Safety Information and Healthcare Facilities

What should I do in case of emergency?

Try to contact one of the staff members and call the following numbers. Dial a leading 0 for all outgoing calls, when using one of the Institute’s telephones (including emergency calls as shown below)! When using your own cell phone skip the leading 0 and except for emergency calls start with the area code +49 7834.

Emergency call (ambulance, police, and fire fighters) 0-112
Hospital Wolfach (provides medical assistance also on weekends) 0-970-0
Physicians Ms. Rombach and Dr. med. Max Walter (consultation hours Monday to Friday) 0-869656
Dentist Dr. Uhl 0-4533
Pharmacy Linden-Apotheke 0-6565

These numbers are also given at all telephone spots in the Institute. Please memorize beforehand the best ways to leave the building from any place you visit - in case of emergency. Furthermore see our evacuation plan for the nearest fire extinguisher. A first aid box and a defibrillator are located on the ground floor of the guest house, next to the dining hall.

What should I know about ticks? How can I protect me?

Especially during summer you should be aware of ticks when you stay outside in the forest or in the meadows. Ticks mainly live in the undergrowth and on the edges of forests and paths on smaller plants. The most common tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Both pathogens can be transmitted to the human body by a tick bite. The Black Forest region is one of the TBE risk areas. While it is possible to vaccinate against the TBE virus, no vaccination is currently possible against the Lyme disease bacteria, which in turn can be defeated with antibiotics.

Body-covering and closed clothing reduces the risk of ticks getting on the skin at all. We also recommend to stay on the footpaths and to avoid long grass. An insect repellent spray on exposed skin can reduce the risk of a bite. After staying outside in the nature it is advisable to search the body and to remove possible ticks as quickly as possible with tweezers or a special tick removal tool (also availabe in the first-aid-box at the entrance area of the Institute). If there are signs of illness or persistent symptoms, a doctor should be consulted. Since Lyme disease can have an incubation period of several weeks and cannot be detected beforehand we recommend that you inform your doctor on your stay in the Black Forest in case of an infectious disease appearing afterwards.

Further safety issues

Please note that the open staircases in the upper floors of the guest house are not safe for children and that it is not allowed to climb on the Boy surface in front of the conference and library building (stability and injury risk). The Institute will not be liable for any injuries or accidents.

Traveling, Arrival, Departure

When do I have to check-in?

Check-In is on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the guest services office in the guest house. Those arriving earlier or later have to register via the early- or late-arrival-list available at the information desk opposite the office. Please also verify your address details given in the address list and leave your signature in the guest book (available during the week).

When do I have to check out?

In connection with the general restriction of our capacity all short-term programs will end on Friday afternoon. Friday is also the general departure day, i.e. afternoon or evening. Accommodation at the MFO until Saturday will generally not be possible, unfortunately. If you want to stay over the weekend please see our list of hotels nearby. Since our staff needs to prepare the rooms for the next week please leave your room after breakfast and store your luggage at the wardrobe next to the dining hall.

How do I get to the train station?

The Institute will arrange car pools from Oberwolfach to the train stations in Wolfach and Hausach. Information on train schedules is provided on the Deutsche Bahn website. Enter the departure time of your train in the taxi-reservation list available on Wednesday at the high desk next to the entrance of the dining hall. The arranged taxi schedule shall be displayed on Thursday before noon. For three groups the MFO can cover the taxi fare. Taxi fares at other times cannot be reimbursed, unfortunately. Please note, that in our rural area it might be that credit cards aren’t accepted in the taxi. We recommend to carry some cash with you.

Where can I park my car?

Please park your car behind the guest house in the designated area. Please do not park in the turn-around or in the front yard between the entrances of the buildings.

Where can I charge my electric car?

A double charging station with 2 x 11 kW AC is available to charge two cars simultaneously. Depending on the type of vehicle and the battery size the charging will take 1.5 to 3 hours for a range of 100 km. Please come to the reception to obtain an RFID charging card and afterwards to pay your bill.

