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Home / Living in Heidelberg / Cultural institutions
Stack of books in front of the Old Bridge. (Foto: Dorn)

Heidelberg UNESCO City of Literature.
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The new old theater. (Foto: Buck)

Cultural institutions

Showcasing cultural diversity

Heidelberg is passionate about culture. It is one of the medium-sized cities in Germany with the highest per capita expenditure on cultural affairs. The pleasing result is an impressively wide range of cultural offerings. Since 2014, Heidelberg has been the first and so far only city in Germany to bear the title of UNESCO City of Literature. Less known is the fact that Heidelberg is also said to be the cradle of german hip hop music. Since 2019, the Heidelberg City Archive has been home to the Heidelberg Hip-Hop Archive, where items concerning hip hop history in Heidelberg are collected.

Take a stroll through the main street in Heidelberg and you will soon come across architectural evidence of the city’s cultural history. If you want to find out more, it is well worth visiting the Kurpfälzisches Museum, which invites visitors on an exciting journey into the past. Those who like things more contemporary should pay a visit to the Heidelberger Kunstverein next door, which has a mission to promote contemporary art.

Heidelberg is a university city. Anyone strolling through the picturesque Old City cannot fail to notice the Baroque main building of the Old University. This now houses the University Museum, which tells the story of Germany’s oldest university. It is also worth paying a visit to the impressive University Library and the (in)famous Students' Prison.

Heidelberg loves theater. In the heart of the city you will find the Municipal Theater, which reopened in 2012 following a comprehensive program of refurbishment and extension supported by generous donations from all over Germany. Since then this multi-purpose theater with its wide-ranging program has enjoyed regular full houses. There are also other, smaller theaters offering attractive programs. Fans of contemporary productions that are both satirical and intellectually stimulating flock to the Zimmertheater for example – Germany’s oldest private theater.