Jazz in Heidelberg

I am happy to present you the quick overview about Heidelberg’s and the Jazz scene of the Rhine-Neckar region: www.metropoljazz.de. It offers a quick overview on jazz venues and links to the essential concert in Heidelberg and the surrounding area. It’s also smartphone-friendly! Let me know, what you think and suggest improvements. More about Germany’s jazz scene with an emphasis on the southern regions at www.jazzpages.com.

Heidelberg’s Twin Cities: Kumamoto – Samurai in Heidelberg

Samurai on a horse in Heidelberg

Heidelberg has some wonderful Twin Cities. Cambridge in Great Britain, Montpellier in Southern France, Rehovot in Israel, Simferopol in the Ucraine, Bautzen in Germany (former East Germany), Mostar in Bosna and Herzegowina, Calamba City in the Philippines and last not least Kumamoto in Japan.

Kumamoto ist the capital city of Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu and home of the famous landmark Kumamoto Castle, a large and, in its day, extremely well fortified Japanese castle. A perfect connection to Heidelberg. The partnership with Kumamoto even made it possible to see some Samurai in Heidelberg.

The friendship between Kumamoto and Heidelberg is cultivated by the “Heidelberger Freundeskreis Kumamoto“. Other ressources for the japanese – german connections are:

Heidelberg’s wild 1970ies – Exhibition at Kurpfaelzisches Museum

Awakening of a city – Heidelberg’s wild era of the 1970ies
Exhibition May 16 to September 21, 2014

Heidelbergs wilder 70er - Exhibition at Kurpfälzisches MuseumIt was a time of worldwide fundamental political changes, numerous technical innovations (data processing…), and at the same time the radicalization of political groups which led into the late 1970ies forms of extremism.

In Heidelberg it was the time after the peak of the student’s protests and a load of new concepts emerged. The anti-nuclear movement , women’s movement , „Spontis“, Communist-groups , men’s groups and residential communities – the 1970s were the decade, that Heidelberg has changed the most, with exceptional after-effects until today. Sexual revolution, a counter-public , international solidarity , self-managed alternative projects and exuberant creativity are the buzzwords of this time

In parallel, the city administration decided to fundamentally change the old town through restoration measures and to create the Emmertsgrund as a new district. And it also was a time of architectural blunders, which show their visual impact to the day.

At the „Kurpfäzisches Museum“ this time is presented with “finds” from the 70s, paintings, prints, film posters and installations, completed with interviews with witnesses , to document this fascinating piece of Heidelberg’s younger history.

Kurpfälzisches Museum der Stadt Heidelberg
Hauptstraße 97
69117 Heidelberg


Heidelberg Castle Illumination and fireworks

Heidelberg Schlossbeleuchtung - Castle Illumination - Foto: Heidelberg-bilder.de

The spectacular castle illuminations with fireworks attract not only thousands of local visitors, but enthusiastic viewers from all over the world in June, July and September each year. On sunny days, the northern riverside of the Neckar fills up with people, equipped with blankets and picnic supplies. They enjoy the afternoon and wait for the illumination. The nocturnal entertainment starts about 22 p.m.

Besides the location on the riverside, you could  walk up the “Philosopher’s Walk” on the hill opposite the castle, or enjoy the spectacle from the old town or the castle itself. The local Rhein-Neckar-Fahrgastschifffahrt, with its ships, stay on the Neckar throughout the event and combine the airy colours with their reflections in the river.

The fireworks has a 400 year old tradition, as the first one was held by the Elector-Palatinate, Friedrich V, who brought his bride Elisabeth Stuart in 1613 to Heidelberg and gave her a welcome with a glorious fireworks.


The 2014 schedule:

June, 07th, 2014

July, 12th, 2014

September 06th, 2014



Finkenbach Festival – Krautrock de Luxe in August

Finkenbach Festival 2014 - Flyer

Have you ever heard of “Krautrock“? It’s a specific German kind of rock music, which originated in the late 1960ies. The term was attributed to the music of this time by the English-speaking world but it was “adopted” in Germany, too. The term reflected the reception of the music at the time and was not a reference to any one particular scene, style, or movement – many krautrock artists were not familiar with one another.

