Arts and Entertainment in Göttingen
For a medium-sized college town, Göttingen has a lot to offer. Lots of student bars, classical music, local bands, drama, movies... Most major pop acts prefer nearby cities. If you want to see major bands, you may have to go to Kassel and Hannover. The same goes if you have a knack for opera. Visit the Göttingen website at www.goettingen.de for events and other information. Once you are in town, you may also check the arts section of the Göttinger Tageblatt, the local newspaper.
There are three theaters in Göttingen: Deutsches Theater (DT), Junges Theater (JT) and Theater im OP (ThOP). Most productions are in German, though both DT and ThOP offer occasional shows in English.
Deutsches Theater (DT)
Göttingen's oldest and most renowned theater. Lately, the theater has been successful in attracting some younger and more experimental authors. Also watch out for the excellent twice-a-year guest shows from the American Drama Group Munich, performed by native speakers - your best bet to see a professional play in English in this town.
For tickets and reservations, call (0551) 4969-11 or (0551) 4969-19.
Junges Theater (JT)
The JT is the DT's younger and wilder counterpart. They experiment, they provoke, and they occasionally have house DJs. In general, the JT tries to cater to a young, hip crowd. Some of the country's most celebrated young authors stage the first runs of their new plays here.
For tickets and reservations, call (0551) 49 50 15.
Theater im OP (ThOP)
The University's own theater *company*. Located in the surgery lecture room (sic, my grandmother once underwent surgery there) of a former hospital, the ThOP provides a unique atmosphere. Most actors are current University students, not professional actors, which usually makes for a fresh and enthusiastic cast. Because of the theater's character, the quality of the productions varies from near professional to somewhat amateurish. There is an English Drama Group that does one production a year. The ThOP also provides an opportunity for you to get involved - they are often looking for extra actors, especially at the beginning of each University semester (April and October). No experience necessary, your enthusiasm is the only prerequisite.
Theater im OP: www.thop.uni-goettingen.de/homepage.html
For tickets, reservations, and information how to get involved, call (0551) 397077.
Herr Travolta and Frau Zeta-Jones: A word about languages
Although about 80 % of movie tickets sold in this country are for Hollywood movies, chances are you will not get to see them in English. In Germany, most foreign films are dubbed in German. You can find occasional shows in the original languages in this town. Check for daily movie listings in the local paper, Göttinger Tageblatt. Watch out for the abbreviations OF, OV, OoU (original language, no subtitles) and OmU (original language, with subtitles). Commercial theaters like CinemaxX and Cinema usually show standard mainstream fare, and only occasionally in a language other than German. Lumière shows a wide range of movies from all over the world. Here, it is not unusual to find OmU movies from Iran, China, or Brazil as well as English-speaking countries, to name only a few.
Today's program is listed in the Göttinger Tageblatt, the local newspaper. For weekly listings, check the links and sources below.
A 9-screen multiplex near the train station, the CinemaxX shows Hollywood and German mainstream movies galore. A new Julia Roberts film? Lethal Weapon 14? This is the place. This theater arguably has the most comfortable seating and the biggest screens in town, but is a bit on the expensive side. There are occasional one-off screenings of Hollywood blockbusters in the original version. Tickets are slightly cheaper on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, though. Tuesday is discount day, and there are also student discounts.
Göttingen's alternative cinema, the only non-commercial place in town. On top of your usual art film and classics fare, the Lumière is the only place in town to screen movies from regions of the world whose films get little exposure in Western countries, including productions from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America that wouldn't stand a chance on Germany's mainstream market. Great selection of movies for kids on the weekends, too.
Current listings: www.lumiere.de
The university also shows films in their largest lecture halls (for students):
The names of the groups are Club-Kino, Campusfilm, Memo, and Oscar. Mostly recent mainstream fare, both domestic and from Hollywood (mostly in German), screened a few months after their regular run. On top of that, they also show classics. The annual highlight is the screening of "Die Feuerzangenbowle," a German comedy classic from the 1940s, and arguably one of the few memorable films made during the fascist era. These special screenings in early December have evolved into a major party, including champagne and an orchestra. Make sure to buy your ticket well in advance.
Schedule and tickets: Check in the ZHG (the central building on main campus), where you will normally find pamphlets flying around, to see what is showing when. You can't beat their extremely cheap tickets!
Videotapes/DVDs in foreign languages
Some video rental shops have a selection of videotapes in the original language. DVDs, however, usually come with the original language, and may include soundtracks and/or subtitles for various others. However, German shops regrettably sell few domestic films with foreign subtitles.
