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Minden (German: [ˈmɪndn] (listen)) is a town of about 81 thousands inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the River Weser. It is the capital of the district (Kreis) of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the cultural region of Minden Land. It is widely known as the intersection of the Mittelland Canal and the River Weser. The town is over 1,200 years old and retains some buildings in the Weser Renaissance style, in addition to its architecturally symbolic 1,000-year-old cathedral.
|• Mayor (2020–25)||Michael Jäcke (SPD)|
|• Total||101.12 km2 (39.04 sq mi)|
|Elevation||42 m (138 ft)|
|• Density||810/km2 (2,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
32423, 32425, 32427, 32429
|Dialling codes||0571, 05704, 05734|
Minden is a town in the northeastern part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It lies on the River Weser, north of the Porta Westfalica gap between the ridges of the Weser Hills and Wiehen Hills. The Weser leaves the Weser Uplands and flows into the North German Plain. The town centre lies 5 kilometres (3 miles) to the north, on a plateau on the western side of the river. The small Bastau stream flows into the Weser from the west near the town centre. The edge of the plateau marks the transition from the Middle Weser Valley to the Lübbecke Loessland. This marked change in terrain divides the upper town from the lower town, and marks the boundary between two ecological zones.
In the frame of Natural regions of Germany the western part of Minden belongs to a sequence of geomorphological units (from south to north): the Wiehen Hills, the Lübbecke Loessland, therein the Bastau depression, and the Dümmer Geest Lowland. The eastern part lies in the Middle Weser Valley depression.
Crossing the Weser valley was once favoured by a ford with a small hill in the middle; there the Weser meander touches the western edge of the valley, the eastern floodplain is usually meadowland, but inundated in times of flood, so that the central hill (Brückenkopf) becomes a river island. Today a system of two bridges crosses the valley.
The Mittelland Canal connecting the river systems of Ems, Weser and Elbe traverses the town from east to west, while the Weser flows from south to north. These waterways cross in the northern area of the town at the Minden Aqueduct (Wasserstraßenkreuz Minden).
The Weser leaves the Minden area at its lowest part in the quarter of Leteln, at 40 metres (131 feet), while the highest part is the top of Häverstädter Berg with 272 metres (892 feet), at the edge of the Wiehen Hills in the quarter of Haddenhausen. The altitude of the town is given officially as 42.2 metres (138.5 feet), based on the elevation of the town hall.
The town covers an area of 101.12 square kilometres (39.04 sq mi). It extends 13.1 km (8.1 miles) from north to south and 14.1 km (9 mi) from east to west.
Clockwise from north
Minden consists of 19 quarters:
- Innenstadt (town centre)
- Rechtes Weserufer
Geology, mineral deposits and their useEdit
The Wiehen Hills escarpment extends more than 100 kilometers from west of Osnabrück to the Porta Westfalica gap and is continued in the Weser Hills range. The escarpment forming horizons incline gently flattening to the north; they are of jurassic age, overlayed by cretaceous sediments that form the hill of Bölhorst, and tertiary layers further to the north. The underground basis is of palaeozoic material from Devonian to Permian. A new described genus of dinosaur, the Wiehenvenator, was found in the Wiehen Hills near Haddenhausen, popularly referred to as the "Monster of Minden".
The Porta sandstone (Portasandstein) of the Wiehen Hills has been used as building Material for centuries and is yet to be seen at a lot of public and private buildings in Minden and the whole Region. Another valuable material is iron ore, that has been mined until to the first half of the 20th century. Mining relicts are remainig; e.g. the "Potts Park", an amusement park in Dützen, is located at the place of a former ore mine.
The Bölhorst hill two kilometers north of the Wiehen Hills is formed by horizons of lower cretaceous age and, in geological sense, is the western extension of the eastward Bückeberg in the Schaumburg district. In both elevations the hard coal containing Berriasian layers reach near to the surface. By reason of the correspondance of the Bückeberg Formation to the Wealden Group, the type of coal found here was named "Wealdenkohle" in German language. Mining in the Minden Coalfield started in the 17th century during the Swedish occupation and ended in late 19th century. Another coal mine in the eastern quarter of Meißen worked from 1878 to 1958.
The last relief forming age was the pleistocene. During the Saalian glaciation the whole region was ice-covered, now verified by lots of glacial erratic rocks from Scandinavia placed for decoration in the town area. The Bastau depression, a late-Saalian Weser bed, became a marshy peat-covered area; the peat is completely exhausted for its use as firing material. In the time of Weichselian glaciation the glacier did not reach this region. In the periglacial climate of that time fine material (silt) was blown and accumulated north of the Wiehen Hills as well as north of the Bastau depression in either small west-east stripes of loess.
In the Weser depression Weichselian gravel deposits are found and used in gravel pits.
The forestal use of the considerably inclined Wiehen Hills shows a striking contrast to the nearly woodless loess stripes of the northern foothills as well as north of the Bastau depression. The loess developed to most fertile soils (luvisols) and is used as arable land since prehistoric times. Both of the stripes are also important running lines of traffic, today the federal road 65 form Minden to Lübbecke and the road from Minden to Espelkamp. The villages thus connected have developed to settlements of considerable size.
In clear contrast, the Bastau depression is free of settlement and forests and is only in agricultural use. Only one north to south directed road passes through this area in the southwest of the town area. The gleysols of this area as well as in the Weser valley depression are in agricultural use after drainage.