Do I get my travel costs reimbursed?

In general the travel expenses have to be covered by the guest's home departments. In special cases, third-party funds are available to cover travel costs for certain participants. Please follow the quick link "Grants" for details.

I have heavy luggage!

We have a special elevator for goods in the guest house and a passenger elevator in the conference and library building. Please ask at the guest services office for assistance. Note that the elevator in the guest house is not allowed for transport of persons!

Accommodation and Practical Facilities

Can I lock my valuables somewhere?

There are safes in the rooms. If you are living in the guest house please ask for your personal access code in the guest services office. If you are living in one of the bungalows you may choose your own code.

Can you provide socket adapters for my electronic devices?

We offer a variety of adapters in the guest services office to borrow. Please note that in Europe a voltage of 230 V is used.

Are there facilities for handicapped persons?

We have two rooms with easy access situated in the bungalows I and II. The library and conference building is equipped with a passenger elevator. The entrances to the main buildings are equipped with automatic door openers and a ramp. On request, we can help finding a regional medical supply store that temporarily rents medical products and aids.

What do you offer for children and babies?

The Institute can provide baby beds and baby seats for the tables. If necessary, the institute can help finding and funding child support (please see the information leaflet and the application form). Toys for different ages can be borrowed at the reception. A selection of children’s books can be found at the first floor in the guest house.

Can I wash my clothes at the Institute?

You can use our laundry facilities on the first floor of the guest house. It is located in the right corridor towards the backside of the building, first room on your left.

How often will the towels be changed?

Please help us to protect the environment. If you would like to receive fresh towels, please put them in the sink on Wednesday morning. If you leave the towels on the towel rail, we will assume that they do not need to be replaced. Please do not leave the towels at the floor.

Do I have to pay for anything?

Accommodation and meals are provided by the Institute. You have to cover expenses for traveling, telephone, beverages, sweets, snacks, prints, photocopies, post cards and stamps (at the cost price). You can pay by cash (see instructions at the institute) or by credit card. We accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express credit cards and German EC-Cards.

How can I post a letter?

Opposite the guest services office in the guest house you will find a table with a mail slot that leads to our outgoing letter box. There, you can also find post cards, stamps and envelopes.

Is there a shop nearby?

A small selection of goods (soap, tooth paste and tooth brushes, stationeries, shaving kit, further hygiene and toilet articles, etc.) is available at the guest services office. The bakery down the hill offers some additional groceries. A supermarket can be found in Wolfach (8 km distance, note that the Institute offers some bikes to borrow).


When are the meals served?

Breakfast is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch at 12:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cake, coffee and tea are served daily (except for Wednesdays, when the hike takes place) from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. For lunch and dinner, the Institute’s bell will ring and call you to come. The menu of the week is displayed at the info point in the dining hall. Please clear the tables after the meals and put the tableware back on the service trolleys.

We ask all our research guests to consider the mealtimes in their daily schedule and to be on time.

Do I have to tell you if I do not appear for meals?

Yes, please inform the guest services office in advance.

Can I request special meals if I have dietary restrictions?

You can choose one of five meal categories for lunch and dinner. Kindly note, that we need to know your choice prior to your stay. We offer a standard meal (may include all kinds of vegetable and animal products), a vegetarian meal (excluding meat, fish, and seafood; eggs and milk products may be included), and a vegan meal (excluding all sorts of animal products). Further on, we can consider non-celiac gluten sensitivity and lactose-intolerance.

We kindly ask for your sympathy that additional individual requests cannot be fulfilled. Note, that usually the meals aren’t served as plated portions and you can always decide how much you take from a certain component.

Kindly note, that although all meals are prepared with utmost care, to the best of our knowledge and based on information from our suppliers, we cannot guarantee meals being without traces of certain substances.

What about some fruits, snacks or sweets in between?

A fruit basket is available morning and evening at the bar in the dining hall. Additional sweet and salty snacks as well as some special diet products are provided at the cost prize in the cupboards on the right side of the entrance hall in the guest house.

