Science lives on the exchange of knowledge and ideas and thus especially the get together of researchers. To allow for this to happen in a transnational context, the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation has built a substantial number of »International Guest Houses« (IBZ) all over Germany. They offer scholars from around the globe a temporary home. One of these IBZ is located on the campus Adlershof. Another one overlooks the picturesque river Dahme in Köpenick. Since 1 January 1998, the IGAFA e.V. acts as provider for both houses. The accommodation and facility management is being coordinated by the IGAFA Science Office.
On the one hand, our objective is to help our guests settle into their new living surroundings. On the other hand, we also aim at facilitating their integration into German everyday life. We accomplish our goals not least due to a considerable number of events, from which our tenants benefit professionally as well as in their free time. Apart from accommodation, we provide our guests with ample opportunities for scientific and intercultural encounters. Our offer comprises among other things scientific colloquia and lectures for specialists in the field, literary readings, musical happenings, small art exhibitions in our IBZ, excursions, movie nights as well as German and sports classes. In addition, our tenants have a multifaceted infrastructure at their disposal: for instance, several common rooms with fully equipped kitchens, two TV rooms holding modern means of entertainment, a playroom for children, a library, a fitness room and also a piano room.
We are trying to make our guest’s stay a comfortable and interesting one in its entirety. But aside from all scientific and cultural events, our main concern is of course that our tenants feel at ease while living in the IBZ. For what did already Alexander von Humboldt say in his own time: »Mysteriously non-separable as mind and language, thought and fruitful words may seem, as much does – to our own unawareness – the outside world merge with our innermost and our ideas with our sensations.«
Our tenants appreciate the proximity of the IBZ in relation to both the university and non-university research institutions on the campus Adlershof. This unique vicinage of housing and research centers facilitates a lively and frequent scientific dialog among our guests. It also encourages extensive communication between them and the local and more permanent researchers. All these opportunities arise independent of the individual objective of each of our guest’s stay: some come to Adlershof only for a short-term cooperation project, others draw up their doctoral thesis and still others have joined one of the local institutes for a long-term collaboration.
More and more often our tenants come to Adlershof in company of their families. In order to make their stay as smooth and relaxing as possible, we provide them with fully furnished apartments in various sizes and price ranges: rooms in shared apartments, studio apartments, two-room apartments as well as three-room apartments for the whole family. The duration of our rental periods is highly flexible. All apartments can be rented between one and 24 months.
Overall, 78 apartments/rooms are waiting to be inhabited by scholars from all over the globe with house no. 3 being mainly reserved for guest researchers who work at the Helmholtz Center Berlin (HZB) and its electron storage ring BESSY II. In the last twelve years, the occupancy rate of our guest houses has each year surpassed 90 %. To this day, approximately 1,500 researchers from about 75 countries have found their way to Adlershof, as the chart to the left breaks down the origin of each one of them.