One mastermind of Krautrock is the drummer Mani Neumeier, head of “Guru Guru” an organiser of the famous event Finkenbach Festival”, since the early 1970ies. This year the festival will take place on two days, 15th and 16th, August 2014. A special highlight, besides the madatory performance of “Guru Guru” will be the last concert of “Kraan”, which is one of the most praised Krautrock band.

Over the two days all around the festival stage, a huge free camping site is offered, some of the fans arrive days before the festival and begin to celebrate their festival of peace & love and great music. The location of the festival is 35 km from Heidelberg, up the river Neckar and some km in a side valley. Beautiful location with authentic Odenwald-feeling in the nature.



Freitag, ab 19:00 Uhr (Einlass 17:00 Uhr):
Faust – 19:00 Uhr
The Brew (UK) – 21:00 Uhr
Kraan – 23:00 Uhr
Bröselmaschine – 01:00 Uhr

Samstag, ab 15:00 Uhr (Einlass 13.00 Uhr):
Embryo – 15:00 Uhr
Marblewood (CH) – 17:00 Uhr
The Quireboys – 19:00 Uhr
Guru Guru – 21:00 Uhr
The Pretty Things – 23:00 Uhr
Simeon Soul Chargers – 01:00 Uhr


Heidelberg - Finkenbach - Route

The 10 things you will love in Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

Photo: Heidelberg Castle

1. Heidelberg Castle

Ok – let’s face it: you can’t overlook it, you probably came along just to see it and actually it is the most impressive building in town: Heidelberg Castle – the Heidelberger Schloss. It’s romantic look an unique appearance of castle, old bridge and old town attracts roundabout 3.5 Million day-trippers a year and 1 Million overnight guests (which is a quite alot, considering the population of 130.000 people, from which are ca. 30.000 students).
You should consider two ways to approach the castle. To have a wonderful view at the castle, the old town and the bridge, switch to the other side of the river Neckar and take a walk up the “Philosophenweg”. You’ll have a steep rise, but you’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful look over the city and the to the castle vis-à-vis. The other approach is the direct one: enter the castle, have the close-up of the ruin (which the Heidelberg Schloss mostly is) and stroll through its park. You’ll probably have a lot of co-visitors, especially through the summer months, weekends… – I hate these crowds of people and my advice is to come early or late. But that’s the same old thing with every touristic destination. Inside the castle you have to pay to enter the castle’s court (hey, those bastards let the locals pay the same price…) and inside the castle you might want to have  a look at the the famous “big barrel”, which is – imho – not too impressive. There’s the “Deutsche Apothekenmuseum” (German Pharmacy Museum) in the castle, too – if you’re interested in that kind of stuff…


Photo: Bergfriedhof Heidelberg

2. The Bergfriedhof.

As I tend to visist the graveyards in cities I visit, I assume, that other people like to do that, too ;-). I think, that graveyards and tombstones tell us quite a lot about the local people and that’s one of the most interesting things, visiting a foreign city. The Bergfriedhof is situated near downtown and has a history of more than 17o years.  A wide area, situated on a hillside with large trees, impressive old and new tombstones, with the character of a romantic park (you can see some impressions of the Bergfriedhof here).


Prinzhorn Sammlung - Barszene aus "Bildnerei der Geisteskranken"

3. The Prinzhorn Collection.

Hans Prinzhorn (June 6, 1886 – June 14, 1933) was a German psychiatrist and art historian. He became famous for the publication of his book „Bildnerei der Geisteskranken“ (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which was richly illustrated with works of his patients. In 1919 he became assistant to Karl Wilmanns at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg, whete he was assigned the job, to expand an earlier collection of art created by the mentally ill, which was started by Emil Kraepelin. When he left in 1921 the collection was extended to more than 5000 works by about 450 “cases”. His book was disputed in the community of psychatrists, but the reaction of the art scene was ethusiastic. Jean Dubuffet was highly inspired by the works, and the term Art Brut was coined. Prinzhorn died in 1933, and shortly after his death the Prinzhorn Collection was stowed away in the attics of the Heidelberg University. In 1938 some items of the collection were displayed in the Nazi propaganda exhibition „Entartete Kunst“ (Degenerate Art). Since 2001 the collection is on display in a former oratory of the University of Heidelberg and has gained an immense popularity in the world of art. The curators of the Prinzhorn collection compose selected exhibitions from the complete stock of images and sculptures. The original book “Bildnerei der Geisteskranken” is available onlinePrinzhorn Sammlung.


