Erlangen – a University Town with a Huguenot History

Erlangen Hosts the Third Largest Beer Festival in Bavaria :

 Universitätsstraße, Erlangen Follow Me on Pinterest

1916 View of Universitätsstraße in Erlangen

Erlangen is a town that is probably not known to many travellers to Germany, but Bavarians know it well – Erlangen hosts the third largest beer festival in Bavaria, after the Oktoberfest in Munich and the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing.  Over 1 million people attend the Bergkirchweih every year – that’s ten times the population of Erlangen.

If you’ve been to Nuremberg, Erlangen is approximately eight kilometers to the north.  Dominant features of this city are its university, the presence of the Siemens company, Erlangen’s Baroque architecture and its Huguenot history.

Erlangen is a university town and home of the Friedrich-Alexander University (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg), the second largest state university in Bavaria.  A third of Erlangen’s population are connected with the university. The university was founded in Bayreuth by Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth in 1742, but was moved to Erlangen the following year.

The other dominant institution in Erlangen is the Siemens company.  One third of Erlangens work for Siemens.

A Huguenot City

When the Huguenots fled persecution from France at the end of the 17th century, some found their way to Erlangen in 1686.  Christian Ernst, then Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, built a new town (Neustadt) for them.  In Erlangen, today, Huguenot influence still prevails and on a guided city walk you can learn about the Huguenots in Erlangen and see the Huguenot Church.

Erlangen Bergkirchweih

Erlangen comes alive each year during its annual Bergkirchweih which is similar to the Munich Oktoberfest, but on a smaller scale.  The festival began on April 21, 1755, when the city council decided to relocate the traditional Pfingstmarkt ((Pentacost fair) from the Old Town market up to the castle on the hill.  Traditionally, Bergkirchweih takes place for 12 days around Pentecost.  Like Oktoberfest, visitors can enjoy steins of beer, grilled bratwurst, suckling pig, pretzels and many international dishes.  Bergkirchweih is still pretty much a Bavarian affair.

As a university town, Erlangen has a young population and there are many cultural, sporting and entertainment events on during the year. Attractions to see in this town include the University, Markgräfliches Castle, the New and the Old towns.

Map of Erlangen:

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