This is Rhine-Neckar

It’s not easy to summarize the characteristics of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region in only a few words. Of course, there are facts and figures about it: The region measures an area of 5,600 square kilometres, has 2.4 million inhabitants and is one of the most bustling hubs of German conurbation and a driving force of regeneration in Europe. However, these figures only serve to be a mere indication of the richness in variety this region has to offer. Two rivers and three federal states intersect here, and yet, boundaries are neither here nor there in daily lives of the 2.4 million inhabitants. They speak various dialects—they “babble, schwätze, redde.” The locals have always been cosmopolitan and hospitable. People from various cultures have found a home and put down roots here. About half of the residents get involved in voluntary work, which is significantly more than the German average.

Diverse landscape: The Neckar valley. Photograph: Weik

The 5,600-square-kilometre area comprises the square-shaped Mannheim, the romantic Heidelberg, the idyllic vineyard landscapes of the Palatinate, the sun-kissed Rhine Rift Valley and the dense and dark forests of the Odenwald. Visitors to three reserves looking forward to a recreational hike and those seeking a rush of adrenaline in sporting activities can equally enjoy themselves in the Palatinate Forest Nature Park, the Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park and the Geo-Naturepark Bergstrasse-Odenwald.  

Paragliding above Ölberg mountain near Schriesheim. Photograph: Weindel

Rivers, states, landscapes and people—a wealth of variety finds its expression here and it must be this fact that makes the unique blend so inspiring. Here, you find a vivid start-up scene and global players, local cuisine and star-awarded gastronomy, classical wine festivals and those that are hip. Exciting jobs are on offer in the sectors of industry, economics, research and science and a vibrant cultural scene provides plenty of after-work activities. More than 230 museums, 110 theatres and innumerable concerts and festivals fill the region’s calendar of events. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 200 castles and palaces bear witness to an eventful history.

Der Schlossgarten in Schwetzingen.
Maybe soon to be listed as World Cultural Heritage: The Schwetzingen Palace gardens. Photograph: Schwerdt

After all, it may be easy to summarize the characteristics of the Metropolitan Region in only a few words—or even in a single, appropriate word: variety.

There is a lot to discover—so come along!


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