Are there any other options for catering?

A bakery with some additional groceries, the restaurant “Hirschen” and the restaurant “Walkenstein” are in walking distance of the Institute. A supermarket can be found in Wolfach (8 km distance; the Institute lends out some bikes). Long-term participants usually have a refrigerator in their accommodation and can store own food items there.

Which drinks are offered?

Tea and coffee are available for free and can be obtained any time at the bar in the conference and library building and in the dining hall of the guest house. For lunch and dinner water will be served. Tea, coffee and juice will be served for breakfast. A variety of other beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic) is available at the cost price from the drawers at the bar in the conference and library building and in the dining hall of the guest house.

Is there a special seating order?

At breakfast, seats can be freely chosen. For lunch and dinner there will be a seating order. As far as possible, the seating arrangement is randomized for each meal in order to foster communication among all participants (in 1960 this arrangement of seats was taken to formulate a mathematical problem, the so called Oberwolfach Problem. You can find several publications on it on the internet). Kindly note, that sometimes it may be necessary to place participants with the same meal options together, in order to ease the serving.

Work and Program

When does the Workshop/Seminar/Arbeitsgemeinschaft start?

The lectures usually start on Monday morning after breakfast. The detailed program is decided by the organizers during the week. It is usually announced in the morning at the info points next to the lecture halls or in the dining hall.

Where can I/we work?

Many individual workplaces are distributed throughout the lower floor of the library building. The three lecture halls at the upper floor of the library building are at the disposal of larger groups in our short-term programs (i.e. Workshops, Mini-Workshops, Seminars, and Arbeitsgemeinschaften). One of the lecture halls can be divided into two smaller discussion rooms. If not in use by a short-term meeting the lecture halls may also be used by long-term researchers. Further working and discussion spaces for smaller groups in both our short-term and long-term programs are provided throughout the library building and the guest house. All of them are equipped with generous blackboards. The two working rooms at the second floor of the guest house are especially reserved for our guests in the Oberwolfach Research Fellows program.

During summer you may also wish to work on one of our outdoor blackboards on the balconies in the guest house or in the garden behind the library building.

Where can I get a copy of the picture with all workshop participants?

The picture is usually taken on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Please add your name to the picture list available in front of the lecture hall and collect your picture on Friday at lunch time in the guest services office. You can download a digital copy on the Oberwolfach Photo Collection at opc.mfo.de, a photo database of mathematicians and mathematical events.

Computer, Internet, Communication

Is there wireless network? Is there internet in my room?

There is wireless network in the rooms and in large parts of the public areas. In addition, cable-bound ethernet can be found in the telephone booths, in some of the rooms and at many places in the conference and library building.

Do I need a password?

We will send you the required login data for certain work environments via email, prior to your stay. Information on  how to access the wireless network will be available in the FAQ section in the guest folder in your room. There are a few computers in the library which offer literature search sessions that do not require authentication.

Where can I print, copy or scan?

There are several facilities for printing, scanning and copying, the main ones being in a special room in the basement of the conference and library building, next to the library office. For further printers please check the maps in the guest folder in your room. See the instructions on our website on how to use them.

Where can I make a phone call?

You will find phone booths on each floor of the guest house, for example behind the stairs on your left in the main entrance hall, or beside the lavatories at the upper floor of the conference and library building.

I would need video conferencing equipment/a laptop/a power supply...

We offer a variety of technical devices. They are either present in the lecture halls or can be borrowed in the IT office. Just let us know.

I am technically lost!

Please consult the IT staff via it(at)mfo.de or +49 7834 979 27 (direct dial: 27). Their office can be found in the conference and library building on the upper floor at the end of the corridor.


How many items do you have in the library?

The task of the library is to acquire and to provide specialist literature from all fields of mathematics and its neighboring areas as complete as possible and, of course, the stock is growing every year. The current number of items can be seen at www.mfo.de/library/libprofile.

How can I find a certain book?

