Germany's southernmost big city has 220,000 inhabitants, including some 30,000 students. The renowned Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, one of Germany's oldest universities, has a reputation for excellence. Other institutions of higher learning in Freiburg include the renowned College of Music, a teachers college and religious institutions. Six Fraunhofer and Max Planck research institutes flank the academic infrastructure along with companies in the solar power, medical technology, IT and biotechnology sectors. Freiburg also has long-standing traditions in the fields of wine production, tourism and forestry.
Freiburg is a musical city. Few if any cities elsewhere in Germany have a comparable density of outstanding orchestras, ensembles and choirs. The Freiburger Barockorchester and ensemble recherche, which is dedicated to contemporary music, rank among the best of their kind in the world. The city's Zeltmusikfestival, an annual summertime event with a lineup running the gamut from jazz and rock to pop and classical artists, draws big crowds from near and far. The Augustinermuseum houses important art treasures from the Upper Rhine region, while other museums in the city boast impressive collections in archaeology, local history and the fine arts. Theater Freiburg presents a high-quality program of plays, opera and dance. It is complemented by many smaller theaters and a vibrant improv scene. Moviegoers here are spoiled for choice. And this is hardly surprising, as cinemas vie for audiences in the city that tops all others in Germany – statistically – in its love for the silver screen.
Freiburg's wealth of cultural activities, lively public spaces and the pubs and restaurants for every taste make it an extraordinarily good place to enjoy leisure time and go out at night. The end of April marks the start of the gourmet high season, as asparagus from nearby Tuniberg appears in the local markets and restaurants, ready to be enjoyed with the excellent white wines from Baden. The cuisine in Baden is among Germany's best. Those looking for more vigorous activity after sampling these delights will not be disappointed: the options range from winter sports, hiking and cycling in the nearby Black Forest to a visit to one of the thermal baths in the area. For visitors to Freiburg, side trips to nearby Alsace, Strassbourg or Basel are also highly recommended.