Tübingen Beautiful German Town



Today I have the pleasure of having Oliver Tausend from Germany who has agreed to write about the town he now calls home, Tübingen.  Believe it or not, I’ve never been in Germany even though I’ve been in one of it’s French neighboring city, Strasbourg in Alsace.    So, to talk about Germany, let’s leave it the German expert … without further ado, here is Olilver.

I am thrilled about the opportunity of writing a post about the town we have lived in for ten years now. It‘s not my home town though because I don‘t really know which town to call my home town.

I haven‘t forgotten (and Sylviane either) that this is a France travel & food blog, so we‘re going to examine later in this post why Sylviane did a great job choosing me to write about Tübingen.

Facts about Tübingen

Nowadays, it‘s relatively easy to find out stuff about places, so let‘s see what Wikipedia (English) knows about Tübingen (yes, with an umlaut).

At the very beginning of the article it says: “Tübingen is a traditional university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated 30 km (19 mi) south of the state capital, Stuttgart, on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers. About one in ten people living in Tübingen is a student.“ This little sentence already contains a lot of information!

Let‘s see: 1. Tübingen is a traditional (!) university town. Its university was founded in 1477 and it sculpts the urban image. 2. Located in central Baden-Württemberg is an understatement because it actually harbors the geographical center or focal point of Baden-Württemberg – we are the center ! 3. It is actually not part of the Stuttgart area, something we are priding ourselves in, although we are very grateful for Stuttgart‘s airport which is closer to Tübingen than to most parts of Stuttgart. 4. It is situated upon the Neckar river, which is an ace in Tübingen‘s sleeve because Stuttgart – the state capital – is only located at a very modest creek, although most people think the Neckar would run through Stuttgart too, which it doesn‘t in fact (only through Bad Cannstatt) 5. Aha, one out of ten people living in Tübingen is a university student which results in a very vivid, young and colored population.

People from Tübingen

I am struggling with the adjective  “traditional”, to be honest. Yes, the university may be traditional, but it attracts students from all of Germany and yes, the entire world. So it‘s kind of a melting pot of the rather simple traditional Swabian way of life, academic life and lifestyle from all these other people coming to Tübingen.

The Swabes (I am one of them) usually are kind people, not always welcoming though (well, let‘s say they can‘t always show their emotions) They‘re rather reticent and if they talk, then in their strong dialect barely opening their mouths. Well, when my American friends notice my German accent, I always say: “No, it‘s not a German accent, it‘s a Swabian accent.“ If you think you speak German, come to Tübingen, try to talk to natives, and you‘ll be humbled.

Don‘t try to convince them to speak High German – it will make matters worse for them and for you. What assets does Tübingen offer you as a permanent resident and a visitor ? It has a beautiful old-town located upon the Neckar river. Its environment is just as beautiful, a lot of hills, forests and castles where you can relax in any season.

Although it may be difficult to socialize with people in the beginning, they will love you forever once you know them. No, we‘re not superficial. Being a relatively small town (about 90 k inhabitants) it has anything you need to live a great lifestyle: Nature, food, culture.

Stuttgart is close for larger events such as pop concerts and soccer matches. Within a two hours drive, you can either be in France (aha !) – crossing the Black Forest – or Switzerland, passing by Lake Constance – the Swabian sea although Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria claim their fair share of it too.

The Relationship between France and Tübingen

Now, what‘s the relationship with France ? As mentioned above, we‘re pretty close to the most Eastern part of France (the Alsace) and after WW II, the French army was stationed in Tübingen – that means a lot of French people know Tübingen. This circumstance saved my wife‘s driver‘s license three years ago when she got stopped by French police for speeding, in Vienne near Lyon.

The police officer looked very gloomy at first and said: “Madame !“ When he noticed that we were from Tübingen and on our way home, his facial traits visibly relaxed, he smiled and said: “I was stationed there when I served in the French army… I will let you pass with a small fine (only 30 €) and won‘t report you to German police.”

The French army is long gone, but they left their whole infrastructure, especially buildings. The former baracks were converted into a whole new neighborhood called the French Quarter with streets like “Aixer Strasse” or “Mirabeau Weg”. I don‘t like this quarter very much, but anyway, it‘s an architectural role model for converting military infrastructure.

