Erbach (German pronunciation: [ˈɛʁbax] ) is a town and the district seat of the Odenwaldkreis (district) in Hesse, Germany. It has a population of around 13,000.

Aerial view of Erbach
Aerial view of Erbach
Coat of arms of Erbach
Location of Erbach within Odenwaldkreis district
BreubergHöchst im OdenwaldLützelbachBad KönigBrensbachBrombachtalFränkisch-CrumbachReichelsheimMossautalMichelstadtErbach im OdenwaldOberzentDarmstadt-DieburgBavariaBaden-WürttembergBaden-WürttembergBergstraße (district)Bergstraße (district)Bergstraße (district)
Erbach is located in Germany
Erbach is located in Hesse
Coordinates: 49°39′30″N 8°59′45″E / 49.65833°N 8.99583°E / 49.65833; 8.99583
Admin. regionDarmstadt
Subdivisions12 Stadtteile
 • Mayor (2018–24) Peter Traub[1] (Ind.)
 • Total62.67 km2 (24.20 sq mi)
250 m (820 ft)
 • Total13,977
 • Density220/km2 (580/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes06062
Vehicle registrationERB

Geography edit

Location edit

The town lies in the Mittelgebirge Odenwald at elevations between 200 and 560 m in the valley of the Mümling.

One geological peculiarity is the creek Erdbach's complete disappearance within Dorf-Erbach's community area. The Erdbach reappears near Stockheim. There are several places where the Erdbach disappears into the ground.

Neighbouring communities edit

Erbach borders in the north on the town of Michelstadt, in the east on the market town of Kirchzell (in Miltenberg district in Bavaria), in the south on the community of Hesseneck and the town of Beerfelden and in the west on the community of Mossautal (all three in the Odenwaldkreis). A planned merger with the neighbouring town of Michelstadt was blocked in November 2007 by a referendum (Bürgerentscheid). For the time being, ways are being sought to deepen the two towns' cooperation, and possibly consider a merger once again in a few years' time.[3]

Constituent communities edit

Since the amalgamations within the framework of municipal reform in 1972, the district seat of Erbach has been made up of twelve Stadtteile:

Stadtteil Area Inhabitants Remarks
Bullau 9.98 km2 410 with the hamlet of Eutergund
Dorf-Erbach 4.08 km2 1,610 with the hamlet of Habermannskreuz
Ebersberg 3.59 km2 250
Elsbach 3.01 km2 120
Erbach 10.89 km2 8,410 with the hamlet of Roßbach
Erbuch 130 with Ernsbach
Erlenbach 4.28 km2 900
Ernsbach 110 with Erbuch
Günterfürst 4.08 km2 760
Haisterbach 5.88 km2 420 with the hamlet of Marbach
Lauerbach 2.27 km2 400
Schönnen 5.53 km2 320

History edit

Erbach has long been the residence of the Counts of Erbach, who trace their descent back to the 12th century, and who held the office of cup-bearer to the Electors Palatine of the Rhine until 1806. In 1532 the emperor Charles V made the county a direct fief of the Holy Roman Empire, on account of the services rendered by Count Eberhard during the Palatine Peasants' War.[4]

In 1717 the family was divided into the three lines of Erbach-Fürstenau, Erbach-Erbach and Erbach-Schönberg, who rank for precedence, not according to the age of their descent, but according to the age of the chief of their line. In 1818 the counts of Erbach-Erbach inherited the county of Wartenberg-Roth, and in 1903 the count of Erbach-Schönberg was granted the title of prince (the first Prince was Gustav, husband of Princess Marie of Battenberg). The county was incorporated with the duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in the 19th century.[4]

Governance edit

Town council edit

The municipal election held on 26 March 2006 yielded the following results:

Parties and voter communities %
CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany 36.7 11 24.3 8
SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany 37.9 12 31.6 10
GREENS Bündnis 90/Die Grünen 7.9 3 9.7 3
FDP Free Democratic Party 4.0 1 7.2 2
ÜWG Überparteiliche Wählergemeinschaft der Kreisstadt Erbach e.V. 13.5 4 27.2 8
Total 100.0 31 100.0 37
Voter turnout in % 52.4 55.4

Mayors edit

Buschmann was re-elected in 2012 with 52.7% of the votes.[5]

Term of office Name Party
1919–1933 Wilhelm Dengler (1889–1951) SPD
1945 Wilhelm Dengler (introduced) SPD
1945–1960 Leonhard Volk
1960–1987 Werner Borchers ÜWG
1988–1994 Dieter Haver CDU
1994–2000 Uwe Hartmann SPD
2000–2018 Harald Buschmann CDU
since 2018 Peter Traub


Coat of arms edit

The town's arms might heraldically be described thus: Gules a bend wavy azure, thereon three mullets of six gules.

