, the pedestrianised old town, other amenities and cultural events offered by the university.
Life in the city is dominated by its many students and Tübingen is the city with the youngest average population in Germany.

Main sights

In central Tübingen, the Neckar river divides briefly into two streams, forming the elongated 1500 meter-long Neckarinsel (Neckar Island), famous for its Platanenallee with high plane trees, some of which are more than 200 years old. Pedestrians can reach the island via stairs on the narrow ends leading down from two bridges spanning the Neckar. During the summer, the Neckarinsel is occasionally the venue for concerts, plays and literary readings. The row of historical houses across one side of the elongated Neckarinsel is called the Neckarfront and includes the house with adjoining tower where poet Friedrich Hölderlin stayed for the last 36 years of his life as he struggled with mental instability.
View from the Stiftskirche.

Tübingen town hall.
Neckar and Hölderlinturm.

Tübingen's Altstadt (old town) survived the Second World War due to the city's lack of heavy industry. The result is a growing domestic tourism business as visitors come to wander through one of the few completely intact historic Altstädte in Germany. The highlights of Tübingen include its crooked cobblestone lanes, narrow-stair alleyways picking their way through the hilly terrain, streets lined with canals and well-maintained traditional half-timbered houses.

Old town landmarks include the Rathaus (City Hall) on Marktplatz (Market Square) and the castle, Schloß Hohentübingen, now part of the University of Tübingenmarker. The central landmark is the Stiftskirchemarker (Collegiate Church). Along with the rest of the city, the Stiftskirche was one of the first to convert to Martin Luther's protestant church. As such, it maintains (and carefully defends) several "Roman Catholic" features, such as patron saints. Below the Rathaus is a quiet, residential street called the Judengasse, the former Jewish neighborhood of Tübingen until the town's Jews were expelled 1477. On the street corner is a plaque commemorating the fate of Tübingen's Jews.

The centre of Tübingen is the site of weekly and seasonal events, including regular market days on the Holzmarkt by the Stiftskirche and the Marktplatz by the Rathaus, an outdoor cinema in winter and summer, festive autumn and Christmas markets and Europe's largest Afro-Brazilian festival.

Students and tourists also come to the Neckar river in the summer to visit beer gardens or go boating in Stocherkähne, the Tübingen equivalent to Oxfordmarker and Cambridgemarker punt, only slimmer. A Stocherkahn carries up to 20 people. On the second Thursday of June all Stocherkahn punts take part in a major race, the Stocherkahnrennen.


Tübingen has a notable arts culture as well as nightlife. In addition to the full roster of official and unofficial university events that range from presentations by the university's official poet in residence to parties hosted by the student associations of each faculty, the town can boast of several choirs, theatre companies and nightclubs. Also, Tübingen's Kunsthalle (art exhibition hall), on the "Wanne", houses two or three exhibits of international note each year.

Famous residents past and present

Famous Tübingen residents include the poet Friedrich Hölderlin, Alois Alzheimer from whom Alzheimer's disease takes its name, Friedrich Miescher who was the first to discover DNA, and Wilhelm Schickard who developed the first mechanical computer, was born in nearby Herrenberg. Hegel, Schelling, David Friedrich Strauss, Eduard Mörike and Johannes Kepler studied in Tübingen, and Joseph Alois Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) held a chair in dogmatic theology at the University. Hermann Hesse worked in Tübingen as a bookseller trainee from 1895 to 1899.

Tübingen also is the home of scholars of international renown such as the philosopher Ernst Bloch, the theologian Hans Küng, famous author Walter Jens, as well as Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, a Nobel laureate for medicine. Slovene refugee Protestant preacher Primoz Trubar published the first two books in the Slovene language Catechismus and Abecedarium in Tübingen in 1550; Trubar is buried in Derendingen.

Tübingen is also the hometown of former track and field star Dieter Baumann, winner of the 5000m at the 1992 Summer Olympics.


