Around Konstanz & Kreuzlingen

Reichenau Island
Reichenau is the largest of the Lake Constance islands. It was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000 due to its medieval churches and the valuable illuminations on display at the monastery. It’s easy to reach and travel around the island by bicycle. And while you’re there: make sure to get a fresh supply of vegetables from one of the markets or from the various street vendors. Also: Sample some of the local fish!

Mainau Island
The idyllic flower island, a tourist highlight, is owned by the noble family Bernadotte from Sweden. The Sunset Ticket (Sonnenuntergangsticket) after 5 pm. only costs half the regular price. And those who do not have a green thumb can get tips from the Mainau garden experts by telephone.

Lindau
The little Bavarian city Lindau on the Austrian border is partially located on an island. Lindau has an impressive medieval old town. And the Club Vaudeville is a genuine alternative club that is rich in tradition.

Zürich
Zürich is the (small) metropolis around the corner. You can find everything here: stars and concerts, cool clubs and bars, posh restaurants, shopping streets, arts and culture, tramways, an international airport, Lake Zurich and spas. Tip: you can find the most fashionable shops in the small alleys of Niederdorf, a neighbourhood in the old part of the city. Other typical Swiss German cities like St. Gallen, Winterthur or Schaffhausen are also easy to reach, but Zurich has the broadest offerings in total.

Bregenz
The Art Museum (Kunsthaus) and the Bregenzer Festival (Festspiele) have shaped the reputation of the small capital of Vorarlberg, Bregenz, Austria. Students who are younger than 27 get a discount of 75% for the tickets of the Bregenzer Festival. Excellent food is also highly esteemed here, especially in the Bregenz Forest (Bregenzerwald). Besides vacationers, the city is populated by many young people.

Friedrichshafen
An industrial town, Friedrichshafen (which is home to the MTU, ZF and the Dornier company) is particularly proud of its Zeppelin museum and of the working Zeppelin that you’ll be able to see on one of its leisurely cruises around the Lake Constance region on a fine day. The fastest way to get there is the non-stop Catamaran service across the lake (which isn’t exactly cheap). An equally comfortable and much cheaper option is the Städteschnellbus (express bus service). Friedrichshafen prides itself on its very own airport, with operators flying out to an ever-increasing number of destinations at affordable rates, as well as on the enormous exhibition halls.

Fasnacht (Carnival)

A Madhouse
If someone in a costume with a wide grin coerces you to have a schnapps on a Thursday morning, you’ll know: the main phase of the Konstanz Carnival has begun. Depending where you live you might have noticed this a few hours earlier, when loud music from drums and brass instruments gave you a rude awakening.

The ‘Schmotzige’ (Dirty Thursday)
If you managed to avoid the schnapps, you might still be stopped by young kids on the next street who are taking advantage of the anarchic times and play the game of extorting toll money from you before letting you pass. In the meantime the town hall has been invaded by people in costumes (Hästräger) and you’re not likely to see anyone wearing a tie at the university on “Dirty Thursday”, the most important day of Carnival in Konstanz.

Ho Narro!
Important facts: The traditional “Butzenlauf” on Wednesday evening (from Schnetztor to Obermarkt) is a good way to get started. By “Dirty Thursday” the whole city has become a complete madhouse without curfew. Before people head to the bars, the traditional “Hemdglonker” parade (in white nighties) takes place in the alleys of Konstanz. After the carnival balls on Saturday there is another big parade through the old town on Sunday. Ho Narro! (that’s how people here greet each other the whole week).

Need Ear Protection?
The commotion gradually slows down from Carnival Monday on, although you still might want to take part in the sausage snatching events (Wurschtschnappen) on Marktstätte? To sum up: those who are not keen on the hubbub should keep their ear plugs handy for the library from “Dirty Thursday” on.

 

Dictionary

You probably have noticed one thing already: You are studying in Konschdanz. The motorway A81 that leads you to this picturesque place is also known as Spätzle-Highway. Nai, do wird kai Hochdeutsch g’schwätzt: Nope, they sure don’t speak standard German here!

Luschd uff ä räächds Veschba: You feel like eating some sandwiches? Schbachtle und Bechere: You want to eat and drink something? Kai Probläm: No problem! Dünnele [also: Dinnele], is also a regional speciality. It is a kind of “tarte flambée” or “Flammkuchen” dough with toppings such as cheese, bacon, onions, spinach, apples and much more. It is particularly popular at the Christmas market and wine festivals. With their Dünnele, Konschdanzers like to drink Suser [new wine] or Moschd [cider], which is sold at the weekly markets in five-litre canisters. But beware: too much Moschd gives youDinnpfiff [diarrhea].

Tip for the cautious: Imitating Swiss-German?

Trying to learn a dialects is basically impossible. If you do try, it only seems artificial and embarrassing. Non-locals might manage the Baden dialect when saying “Konschdanz” (Konstanz) after some time, but when Germans try to speak Swiss-German, the Swiss only scream with laughter. It’s hard enough to understand what they are saying, anyway.

Konstanz – Now and then

One of the main landmarks of Konstanz is a full bosomed whore – the Imperia statue at the harbour. You would never have thought that possible in a German state that was governed by the Conservatives from its foundation until 2011. However, the harlot statue is reminiscent of a time in which Konstanz was still surrounded by city walls and dissenters were burned alive.