Compared to other towns of the same type in North Rhine-Westphalia the percentage of woodland is remarkably small.
|Buildings and traffic||Agriculture||Woodland||Other areas|
|Minden (2010)||39,1 %||50,8 %||4,8 %||5,2 %|
|Towns of same type
in North Rhine-Westphalia (2010)
|31.8 %||44,3 %||20,5 %||3,4 %|
Evidence of settlements in various parts of the town suggests that the site of Minden has been settled since the 3rd century A.D. The Minden area shows continuing settlement activity from the 1st to the 4th century, when it belonged to the Rhine-Weser Germanic development sphere.
During the Roman campaigns in Germania (12 BC – AD 16) this part of Westphalia came in the focus of military activities. It has been a matter of discussion, whether the Minden region could have been the location of a military camp where commander Publius Quinctilius Varus started from marching to the disastrous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Likewise the localization of the Battle of Idistaviso and the Battle of the Angrivarian Wall as well, both took place in 16 AD, to the eastern part of Minden or its neighbour town Porta Westfalica is doubtful. Definite archaeological proofs for these locations have yet been missing. In 2008, relicts of a temporary military camp have been found in Barkhausen, about 3.5 km south from the centre of Minden.
The name "Minda" is firstly mentioned in a Royal Frankish Annals record referring to an assembly held by Charlemagne in 798. The location of the so-named settlement is supposed at the left river side, where today's Fischerstadt exists. About 800 AD a bishopric was founded and the first cathedral was built nearby to the older village. After the dissolution of the Duchy of Saxony in 1180 the bishopric was upgraded to the Prince-Bishopric of Minden as a constitutional territory of the Holy Roman Empire, and remained in this status until 1648. During the Investiture Controversy two bishops were nominated at the same time in 1080 both by the papal supporters and those of King Henry IV.
The Cathedral close on the lower Weser terrace was soon surrounded to the north and west by a settlement of artisans and merchants, who lived in a parish of their own, St John's. The development of the upper town began with the activities of ecclesial convents. A convent of Benedictine nuns removed from the Wiehen Hills to the northwestern edge of the town c. 1000 AD. In 1029 the Canonical Convent of St Martin appears, and a 1042 founded Benedictine monastery removed in 1434 from the Weser shore to a new upper site, where the monastery of St Maurice was founded. The Dominicane convent St Paul was established in 1236 and run a school.
German medieval souvereigns governed their realms with an itinerant court, travelling from town to town. Louis the German hold an imperial assembly in Minden in 852. The Emperors of the Ottonian and Salian dynasty visited Minden several times. When King Henry IV came to visit in 1062 a dispute between members of his entourage and citizens caused a fire that destroyed the cathedral and parts of the town. The visit of Charles IV in October 1377 was the last one until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
The rights to hold a market, to mint coins, and to collect customs duties were granted in 977 by Emperor Otto II. Until the beginning of the 13th century, the bishop appointed the leader and administrator of the town, with the title of Wichgraf. The citizens of Minden and their Council obtained independence from the bishop’s rule around 1230 and received a town charter. They utilised these new rights to begin trading independently from the church.
The economic development of Minden was influenced by its location on a navigable river and by its success in grain trading since the Middle Ages. Minden got the right to store goods and could force passing ships to unload their cargo; furtheron the town was member of the Hanseatic League.
The increased self-confidence of the citizens of Minden was demonstrated by the construction of the town hall, probably adjoining the separately governed cathedral precinct. As a result, Bishop Gottfried von Waldeck moved his official residence from Minden to Petershagen in 1306–1307.
The year of construction of the first Weser bridge is not known. A previous wooden pedestrian bridge was replaced in the late 13th century by another one fit for wagon transport. In the early 16th century Minden got a stone arch bridge.
Modern Era since ReformationEdit
The introduction of the Reformation to Minden in 1529 caused much conflict in the town, leading to the formation of a 36-man unit that took over the role of town regiment. Nicholas Krage announced Minden's new church order based on Martin Luther's principles from the pulpit of St Martin's Church (Martinikirche) on 13 February 1530. The Dominicane convent was dissolved in 1529, and its buildings were afterward used as location of the 1530 founded Gymnasium, the oldest protestant gymnasium in Westphalia.
There were 128 prosecutions for witchcraft between 1603 and 1684. As in nearby regions, almost all those sentenced were women.
Imperial troops occupied Minden from 1625 to 1634 during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Protestant Swedish troops laid siege to Minden and captured it in 1634. Queen Christina of Sweden granted Minden full sovereignty in internal and external affairs.
The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 secularized the Prince-Bishopric to the Principality of Minden which was adjointed to the Prince Electorate of Brandenburg, lateron named Brandenburg-Prussia. The Swedish troops moved back in 1650, and the principality administration was led back from Petershagen to Minden in 1668. For the time being, the "Great Elector" Frederick William confirmed all traditional rights of the town, but under his successors King Frederick I and Frederick William I the town was subordinated to the strongly centralized government in the spirit of absolutism. The 400-year civil self-determination ended with two town regulations from 1711 and 1721; the representatives of the town were no longer elected for a certain period, but for lifetime, and they needed royal confirmation for inauguration.
The Battle of Minden took place some miles to the north of Minden on 1 August 1759 during the Seven Years' War. The allied forces of Great Britain, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel and Schaumburg-Lippe, led by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, defeated the French and the allied Electorate of Saxony, led by the Marquis de Contades, in a decisive battle. The region remained Prussian and the adjacent Prince Electorate of Hanover remained in the possession of the British king being the Prince-elector of Hanover in personal union.
