Skip to Content

Snapshots of Life in Erlangen, Germany

“This is a company town,” the hotel desk attendant in Erlangen told me. “People here either work for the company or its suppliers.”

As I wandered the quaint streets and explored local life in Erlangen, Germany, I noticed the street names were all related to the company in some way. My hotel on Werner von Siemens Strasse was no exception.

Aerial view of Erlangen including the Siemens Healthineers MedMuseum
Aerial view of Erlanagen, Germany

But while the Siemens company dominates this town in the Franconia Valley in both size and importance, Erlangen is also home to an important medical university: The Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. The students gather on the lawns of the Schloss Garden to read or play sports (soccer and a form of tight-rope walking known as slacklining between trees seem to be the favorites).

The divided sidewalks throughout town give the right-of-way to bicycles and you need to be careful not be run over by the two-wheel terrors.

Life in Erlangen, Germany is characterized by sculptures and bike racks on a local street
Sculptures and bike racks on a local street

Life in Erlangen takes on a slow pace. Time just seems to move slowly here. Given the local university and an international population, there are restaurants in town from all over the world, but Italian cuisine seems to be particularly popular here. Long, relaxed lunches and protracted dinners are the norm here. The days are filled with the tranquil atmosphere of a slower pace of life.

The doors and small details on the buildings
Details on the buildings add charm

Despite being a workaday factory town that was essentially obliterated in World War II, there is still a charm here. Sure, Erlangen lacks the medieval charms of neighboring Nuremberg or Bamberg.

And you won’t find the grand palaces and majestic views of neighboring Wurzburg, but its uniqueness comes through in the small details found in the corners of this town. We found some buildings that appeared to be older, but one of them had a corner stone from 1952.

A house with blue shutters
House in the center of town

For tourists and visitors, there aren’t many things to do in Erlangen, Germany. The one real highlight in town is the Siemens Healthineers MedMuseum (Siemens Unternehmensmuseum für Medizinische Technik). While owned and operated by the company, the MedMuseum really is the history of medicine and medical innovation.

The Siemens Healthineers MedMuseum

However, Erlangen, Germany is perhaps best known for the International Beer Festival (known as the Bergkirchweih) which takes place every Pentecost. Obviously not as well known as as Oktoberfest in Munich, the Erlangen International Beer Festival has existed since 1755 and is for serious beer aficionados. For the 12-day festival, it is one of Europe’s largest open-air beer gardens for over 12,000 people and receives over a million visitors per year.

Fountain in the park

Life here is positively bucolic. Visiting this little town in the Franconia area of Bavaria is less about the things to do in Erlangen than it is about experiencing the joys of daily life.

A few more photos:

Fountain of woman cutting a fish's throat
Woman riding bicycle on the main street in Erlangen, Germany
Red classic car in front of building
Church in Erlangen
Concrete lion statue with blue eyes

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 17th of July 2013

Thanks Elaine! I thought the same thing when I saw it.

elaine @

Wednesday 17th of July 2013

your photo of "A Quiet Square in Erlangen" reminds me of a Google Map pin drop. =)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.