Göttingen in May: Things to do, culture, events

I hope you’ve all managed to enjoy the somewhat turbulent April weather. Now the time has come to consider things to do outside the lab in May.

If you read my last post, you might have thought that I was trying to make some kind of cruel joke by suggesting you have a life outside the lab. But I can assure you that leisure time is no laughing matter. And now, I’m going to lay out some dead serious suggestions for things to do when you’re not pipetting in May. To be fair I am writing this while sitting in the lab on a Saturday waiting for my blot to develop. Nevertheless, let’s see what we can do when we aren’t stuck in the lab this month.

Let’s start with the most important thing to do in May, which is to take a holiday on the first of the month. That’s right, May starts with an official day off for you, so no excuses. This year May 1st falls on a Wednesday which is perfect for splitting your week in half by doing something fun. If the weather is nice you could take a walk around the Kiessee, go for a bicycle ride, or have a picnic (or combine these). Alternatively, you could be recovering from one of the “dance into May” parties happening all over town on April 30th.

Note to us all: considering that this is an official holiday, stores and supermarkets will be closed.


Throughout May the English drama workshop will be telling the tale of the famous vampire in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. There will be ten showings in total, starting at 20:15 in Theater im OP.

Alternatively, if you prefer your drama funnier and less spooky you can check out the English Improv Show, also at the Theater im OP. On Sunday the 5th of May, the Improsant group will be performing several scenes that will be ‘inspired by the audience’. Doors open at 19:30, and the show starts at 20:15. Tickets are 4-7€.


Throughout May, the photographer Ilse Schoppe-Marschall will be exhibiting photographs from all over the world in a vernissage titled “Menschen, Märkte, Impressionen”. Even though it’s located in the not-so-central GDA Wohnstift Göttingen, Charlottenburgerstraße 19, 37085, entrance is completely free.
If you don’t know what a vernissage is (as the editor did not), it is a term for a preliminary preview of an art exhibition (from the French for “varnishing”).

Photograph by Ilse Schoppe-Marschall via

From the 24th – 26th of May, the Holbornsches Haus, Rote Straße 34 will be hosting “art göttingen”, where nine modern artists will be exhibiting their most recent work and conducting a discussion about modern art.


From the 17th – 26th of May, Göttingen will host its annual International Händel Festival, with this year’s theme being “Magical Strings”. Unsurprisingly, this festival consists of performances of many pieces by the all-round German composer Händel. Besides choir performances, symphonies and solo artists interpreting Händel, you can also join for a symposium, discussions over wine or a Händel competition. So, if you are into Händel at all, make sure to check it out ;).
Note from the editor: If you’ve ever wondered, like me, why Göttingen of all places is host to the International Händel festival, it’s because it was the location of the first revival of a Händel opera anywhere since 1754. The opera Rodelinda was debuted in 1920 by the American art historian Oskar Hagen, who was lecturing at the University of Göttingen at the time. Since then it became a tradition to have an annual festival dedicated to the performance of Händel pieces in the city.

On the 4th of May our colleagues from the Hart House Orchestra of the University of Toronto will be giving a dropping by on their Germany tour to give us a concert in the Aula at 19:00. Entrance is free of charge!

Back to slightly more modern times, on the 11th of May there will be a 50’s rock n’ roll party at the Festhalle in Weende. The event includes live music followed by an afterparty that guarantees your feet will be smoldering hot from dancing. Tickets are 7.50-17.50€, depending on whether you want to rock the party or also join in for the concert.

If you are looking for some entertainment which is a little less pricey, EXIL hosts performances by the Blues’n’Boogie Küche every third Thursday of the month. This month it will fall on the 16th of May, Tickets are 3€ for students. Overall, EXIL has lots of live music events ranging from rock, blues or coverbands which are worth checking out.

On the 11th and 12th of May, the Göttinger Symphony Orchester will be performing this year’s Night of Film Music at the Lokhalle, Tickets are 29.70€ upwards.

Lastly, and quite possibly my favourite: Rudelsingen will take place on May 22nd. Rudelsingen loosely translates to “singing in a pack”, which is a fairly good description. It’s a sort of group karaoke, where 200 people sing together. I’m not going to lie, the first five minutes are painfully awkward, and you kind of feel like you walked into a kid’s birthday party without being invited. But as soon as the signing starts it’s a lot of fun and frankly, quite liberating. The best part about it: you don’t have to be any good at signing since your voice gets lost in the crowd and no one can really hear you sing. So you can pretend to be the best singer there. The only downside is that normally about 50% of the songs are in German. To be fair, if you can read some German you could probably get by and follow along, since most songs are quite easy to pick up. Tickets are 11€ (there used to be a student discount, but I am not sure if that still exists)

More events

On the 19th of May you can participate in the Göttinger Frühlingslauf. Depending on your current level of fitness (or the one you hope to achieve in the next three weeks) you can run a 5k, 10k or a half marathon.

If you despise running, the Hochschulsport is throwing its fourth Zumba party on the 26th of May, where you can enjoy a combination of dance and exercise for three full fun hours minus 6€.

And last but not least, on May the 4th you can march in the name of science (or in the name of the rebellion).

Photo credit: Linda Olsthoorn at last year’s march

This year’s March for Science starts at 10:00 am at Gänseliesel with a warm up. The actual marching parts starts at 11:00, and ends at Zentral Campus around noon. Use this opportunity to have a fun lab outing, and motivate your fellow lab rats to see some actual sunlight, all the while conveying the importance of scientific research to the general public. And may the fourth be with you all.

I hope that inspired you to have some fun outside the lab in May. Let us know if you have spotted any cool events that would interest your fellow PhD students, or if you actually went to one of the events!

Ronja Markworth

PhD candidate, Neuroscience, University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG)

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