Please use the Library Search Portal. You can access it from the computers available in the library or from abroad. You may search for complete books or journals as well as individual chapters or articles. If you can’t find a certain book, our librarian is pleased to assist you you during office hours (see www.mfo.de/library/libprofile)

Can I take a book into my room or borrow it for some time?

In general, books are not allowed to be taken out of the conference and library building. An exception applies for long-term researchers who may take books temporarily to their rooms/working places. However, we urge you to bring the books back to the library at the end of your stay and to place them on the book trolley. For the complete terms and conditions in using our books, please visit www.mfo.de/library/libprofile.

How do I access electronic journals and books?

E-journals and e-books can be accessed via our website www.mfo.de/library. You may use one of the computers in the library or your own device within the network (Wifi or LAN) of the Institute. Please note that special terms of use apply to electronic journals and books. We provide remote access to our electronic library resources to all participants of the Oberwolfach research programs. It is limited to the duration of participation plus one week prior to the start date and two weeks after the end of a workshop or long-term stay. For available resources and further information on this service please visit www.mfo.de/library/libresources/remote-access.

How can I make scans or photocopies?

Use the photocopy machine in the copy room in the lower floor of the library next to the library office. Instructions are given on a sheet next to the machine. A book scanner is also available at the library premises. Please note, that the making and use of copies or scans of all kinds are subject to legal regulations, especially copyright laws.

Leisure Facilities

Are there some indoor sports facilities?

There is a fitness room on the lower floor of the conference and library building with several exercise machines and pieces of sports equipment (use at your own risk, please enter only with clean shoes resistant to abrasion). You can also play table tennis and tabletop soccer there. Table tennis balls can be purchased at the guest services office in the guest house.

Where can I go for walking, hiking, running or cycling?

The many trails in the beautiful nature of the Black Forest offer lots of possibilities of varying difficulty. In general, we recommend sturdy shoes. For a short, leisurely stroll we recommend the footpaths around the Institute buildings, where several benches invite you to linger (for example go down the stairs in the garden behind the library building).

Usually on Wednesday afternoon there is an excursion in the Black Forest to a restaurant. For individual hiking tours, maps can be borrowed at the reception.

A collection of possible running routes is provided on our website.

The Institute also offers bikes and helmets for rent. Please ask at the guest services office for them.

Concerning all outdoor activities, please consider our hints for protection against ticks in our section on safety and healthcare.

I've heard you have a music room with a grand piano?

In the music room located in the lower floor of the conference and library building you can find a grand piano, a violin, a viola, a cello and a guitar. Sheet music and music stands are also available. New strings are available at the library office. Kindly note, that in order to protect the instruments it is not allowed to bring food or drinks into the music room.

Do you provide some games?

Below the stairs in the library, there is a billiard table. On the second floor of the guest house you will find a half-men-size chess game. Tabletop soccer and table tennis can be played in the fitness room. Board and card games are available opposite the guest services office in the guest house.

Do you also have some fictional literature?

A selection of fiction books is located on the first floor of the guest house.

Is there a possibility to play soccer somewhere?

Thanks to an agreement with the local municipality our guests are allowed to play soccer on the sports ground in the village of Oberwolfach after an advance reservation. If you would like to play soccer with some colleagues please contact us beforehand.

What do you offer for children?

A collection of children’s books is provided on the first floor of the guest house. Toys for different ages can be borrowed via the reception. We have also prepared a special collection with attractions for families. In order to reach them we recommend to rent a car. Our staff can help you to arrange this.

Further Questions and Suggestions

Whom do I address with other questions?

Please consult the guest services office (reception). If the office is closed you can address the colleagues in the conference and library building or the housekeeping staff (please ask a German speaking colleague to help translating).

I have some suggestions, where can I leave them?

Please write your suggestions, wishes, remarks and any type of feedback into the “Wunschbuch” (“Wish-Book”) available at the information desk opposite the guest services office in the guest house. Additionally there is a “Wunschbuch” in the library and an online form at www.mfo.de/library to place suggestions for books.