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Moving to Heidelberg: Where to live?

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JaneMarie
3/21/2016 10:44 EST

Hello. I am transferring to Heidelberg for work with my 8 year-old child and mid-sized dog. I will be on a house-hunting trip next month and am looking for advice on neighborhoods to explore. Also, I love the sound of city living - the amenities, ease of travel and proximity to other expats - but when I see pictures of areas like Ziegelhausen and Neckargemund, it takes my breath away. Here's my next question: Do you think an expat would feel isolated outside the city? I will have a car and a bike. Would travel be greatly complicated? Thank you for your help!

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taraindc
3/29/2016 07:26 EST

I lived in St. Leon (just outside of Heidelberg) for 8 years and loved it. Small town feel, yet only 15 minutes away. But, living in Heidelberg itself is quite doable, very easy to get around - will you want to be close to school or work is the main question?

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MinaS
3/29/2016 08:57 EST

JaneMarie,
I lived in Heidelberg for 10 years. Its just as pretty as Neckargemund and Ziegelhausen (which is actually part of Heidelberg, I think), if not more so. Heidelberg also has more expats and everyone speaks English. But its more expensive to live in Heidelberg and parking can be a problem. Fortunately, you do not need a car. I gave birth to 2 sons while living in Heidelberg and everything is easier without a car. We used a bicycle with a trailer when the kids were small and then transitioned them to bicycles. The city is generally flat with mountains on the sides, a river valley. Public transportation is cheap and clean and reliable. They also have a great car share program there, many different models and types of cars and transporters. Its fantastic to be able to choose the perfect car for any given day. To get a drivers licence in Germany can be very time consuming and expensive, driver training is mandatory.
Which neighbourhood you choose in Heidelberg may depend on your budget. The Alttown, Neuenheim and the Weststadt are all central and beautiful and expensive and have very little parking. The Alttown can be very noisy at night. A little further out are Handshuhsheim, the Sudstadt, and Rorbach (my spelling may be off), which are more residential, mostly newer, a little less expensive. We lived in Handshuhsheim and the Weststadt. Both have nice markets, and are quiet, convenient and very pretty.
Outdoor space for a dog can be difficult in the Alttown. For taking your dog for walks in the woods (on the mountain side) I would recommend Handschuhsheim Neuenheim, the Weststadt and the Sudstadt.

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JaneMarie
4/4/2016 20:08 EST

Hi Taraindc,

Thank you for your feedback. We have two directions to consider. My daughter and I will be in town for school and work, but it looks like my husband needs to commute out near Heilbronn.

Again, thanks for your advice!

Jane

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JaneMarie
4/4/2016 20:13 EST

Hi Mina,

Thank you very much for this detailed advice! I've started researching some of the areas you've mentioned and hope to visit them on a house hunting trip soon.

Thanks again!
Jane

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