Freiburg is one of those places people always say is beautiful and where the sun always shines. In fact, it’s pretty easy to wax lyrical about Germany’s southernmost city and no other place comes close to Freiburg’s magnificent landscape and picturesque old town with its labyrinthine alleyways and happy, bicycling residents. What can we say? It’s true. Freiburg really is beautiful.
In 2020, the city celebrated 900 years since its founding as a “free town”, but if you think that means it’s a decrepit and old-fashioned place, you’d be wrong. The city’s some 30,000 students, varied cultural scene, proximity to France and Switzerland and famous Höllental winds that cool the city in the heat of summer all provide a breath of fresh air. Over the last few years, Freiburg has established itself internationally as a Green City, setting itself and its 230,000 inhabitants ambitious sustainability goals and you don’t have to look too hard to see how they are being pursued. On SC Freiburg’s stadium, the exhibition hall, the futuristic city hall, on the roofs of schools, churches, private homes and even at the site of the former landfill site—solar panels as far as the eye can see. A worthy endeavour as Freiburg enjoys more than 1,800 hours of sun every year making it Germany’s sunniest city. You could say it’s the country’s answer to Miami, but you won’t see any highly polished Ford Mustangs cruising the streets here. In this town, the bike rules the roads. One of the first things you see when you leave the station is a huge parking area for thousands of bikes, they are propped up outside every café and the cycle paths are twice as wide as the pavements. Cars are completely banned from some parts of the city and there the loudest sounds you’ll hear are bike bells and electric buses as they swoosh by.
Picture: Freiburg © FWTM/Spiegelhalter
In the numerous research institutions involved in sustainable technologies, there’s a buzz of activity. It’s not just the Club of Rome that is predicting a green-reboot in future markets. Innovative technologies, distinguished scientific projects and Freiburg’s special attitude to life are not just appreciated by the residents, but attract a lot of bright sparks and investors from all around the world. Freiburg is growing and growing.
Bechtle perfectly complements this concept—and not just in terms of colour. The company has been represented in the Breisgau region since 1996, and has seen its employee numbers and revenues nearly double since 2010. Today, 100 people are driving Bechtle’s success in Freiburg and the surrounding area. The two managing directors, Udo Stiefvater and Dr Oliver Kriessl, are particularly proud of how their team responded during the coronavirus pandemic. “In 2020, we were left in no doubt of our team’s capabilities making it the most successful year we have ever had since opening here.” The secret? Exciting new services such as the Bechtle Smart Workplace that doesn’t just provide standardised Managed Services, but also enables entire workstations including hardware to be rented. More important however, is the accomplished team of old hands and young guns, all of whom give their all to support their customers.
Picture: Quartier Vauban © FWTM/Schoenen
“Giving your all” is essential when living and working in Freiburg as, with an altitude difference of some 1,000 metres within the city limits, you’ll quickly find yourself breaking into a sweat on two wheels. Being a bike-friendly employer, Bechtle Freiburg offers covered bike parking spaces, showers and changing rooms as well as charging points for e-bikes and pedelecs. And for those who prefer to travel on four wheels, the company’s charging points for hybrid and electric fleet vehicles were increased to 20 last year. The modern, energy-efficient office building has a large roof terrace with a barbecue and a fantastic view of the Black Forest, the Vosges and the Kaiserstuhl. It should be clear that the people of Freiburg aren’t only bike enthusiasts because they are environmentally friendly, but because it would be crazy not to immerse yourself and your senses in this wonderful landscape and climate.
Bechtle IT System House Freiburg
Describe yourself in three words.
Creative, technophile, nature lover.
You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. (Aristotle)
The book on your bedside table.
Vergeude keine Krise (roughly: Don’t Waste a Crisis) by Peter Kreuz, an iPad with lots of bookmarks, Readly and Blinkist.
One thing nobody knows about you.
I love taking drone photos and going out on my electric mountain bike. (Since I spontaneously bought my first e-bike in Heilbronn on my way back to my hotel from Competence Days in 2011.) I also love being up in the mountains.
