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Living in Bielefeld 

Looking for suitable and reasonably priced accommodation is not easy - especially from another country - and tends to be more successful when you are not pressed for time. Therefore, it is advisable to start looking as soon as possible and before you come to Germany. If necessary, it might be a good idea to send for your family only after you have found what you want.

If you prefer to look for permanent accommodation after your arrival to Bielefeld, there are various ways of looking once you get here.

Please bear in mind that it is generally more difficult to find a furnished apartment than an unfurnished one, German apartments are generally rented out unfurnished. Even one-person studio apartments are normally unfurnished, except when the actual tenant is "subletting" for a limited time period. However, there are several private providers and real estate agencies that offer short-term rentals of fully equipped private rooms or flats. However, you may have to pay the agent a service fee, which can be the equivalent of 2 months' rent for this service.

Bielefeld University offers its international visitors two attractive accommodation options: apartments at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research, and the University Apartments, all located on campus. However, the capacity of these university guesthouses is limited. So please get in touch with the respective contact persons as early as possible. In addition, there are special prices for university guests at several hotels and the youth hostels (see below). There is little chance in getting a flat/room in student residences for doctoral candidates (only for a very short time, if at all).


Contact Person at Bielefeld University

Contact Boardinghouse Campus:
Mrs. Karin Widera

Monday to Thursday 8:00 to 16:00
Friday 8:00 to 13:00
Telephone: +49 521 106 88650
Fax: +49 521 106 88 685

Boardinghouse Campus consists of tastefully furnished modern studios (47qm) in a quiet location directly on the Bielefeld University campus. They can be rented on a day-to-day basis like hotel rooms or permanently for longer stays. They are equipped with bathrooms and a balcony or terrace, and a weekly housekeeping service is available (cleaning, towels, and bedding). Blocks of two studios share a fully equipped and spacious kitchen with daily housekeeping. All studios and apartments are equipped with telephone and Ethernet (Internet access).

Contact ZiF:
Center for Interdisciplinary Research (Room 219)
Telephone: +49 521 106 2791
Fax: +49 521 106 152791

Thirty apartments are attached to the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Forschung, ZiF). They are all fully furnished and have well equipped kitchens. The ZiF provides towels and bedding, and there are washing machines that can be used privately for a small fee.

For the ZiF as well, it is advisable to ask early whether an apartment is available.

If the university guest houses were already full, or you prefer a differnet type of accomodation you can find out more about looking for accommodation here.

Hotels in Bielefeld

Until you find suitable accommodations, you could temporarily stay in a hotel or a less expensive guesthouse for younger people. Bielefeld University has negotiated special conditions with these hotels. (Please ask the university to make reservations for you).

For a further list hotels, go here to the official City of Bielefeld website.


Youth Hostel

The Jugendgästehaus (guesthouse for young persons) is run by the German Youth Hostel Association (Deutsche Jugendherbergswerk). Single rooms can also be booked for several nights. To find out about availability and prices, please contact (and ask for the special price as a university guest):

JBB Jugendgästehaus und Bildungszentrum Bielefeld
Hermann-Kleinewächter-Straße 1
33602 Bielefeld
Telephone: +49 - 521 - 522050
Fax: +49 - 521 - 52205110

Theodor-Hürth-Haus Jugendheimstatt e.V
Theodor-Hürth-Str. 1
33604 Bielefeld
Telephone: +49 - 521 - 295562
Fax: +49 - 521 - 295563

Kolpinghaus Bielefeld
August-Bebel-Straße 7a
33602 Bielefeld
Telephone: +49 - 521 - 60363
Fax: +49 - 521 - 172103


Holiday Flats und Private Rooms

Holiday flats and private rooms make for a third temporary solution. The City of Bielefeld offers a list of rooms and apartments on their website.



You should also ask the contact person at your guest institute in Bielefeld whether they could help you find accommodation. Perhaps they know people privately who could at least give you somewhere to stay when you first come to Bielefeld.

And, of course, you can also place your own advertisement on these sites.

An inspection of the so-called Mietspiegel (residential rental index) will help you to find out how much rent you will probably need to pay depending on the part of city, the facilities, and the age of the house. You can obtain the Mietspiegel for Bielefeld in the Residents' Advice Center (Bürgerberatung) located in the Neue Rathaus or you can download it from the Internet.

Landlords frequently ask for a deposit (Kaution) varying from one to a maximum of 6 months' basic rent (the so-called "Kaltmiete" without extra charges for utilities and services). This is to cover any potential damage you may cause to the property. However, the landlord has to pay this back with interest at the end of the rental agreement after deducting any costs for repairs and renovation. This should all be specified very clearly in your lease or rental contract (Mietvertrag).

Most advertisements give only the rent excluding utility charges (Kaltmiete). When looking at the apartment, always ask about the utility charges (the Nebenkosten). Tenants pay their electricity and gas bills directly to the public utility company (Stadtwerke). Every apartment should have its own electricity and/or gas meters.

You can find detailed information on how to look for accommodation and what you need to pay attention to when signing a lease (Mietvertrag) on the Internet pages of the Humboldt Foundation. If you are having difficulties with your landlord, you can obtain advice and support - for a fee - and information pamphlets on renting, rental contracts, and so forth from the following addresses:

Mieterbund Ostwestfalen-Lippe e.V.
Marktstraße 5
33602 Bielefeld
Telephone: 0521 - 56055 - 0
Fax: 0521 - 56055 - 11

Opening times and consultation times:
Monday and Thursday: 9:00 to 13:00
and 14:00 to 18:00
Tuesday: 9:00 to 13:00
and 14:00 to 17:00
Wednesday: by appointment
Friday: 9:00 to 13:00

Please note: Consultations during the morning hours only by appointment.

Verbraucherzentrale NRW
Beratungsstelle Bielefeld
Herforder Straße 33 (am Willy-Brandt-Platz)
33602 Bielefeld

Telephone: 0521 - 66936
Fax: 0521 - 60266


Typical Abbreviations in Housing Advertisements

AbbreviationWhat it Means
2-Zi-Whg 2 Zimmerwohnung = 2 -room apartment
3 ZKB 3 Zimmer mit Küche und Bad = 3 rooms plus kitchen and bathroom
450 Euro + NK 450 Euro Kaltmiete + Nebenkosten = 450 Euro basic rent plus utility charges
DG, EG, OG Dachgeschoss, Erdgeschoss, Obergeschoss = top floor (attic), ground floor, upper floor
Du Dusche = shower
kalt, KM Kaltmiete = basic rent (without utility charges)
KB Küche, Bad = kitchen, bathroom
MM Monatsmiete = monthly rent
RH Reihenhaus = terraced house
TG Tiefgarage = underground garage
warm, WM Warmmiete = complete rent including all utility charges

// Ways of Seeking Accommodation Privately

  • Most rooms and apartments to let are advertised in the weekend editions of the two local newspapers in Bielefeld, the "Neue Westfälische" and "Westfalen-Blatt".
  • You can find notices advertising free rooms in shared accommodation or from private landlords on the notice boards (called "Schwarze Bretter") of each individual faculty at the university or outside the Mensa dining hall.
  • You can commission an estate agency (Maklerbüro) to find an apartment for you. If you decide to use a Maklerbüro, make sure that it is a member of a professional association (the Ring Deutscher Makler, RDM)

You can also look for accommodation on the internet under, for example:

->Studentenwerk Bielefeld



->FLATmix Bielefeld
(Kreuzstr. 1, 33602 Bielefeld, telephone: +49 (0)521-52 333 333 Fax: +49 (0)521-52 176 95)


Service Desk
Monday til Friday:
Room: C5-133

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