Because the town had been occupied twice by French troops during the war, King Frederick the Great realized that the town could no more been defended in the old manner. Thus he gave order to annulate Minden's status as a fortress in 1764.
The town was capital of the Prussian Territory of Minden-Ravensberg from 1719 to 1807 and was seat of the upper administrative authority named Kriegs- und Domänenkammer (Chamber of War Affairs and State Property), that ruled Minden-Ravensberg together wird the County of Lingen and the County of Tecklenburg, being prussian territories, too. The most prominent president of the chamber was the Baron vom Stein from 1796 to 1803.
The Weser had always been an important trade route, and the legal regulations of trading were of immense significance. In 1552 Emperor Charles V confered the privilege of its merchants' unhindered trading on the whole Weser to the town of Minden. During the Thirty Years' War Emperor Ferdinand II confirmed the staple right to Minden in 1627, what means that all passing merchants were enforced to offer their goods for sale for some days. As other Weser bording towns like Bremen or Münden owned similar rights, many conflicts arose about the partly contradictory legal positions.
From the Napoleonic Wars to World War IEdit
In course of the War of the Fourth Coalition French troops occupied the town on 13 November 1806. In the following year Napoleon founded the Kingdom of Westphalia under his brother Jerome Bonaparte as the king; Minden became part of this state until 1810. Since 1 January 1811 Napoleon put Minden to the department Ems-Supérieur of the French Empire; now the Weser formed the eastern frontier between France and Westphalia. Until 1806 the area close to the cathedral was governed by clerical rulers of the catholic church as territory of its own right in contrast to the other protestant town quarters. In the French time the rights of the Cathedral chapter were abolished, still existing convents were dissolved, and some ecclesial buildings like St John's church were secularized and used for military purpose.
Before the French troops abandoned Minden on 3 November 1813 after the disastrous Battle of Leipzig, they blew up some arches of the Weser bridge; the defect was repaired with a wooden auxiliary construction for the following decades.
Minden became again part of the Kingdom of Prussia, but by royal order it was declared fortress once more. The fortress regulations ordered a 600-meters area in front of the wall being free of any buildings, not even vertical gravestones were allowed. The refortification had severe consequences, it hindered any extension of the town area and thus the economic development; other smaller Westphalian towns from that time like Bielefeld and Dortmund laid the foundation for their greater subsequent growth.
After the Congress of Vienna had passed general principles of free traffic on the main rivers in 1815, the Weser Shipping Act (Weserschifffahrtsakte) was brought in force in 1823 that annulated all restrictions and financial burdens for shipping on the river. 
The trunk line of the Cologne-Minden Railway Company was opened in 1847 with a solidly fortified station and connected with the Hanover–Minden railway. After the defortification the railway was an important momentum for economic growth in Minden.
The town remained a Prussian fortress until 1873, when Germany's Imperial Diet (Reichstag) passed the law to remove the fortress status of several fortified places, among them Minden. The fortress walls were razed until 1880 – the town had to pay for it –, and a new Weser bridge was constructed, permitting the town to catch up economically. However, it was never able to regain its former political and economic importance.
The upper class used the new conditions for construction of a new town quarter in a half-circle to the north and west of the old centre with prestigious buildings on spacious plots, but the urgent narrowness inside the centre remained. A lot of buildings in the style of historicism replaced older ones at the market place and the main streets. The lack of buildings outside the fortifications was favourable for planning a road network in the outer areas of the town. Since the 1890s a sequence of six ring roads in the west and north of the town has formed the backbone of the road network.
Grandiose festivities took place, when Emperor William II and Empress Auguste Victoria visited Minden and the southern village of Barkhausen for inauguration of the Emperor William Monument at the Porta Westphalica gap on 18 October 1896; since then the monument is a remarkable element of the southern horizont view from Minden.
The Weimar Republic and the Nazi RegimeEdit
The monarchy abolishing November Revolution of 1918 passed with only small disturbances occurred in a few barracks of the Minden Garrison on 7 and 8 November 1918. These were calmed down by representatives of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and by union representatives. A Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council took control in the afternoon of 18 November.
The situation in Minden got more critical during the Kapp Putsch of March 1920, when right-wing officers tried to overthrow the legal government of the German Reich. The majority of the Minden Town Council declared their loyalty to President Friedrich Ebert and Chancellor Bauer, who for their part confirmed the authority of the Minden Workers' Council. The assassination of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau on 24 June 1922 resulted in serious rioting in Minden. A demonstration of 15,000 people in support of the government was held at the market square on 27 June.
In 1929 the Melitta firm transferred its production to Minden. Since 1935 the Chemische Werke Minden produced chemicals for pharmaceutical use, e.g. codeine; because of potentially military interest the producing company Knoll AG in Ludwigshafen had decided for a more inner-German producing location.
From 1934 to 1940 two suburbs with single-family houses of modest size (Siedlung Kuhlenkamp and Siedlung Rodenbeck) were created in considerable distance to the previous settlements. Like in other communities, the names of some streets or places were changed by political reasons during the Nazi time, but all the thirteen cases were reversed in 1945.
World War IIEdit
During World War II, underground factories were built in the Weser Hills and Wiehen Hills near Minden. Slave labourers from a nearby concentration camp were forced to produce weapons and other war materiel. After the war the machinery was removed by American troops and the entrances sealed.
Most of the Jewish citizens were deported, dispossessed and murdered. The Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) have been laid on Minden's pavements as a memorial to them.