Tübingen is divided into a town core and ten outer districts (suburbs):

Historical population

Year Population
1871 16,176
1880 19,378
1890 20,913
1900 23,425
1910 28,499
1925 29,971
1933 34,112
1939 35,963
1950 44,221
1956 51,454
1961 58,768
1962 61,068
1963 61,484
1964 62,454
1965 63,450
Year Population
1966 64,886
1967 65,846
1968 67,054
1969 67,947
1970 66,788
1971 68,231
1972 69,650
1973 70,993
1974 71,175
1975 71,348
1976 71,558
1977 71,820
1978 71,193
1979 72,167
1980 73,132
Year Population
1981 74,500
1982 74,766
1983 75,013
1984 75,333
1985 75,825
1986 76,122
1987¹ 71,701
1987 72,936
1988 76,046
1989 78,643
2001 82,444
2002 82,885
2003 83,137
2005 83,496
2006 83,557
¹ census result

Twin towns — Sister cities

Tübingen is twinned with:

For their commitment to their international partnership, the Council of Europe awarded the Europe Prize to Tübingen and Aix-en-Provence in 1965. The city's dedication to a European understanding is also reflected in the naming of several streets and squares, including the large Europaplatz (Europe Square) outside the railway station.

Higher education

Tübingen University Main Building (Neue Aula)
Tübingen student
The Eberhard Karls University of Tübingenmarker dates from 1477, making it one of the oldest in Germany. The city is also host to several research institutes including the Max Planck Institute for Biologymarker, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cyberneticsmarker, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, The Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the MPG, and the Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research. The university also maintains an excellent botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten der Universität Tübingen.


More than 10,000 children and young adults in Tübingen regularly attend school. There are 30 schools in the town, some of which consist of more than one type of school. Of these, 17 are primary schools while the others are for secondary education: four schools are of the lowest rank, Hauptschule, three of the middle rank, Realschule, and six are Gymnasien (grammar schools). There also are four vocational schools (Berufsschule) and three special needs schools.

Primary schools
  • Freie Aktive Schule Tübingen
  • Grundschule Innenstadt / Silcherschule
  • Grundschule Weilheim
  • Ludwig-Krapf-Schule
  • Grundschule Hügelstraße
  • Französische Schule
  • Dorfackerschule Lustnau
  • Grundschule Hirschau
  • Grundschule Hechinger Eck
  • Grundschule auf der Wanne
  • Grundschule Aischbach
  • Grundschule Winkelwiese / Waldhäuser Ost
  • Grundschule Bühl
  • Grundschule Kilchberg
  • Grundschule Hagelloch
  • Grundschule Pfrondorf
  • Grundschule Unterjesingen



  • Carlo-Schmid-Gymnasium
  • Geschwister-Scholl-Schulemarker
  • Kepler-Gymnasium
  • Uhland-Gymnasium
  • Wildermuth-Gymnasium
  • Freie Waldorfschule

Vocational schools (Berufsschulen)
  • Gewerbliche Schule
  • Wilhelm-Schickard-Schule
  • Mathilde-Weber-Schule
  • Bildungs- und Technologiezentrum


File:Germany Tübingen Nonnenhaus-2005.jpg|Houses in the snowFile:Germany Tübingen Hölderlinturm.jpg|HölderlinturmFile:Germany Tübingen Reflection-in-Neckar.jpg|Reflection of houses in the NeckarmarkerFile:Germany Tübingen Neptune Fountain.jpg|Fountain in front of the RathausFile:Germany Tübingen St-George-and-Shutters.jpg|Fountain in front of St-Georg StiftFile:Germany Tübingen St-Georg-in-Snow.jpg|St-Georg Stift in snowFile:Germany Tübingen St-Georg-in-Winter.jpg|St-Georg Stift in winterFile:Germany Tübingen Joker.jpg|Carving at entry to SchloßFile:Germany Tübingen Statues.jpg|StatuesFile:Germany Tübingen St-Georg Legend.jpg|St. George being broken on the wheel, St. Georg StiftFile:Neckar river watershed.png|Tübingen and the other cities of the Neckar River watershedFile:Rhine river 3.PNG|Watershed of the Rhine River


  1. Association of twinnings and international relations of Aix-en-Provence
  2. Mairie of Aix-en-Provence - Twinnings and partnerships
  3. Perugia Official site - Relazioni Internazionali
  4. Sister Cities. Universitätsstadt Tübingen. Retrieved on 8 May 2007.

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