Always an industrial capital, Bielefeld began as “the city of linen,” its population making a living from textile production. Today it is home to major companies like food manufacturer Dr. Oetker and leather products company Möller Group. Many students choose Bielefeld for its famed centers of study, among them the popular photography school at the University of Applied Sciences.
No visit is complete without a tour of Dr. Oetker World. Bielefeld is best known for its links with Dr. Oetker, famous for its oven pizzas and pre-packaged baking mixes. On the tour, you can gain insight into the company’s history, and of course eat some sweet treats. The company defines the city to a certain extent, but don't let that make you think there are no other sights to see.
The Old Market Place in the center of town is what really captures the essence of the city. Beautifully restored townhouses from the 16th and 17th centuries line the square and residents of all ages come out just to sit and talk. You can often find something going on there, like the annual Wine Festival in September or the Christmas Market in December. The Theater am Alten Markt, just off the square, offers operas, plays and musicals, as well as events for children.
Many families live in the city, giving it a very friendly and down-to-earth vibe. One of the most enjoyable things to do, with kids or without, is to visit the Bielefeld Zoo. It is located very close to the forest, easily accessible by bus from the city, and is absolutely free. Finish off the visit with a bite to eat in the restaurant, or enjoy a bratwurst outside.
Many don’t even know about Bielefeld today, or think of it only as an industrial center. Even though it isn’t brimming with things to do, the city is a quaint and friendly town that’s worth seeing for sights in addition to Dr. Oetker’s realm.