From 1414 to 1418 the largest congress in the Middle Ages was held in the Council (Konzil). Popes were unseated, a new one was elected. Nowadays, people dance the night away at the »Konzilparty« – right where cardinals and archbishops used to convene. Soon this historic event will take centre stage again: From 2014 to 2018 the city will celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Council of Konstanz on a large scale with exhibitions, theatre plays, city festivals, knights festivals and scientific conferences.

But not everything has changed: a minstrel once sang “when I think of Lake Constance, my wallet immediately feels the pain”. Anyone who has been to a café on the market square knows how visionary his lines were –.even though the square used to be part of the lake in the Middle Ages.

History is omnipresent in Konstanz: the Malhaus pharmacy at Obermarkt has been selling medicine for over 600 years. You can also visit the first Roman fortresses on Münsterhügel. Konstanz was not bombed during the Second World War, because the allies were worried about hitting directly neighbouring neutral Switzerland. Therefore, the picturesque old town was preserved and has been under landmark protection since 1982.

Those who party in the Chérisy or Jäger barracks are doing so in a place where French soldiers were stationed from 1945 to 1979. Nowadays, students and families set the tone. Around 16,000 of the approx. 80,000 inhabitants of Konstanz are students. You’ll see, Konstanz is a young city after all!

Tip for the cautious: Importing goods

Even though Konstanz and Kreuzlingen seem like a twin city, the fact remains that they are situated in two different countries. This is why there are import regulations preventing you from crossing the border unchallenged with five cartons of cigarettes and the back seat full of schnapps. Most goods costing less than 90 euros, however, are duty-free. You can get more detailed information at the border and online see German and Swiss customs.

Tip for the cautious: Preventing bottlenecks at the supermarket checkout

You’re queuing at a supermarket checkout in Konstanz and happen to carry, for whatever reason, a green sheet of paper: Well, that’s good for you, but better not to wave it around – take it from us! Anyone in a queue waving about a green sheet is Swiss, and the sheet of paper is a duty free form for claiming shopping taxes back. Which some people take their good old time completing after checkout. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go down so well with the other customers. More information, leaflets and instruction sheets on the duty free form is available from IHK Hochrhein-Bodensee (Chamber of Industry and Commerce).

Living at the border

Petrol benefits and delicious treats, Swiss cheese and chocolate based on family recipes
Konstanz and Kreuzlingen are border cities. This description still sounds a bit adventurous, even though the times when a border fence with barbed wire separated the city from its Swiss neighbour Kreuzlingen are long gone. For a running traffic there are four border crossings.

As a motorist you will benefit from the cheaper petrol prices in Switzerland. Although there isn’t that big difference anymore, you can still save up to ten euros for a full tank.

Yet Kreuzlingen has culinary advantages too: While the supermarket chain Migros allows you to indulge yourself into the world of Swiss cheese and also has an impressive offer of pasta, the Bernrain chocolate factory a few streets down manufactures delicious treats according to family recipes. Due to the higher price level for food, shopping in Switzerland is not exactly cheap, though.

Keep duty-free allowances in mind
The only thing that might ruin your unfettered shopping fun is if you exceed the duty free allowance. With the exceptions of alcohol and tobacco, most goods costing in total 300 euros per person are duty-free. Therefore, always keep the import regulations in mind.

Two cities, one campus

Whether Germany or the Swiss confederation, Standard German or dialect – in both cities Konstanz and Kreuzlingen – marked by the worldwide unique sculpture border, the Kunstgrenze, you can live almost unnoticed beetween two countries. In the “German-Swiss twin city“ live more than 120,000 residents. Thereof 17,000 students who change smoothly beetween the borders.

Konstanz and Kreuzlingen do not only boast with an excellent offer of higher education – student life is vibrant beyond the campus too.  The beautiful scenery, the location at the lake, the proximity to the Alps, the educational offers, the sport venues as well as the retail and food & beverage facilities turn the two cities into a genuine recreational paradise.

Above all, Konstanz scores with its numerous cultural institutions: there is the city theatre and the Philharmonic Orchestra, and, what’s more, a lively scene with urban flair. In the historic centre three cinemas, the cultural centre K9  and many student bars supply lots of entertainment with concerts, cabaret and readings. In the ‘Neuwerk’ and in the ‘Kulturladen’ you will find an alternative music and party programme, whereas several large discos in the industrial area invite you to come dancing, and the harbour area ‘Hafenmeile’ is a magnet in the summer with its beer gardens and the almost Mediterranean flair.

Kreuzlingen on the other hand scores with its idyllic situation between forests, grasslands and mountains, the Bodensee arena, the sports and cultural centre Dreispitz, and the spacious waterfront grounds. The mountain Säntis is on its doorstep and the mountains a mere 100 kilometres away invite you to go snowboarding, skiing and breathing mountain air.

The element water serves as a link, and you can feel its attraction all year round – not only for university sports and surfing, but also for relaxing, taking a stroll, swimming and chilling with your friends. That’s what studying at the lake is like!
Just like at the universities, you will be able to discover something new every day in the city without borders, Konstanz-Kreuzlingen’.

Tip and events at konstanz.de and kreuzlingen.ch