The objective of this meeting was to bring together collea- gues from different branches of observational astronomy and theoretical astrophysics to discuss and analyse the rapid progress in our knowledge and understanding of the matter surrounding stars, streaming off stellar surfaces, or fall- ing onto stars. The meeting was sponsored by IAU Commis- sions 36 (Theory of Stellar Atmospheres), 29 (Stellar Spec- tra), and 34 (Interstellar Matter). There were two special reasons for organizing this meeting at Heidelberg in 1986: During this year the University of Heidelberg celebrated its 600th anniversary and the IAU symposium joined the many scientific events accompanying this celebration. Secondly, the year 1986 also marked the conclusion of a special co- operative research project ("Sonderforschungsbereich") in astrophysics at Heidelberg, a major part of which had been devoted to the physics of circumstellar matter.The main topics discussed at this meeting were: (1) circumstellar matter, bipolar flows, and jets from young stars and protostars; (2) circumstellar envelopes of evolved stars; (3) stellar coronae; (4) stellar winds from hot and cool stars; (5) dust formation and circumstellar chemistry. Many exciting new results were presented in 21 invited or review papers, 26 contributed papers, and 127 poster papers. This symposium would not have been possible without the generous financial assistance of the International Astronomical Union, the German Science Foundation (DFG), and the State Government of Baden-Wurttemberg. The practi- cal support of the University of Heidelberq and the Max- Planck-Society was also very valuable.