Books in foreign languages
The SUB (Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, the University's main library), one of the biggest libraries in the country, holds 1.5 million volumes. Not only is the SUB Germany's National Library for the 18th century, it also offers lots and lots of foreign language books and periodicals. Local residents can obtain a membership card for free, but you have to document that you are registered here. For more information, visit www.sub.uni-goettingen.de. You can also become a member of the Stadtbibliothek, the city library. Check out their website: http://stadtbibliothek.goettingen.de. Their selection of foreign language books is a lot smaller, but their staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and the atmosphere is great. A good place to sit and read.
You can also buy English books from some bookshops, like Deuerlich (their main branch in the Weender Strasse, located in the pedestrian zone). This store also holds a small selection of books in other foreign languages, such as Spanish, French, Turkish, Russian, and Italian. Ask for their ordering service. However, many out-of-the-way titles may only be available through the usual online booksellers.
Every October, Göttingen hosts the "Literaturherbst," a large literature festival of national renown that usually features a handful of English-language authors. Participating authors have included the late Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, T.C. Boyle, Jonathan Franzen, and French author Philippe Djian. Together with the Göttingen Max Planck Institutes, the Göttinger Literaturherbst further offers a scientific lecture series ( Wissenschaftsserie). Usually, there are always some of the talks in English.
For more information, see www.literaturherbst.de.
The local Literarisches Zentrum also offers an excellent year-round selection of readings from mostly German-language authors. However, the committed team, headed by local poet Hauke Hückstädt, also tries to open up our local readers to international authors, and thus occasionally invites foreign-language authors and their translators. For their current program, visit www.literarisches-zentrum-goettingen.de.
The Otto-Hahn-Bibliothek (OHB), our institute's library, subscribes to The London Times, Herald Tribune, Economist, Newsweek, and other common English language papers and magazines.
You can find a large selection of foreign newspapers and magazines in a wide variety of languages at Tonollo (on Weender Straße) or Vaternahm (inside the train station). Be prepared to pay multiple amounts of your favorite magazine's domestic newsstand price, though.
Every May or June, Göttingen hosts the annual Händel Festival, attracting internationally renowned conductors, soloists, and ensembles. It is a good idea to buy your tickets early. Visit www.haendel-festspiele.de for more information.
The city maintains its own orchestra, the Göttinger Symphonie Orchester (GSO). Its performances, at times featuring outside soloists, tend to sell out well in advance. Buy tickets early. For current information, visit www.gso-online.de (German only).
Opera and Ballet
In this area, Göttingen has nothing to offer. Sorry. If you want to see something like this, you have to go to Kassel or Hannover. You can get to both cities in no time by using the high-speed train (ICE). For schedules and ticket information, check www.staatstheater-hannover.de/indexoneun.html (Hannover, in German) and www.staatstheater-kassel.de (Kassel, in German).
Most major acts prefer Hannover or Kassel, too. If major acts come to town, they often play at the club "Outpost" or the "Stadthalle." Only the really big names get to play at the "Lokhalle", a huge former train maintenance facility near the train station. Check the Göttinger Tageblatt for more information.
The local music scene has spawned a few nationally known acts, among them Vivid and the Guano Apes. The quality of the bands that have not made it varies greatly. Some are extraordinary, some ... well, did you ever join a misguided heavy metal outfit when you were 15? I have, so I know what I am talking about. For recommendations, ask local friends and colleagues. You are welcome to check out my own band, the guitar pop outfit "Sweet Creature," at www.sweetcreature.de.
Painting and Sculpture
As a rule, it is not easy to find big name exhibitions in town. There are occasional exhibitions at the Altes Rathaus, the old city hall at the market square, which are listed on the city's web site. The most renowned art museum in the area is the Sprengel Museum in Hannover: www.sprengel-museum.de/v1/englisch/smhframes.html. Kassel is home to one of Europe's leading contemporary art events, the documenta, a huge show that only takes place every five years. Both Hannover and Kassel boast beautiful chateaus and parks from the age of the Sun King that are well worth a visit.
Overall, Göttingen is not exactly a national hot spot for sports. Well, the club BG Sartorius plays in the national Basketball league, but then basketball is not that big in Germany in the first place. In any case, your best bet is to visit www.goesf.de/ (in German) where you will find an exhaustive list of events and clubs you can join. If you enroll at Göttingen University, it is a great idea to take a non-credit sports course of the "Unisport" for a very low fee at the Zentrum für Allgemeinen Hochschulsport. Their classes are a cheap alternative to regular sports clubs, and also a great way to meet people. Check the Unisport Göttingen for current information.