Minden sustained severe damage from bombardment during World War II. These attacks were minor during the early phase of the war. The raid on 26 October 1944 on the canal aqueduct resulted in the breaching of the Mittelland Canal and the drowning of numerous workers in a nearby air raid shelter. The last and most devastating air raid was conducted by United States Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft on 28 March 1945. This almost completely destroyed great parts of the town centre, including the town hall and cathedral, and resulted in the death of over 180 people. At the end of the war 13% of all buildings were destroyed or damaged.
The advance of Allied troops toward the end of the war caused many of the Nazis who were running the town, to flee across the Weser to the east. The town was occupied by the 1st Canadian Airborne Battalion of the 3rd Parachute Brigade on the evening of 1 April 1945. Almost all the bridges over the Weser and Mittelland Canal as well as the canal aqueduct had just been blown up by the German Army in a futile attempt to delay the Allied advance, according to Hitler's Nero Decree.
In the early post-war time the Minden region became a central part of the British Occupation Zone. The British Military Government took its main location in Bad Oeynhausen before it moved to Berlin. The headquarter of the British Forces remained there until 1954. All the German Wehrmacht barracks in Minden were taken by the British Army, 466 houses were confiscated in 1945. As immediate measure the British Army set up an auxiliary bridge ("Francis bridge"), that was in use until the restoring of the regular bridge in 1947.
For reactivation of German economic power the "Wirtschaftsrat für die britische Besatzungszone" (Economic Council for the British Occupation Zone) was founded in Minden on 11 March 1946, that supervised the work of the "Zentralamt für Wirtschaft" (Central Office for Economy) at the same place. After the partial conjunction of the American and British Occupation Zones in 1947 to the Bizone the Bizonal Economic Council continued the activities of the Minden "Wirtschaftsrat" in Frankfurt.
The town administration resumed its work on 9 April 1945 on a provisional basis. Following to the foundation of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1946 the former Free State of Lippe was adjoined to it in 1947; as a result of it Minden lost its position as a regional capital to Detmold in 1947. Different to the other Allied Powers, the Britains changed the German community regulation for their occupation zone in the way of strict separation of powers. Since 1946 the Mayor was merely a honorary position as head of town and chairman of the town council; a professional Stadtdirektor (town director) was chief of the administration. In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia these regulations were in force until 1998.
Parts of the Federal Railways Central Offices (Bundesbahn-Zentralämter) were moved to Minden in 1950. In course of the West German rearmament, the Herzog-von-Braunschweig-Kaserne (Duke of Brunswick Barracks) was built for the new Minden garrison of the Federal Forces (Bundeswehr) in 1959 in the western quarter of Rodenbeck and another barracks in the quarter of Minderheide.
In the 1960s the unruly behaviour of some of the Cameronians who were stationed in Minden as part of the BAOR made front-page news on the Daily Mirror. A local described the smaller Scottish soldiers as "poison dwarfs".
The town centre reconstruction adapted largely to the pre-war situation, the previous road system remained, but the destroyed houses were rebuilt in the 1950s style. Even in the undestroyed areas dilapidated buildings were replaced by new ones that deviated from the quarter's character by form and volume. The renewal of the main shopping street Scharn was planned by Werner March.
The serious lack of housing in the 1950s and 1960s, caused by bombing and the post-war migration of refugees, was sorted with new housing areas, especially in the west and north of the centre. Furthermore, some housing estates for British soldiers' families were developed.
From the local government reform to present dayEdit
On 1 January 1973, the previously separate surrounding communities of Aminghausen, Bölhorst, Dankersen, Dützen, Haddenhausen, Hahlen, Häverstädt, Kutenhausen, Leteln, Meißen, Päpinghausen, Stemmer, Todtenhausen as well as parts of Barkhausen, Hartum and Holzhausen II were incorporated into the town of Minden. Thereby the town area increased from 29 km to 101 km and the population number from about 54.000 to about 84.000. At the same time the former districts of Minden and Lübbecke were merged to the new district (Kreis) of Minden-Lübbecke, from which Minden became the capital. A new district administration building was constructed south of the town centre on the site of an old barracks; the old administrative building is to be used as a community archive.
In the 1960s many remaining problems of the town centre got more and more urgent, as for example a high population density, a great percentage of low-income persons, houses in poor condition, business premises not up-to-date, endangered pedestrians, and severe shortage of parking lots. Therefore an urban renewal was carried out in the 1970s, within the frame of the federal law für urban development promotion (1971) and subsidized by public money. Dilapidated buildings were renovated or replaced by new structures, but the removal of timbered houses as part of this renewal was later regretted. The height of buildings was restricted to four or five storeys. The main shopping areas were rearranged to a pedestrian zone. Public traffic was kept away from the inner part with a new central bus station nearby. Since then the individual traffic has been hindered crossing through the centre, but houses can be reached by a dead end system. Two large parking areas at the edge of the town centre, an underground car park and several multistorey car parks provide parking facilities. To keep away the regional traffic two new Weser bridges and a new bypass road in the very east were built; the old bridge was replaced in 1978.
A new building was necessary for purpose of administrative responsibilities of the enlarged town. Architect Harald Deilmann planned this impressive complex directly from the old town hall to the cathedral court in the style of structuralism, but since its completion in 1977 it has been discussed quite controversially in Minden's public opinion, not only for the look of the façade, but also for blocking the scenic view of the cathedral from the arches of the old town hall. In 2006 a controversial resolution by the town council proposed the demolition of the town hall extensions to make room for a new shopping mall. However, a 57% majority opposed this plan in a referendum. Today the whole town hall building complex is classified as historical monument, an extensive renovation is going on since 2019.
