I am a student in France and was looking at websites in Germany.

When looking at prices, usually there are two categories outside of full fare:

  • Pupils, with usually free admission

  • Students, With usually reduced rates

I don't speak German, so I can't read the non-translated site.

On the English versions of the websites, like Hohenschwangau (the Bavarian castles)'s ticket shop, there are no further details about who counts as who.

I would assume that I don't qualify as a pupil, but I would like to have a source that confirms that It's not a translation thing.

  • Hey Nicolas, not really an answer but can confirm that the untranslated German site does not give any details about who counts as a student. It only says "gegen Vorlage entsprechender Ausweise" roughly "only with appropriate ID". So I would go ahead and assume uni students would qualify... In Austria student discounts apply to all students (incl. uni) until age 27. Not sure if that holds true in Germany.
    – Ozzy
    Jul 24, 2023 at 6:38
  • 5
    In French, the distinction would be between "élèves" and "étudiants" (which have some overlaps in meanings, but for ticket reduction purposes it's usually "kids" vs uni students), traditionally also translated as pupils and students respectively in English.
    – xngtng
    Jul 24, 2023 at 7:39
  • It's easy. If you are a Schüler you go into the Schule where you learn from teachers. Oh wait. I have just shifted the question, haven't I? ;-) Jul 25, 2023 at 17:04
  • For myself I think that belongs to a site dealing with language, not travel but to the extent that broadly accepted general English is relevant, 'pupils' are at school and so necessarily under the age of 19 while if 'students' are different, that tends to be because they are college, not school Jul 25, 2023 at 21:26
  • Why don’t you simply contact the businesses in question? Each business can set their own rules with whom they want to contract (and whom to grant discounts), hence it is impossible to give you a universal answer. Vendor A may define Schüler this way, vendor B has a different understanding of Schüler. (There are still a few off-limits considerations like race, age, sex, etc. that are generally banned under the AGG.) Jul 25, 2023 at 22:55

4 Answers 4


It is difficult to give a short and consistent English translation of the German words Schüler (here, translated as pupil) and Student (translated as student). The English words pupil and student are not as specific.

Children and youths are called a Schüler during the first 12-13 years of education. When you join a university or another educational institution at the same level (e.g. a Fachhochschule), you will be called a Student.

So if you by calling yourself a student mean that you study at university level, you will get the Student discount, but not the Schüler discount.

  • 6
    Usually, you have to show proof, i.e. a student ID or similar documentation.
    – user24582
    Jul 24, 2023 at 7:20
  • 6
    I'm not sure you would get student discount as a student from some random non-German university. They may argue that you need a valid German student id (something you would only have if studying at a German university). In practice showing a non-German student id may or may not give you student discount, depending on the location, the nationality and language of the student id and the mood of the person selling you the ticket.
    – quarague
    Jul 24, 2023 at 12:43
  • 16
    @quarague As a student, you should be able to get an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and not have any problems using that in Germany: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Student_Identity_Card Jul 24, 2023 at 13:41
  • 4
    I would translate Schüler as "schoolchild" for British English although even that is not quite right. Jul 24, 2023 at 15:05
  • 2
    In the UK you also have what is known as the "6th form" where "A levels" are studied for. In some parts of the country the 6th form is part of the high school, but in other parts of the country you have dedicated "6th form college"s. From the description in the answer it sounds like someone in the "6th from" would be considered a "Schüler" even though in the UK we would probably not call them a schoolchild. Jul 24, 2023 at 17:42

Actually, following the links to the ticket shop does lead to a page with more details and the full description of the fare is

Children and pupils under 18 only when accompanied by an adult

The German word Schüler may be a little broader than pupil, as young people engaged in secondary education are typically called “students” in English but the full description doesn't leave much ambiguity: it doesn't cover students in higher or tertiary education. As noted in a comment, the distinction between Schüler and Student therefore closely tracks the distinction between élève and étudiant in French.

Incidentally, the German version is slightly different and actually says “Children under 18 and pupils” leaving open the possibility that a high school / secondary school student who just turned 18 could still be eligible.

  • I didn't read the English translation, but 'Children and pupils under 18 ...' does not make too much sense. If the age was the only relevant criteria, it would not be necessary to mention pupils at all. The German texts includes 'children under 18' and 'pupils', which I would clearly interpret so that pupils above 18 also get free entry. Jul 24, 2023 at 13:39
  • 2
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: You are interpreting this correctly. Depending on whether pupils attend a school in a region with 12 or 13 years of schooling (for the "Gymnasium" track), they would be 18 or 19 at the time of graduation from secondary education. So if you are 18 and under and show up with a grown up, you go free (whether you are still in school or not), if you are 19 and show up with a grown up, you only go free if you are still in secondary education. There seems to be no provision made for <18 visiting without an adult. Jul 24, 2023 at 15:07
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Isn't that what the last paragraph of my answer is about?
    – Relaxed
    Jul 24, 2023 at 20:43
  • 1
    @ Tor-EinarJarnbjo: German (and other) bureaucracies sometimes place thoroughness above logic.
    – Caar
    Jul 24, 2023 at 20:43
  • 1
    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Opening the possibility is what the German formulation does (unambiguously). By contrast, as absurd as it may be, the English phrasing does not leave that open. And I don't think there is any doubt as to what the rule actually is, that's not what I meant here. In all cases, being accompanied by an adult is also a requirement so eligibility is not a given for all high-school students.
    – Relaxed
    Jul 24, 2023 at 22:31
  • PupilsUK/studentsUS (Schüler)
    • elementary and high schools
    • primary and secondary schools
  • Students (Studenten)
    • University or other higher schools

See also:

  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
    • Students who meet at least one of the following preconditions:
      • Students enrolled at a private or public college/university for at least 12 weeks per year and at least 15 hours per week.
      • Students attending secondary school or high school.
      • Students who do an occupational training and visit a vocational school.
      • Students enrolled at a language course for at least 12 weeks per year and at least 15 hours per week.

  • 6
    And high school has different connotations between countries. EG high school in Australia is not the same as high school in the US.
    – Peter M
    Jul 24, 2023 at 12:50
  • @Willeke Since this is an english language forum most readers will have generell understanding what a high school is (and that it is not an university) and be able to aquiviate it to their local circumstances. Jul 25, 2023 at 22:34

There was this comment under an answer

German (and other) bureaucracies sometimes place thoroughness above logic.

Question is, whose logic to apply. That's why it's important to make regulations which cashiers can follow. There was this case (German site) where grandparents with grandchildren were not sold the family ticket as it is only valid for parents with their children.

The website in this question speaks of

Children and pupils under 18 only when accompanied by an adult

I guess this means an adult can be accompanied by schoolchildren or anyone under 18 free of charge.

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