They turned swords into ploughshares. Isn‘t it interesting that one of the most beautiful and lavish buildings (the Thiepval) is occupied by Tübingen‘s fiscal authority ? And the street names of this quarter point to one of Tübingen‘s twin cities, the beautiful Aix-en-Provence in France.

While Tübingen is very proud of this friendship, hardly anybody in Aix knows Tübingen, as we realized last year when we visited Aix en Provence. In as little as 4 h 38 mins you can travel from Tübingen Central Station to Paris Est via Stuttgart – by taking the French TGV or the German ICE that runs from Stuttgart to Paris.

Now is that a seduction when you come to Paris ? Let me know, and we will welcome you here in Tübingen. What is the downside of Tübingen ? Because of its proximity to Stuttgart and the constant influx of new people, the cost of living is amazingly high, considering the small size of the town and the absence of major economic players in Tübingen itself – it’s an administration and university town and therefore consuming tax money rather than producing it.

Especially housing is very expensive, inadequately expensive I would say. I have never really understood why this is the case, but chances are it‘s a combination of the stubborn Swabian mentality and scarcity of appropriate construction land.

In my view, it‘s being kept scarce on purpose by different pressure groups for different reasons, but that‘s a whole different story. Finally, here’s a little video I did about Tübingen: And this is one about Aix en Provence, Tübingen’s French twin town:

Tübingen

Aix en Provence

You turn now, tell us what you thing …. down below…

19 Comments

  • AdrienneTwitter: adriennesmith40 says:

    Well hey Oliver,

    I was surprised when I got here and saw a post on Germany and was kind of scratching my head until I learned it was you. Okay, I’m prejudice what can I say. I knew that whatever you shared would definitely be worth the read.

    I have learned quite a bit from Slyviane about France through this blog and learned how close Germany is to part of France. I know, I was never good in history and haven’t looked at a map in ages so my memory didn’t serve me.

    I appreciate you sharing with us the town you currently reside in and I know what you mean. I don’t live where I was raised and but I do call this home now, I’ve been here over 22 years now. The town where I grew up isn’t what it use to be so to me it’s not really home anymore and now with my Mom moving close to me, it definitely will no longer be home.

    Enjoyed both video so thanks for taking the time to put that slide show together and glad you hopped over to France for the day. Hope the girls didn’t spend too much. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend Oliver and thanks Sylviane for having him today.

    ~Adrienne
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Ah, Adrienne, you were wondering what a German town had to do with a summer french town review, huh?

      Well, the blog is called France “travel” and food, so I am also going to talk about places outside of France once in a while as well as other themes. The travel part doesn’t have to be ONLY France.

      Oliver really wrote a nice long post full of great info and I am glad you enjoyed it all. I really enjoyed the videos too.

      Thanks for your visit, Adrienne 🙂

      • Oliver Tausend says:

        Hi Sylviane,

        yes, and didn’t we tie in the French theme nicely ? 😉

        Be blessed

        Oliver

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving your comment. Yes, the girls were wise, definitely 😉

      And, well, I am glad I was able to help you brush up your knowledge in history and geography.

      We moved a few times in South Germany and while I still love the environment around my birth and childhood places, I got completely out of touch with the people I used to know. And for some reason, I don’t feel like reaching out to them, for example via social media.

      Take care

      Oliver

  • Sylviane Nuccio says:

    That was an excellent review of your “home” town, Oliver.

    I enjoyed your story about your encounter with the police in Vienne. My mother lived in Vienne for 6 years after selling our family house.

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures as well and the videos too 🙂

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Sylviane,

      thanks again for the opportunity. I once again enjoyed our joint venture. That was truly an odd situation in Vienne because my wife doesn’t drive too fast normally – and then, all of a sudden, way too fast. When we drive to the Midi via Lyon, we’re always glad when we reach Vienne because traffic is very difficult in Lyon (you know that). On the “remontée”, there are usually huge traffic jams at the toll station in Vienne.

      Thanks again, I enjoyed it very much.

      Take care

      Oliver

  • Carol LynnTwitter: carollynnrivera says:

    What a nice peek inside a lovely town! That castle in that photo is beautiful, but then again I’m a sucker for cool architecture. I guess I never really thought about different German dialects that people in different parts of the country couldn’t even understand. I never heard of “Swabe” but I’m glad I learned something new! My grandparents are from Italy and I remember them telling us about “High Italian”, too – I guess that’s probably common. The closest thing we have in the US is people in the south who say things with accents that are pretty distinct – but it’s always easy to understand anyway.