The shoreline of the Weser was improved in 1976 by extending the promenade from the Fischerstadt (Fishermen's Town). The Glacis, a park-like open space in front of the old fortifications, which was important as a green belt, was altered and made more accessible. The old town wall fronting the Fischerstadt was restored to its former height. The opposite shore area (Kanzlers Weide) has been made accessible by a footbridge. This improves access to a large parking area and festival site.
The British troops left Minden in 1994. Their barrack areas got valuable sites for further town development.
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
The earliest detailed information of population number is given from 1740. In times of prussian government, Minden as a regional capital and garrison showed a gentle population growth by officials and soldiers, and then, after the defortification, by industrial workers out of the surrounding region.
After World War II the population increased by massive immigration of expelled persons and refugees mainly from former East Germany. Since the 1960s the immigration of foreign workers from the mediterranean countries to West Germany had an effect in Minden, too; initially thought to be guest workers, many of them have settled in the town permanently.
An immigration of germans from the Soviet Union and its succeeding countries to Germany began in the 1980s, and the district of Minden-Lübbecke was one of their preferred regions. The German reunification in 1989–1990 gave Eastgerman people the opportunity to move to the west. The last current immigration period is characterized by immigrants of Near East asylum seeking refugees.
The sudden increase of population number in 1973 results from the administrative adjointment of the surrounding villages to the Minden town area.
The Reformation was carried out in Minden between 1521 and 1529. The town contains six protestant parishes today: St Mary's, St Martin's, St Mark's, St James' and the parishes of St Peter's and St Simeon's Churches. They all are parts of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia.
According to the regulations of the Peace of Westphalia, Minden Cathedral remained in Catholic possession. During the population growth in the 19th century the small number of catholics rose slowly, and because of the migration of expelled persons, working migrants and refugees after World War II the percentage of catholics increased considerably among the population of Minden.
There are four Roman Catholic parishes in Minden: the parish of the cathedral St Peter and Gorgonius, and parishes of St Mauritius, St Paul and St Ansgar, which are all bound together into a pastoral combination of the Mindener Land, being part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Paderborn.
Other Christian CommunitiesEdit
Further Christian communities are the New Apostolics, the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and others. Many of the Germans who have immigrated from Russia and central Asian countries belong to baptistic or mennonitic communities.
A small Quakers community existed during the 19th century, but only their cemetery has remained.
A Jewish community has existed in Minden since 1270 and grew up to 400 members in the 19th century. After World War II the Jewish community was reconstituted with 40 members. The Minden synagogue which was destroyed in the November pogrom on 9 November 1938, was inaugurated at a new nearby site in 1958 and is the centre of the Jewish community.
In the last half century a considerable muslim community has grown in Minden with three existing mosques.
The Mayor is the head of the town, the leader of town administration and chairman of the city council, where he not entitled to vote. The Mayor is elected every five years.
The current Mayor of Minden is Michael Jäcke of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2015 and re-elected in 2020 with 54.3% of the votes.
The Minden city council governs the city together the Mayor. Elections to the city council are held every five years. The recent city council election took place on 13 September 2020. Apart from the nationwide parties, the members of Minden Council belong also to three local associations of independent voters.
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||10,856||36.38||4.2||21||3|
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||8,164||27.36||0.6||15||2|
|Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne)||4,636||15.54||5.5||9||3|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||1,037||3.74||0.4||2||±0|
|The Left (Die Linke)||951||3.19||1.3||2||1|
|Alternative for Germany (AfD)||1,714||5.74||1.4||3||±0|
|Mindener Initiative (MI)||1,062||3.56||1.4||2||1|
|BürgerBündnis Minden (BBM)||735||2.46||0.6||1||±0|
|Wir für Minden||584||1.96||New||1||New|
|Source: State Returning Officer|
Elections to parliamentsEdit
The constituencies for state parliament and federal parliament elections Minden belonged to, have been mostly won by candidates of the Social Democratic Party.
Coat of arms, flag, mottoEdit
The coat of arms shows the doubled-headed imperial eagle (Reichsadler) of the Holy Roman Empire on the right, awarded in 1627 by emperor Ferdinand II for support of the town in the Thirty Years' War. The left side shows the crossed keys of Saint Peter, patron of Minden cathedral, as part of the Prince-Bishop's coat of arms.
The red-white flag show the colours of the Hanseatic league. The town's motto is Ius et aequitas civitatum vincula (Law and justice are the towns' ties).
Culture and sightsEdit
Theatre and cabaret revuesEdit
The municipal theater (Stadttheater Minden) celebrated its centenary in 2008. The town supports the regular symphony concerts of the North West German Philharmonic Orchestra (Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie), which take place in the theatre. Since 2002 a project (Der Ring in Minden) has been running to perform all the operas of Richard Wagner.
Further theatre and cultural events occur with private sponsorship and are held in such locations as the civic centre (Bürgerzentrum) and the Theater am Weingarten. There are also theatre groups without fixed performance venues.
Minden is the original location of the nationally known amateur cabaret, Mindener Stichlinge. Its foundation in 1966 makes it the oldest active cabaret in Germany. The town awards a prize to support literary-political cabarets. The 4,000 euro prize, awarded every two years, is named Kabarett-Förderpreis Mindener Stichling, and is sponsored by the Melitta company as well as the local savings bank (Sparkasse Minden-Lübbecke).
