With almost 600,000 inhabitants, Leipzig is the largest city in the federal state of Saxony. In its 800 years of recorded history, Leipzig emerged as a city of classical music, trade fairs, academic education, and – recently – modern arts. Due to its rich cultural heritage, Leipzig today presents itself as a confident and genuinely international city at the heart of eastern Germany. This truly international approach manifests itself in all layers of life, ranging from the warm welcome Leipzig's citizens tend to give their international guests to renowned institutions in academia, culture and arts.
Famous musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann, and Felix Mendelssohn were active in Leipzig. You can still see their influence in town, for example in St. Thomas Church where Bach – director 'musices lipsiensis' – worked as choirmaster of the church's Boys Choir between 1723 and 1750, and where, today, the famous Thomaner Choir still performs his works twice a week.
Leipzig's reputation as a city of trade fairs looks back on more than 500 years of history: In 1997, the fair proudly celebrated the 500th anniversary of being granted the "Imperial Right to Hold Trade Fairs". Always a prosperous town, Leipzig had emerged as one of the wealthiest cities in Germany by the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the Leipzig Book Fair (spring counterpart to the autumn Frankfurt Book Fair) and the International Automobile Fair are amongst the most popular and internationally successful annual trade fairs of the city.
Several universities, colleges, and academies make Leipzig a very attractive city to study and work. Founded in 1409, Leipzig University has produced numerous notable individuals like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Werner Heisenberg.
Today, the staff and student body at the University exceeds 34,000. Leipzig further hosts the University of Applied Sciences 'HTWK' and the Academy of Visual Arts 'HGB', as well as several non-university research institutes – including three different Max Planck Institutes.
Economically, Leipzig is an important logistical centre, with its infrastructural location at the very centre of Europe, and with access to an international airport, railway system, and motorways. Significant industry has settled near Leipzig, including Porsche, BMW and DHL.
During recent years, Leipzig has also become a centre of contemporary art in Europe. Leipzig's old Baumwollspinnerei district - formerly the biggest cotton mill of continental Europe - today houses more than eighty artists and many galleries, providing the heart of the versatile modern art scene of the city. Famous representatives of Leipzig's impressive recent impact upon contemporary art, commonly named 'New Leipzig School of Painting', include Neo Rauch and several of his students from the Leipzig Academy.
With its many parks, forests, canals and lakes, Leipzig is a perfect place for recreation, sports, and leisure time, and offers plenty of opportunities for social life. Your life in this lovely city will be full of surprises – as Goethe put it more lyrically exactly 200 years ago: 'My Leipzig's dear to me! It's a little Paris, and educates its people.'