Books, movies and more for €5

Berlin is a paradise for students. As a city rich in history, culture and art, Berlin has attracted many students from all over. This is what has transformed the centuries-old city into one of the most dynamic places in Europe, offering many student offers across the country. Today, it boasts a diverse multicultural community, a year-round calendar of events, and a booming economy that provides an ideal springboard for any student looking to start their career.

If you have chosen to continue your studies at a university in Berlin, you should take advantage of one of the best student offers the city has to offer: access to a wealth of academic, entertainment and digital resources through the association Berlin public libraries. — for a price as low as five euros per year!

Launched as part of a joint project of Berlin’s 12 boroughs, the Association of Berlin Public Libraries (VÖBB) offers students unlimited access to a wide range of shared resources in various libraries in the city. Here, students can tap into an extensive collection of books, music, and movies, as well as other educational activities such as online courses and college resources.

Some of the resources students have access to include:

  • Streaming platforms such as AV and film friends
  • Streaming platforms for recorded classical music performances
  • OverDrive’s online books, e-books, international magazines, dictionaries, and more.
  • Music streaming services such as Freegal and Naxos
  • Online courses covering language learning, university guides, etc.
  • Statisticalwhere users can access market and consumer data

Participating library institutions cover a multitude of different libraries, all known for various areas of expertise.

Students can rent artwork through the €5 membership. Credit: John MacDougall/AFP

This includes the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin (ZLB), which is Germany’s largest public library with over 3.4 million different media available to the public. Here, students will find articles relating to the humanities and fine arts, fiction, natural sciences, medicine, economics, urban studies, and law. As Berlin’s state library, the ZLB brings together all printed works, data and sound carriers published in the country, as well as official state publications.

More than that, students can borrow works for free with a VÖBB membership. Choose from around 1,900 original works, including more than 6,000 works of modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries. This includes paintings, sculptures, watercolors, collages, gouaches, drawings, prints and photographs.

Students can lend these items for a period of three months, with the possibility of extending this period. A maximum of 10 graphics, 10 oil paintings, five sculptures and five photographs can be loaned at any one time.

Additionally, students can access the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) – the only research institution in Germany that deals with the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, South and Southeast Asia from an interdisciplinary and historically comparative perspective. The object of research is the interaction of predominantly Muslim societies and their relations with neighboring non-Muslim regions.

Of course, that’s not forgetting member access to the libraries themselves – large, spacious halls and halls that foster creativity, productivity and inspiration.

This is a welcome move in Europe after reports showed the region is becoming less affordable for international students due to soaring rental prices.

Student offers in Berlin: How can I register to become a VÖBB member?

Registration is a quick process for students in Berlin. Source: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Signing up to become a member is easy. All you have to do is visit a library in Berlin and bring your ID card, passport and registration certificate. You may also need to present any residence permit.

Be sure to bring proof of your student status to ensure you can access the reduced student rate – but if you forget, you will only need to add an additional €5 to your current registration fee. (That’s an incredibly affordable amount, only around $0.027 a day!)

Your library card will be valid for one year from the date of registration. You can use it at all VÖBB institutions and access all digital offers at

About Stuart M. McFarland

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