Minden has a municipal archive and two significant museums. The Prussia Museum (Preußenmuseum Minden) is one of two museums of Prussian history in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is quartered in old barracks on Simeonsplatz (Simeon Square). The building served the old Minden Fortress which influenced the town until its demolition in 1873.
The second one is the Minden Museum of History, Cultural Studies and Folklore (Mindener Museum für Geschichte, Landes- und Volkskunde), housed in a Weser Renaissance style row of patrician houses (Museumszeile). The attached Coffee Museum (Kaffee-Museum) focuses on the 100-year-old coffee producer, Melitta.
The Dolls' Museum (Puppenmuseum) is a private initiative.
The Westphalian Mill Route is the first of its kind and connects the many windmills on the plains of the Minden countryside. These had already been recognized and preserved as technical monuments in the 1960s. Most of these relics of the 19th century have been restored.
The Minden Museum Railway operates with old Prussian rolling stock on the old tracks of the Minden District Railway. It is famous for harking back to traditional Prussia.
An information centre is located at the Minden Aqueduct (Wasserstraßenkreuz Minden). The canal system and the function of the locks are explained.
Minden Cathedral dates from the 11th century, the westwerk with its entrance façade built in Romanesque style, while the early Gothic nave and aisles date from the 13th Century. The early settlement on the lower town terrace surrounded the Cathedral. Medieval building have been replaced later on, the whole area was severely destroyed in World War’s bomb attacks. The Cathedral has been reconstructed by architect Werner March until 1957. The rebuilt town hall with its picturesque 13th century arcade is placed 150 meters to the west.
The market square is surrounded by buildings in the 19th century style of historicism. The impressive façade of house Flamme/Schmieding obtained a twice daily clock display in 2010. It features the popular origin myth of last independent Saxon leader Duke Widukind shaking hands with Charlemagne. They give the oath: "diese Burg soll nun ‚‘min‘‘ und ‚‘din‘‘ sein" (this fort shall now be mine and thine), thus naming Minden.
The main pedestrian zone in the commercial centre of Minden extends from the market place to the north (Scharn) and then turning rectangular in the Bäckerstraße (Bakers' Street) eastward to the Weser. The original buildings were usually replaced in the late 19th century, but some show reconstructed façades in the Weser Renaissance manner. North of the Bakers' Street there are few 17th to 18th century half-timber framing buildings and the secularized St John's church, now being an event location (Bürgerzentrum (BÜZ)). The pedestrian zone continues the market place to the south as Obermarktstraße (Upper market street) and leads to the upper town centre, its skyline dominated from the three churches of (from south to north) St Simeon, St Martin and St Mary, the tower of the latter being an eye-catcher over a long distance. In the southwestern part of the town centre many 16th to 18th century residential buildings have remained intact.
The upper town is on a short way accessible from the market place by the St Martin's steps (Martinitreppe). It ends at the St Martin’s churchyard (Martinikirchhof), today a parking area surrounded by the St Martin's church, the Old Mint (Alte Münze), the oldest profane stone building of Minden and one of the oldest in Westphalia, the Schwedenschänke (Swedish tavern, reminding of the Swedish occupation during the 30 Years War), the renewed synagogue, and the "Granary" (Proviant-Magazin, now used as Weser-Kolleg school) and adjacent "Army Bakery (Heeresbäckerei, now used as St Martin's parish centre) as military buildings of the 19th century. The last two buildings belong to the so-called Schinkel buildings (Schinkelbauten) as well as some buildings round the Simeon place south of the centre, for their style shows great resemblance to the manner of the famous Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. One of the smallest buildings in Minden is the Windloch (wind hole) near St Martin's.
The old town (now the town centre) is surrounded by the Glacis, a green belt replacing the fortifications after their demolition. Some great public buildings have been placed in that area since 1880 to the very modern times: the Ratsgymnasium, the Kurt-Tucholsky-Gesamtschule, the Herdergymnasium, the centre of justice, the Domschule, the Regional Government's building and the old district administration building (now the local archive) – both in neo-renaissance style, and the new district administration building.
Being a station near to the frontier between the Kingdoms of Prussia and Hanover, the railway station was strongly fortified from the beginning in 1847. Impressive relicts of the station fortification have still remained. The station building itself is classified as historical monument.
The picturesque Fischerstadt (fishermens' town) lies northeast of the town centre along the Weser, where remnants of the old town fortification wall are reconstructed.
The Kampa-Halle is a large gym-complex for sports and other events. A new event hall is to be planned at the site of the demolished goods station.
In the old villages now being town quarters a lot of half-timbered houses have remained.
Schloss Haddenhausen (Haddenhausen Palace) is a 17th century Weserrenaissance style manor house on the outskirts of the town.
The town of Minden contains several monuments harking back to Prussian history. The monument of the Great Elector (Denkmal des Großen Kurfürsten) stands alongside the Weser bridgehead to commemorate the first Prussian ruler of Minden.
The monument to the Battle of Minden is in the Todtenhausen quarter of the town. It commemorates the decisive victory of the forces of Great Britain and their german allies.
The botanical garden is centrally located on the site of the old cemetery and features old tree specimens and thematic gardens. The site for burials was transferred in 1904 to a new site on the Weser north of the town centre. The "Glacis" stems from the Fortress Minden. The present wooded parklike green belt was started after the demolition of the fortress walls. The post Napoleonic fortifications had replaced older walls stemming from the Middle Ages.