    It was interesting how you said that people are so friendly but once they get to know you they love you – that sounds very genuine. When you meet someone you may not know them very well but when you get to know them, that’s when you find true friends. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

    Thanks for this tour, Oliver and thank you Sylviane for giving us another fun look into a great place!
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Carol,

      Yes, Europe is known for it’s dialects from one place to another and that’s not nearly as common as it used to be. Don’t worry, I’m from Europe and I’d never heard of “Swabe” before either and it’s only recently that I came to the realization that German is full of different accents too. For some crazy reasons I thought that all Germans spoke the same way, but I think that has a lot to do with how Germans are portrayed in movies. Crazy!!!

      This castle looks like right of a Cinderella story book to me 🙂 Beautiful!

      • Oliver Tausend says:

        Hi Sylviane,

        I would say it’s in the middle of, let’s say the “langue d’oc”, l’occitane, which is a complete different language, in fact, and the sometimes strong differences of pronounciation of people from the south, as you showed nicely in your post about Marseille. German dialects are not languages as such, but they might have a life of their own. In addition to that, in two of the Eastern states of Germany, in Saxonia and Brandenburg, you might run into “Sorbs” and their “Sorbian” language which is of Slavic origin (not Serbian). Although usually citizens of Germany, all their road signs are bilingual and they’re holding on to their traditions very closely, but peacefully and non-intrusively.

        Confusion complete ?

        Take care

        Oliver

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Carol,

      people from North Germany have a hard time to understand natives from South Germany. And even if people from South Germany try to speak High German, they will either be recognized because of their accent or it will sound very odd. Every state or even every sub-area in the different states have their own dialect and real High German is only spoken in a very small part of the country.

      The castles shown in this post are not located in Tübingen (we have one too though), but within 30 minutes driving time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Take care

      Oliver

  • Sue PriceTwitter: suejprice says:

    Hi Sylviane and Oliver
    A great post and I really enjoyed knowing more about where you live Oliver. I too enjoyed the videos.
    Being Australian I am always in awe of the buildings and history in Europe.
    Thanks

    Sue
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hello Sue,

      I’m glad you enjoyed Oliver’s post about Tübingen. I know Australia is very different from Europe and European, dream of Australia too. I have an uncle and aunt living in Australia and never made it there yet 🙂

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Sue,

      thanks for your comment. Yes, this is something I would miss if I lived on another continent. On the other hand, “history” has its downside too if it leads to clinging to old traditions and narrow-minded thinking. This is definitely the case in most European countries, especially in Germany.

      Be blessed

      Oliver

  • Donna MerrillTwitter: donna_tribe says:

    Thank you Sylviane for this wonderful guest post from Oliver!

    Oliver, I feel like getting on a plane and visiting right now! Your virtual tour was so enjoyable. You have a great way of expressing things with your videos. You always have!
    My grandparents came to the U.S. from Northern Italy, and I can understand all about the dialects. The north, the south..etc. They were always conflicts about it. he he
    My great grandmother was from Germany, but I don’t know where. After looking at the video, I feel like taking the time to find out!
    Sylviane, you couldn’t have chosen a better person for a guest post..Oliver is always interesting.
    Thank you both!
    Donna
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    • Sylviane Nuccio says:

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for visiting with us and I am glad you enjoyed Oliver’s post. Yes, it was a pleasure to have him 🙂

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Donna,

      thanks for your wonderful comment and your appreciation. I am glad I was able to let you travel in your mind. Wouldn’t it be great if you found out where your great grandmother came from ?

      Keep us posted !

      Have a great week ahead

      Oliver

  • Shelley Alexander says:

    Hi Oliver and Sylviane,

    Wow Tübingen looks so beautiful and quaint! I love small towns and the uniqueness that they offer versus big cities. Your post and videos makes me want to go get on a plane and visit right away. In college one of my friends was from Stuttgart the state capital and he talked about how wonderful all the surrounding areas were. Thanks for sharing your unique views on the town that you now call home.

    Best,

    Shelley

    • Oliver Tausend says:

      Hi Shelley,

      thanks for your comment. Glad that I was able to make you wanna travel…really cool. And wow, isn’t it interesting that you had a college mate from Stuttgart ?

      Take care

      Oliver

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