Bielefeld is a many-sided and colorful city. Lovers of the arts, culture, and sports will find lots to do here: independent theaters, cabaret, and club concerts just as much as various venues for major international culture events. With roughly 330,000 inhabitants living in an area of 258 square kilometers, Bielefeld is one of the 20 largest cities in Germany. It is the economic and cultural centre of Eastern Westphalia, a bustling region halfway between Cologne and Berlin that is home to about 2 million people.
Buildings from the industrial past shape the city skyline just as much as modern architecture and generously laid out parks. Bielefeld is also known as the "big city in the countryside" - more than 60 percent of the city is made up of green areas, parks, and woods. The rolling hills of the Teutoburg Forest pass right through the city and offer endless leisure-time possibilities: 580 kilometers of nature trails invite you for day trips and walks. The imposing hallmark of the city and also a favorite leisure-time destination is the castle - the Sparrenburg built in 1240. It offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. Numerous further sights cast light on almost 800 years of history.
Bielefeld is the most important shopping centre in the region. The pedestrian precincts between the main train station and the old city are perfect for shopping or just window-shopping. Gastronomically, the city has something for every taste: ranging from comfortable pubs to fashionable and specialty restaurants up to top international cuisine. In summer, the people of Bielefeld relax in atmospheric beer gardens; and street cafes. In 1969, Bielefeld became a university city and today the presence of 25,000 students and scholars give the city a special cosmopolitan atmosphere. Nowadays, Bielefeld boasts a very broad business structure with internationally renowned companies like Alcina, Dürkopp-Adler, Gildemeister, Oetker, Schüco, and Seidensticker.