In the summer time, it's impossible not to see: Aachen is indeed a family-friendly city. That's when a huge sandbox is set up and filled on the Katschhof, the venerable old square between the Town Hall and the Cathedral. 320 square metres of fun zone for kids to dig around in and build sandcastles – while parents and grandparents lean back and watch them play...
Just one of the action events planned for the city's "Holiday Games" programme: short and sweet, spectacular, but by no means merely a gimmick. Quite the opposite, in fact. The aim of the "Archimedes' Sandbox" – situated in such a prominent place – is to send a clear signal that Aachen, the city of science, welcomes families with open arms and plenty of support. That's a claim the city also lives up to in everyday life.
Half-pipe and zoo, a wide selection of flexible childcare facilities and bilingual schools, swimming pools and sports clubs, forestry education programmes and a music school, bathing pleasure and more than 200 playground and football fields, child-friendly residential areas with low-traffic streets and new housing options for young and old. Aachen is one of 16 cities that have received certification as a "Family-Friendly Community". The certificate is an initiative by, among others, the NRW Ministry for Family Affairs and the Bertelsmann Foundation aiming to promote the development of a family-friendly infrastructure and, at the same time, a culture of appreciation for families in urban settings.
Photos: Stadt Aachen, Thilo Vogel