Living in Bonn

Bonn, the region and the University offer many opportunities to attend events, play sports and visit theatres and museums among many other activities. We offer information on recreation and leisure, available German courses, events and much more in Bonn, providing practical tips for everyday situations. If you will be staying for an extended period there are additional bureaucratic requirements, such as notifying the Citizens Service Center of your new address (‘Ummeldung’) when you are moving house within the city.

Campus life

The Bonn University and State Library (ULB) is accessible for employees as well as for international visiting researchers. You will need a library card to use the facility. Employees submit their employment contract for this purpose; visiting researchers or scholarship holders without an employment contract can obtain an ID for guest researchers (see page 'Arriving in Bonn') at the Welcome Center. With this you will be able to receive a library card.

Meals are available at various canteens - (Mensas) - run by Studierendenwerk Bonn on campus. For payment you need a Mensa Card, available at EUR 5.00 deposit in all canteens and at the info.point at the canteen Nassestraße. Employees must present their employment contract to obtain the Card. Upon request, visiting researchers and scholarship holders without an employment contract can obtain a Visiting Researcher Card from the Welcome Center, with which they can then obtain a canteen card.

University IT can help you with any IT issues you may encounter at the University of Bonn, operating an IT help desk Monday to Friday, from 8:0 am to 6:00 pm.

During your research stay in Bonn you can of course participate in the university sports program of the University of Bonn, comprising of more than 150 sporting activities on all levels. The University has its own gym and other superb sports facilities and grounds to offer.

For University of Bonn employees (with work contract):

1) Visit the website to read about the general conditions of participation
2) Purchase a semester ticket at:
3) Choose a sport course at:
4) Book the desired sports course on the respective page and select the status "Beschäftigte Uni Bonn"

For Visiting researchers / scholarship holders (without work contract at Uni Bonn):

1) Visit the website to find out about the general conditions of participation
2) Fill in the declaration of participation for visitors, available here:

3) Send an email to with the subject "Visiting Researcher Card" stating your name and contact details. Please attach a scan of your Visiting Researcher Card and the declaration of participation for visitors to the email. You can request a Visiting Researcher Card from the Welcome Center.
4) You will receive the participant card by post, which entitles you to book desired sports courses.
5) Choose a sports offfering at: 
6) Enrol in the desired sports activity on the respective page and select "Inhaber Teilnehmerausweis" as status.

The Culture Forum is the overarching framework for cultural activities at the University of Bonn. The manifold events held as part of the Forum are an important part of campus life at the University of Bonn. You are cordially invited to join music ensembles, orchestras, choirs and theater groups as you prefer.

litterarium and atelier

The rich spectrum of activities offered by the litterarium includes readings, literary-musical evenings, scenic and musical productions including jazz sessions and literary concerts, theater courses and reading groups.

The atelier offers courses on painting, photography, sculpture as well as nude and portrait drawing every semester.

Music Forum

The Music Forum provides an opportunity for music-loving students, professors, employees and visitors to pursue their interest in and love for music. Weekly rehearsals are conducted as part of generally semester-long programs for University concerts and perfomances/events in and around Bonn.

Please notify if you wish to receive regular information on these events..

Practical advice for living in Bonn

High-quality medical care is available in Bonn, which has some 20 hospitals, specialist outpatient clinics and day clinics, as well as University Hospital Bonn, comprising of 32 clinics and 23 institutes. More than 2,800 physicians at Bonn's hospitals and medical practices provide care for residents of Bonn and much of the surrounding area, covering 40 specializations.

  • Learn more: Medical care
  • Doctors search (German, but filter for foreign language doctors): KV Nordrhein
  • Emergency number: 112

Will you be accompanied by your family during your stay in Bonn? Bringing along your children as well perhaps? We want your relatives to feel comfortable in Bonn right from the start. The University of Bonn has its own Office of Family Services, which is your first point of contact for any questions relating to family life (e.g. schooling, kindergarten or parental benefits).

Public transport

The local public transport network for Bonn and the region is very well developed. Train, bus, tram, rental bike, e-scooter - ... it's all available. You do not really need a car to get around the city. What's more is that the German government has introduced the Deutschland Ticket for 49,oo € per month for everyone from May 2023 on, with which you will be able to use all local public transport anywhere in Germany at any time as much as you like. (The job ticket will therefore be discontinued).


In many cases, cycling is the best means for getting from A to B in Bonn. Thus, if staying for a longer period of time, it is worth it to buy or bring along your own bike. There are bike shops all over the city. You can also find used bicycles at local bicycle dealers, and under eBay wanted ads ("Kleinanzeigen"). For those staying for a shorter period, bike rental and leasing can be attractive options.

Driver's license, car

If you intend to drive a car during your stay in Germany, you will need a valid driver's license. Driver's licenses from EU or EEA countries are valid indefinitely in Germany. International driver's licenses are also recognized in Germany. Driver's licenses from non-European countries (with German translation) lose their validity after six months. You must then apply for a German driver's license from the driver's license office at the Citizens' Office in Bonn. Depending on your country of origin, you may have to take another driving test (theoretical and / or practical). In other words, whether you are allowed to drive under a foreign driver's license in Germany and what the conversion requirements are has to be clarified on a case by case basis based on your country of origin. You should apply for driver's license conversion as early as possible, at least three months before the applicable deadline.

Depending on your personal circumstances, it may be necessary to register your motor vehicle in Germany. To register, you have to contact the motor veshicle registration office of the City of Bonn.

If you want to use your time in Germany to improve your German skills, a language course can be very helpful. Both the University and numerous language institutes in the city offer German courses at all levels. The language tandems offered by the language learning center and online courses offered by Deutsche Welle and Volkshochschule/VHS (German Adult Education Association) are also popular.

If you move to a different apartment within Bonn during your stay, you need to notify various authorities. The Welcome Center will be glad to assist you. The following must be informed in case of such move:

It may be advisable to request mail redirection service19 from Deutsche Post.

Discovering Bonn and the Rhineland region

You can find a wide range of ideas for recreational activities in Bonn on the city's website.

Learn more:

If you would like to get to know other people from all over the world, BONNEXPAT may be of interest to you.

Would you like to discover the city in the company of a real Bonn native? Then take a look at what Bonn Greeters have to offer:

Bonn is located in the highly diverse state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is also Germany's most populous. The big cities Cologne and Düsseldorf, the center of the medieval empire Aachen, the sprawling Ruhr megalopolis, enchanting natural landscapes and national parks, world-class art and culture ...all of this awaits your discovery.

For ideas and suggestions, just visit the NRW Tourism website. It's worth a look!

Bonn is situated within an extremely charming region. The Rhine262626, Sieg272727 and Ahr, the Eifel National Park, Bergisches Land and the fantastic Siebengebirge... - all easily and quickly accessible. So you have an array of choices for when you feel like getting out of the city for a change: For recommendations you can contact Bonn Information or the Welcome Center.

The UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley extends from Rüdesheim and Bingen in the south to Koblenz in the north. At a lenght of 67 kilometers, it only covers around five percent of the entire course of the river, but is considered by many to be the most beautiful stretch of the entire Rhine between the Alps and the North Sea. An absolute must!

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