Topping out ceremony b³ (Photo: Buck)


Bahnstadt is a pioneering new district being built by the City of Heidelberg that leads the way internationally in environmental protection and low carbon emissions. Constructed to the highest possible standards, the district follows a tried-and-tested concept that has served Heidelberg’s Old Town well for centuries: In Bahnstadt, scientific, commercial, residential and cultural premises exist side-by-side in a balanced mix.

Some 5,500 people will ultimately live in the area, and as many as 7,000 will work there, mainly in research and the knowledge economy.

But how did it all begin?

A competition to find a name for the new district produced more than 500 suggestions from members of the public. But ultimately the City Council decided to retain the project’s working title, ‘Bahnstadt’ – German for ‘Railway Town’ – because the district is on the site of an old railway yard that closed down in 1997. In the early 2000s, a town-planning competition was held to determine how Bahnstadt should look. In 2009, diggers broke ground on the site, marking the official start of the construction of Heidelberg’s 15th district. 

2012: First residents move in

The first residents arrived in Bahnstadt in June 2012. July 2014 saw the official completion of the first construction phase, consisting of the leisure areas and foot and cycle paths along the Promenade, and various office and laboratory buildings. 
Also in 2014, the new combined heat and power (CHP) plant of the municipal utility company Stadtwerke Heidelberg commenced operation. For Bahnstadt – as the world’s largest district built entirely to the ultra-eco-friendly Passivhaus standard – this was a pivotal moment. 

2015: Companies settle into Skylabs

Besides housing, Bahnstadt also offers premises for a wide range of research institutes and science-based companies. The beating heart of Bahnstadt Campus is the office and laboratory building ‘SkyLabs,’ which was fully occupied by the start of 2015.

2016: 3,500 living in Bahnstadt

In 2016 the second stage of residential construction was completed: around 2,200 apartments with a total area of more than 132,000 square meters. There are now roughly 3,500 people living in Bahnstadt.

You can find a more detailed timeline showing the history of Bahnstadt at