The wavy bend is taken to be a brook, and the mullets of six (six-pointed stars) were inspired by the arms formerly borne by the princely Counts of Erbach, who were lords of the Odenwald until 1806.

Town twinning edit

Erbach has partnerships with four towns in Europe:

Culture and sightseeing edit

Buildings edit

Castle of the Counts of Erbach-Erbach edit

Coat of arms of the County of Erbach, from the Scheibler Armorial (1450-80)
Erbach Palace

Erbach Palace, the castle of the princely Counts of Erbach, was built into a residence in the style of the times in the 18th century. Since the noble house did not have the needed materials on hand, only the middle wing of the planned three-winged building was ever built. The façade is to a great extent built out of not sandstone, but rather sheeting or wood coloured to look like it.

The antique collections at the castle have remained almost unchanged since Count Franz I's time (1754–1823).

In 2005, the state of Hesse bought the castle for €13,000,000.

Within the castle complex is the likewise Late Baroque orangery with the castle garden.

Citizens' initiatives edit

In the area of the orangery and the castle garden, a citizens' initiative in the 1970s managed to thwart plans to tear down the orangery and build a highrise hotel on the site

The memorial on the castle square to Count Franz I – the last ruling count – that was knocked off its pedestal and thereby broken was repaired and set back in place with support from two Darmstadt artists and some Erbach citizens. The work was financed through grants from the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege ("State Office for Care of Monuments") as well as donations.

Regular events edit

Wiesenmarkt/Eulbacher Markt edit

The Erbacher Wiesenmarkt ("meadow market") was originally called the Eulbacher Markt or Eulbacher Wiesen(Vieh-)markt. Eulbach is an outlying centre of the neighbouring town of Michelstadt. It was once a regionally very important livestock, horse and farm market.

The livestock and farm market was only moved to Erbach sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century by the Counts of Eulbach. Until about 1960, the livestock and horse market with its associated horseracing and other horse sports was the main part of the Eulbacher Markt. The Schützenhaus ("Marksmen's House") standing on the way into the Wiesenmarkt, however, suggests that the Eulbacher Markt, at least in part, must already have been held in Erbach as early as the mid 19th century: it was here that the Democratic Revolutionaries met in 1848 and on what is now the market grounds beside the Schützenhaus that the Odenwald "Moot" (Volksversammlung) was held under the Michelstadt revolutionary and lawyer Ludwig Bogen's leadership.

Museums edit

The Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach ("Erbach German Ivory Museum") has been in existence since 1966 and is unique in Europe. Its exhibits are almost exclusively ivory. Visitors can also watch the resident carvers as they go about their artistic work.

Economy edit

Franz I, the last ruling count (1754–1823), introduced ivory carving in 1783, thus giving the town the nickname Elfenbeinstadt ("Ivory Town"). Many artists made their homes here and today their works and activities can still be admired at the town's Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach. Owing to widespread bans since 1989, aimed at protecting animals, on dealing in ivory, nowadays comparable materials such as animal horns are used. Very popular as a material is prehistoric mammoth tusk, which is still found from time to time in Siberia. Besides the slightly different colour, this is comparable to elephant tusk ivory.

Established businesses edit

Infrastructure edit

Transport edit

Erbach lies on Bundesstraßen 45 and 47, and also on the Odenwald Railway (RMV Line 65; FrankfurtDarmstadt/Hanau–Erbach–Eberbach). A planned Bundesstraße 45 bypass proposed since the 1970s has once again been included in Hesse state planning.

Education edit

  • Schule am Treppenweg (primary school)
  • Astrid-Lindgren-Schule (primary school)
  • Schule am Sportpark (Hauptschule and Realschule with transition level)
  • Schule am Drachenfeld (special school with department for physically handicapped learners)

Notable people edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Ergebnisse der letzten Direktwahl aller hessischen Landkreise und Gemeinden" (XLS) (in German). Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt. 5 September 2022.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerung in Hessen am 31.12.2022 nach Gemeinden" (XLS) (in German). Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt. June 2023.
  3. ^ "Erbach-Michelstadt: Städte-Hochzeit geplatzt | Fernsehen | hr". Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Erbach". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 9 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 733.
  5. ^ Bürgermeisterwahl 2012 Archived 19 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Zeittafel: 20. Jahrhundert Archived 7 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 24 October 2012
  7. ^ Die Entwicklung der Sozialdemokratie in Erbach Archived 24 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 24 October 2012

External links edit