Dominic is 31 year old Software Engineer living in Mannheim, Germany. His hobbies are cycling and doing small electrical projects at home. He is engaged to a Chinese woman and they plan to get married sometime in 2020. Because his Chinese is weak, they speak German at home. He is a client of Peters-Langues.
Mannheim is a city in the south-western state of Germany called Baden Württemberg. It is, after Stuttgart, the biggest city in the state. Mannheim is located on the Rhine at the point in which the Neckar River flows into the Rhine. It has a population of 309.000 people. Mannheim also has the fourth largest inland port in Germany which also is one of the most important in Europe.
In the shadow of Mannheim, on the other side of the Rhine, is the city of Ludwigshafen. It is famous for being the headquarters of one of the biggest chemical companies in the world : BASF. Ludwigshafen is an industrial town, whereas Mannheim sees itself as an academic and innovative town.
The immediate area around Mannheim is flat, it lies in the Rhine valley, which is very wide. To the south-west is the Pfälzerwald and to the north-east is the Odenwald. Both are mountainous forests, with small villages and towns and also great mountain biking possibilities.
On the other side of the Rhine, there is a lot of agriculture. There are many vegetable crops and so the area is known as the vegetable garden of Germany. A few kilometres further south are many vineyards. Many people describe that area as the Tuscany of Germany due to the warm climate and rolling hills.
For me, Mannheim is a historical city. Some buildings remind you of its history. There is a castle, a water tower, an observatory, and the “Rosengarten Conference Centre”.
The city centre is organised as a chess board. The streets have no name, instead they have coordinates. So an address can be
I live in this part of Mannheim and I had calls from shops asking if the address was correct and if a delivery man could find where I live.
Mannheim is a liveable city. There are many events and things to do, typically found in every city. There are many cultural activities, theatres, cinemas and museums. There are five universities here, which means there is also young population.
Mannheim is also an immigrant city. There is a very large Turkish, Polish and Italian community here. In fact, 44% of the city’s population has a direct or indirect immigrant background. The different nationalities live in closed communities, so parts of the city are like, “little Turkey” or as we say here, “little Istanbul”.
There are two sides to this. Positive is that there are different ethnic supermarkets, butcher shops, with good quality food. There is a wide choice of restaurants. The negative side is that in the evenings, there are groups of men walking or driving through the city. This makes others feel uncomfortable.
Mannheim’s past is visible to us today in the form of cars and bicycles. The inventors, Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler developed the first engines and cars just outside of Mannheim. In 1871, Carl Benz invented the spark plug in his garage in the “T6 square” in the city centre. His wife, Bertha, secretly drove his “automobile” from Mannheim to her mother’s house, a few kilometres away.
Karl von Drais was the inventor of the “Laufmaschine”. It was a bicycle without peddles. You would sit on the saddle and the wheels and your feet would propel you forwards.
If you visit Mannheim, I would show you the Planetarium. It is a dome like building, constructed like a space observatory. Inside is a big projector which shows you the universe on the dome’s ceiling. There is an animation which explains and shows you the mysteries of outer space. A show lasts about 90 minutes. A few months ago, I saw a presentation on the Polar lights. It was great.
Afterwards, I would take you to the Stollenwörthweier. It is small natural lake which takes its water from Rhine. You can swim in it and chill on the grass.
Once refreshed, we would visit the Rheinterrassen. Here you can admire the view of the Rhine and there are always barges sailing up and down it, headed for Basel or Rotterdam. There is are many activities: There are fields to play games on, lie in the sun. There is also restaurant which serves German and French cuisine.
Next, I would walk you past the Mannheim Castle towards the city centre where you can walk through the squares. The castle is in the Baroque style. It houses the University of Mannheim, it has a museum and sometimes it is a venue for concerts. Students have their parties in the “Schneckenhof” (Snail Yard).
In the city centre I would show you the main shopping street “Die Planken”.
It is a long, straight, pedestrian zone. There are many shops, cafés, eateries and buskers and now, unfortunately, also beggars. At the end of the Planken, you see the symbol of Mannheim, the Watertower. It was partly designed to allow for the water feature display in the Rosengarten. Behind, is the start of the Augusta Anlage, and here you can see an iron copy of the first car ever built, a “Dreirädriger Benz Patent-Motorwagen Typ-1”. (A three wheeled Benz patented engine carriage type 1). This part of the city is a mixture of offices and restaurants.
Now you are probably hungry and depending on what you would like to eat, I can recommend Korean cuisine, a good Steakhouse and very good and authentic Italian restaurants. Afterwards, I would take you to “Fontanella”. It is an ice-cream shop and café here and the inventor of the “spaghetti ice-cream.”
To enjoy the nightlife, we would head for the “Jungbusch” district. It is a recently gentrified part of Mannheim, with docks, the Music University, students’ quarters, bars, restaurants and a good atmosphere.
Depending on how long you stay, you can also visit Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, all very easy to reach by train.