Why Mannheim is like my new Brisbane

Park near the Wasserturm, Mannheim

Surprisingly when I tell people that I spent more than 75% of my time in Brisbane when I was in Australia, people tend to get pretty surprised. It’s no wonder either, considering how it’s not as “glamorous” as Sydney or Melbourne, and lacks all the amazing beaches you find all the other towns along the East Coast of Australia.

Of course, it helped that I was dating someone from there at the time, but I really do love Brisbane on its own. It’s big enough that you’ll always have something to do, especially on the weekends, where the nightlife in the “valley” always draws large crowds. It’s also an ideal spot in Queensland, where the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast are only a short drive away. At the same time, it’s small enough where people are always super friendly (I’ve always found Aussies friendly, but in Brisbane especially), the city is clean, and you feel right at home after only being there for a few days. I mean, it’s been two years since I was there, and it’s still a place I think about all the time.

Park at Southbank, Brisbane

Now that I’m in Germany, I’m surprised at how much Mannheim reminds me of Brisbane. It’s not a city most non-Germans have heard of, and even most of my German friends haven’t been there. At the same time, it’s the 2nd largest city in Baden-Württemberg, and although the population is just 313,000, the small size of the city makes it feel like there’s twice as much people. And while I’ve never heard of Mannheim until I’ve been assigned here for my job, I noticed after a few days of living here that it has the same not-too-large/not-too-small city feeling that made me feel right at home.

Anyway, here’s some things I’ve found similar about the two cities. No wonder I’ve been thinking about Brisbane so much lately!

– they’re both mid-sized cities

– they both have a river

– they’re both home to a well-known university, and have a big student population

– the Southbank park in Brisbane with the water fountains and leaf draped walkways, remind me so much of the park near the Wasserturm in Mannheim.

– people are super friendly…in fact these are the only cities I’ve been to where if I pull out a map, someone usually comes over immediately and ask if I need help with directions

– in the city centre, Mannheim uses a grid system which is very similar to cities in the US and Australia

– cost of living is very reasonable

– they both have a farmer’s market where they sell fresh produce

And of course, as I continue exploring Mannheim, I’m sure there will be tons of new discoveries I’ll make about my new city. And in case anyone is wondering from my last post, I did find a really nice apartment in the end, which I’m super excited to move into in a few weeks! More on that to come!

Have you guys ever traveled to a new country, and unexpectedly found it similar to a city you’ve been to before?



  1. September 10, 2012 / 11:31 am

    Sounds like a great city you’re in! I’ve lived in Brisbane for a couple of years before also, and it is a pretty cool place to live…a much quieter pace than Sydney or Melbourne….and the weather is much nicer too!

  2. September 10, 2012 / 1:06 pm

    I’ve only stopped over at the train station a few times, but it’s definitely on my list! Glad you’re enjoying it!

  3. September 17, 2012 / 4:58 pm

    Hi! Glad to see your blog 🙂 I haven’t gone to Mannheim yet, but hopefully soon – Thanks for the info! BTW added your blog on my fave links …

    • Michelle
      September 19, 2012 / 8:35 pm

      Thanks!! 🙂 Where in Germany have you gone to?

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