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Freising is a town 35km north of Munich. It has a population of 48,000 and is a 25-minute journey from Munich Hauptbahnhof by regional train. It is also the terminus of the S1 S-Bahn line. Munich Airport is close by.


Freising is one of the oldest settlements in Bavaria. Archaeological finds show that the area was settled in the Bronze Age, although no proof has been found to suggest a continuous settlement until the 8th century Frigisinga. Saint Corbinian settled at a shrine in 724. Corbinian is famous for ordering a bear to carry his luggage over the Alps after it had killed his packhorse. The saddled bear is still the symbol of the city, displayed in the coat of arms.

Freising is some 500 years older than Munich, and it prospered thanks to the bridge over the Isar. Munich was founded by Henry the Lion, who secured its success by burning down the bridge in Freising and rebuilding it on the site of Munich. The bishopric remained in Freising until the early nineteenth century before eventually moving to Munich. Even today, its full title is Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising (Erzbistum München und Freising).


Freisinger Dom hill between the River Isar and the town centre is called Domberg (Cathedral Hill). It is a self-contained episcopal quarter, with the prominent twin-towered Romanesque cathedral at its heart. The Baroque interior was decorated by the Asam brothers. The Romanesque crypt, with its intricate Bestiensäule (beasts' column), is the final resting place of Corbinian. The Rococo cloisters were decorated by Dominikus Zimmermann, as was the impressive cathedral library (Bibliotheksaal; limited opening hours).

The Domberg further comprises two churches and the former residence of the archbishops. The Diözesanmuseum boasts Germany's largest ecclesiastical collection, with a vast array of Baroque and Rococo artworks, including two paintings by Rubens. Pope Benedict XVI was a professor at the theology school here in the late 1950s; his papal coat of arms depicts both Corbinian's bear and the Freisinger Mohr.


Freising's second hill is equally important. The hill was first settled by monks in 725, who built the Weihenstephan Abbey (Kloster Weihenstephan). Like all good monks, the residents of Kloster Weihenstephan soon started brewing their own beer. The earliest record of brewing on the hill dates from 1040, making the Weihenstephan Brewery the world's oldest brewery. Its beers can be found throughout Germany, and are exported to the UK, the USA and a number of other countries.

Weihenstephan Brewery"Lecture Hall 13" (actually the brewery's beer garden) is a popular destination for thirsty students. They study at the Weihenstephan campus of the Technische Universität München, which expands to the area north of the hill. The local Fachhochschule (technical college) is also located on the hill and there are numerous other research institutions in the area. In total, over 6,000 students study at Weihenstephan. The main subjects are brewing and food technology, forestry, landscape architecture, and agricultural and horticultural sciences. The brewing school is considered the best in the world.

Weihenstephan is also known for its dairy, the Staatliche Molkerei Weihenstephan (the State-operated Dairy Weihenstephan). This used to be located on the hill close to the former monastery buildings, but was privatised, sold to the Müller concern and moved to larger premises on the outskirts of Freising. It has a reputation for premium products.

Life in Freising

Freising is home to a large number of English speakers. The university accounts for an increasing number of international students from around the world. Many expats work at the European headquarters of Texas Instruments, located on the edge of the town. Others are attracted by the town's high quality of life, ease of commuting into Munich and its proximity to Munich Airport. With an average age of 39.7, the population of the county of Freising is the youngest in Bavaria.

Munich Airport was opened in its new location on the Erdinger Moos in 1992, although a flight ban over the town ensures that there is virtually no aircraft noise. The town has grown rapidly in recent years, but nonetheless enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in Germany. In October 2008, the unemployment rate in Landkreis Freising stood at 2.2%, compared to 4.4% in Munich and 13.2% in Berlin. In April 2011 this had dropped to 2.1%, the lowest figure since 1997.

Accommodation throughout the Munich region is relatively expensive by German standards, although is still significantly lower than in Britain for example. Thanks to many new housing developments, the rental situation in Freising has eased somewhat over the past few years. Average rental prices have in fact been dropping recently and in 2008 stood at €8.28 per m² (compared to €10.06 in 2004). By comparison, in Munich the average price is €11.55 per m². These figures do not however factor in increasing energy prices. Students looking for a room in a shared house or flat should expect a prolonged search and a monthly rent of around €200–250 (warm).

The town is connected to Munich by the S1 S-Bahn line and by regional trains. The journey by S-Bahn to Hauptbahnhof takes 40 minutes (trains depart every 20 minutes), while the regional trains (2-3 per hour) travel non-stop and take 25 minutes. Bus 635 provides a direct service from the town to Munich Airport (also every 20 minutes; journey time 15 minutes).

Freising has a good selection of shops in the town centre, including many independent stores such as butchers, bakers, greengrocers and other specialist shops. A market is held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings on Marienplatz. On the outskirts of town are larger stores such as Real, Kaufland, Aldi etc. Ikea and the other furniture stores in Eching are a short drive away, or reachable with the S1.

Nightlife consists mostly of late-night bars and pubs; student favourites include Abseits, B-Trieb, Nirvana (Schneider Weisse) and Carlitos. A Volksfest is held for ten days each May and September. In December, there is a small Christmas market. There are irregular Toytown meetups.

Freising during the Pope's visit, September 2007

Marienplatz / Rathaus / Asamgebäude / Dom ( Webcam)

External links

Original text by Small Town Boy, September 2006

Towns in GermanyMunich
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