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About RGS Econ

Essen - a cultural capital

Living in Essen

Welcome to the Ruhr Graduate School in Economics. Below you will find some practical information on how to get settled in Essen. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the RGS coordination team ( We are happy to help.


The housing market in Essen is quite relaxed. With its large number of students, many small apartments and rooms in shared flats are available in Essen. Compared to the neighboring cities Cologne and Düsseldorf, rents in Essen are relatively low. Popular parts of the city are Holsterhausen, Rüttenscheid and the Südviertel. These quarters, which are in walking distance to the RGS, are characterized by many restaurants and cafes. The RGS coordination team is happy to give you advice on where and how to search for housing.

Getting around

All PhD students obtain a student semester ticket which allows them to use the public transport system free of charge all around North Rhine-Westphalia. There are no tuition fees for PhD students, however, each university charges approximately 250 Euros administration fee per semester (6 months) which includes the semester ticket. A great bargain.

International students

The Ruhr Graduate School in Economics highly appreciates its multicultural student body. The three universities that cooperate in the Ruhr Graduate School offer a variety of language classes. Usually these courses are free of charge. Many of our international students make use of this generous offer and study German.


The team spirit and cooperative atmosphere is what makes studying at the Ruhr Graduate School in Economics so special. Besides academic cooperation, RGS students regularly meet for ‘Stammtisch’ to talk about their research and to socialize. In addition, there are various opportunities throughout the year where all students meet, such as the Doctoral conference, the Jamboree, and the traditional RGS-BBQ.


The sports classes offered by the cooperating universities provide a great opportunity to exercise and have fun. Classes range from underwater rugby to sailing and basketball. Signing up is easy and fees are usually less than 40 Euros per semester.

Cost Of Living

You should expect your monthly minimum costs of living to range from 800-1000 Euros.

Rent: 300 Euro for a room in a shared flat or 550 Euro for a two-room apartment

Food: 300 Euro

Health insurance: 150-230 Euro

Phone and internet: 50 Euro

University administrative fees: 50 Euro

Please note that these are basic costs not including expenses for clothing or traveling. However, students often enjoy student discounts (e.g. when going to the theatre).

Essen - a cultural capital

Until the 1970s, Essen was considered to be one of the most important coal and steel hubs in Germany. In 1811, Friedrich Krupp founded Germany's first cast-steel factory. In the 1970s structural change shifted the focus of Essen’s economy from coal and steel to the tertiary/service sector. In 1972 the university in Essen was founded. 40 years later in 2010, Essen was the European Capital of Culture.

The most important touristic highlight in Essen is probably the Zollverein Industrial Complex. The former coal mine is now considered an architectural and technical masterpiece. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 and is now home to a historical and cultural museum. Guided tours are available.

Named after the ‘Folkvanger’ (the ‘People’s Hall’) in the palace of the Norse goddess Freya, the Folkswang Museum is a must see Essen attraction.It hosts an excellent permanent collection of modern art and photography as well as numerous temporary exhibitions. Temporary exhibitions are changing on a regular basis.

The Baldeney Lake is a man-made reservoir and was constructed in the early 1930s. Today Esseners love to spend their leisure time at the lake enjoying all kinds of water sports or cycling around the lake. The Villa Hügel, located next to the lake, is definitely worth a visit. The mansion has 259 rooms and was built by the Krupp family in 1873. Today, tourists from all over the world come to visit.

From the RGS Econ (and RWI building) it is only a few minutes’ walk to the Saalbau (home of the renowned Essen philharmonic orchestra) and the Aalto Theatre of Essen.

The Rhine-Ruhr region

The Rhine-Ruhr region is one of the most culturally diverse and active regions in Germany. Many large cities with their attractions and events are within a day trip’s reach. The high population density of the area nevertheless leaves room for beautiful parks and nature preserves.

Cultural highlights in the surroundings of Essen include 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Cologne Cathedral, Aachen Cathedral and the Augustusburg Palace in Brühl. Essen is located near the borders of Belgium, France & Netherlands/Holland (Amsterdam is only 2 hours away by train). The train ride from Essen to the regional capital of North-Rhine Westphalia Düsseldorf takes only 30 minutes. Düsseldorf's famous oldtown is a tourist hotspot. Summer boat trips on the Rhine river are highly recommended as well.

Germans like to celebrate Carnival. It takes place every year in February or March. The most famous carnival parades can be found in Mainz, Aachen, Bonn, Düsseldorf and Cologne. RGS students in Essen usually travel to Düsseldorf or Cologne to enjoy the festivities.