Karlsruhe – Think-tank with lifestyle
What the city has to offer, why the pyramid is its trademark, and why Karlsruhe is described as “fan-shaped”. A city portrait.
Karlsruhe is at the hub of one of Europe’s leading economic, scientific, and research regions. Located at the heart of a unique natural landscape between the Black Forest, the Rhine, the Palatinate region of Germany, and the Alsace region of France, the former royal residence of Baden and regional capital is an attractive place to live and work with optimum traffic links, a good infrastructure, and a wide variety of cultural and leisure activities to choose from. The city is known as the “seat of justice” by virtue of it being home to the highest German courts: the Federal Constitutional Court as the watchdog of Germany’s “Basic Law”, the Federal Supreme Court as the highest instance in civil and criminal proceedings, and the Chief Federal Prosecutor as the highest law enforcement agency in Germany.
The “city of green”, quarter of whose surface area is covered by woodland, is home to more than 300,000 people. These woods also reach right into the heart of the city in places such as the zoological gardens immediately opposite the main railway station. In contrast to other cities, the Convention Centre and the prestigious Municipal Hall are conveniently close to the city centre and provide the setting for numerous conferences, conventions, and exhibitions. Karlsruhe’s Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre opened its doors on the outskirts of the city in 2003, providing 50,000 m² of exhibition space and a multipurpose hall. The “Europahalle” as a regular venue for the annual international indoor track and field athletics meeting (IHM) and the “Wildpark” stadium as the home ground of Karlsruhe SC form the bedrock of Karlsruhe’s standing as a sports city of national and international renown.
Karlsruhe has aroused worldwide attention with its exemplary local transport system as well. The city and region also provides optimum international water, road, rail, and air links. Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, offering over 50 destinations in 26 countries, is one of the key air transport hubs in Germany with approximately 1.2 million passengers per year. Since Karlsruhe became part of the trans-European high-speed railway network in 2007, Paris can be reached four times a day in only three hours via Strasbourg on the French high-speed train TGV. The “Rheinhafen”, or Rhine port, is a major transhipment point for goods and containers from all over the world.
Art, culture and the ZKM
In the city that Margrave Karl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach founded in 1715, art and culture have retained their traditionally high status to the present day. This good reputation is fostered by the Baden State Theatre, a multitude of private theatres, the State Academy of Fine Arts, the University of Music, the State Art Gallery, and the Baden Art Society as well as other institutions from all areas of art and culture. The Centre for Art and Media, or ZKM, has secured Karlsruhe a very special place in international cultural circles. Europe’s largest production facility for media art and the world’s first media museum has been accommodated in a listed, 312 m long former factory building since 1997.
Karlsruhe’s landmark – the Pyramid
Two motives are of particular appeal to the city’s visitors: the “Marktplatz”, or market square, with Karlsruhe’s landmark, the Pyramid, preserved in the unmistakeable classicist style of its master builder, Friedrich Weinbrenner, and the palace. Upon closer scrutiny, the pyramid, a monument of red sandstone, reveals itself as the tomb of the city founder Karl Wilhelm. The palace tower, by the way, plays a central role in Karlsruhe in a very literal sense: the city’s founder, quite the absolutist prince, had 32 roads and avenues built radiating away from his residence in the shape of a fan, which is why Karlsruhe is also commonly referred to as the “Fächerstadt”, the fan-shaped city.
Science and research
Karlsruhe enjoys a worldwide reputation in science and research. The merger between the research centre “Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe” and “Universität Karlsruhe” to form the Karlsruhe Institute of Technologie (KIT) on 1 October 2009 has made Karlsruhe the home of the largest research and teaching establishment in Europe. The KIT holds pole position for engineering and natural sciences in Germany and is well on the way to carve a permanent place for itself amongst the world’s best research institutes.
Some 9000 people currently work in all fields at the KIT, which has a budget of roughly 800 million euros and meanwhile well over 22,500 students. The number of students at Karlsruhe’s nine universities, colleges, and academies is over 37,000.
At the “Technologiefabrik”, set up as a model by Baden-Württemberg in 1983, helps fledgling companies in particular to overcome the first hurdles encountered in the first few years on the way to independence – with remarkable success: the Technologiefabrik has brought forth roughly 300 companies to date, creating around 6000 qualified jobs in the process.
Images: Bildstelle Stadt Karlsruhe