Aachen is known as the cathedral city of Europe and numerous historical buildings can be found in the city, which is surrounded by a strong cultural history. More importantly for those thinking of living in Aachen, the city has a unique flair of its own. Aachen offers a selection of its own annual awards, such as the International Charlemagne Prize, the Aachen Peace Prize and the Aachen Innovation Award. This is a city that prides itself not only on its past, but also on its ability to move forward. No stay in Aachen would be complete without a trip to the baths, which sit over the hottest natural springs in Europe. Aachen has a vibrant city life but is surrounded by countryside, and the nearest woods are actually right in the city center. Because of this, the outdoors play a big part in the life of the residents and swimming, boat trips, walking and cycling are all popular pastimes during the summer months. Aachen has a wide range of culinary establishments and plenty of street cafés.
German education varies from the systems in other EU countries, with each state retaining some control over its schools and colleges. The majority of German schoolchildren attend public schools and this part of the education system is fully available to the children of expats. All public school classes are conducted in German, so if your family is not yet fluent in the mother tongue then a private school may have to be an option. Children start attending school at the age of three and most German youngsters undertake higher education. In the intervening years, children attend a variety of levels of education. Schools in Germany are based on academic or vocational skills and a child will progress according to their particular needs. There are also a good number of boarding schools. St George's School is an English speaking international school with a full educational program.
The crime rate in Aachen is low and you are considered safe walking alone on the streets, both during the day and at night. The winter months see the introduction of the Christmas markets, which sees the number of people on the streets increase drastically. It is during this time that locals have observed more small crime and take more care. There are three police stations in the Aachen area, the most central being the Kriminalpolizeiliche Beratungsstelle located at Jesuitenstr. 5, 52062 Aachen, +49 241 404040. The national police emergency number is 110; 112 will connect to other emergency services. In general, Aachen is considered a safe place to live and work. As with all modern European cities, homelessness is becoming a problem and there is an increasing presence of homeless people on the streets.