Your perfect day.
Get up early, jump on the bike and enjoy seeing the natural world come to life on some of the extensive trails in the region. I’d be the first to reach the Schauinsland peak where I could enjoy the peace and quiet before heading back home for a late breakfast with the family. The afternoon would be spent in the garden and the evening with friends enjoying a good meal.
Your favourite town and why.
It has to be Freiburg!
Your favourite word.
If you cast an eye over your desk, you see …
… not very much. I like everything to be organised and I need my desk to be tidy.
It’s this job and nothing else because …
… it gives me the opportunity to work with a fantastic team to help shape Bechtle’s success.
Behind Freiburg’s façade of tranquillity lies a dynamic and vibrant city that has a whole lot to offer. As a through-and through Freiburger, Diana Eichin-Feilner from the central services team shares with us her tips on where to best enjoy all those hours of sunshine.
Freiburg’s landmark and architectural masterpiece is the Minster—one of the Black Forest’s most impressive churches. Standing at 116 metres high, some art historians say that the West Tower is the world’s most beautiful. Another popular site is The Historical Merchants’ Hall that stands at the south end of the Minster Square. Its dark red rendering and exquisitely decorated façade make it hard to miss.
While Freiburg hasn’t had a castle for a long time, the Schlossberg (Castle Hill) and its tower are the perfect location for panoramic views. To get to the top, a funicular railway runs from the city park.
If you find yourself at the Minster on market day, you have to try a Lange Rote. The long, red bratwurst is as much a part of Freiburg culture as the Baden dialect and the Bächle (small water-filled channels that run through the city).
Skajo restaurant’s home page welcomes visitors to Freiburg’s most beautiful terrace. You’ll soon realise they aren’t making it up as you tuck into braised veal cheeks or pearl barley risotto and enjoy a panoramic view of the Minister and the whole of Freiburg.
If you prefer things a bit more rustic, then you can’t go wrong at one of the numerous small wine taverns, where local vintners serve up regional specialities such as Wurstsalat (sausage salad), Bibiliskäs (curd cheese) and Brägele (fried potatoes) for excellent prices. My top tip? Griestal-Strauße in nearby Tuniberg.
At the forest’s edge, high above Freiburg, you’ll find the Panorama Hotel Mercure. The 4-star superior hotel serves fabulous food with the absolute highlight being the six-course tasting menu at the restaurant, Chez Eric.
The Zum Roten Bären Guest House is located in Freiburg’s oldest suburb—Oberlinden. The guest house has been putting up visitors since 1387 and is still welcoming them with open arms today.
Foto: © FWTM/Antal
Freiburg city centre is crammed full of shops and boutiques with the go-to areas being Konviktstraße (by far the prettiest shopping street), Bertholdstraße and Salzstraße. If you’re on the look out for high street stores, you can’t go wrong on Kaiser-Joseph-Straße (Kajo).
Local wines are best enjoyed at Alte Wache at Minster Square. The popular wine bar’s terrace is the perfect place to sip a Pinot Gris in the summer or enjoy a mulled wine in the winter.
Looking for a really nice table? You’ll be spoilt for choice at the Feierling brewery where you can relax and enjoy a delicious beer under the old chestnut trees in the beer garden or enjoy the rustic charm of the dining area and its brewing coppers.
Freiburg’s Bächle are a curiosity that are hard to miss. The channels course through the streets and alleys of Freiburg’s old town and are fed by the River Dreisam. But beware, according to legend, those who accidentally stand in a Bächle have to marry a Freiburg resident.
If you are looking for something a bit more high adrenaline, then it’s worth making a trip to Europapark in Rust. Germany’s largest theme park is just a half-hour drive from Freiburg.
Freiburg is heaven on earth for all sporty types. Outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking or swimming are particularly popular in summer thanks to the mild climate of the Freiburg lowlands, while in winter nearby skiing areas and cross-country trails attract the crowds.
Foto: © FWTM/Antal