Heidelberg: open to the world
Heidelberg is a cosmopolitan city and has a real culture of welcome and acceptance. Even though the city’s population is becoming more diverse all the time, people feel at home here.
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Heidelberg is a city with a caring face – a city in which many inhabitants are involved in voluntary social work. Their contribution is much appreciated and encouraged by the authorities, and every year, the city awards medals to individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to the community. There is also a central office for coordinating voluntary work (Koordinierungsstelle Bürgerengagement), and anyone wishing to volunteer can receive free advice at the volunteers' exchange (Freiwilligenbörse).
Heidelberg is a city with an enviable social record – a city in which, according to the latest report, the risk of poverty, at 7.7 per cent, is half the national average. The city authorities have taken a wide range of measures aimed at ensuring that as many people as possible are able to participate in the life of the community. There is, for example, an above-average supply of places at childcare facilities, a comprehensive system of social support in schools, a so-called "Heidelberg Pass", with many concessions for low-earning families, and senior citizens' centers in the various neighborhoods which serve as meeting places for all generations.
Heidelberg is a city of cultural variety and equality of opportunity – a city in which some 150,000 people from about 180 nations live, including almost 56,000 with a migration background. The International Welcome Center Heidelberg (IWCH) is located at the Landfriedkomplex in Heidelberg's Bergheim district. As point of contact for all new arrivals, the IWCH unites the services of the Foreigners Authority and the diverse services of the Intercultural Center in one place. It offers those with and without a migration background an opportunity to understand other cultures and contribute towards social integration.