4. The Botanical Garden Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

The Heidelberg Botanical Garden ist the third oldest in Germany and was founded in 1593 (200 years after the university). It was first located in Heidelberg’s old town but moved afterwards seven times. The current garden is located at the Neuenheimer Feld since 1915. It was mostly destroyed at the end of the second world war. Most of its current famous collections were obtained under the direction of Prof. Werner Rauh, who was in charge of the garden from 1960-1982, comprising succulents, orchids and bromeliads. The botanical garden is also a resting point, a quiet place in the city, definitely worth a visit.

| A gallery from the Botanical Garden Heidelberg

| Botanical Garden Heidelberg


This whole site is under construction, just as this page. As a native, it’s a tough decision to choose the top ten 😉 -you might propose your own a the bulletin board!

Jazz in Heidelberg

Han Bennink jazz drummer, photo Schindelbeck

Looking for the good music in Heidelberg? Hear Jazz. There are some locations in Heidelberg an nearby Mannheim, worth to look for. In Heidelberg, the Jazzclub Heidelberg offers 10 to 12 concerts a year with an ambitious programme, which comprises high class bands from Germany and selected bands from abroad and the best of the regional jazz scene. Their scope ranges from modern mainstream to experimental and avantgarde.  The Jazzclub’s concert location is the DAI (Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut) in downtwon Heidelberg. Another location, with mostly local bands and sessions is “Jazzhaus Heidelberg”, which can be found in old town Heidelberg. There is some turmoil around the Jazzhaus these days and it will have to close soon, probably. Please check their website. One of the famous jazz locations in Heidelberg was Cave 54, where international jazz stars of the 1950ies and 1960ies used to jam, but these golden times are gone and nowadays, there’s only one weekly session left, which is held on tuesday evenings. Some other concerts are spread on several locations over the city.

If you chose to look for jazz outside of Heidelberg, there are some really nice spots not far away. In nearby Mannheim, the IG-Jazz offers a regular programme at “Klapsmühl am Rathaus”. A little, nice location with concerts of the locals jazz students but you can hear the best german jazz bands there, too (also: mainstream to experimental and avantgarde). At Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, the programme offers often some “bigger names”, with an international twist. The “Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis” (New German Jazz Award) is held there each year. This price is quite unique, as the audience elects from three bands, which were chosen from roundabout 200 applications by a jury and a curator, the winner.

At Bergstrasse, in Heppenheim, the Forum Kultur offers an ambitius programme, which could be characterised as modern mainstream, also worth a little trip from Heidelberg.

There are some jazz festivals in and around Heidelberg, too. The biggest is “Enjoy Jazz“, which is held in fall. It runs over 6 weeks and offers roundabout 60 to 70 concerts on several locations of the Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar (the region around the cities of Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen). In summer “Palatia Jazz” offers concert – most of them open air – in several cities of the nearby Palatinate (a region, belonging to the neigbouring state of Rheinland-Pfalz), worth a look. It offers a mostly international programme and its USP is the offer of regional wine and food before the concerts. Another festival nearby is “Jazz and Joy” in Worms. A little bit more far away, but definitely worth the trave is the “Just Music Festival” in Wiesbaden, which is held in January: a fine selection of avantgarde, modern and sometimes free jazz. Recommended.


This is just a short sample of the most interesting jazz venues and festivals of Heidelberg and its surroundings. You can find all interesting jazz concerts in the region at www.metropoljazz.de, which offers a comprehensive overview of all concerts worth listening. As the Heidelberg-Blogger is also the webmaster of www.jazzpages.com and the Jazzblogger, please feel free to drop a line, to get some expert’s advice 😉