The handball club GWD Minden has played in the Handball-Bundesliga (national handball league) with some interruptions since the league's founding in 1966. GWD now plays in the "Kampa-Halle". It won the German title twice. Many of its players have been on the national team. Its previous venue the Weserstadion is now used for track and field and football (soccer).
Minden has a reputation as a water sports centre aided by its location on the Weser. "MTV 1860 Minden e.V" is the largest and oldest sport club with gymnastics, fencing, handball, canoe racing, judo, swimming, volleyball and other popular sports. Its boathouse is at the confluence of the Bastau stream into the Weser. The canoe club "KSG Minden e.V." has its clubhouse upstream. It is the local organizer of dragon boat races. "TV Jahn" Sportclub has a canoe and kayak group below the main Weser bridge. The "Bessel-Ruder-Club e.V." is a rowing club stemming from the rowing activities of the Bessel and Herder Gymnasiums (high schools). The yearly "Mindener Hafen-Sprint" is one of the largest student regattas in Germany.
The Mindener Freischießen (Minden Free Shooting) is a unique public festival that takes place usually every two years. It is arranged by the military-like organized Mindener Bürgerbatallion (Minden Citizen Battalion) with the Stadtmajor (Town Major) on top. The battalion is divided into six companies, a squadron and a drummer corps, each of them headed by a captain.
In the Middle Ages the right of self-government corresponded with the duty of self-defence, and the citizen battalion was established for this purpose. Since 1682 the obligatory shooting exercises were arranged as a public festival, and as a reward the best shooter was exempted from taxation in the current year. The festival’s name refers to this rule. In 1685 the Great Elector changed the rule, so that the winner got a reward of 50 Thaler. This rule has remained to present days, but today it is the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia as legal successor of the Prince-Elector who pays the honour sum in present currency. Due to the biennial rhythm two winners are determined.
The festival usually takes place in June or July from Thursday to Sunday in the town centre. The Freischießen should not be confused with a marksmen’s festival.
The Mindener Messe is a one-week travelling funfair every May and every November on the wide event-place Kanzler's Weide at the right Weser shore; it was founded in 1526 by the Prince-Bishop.
Many organizations participate in the organization of the major water sport festival "Blaues Band der Weser" which is held biennial.
The "Hahler Kranzreiten" takes place every summer in the quarter of Hahlen. It is an equestrian competition where the contestants try to catch a gallow-hanging garland while riding on a galloping horse in several rounds; every following round the gallow is lifted to a higher position.
Traditional Marksmen's festivals (Schützenfest) are arranged by marksmen's clubs (Schützenverein) in some quarters of Minden like in many other german cities.
Economy and infrastructureEdit
Rail and busEdit
Minden station is on the Hanover–Minden and the Hamm-Minden lines, which are part of the main lines connecting Cologne-Ruhr area with Berlin and Amsterdam with Berlin, as well as the secondary Weser-Aller line between Minden and Nienburg. The railway station is a stop for local and express trains such as Intercity-Express and InterCity.
- RE 6 (Rhein-Weser-Express) Düsseldorf–Essen–Hamm–Bielefeld–Minden,
- RE 60 (Ems-Leine-Express)/RE 70 (Weser-Leine-Express) Bielefeld/Rheine–Osnabrück–Minden–Hannover–Braunschweig (Brunswick)
- RE 78 (Porta-Express) Bielefeld–Bad Oeynhausen–Minden–Nienburg (Monday to Friday)
- RB 76 (Weser-Aller-Bahn) Minden–Verden–Rotenburg (with connection to Bremen and Hamburg, only on weekends and holidays).
Minden station is terminal of line S 1 of the Hanover S-Bahn to Hanover.
All passenger platforms are accessible to handicapped persons. There is bicycle parking and a ticket automat.
Bus connection with the railway station occurs every half-hour though the "Teutoburger Wald Verkehr (TWV)" bus line. The 13 bus lines rendezvous every half hour at the central bus terminal (Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof abbr. "ZOB") in the town centre. The local buses are coordinated with the regional buses to places such as Bad Oeynhausen, Lübbecke, Espelkamp and Petershagen. Some of these bus lines operate only on an hourly basis and only until 8 PM.
The Minden Museum Railway "Museumseisenbahn Minden (MEM)" operates restored locomotives and rolling stock on the rail lines of the Mindener Kreisbahnen, a small regional railroad. These run from its upper town railway yard to Hille in the west and the visitors' mine in Kleinenbremen to the east. Several rail line sections of the former narrow gauge track (now converted to normal gauge) serve the freight trains of the Mindener Kreisbahnen.
The town is close to the Autobahn A 2 from Berlin to the Ruhr and the A 30 to Amsterdam. The federal roads 61 and 65 cross in the town, the federal road 482 touches Minden as eastern ring road ansd connects the town with the next A 2-junction in Porta Westfalica. The divided highway south of the town travels through a tunnel to Porta Wesfalica and on to Bad Oeynhausen. The Federal road 482 runs east of the town and connects the A 2 to the south, and goes toward Nienburg to the north. Two semicircle ring roads go around the town itself, the inner route 61 provides a town by-pass. This inner ring is almost completely four-lane. The town centre has pay car parks and an automated guide to empty spaces.
Waterways and harboursEdit
Minden is an important junction for inland waterways. It is the crossing of the navigable Weser and the Mittelland Canal. Two locks (built 1914 and 2018) connect the River with the canal to overcome a difference in height of 13 m. The harbours on both Weser and Mittellankanal are experiencing increasing volume. The traffic volume for containers in the industrial harbour has developed because of the good waterway connections to the seaports of Bremen and Hamburg. A new container port is in construction to the east of the present Mittellandkanal harbour, the so-called "RegioPort OWL".
The Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsamt Minden (WSA) (Waterways and Shipping Authority) is a federal authority located in Minden for the administration of the maintenance and regulation of the Weser-Canal waterways.
There are seven overpasses over the Weser in Minden, three road bridges, a railroad bridge, one pedestrian bridge and a double aqueduct for the canal. The road bridge connects the town centre with the eastern suburbs and the railway station. The two relief bridges from the 1970s, the Gustav Heinemann Bridge in the north and the Theodor Heuss Bridge in the south, are four-lane and lead traffic away from town centre.
The railway bridge was the second one built and carries the Mindener Kreisbahnen tracks over the Weser toward the main rail yard.
The latest built bridge, the Glacisbrücke, is a pedestrian suspension bridge that provides access to "Kanzlers Weide" large parking area and event place east of the town centre.
The next nearby road bridges are 10 km (6 mi) south at Porta Wesfalica and 20 km (12 mi) north at Petershagen.
The traffic over the main town bridge is limited because a continuation bridge over the flood pain has been determined to have structural problems. It is limited to medium loads on one lane in each direction. A completely new replacement is in progress of being built.
The town is on the bicycle routes "Mühlenroute" (mill route) and "Weserradweg" (water bicycle path). It is the departure point for the "Wellness-Radroute" There is a bike station at the railroad station complete with servicing. The town belongs to working cooperative "Fahrradfreundliche Stadte und Gemeinden in NRW" (bicycle friendly communities in North Rhine-Westphalia). The goal is to increase bicycle traffic to over 20 percent of the total. "Fahrradförderung Minden", is a volunteer group that develops recommendations to government. It is involved in working on an overall bicycle traffic concept, whose implementation is delayed by budget problems.
Minden is now considered a business, trade and service industry hub. It is part of the agglomeration corridor that extends along the A 2 Autobahn from Minden through Herford, Bielefeld, Gütersloh and on to the Ruhr area.
There is a multitude of manufacturing besides the agriculture of the outlying town areas. This includes the chemical, metalworking, electronic, paper, ceramic and woodworking spheres. The town administration counts 4,700 businesses within the town limits.
Minden is location of several middle-sized companies. Melitta with headquarters in Minden is well known by consumers for its coffee products. The well known Strothmann corn brandy of rye distilled liquor is produced here by the Wilhelm Strothmann Brennereien that is now part of the Berentzen group.
Siegfried PharmaChemikalien Minden (former Knoll AG and lateron part of the BASF, now subsidiary of Siegfried AG in Switzerland) produces pharmacy chemicals as ephedrine, coffein and theophylline. Another notable firm is Follmann, which produces special dyes and adhesives. Ornamin Kunststoffwerke is a designer and producer of innovative plastic utensils like tableware and "To Go"-vessels, located in Minden since 1955.
The Harting Technologiegruppe, an electronics company originally founded Minden in 1945, built an impressive administration centre near to a former Prussian barracks area in the Glacis belt; the main locations of production were moved to the nearby towns of Espelkamp and Rahden. WAGO Kontakttechnik has its main location in the north of the town centre and produces connector products for the electric and electronic industry. Schoppe und Faeser was a producer of electronics that has been taken over by the ABB Group. Rose & Krieger, a subsidiary of Phoenix Mecano, produces technical components. Another firm of technical engineering is Minda Anlagenbau. The over 100 year old Altendorf GmbH firm produces machine tools including the word leading circular trim saws.
The German retail food corporation Edeka has a regional office and distribution centre (Edeka Minden-Hannover) situated in Minden. The office is responsible for a large area from the North Sea to the Eastern German border. A subsidiary of Edeka is the low-price supermarket chain NP-Markt with administrative seat in Minden.
The DB Systemtechnik (German railway system technology) and DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung (vehicle maintenance) deal with the development of rail vehicles and railway system equipment.
The savings bank Sparkasse Minden-Lübbecke, a regional public bank, has its main administration in Minden.
The longest existing firm of Minden was Endler and Kumpf, founded in 1759 and at last involved with automation technology, finished the existence in 2019. The Kampa Hall reminds at "Kampa Haus" firm, that produced prefabricated houses, and finished in 2009.
Today there is only one local daily newspaper, the Mindener Tageblatt. The regional public radio station is WDR (West German Broadcast) studio in Bielefeld, supporting the East Westfalia-Lippe area. It produces and transmits both radio and television programs from there. The TV transmission became digital in 2006 and has its regional antenna on the Jakobsberg near Minden. Non-public radio station Radio Westfalica is part of the Radio-NRW-Gruppe (group) and transmits a local program from Minden focused on the Kreis Minden-Lübbecke.
Public services and establishmentsEdit
The administration offices of the district of Minden-Lübbecke are located in the Kreishaus (district building) in Minden.
The 864 bed hospital Johannes-Wesling-Klinikum is one of four sites of the "Mühlenkreiskliniken" hospital-complex serving the district of Minden-Lübbecke. The new hospital building was completed in 2008 and is located in the southern town-quarter of Minden-Häverstädt.
Minden is site of a centre of justice containing one of the seven Administrative courts for North Rhine-Westphalia, a Local court (Amtsgericht) for criminal and civil cases, and a Labour court (Arbeitsgericht) for controversies in employee-employer relationship.
Minden is base of a German-British pioneer battalion with location in the Herzog-von-Braunschweig-Kaserne (Duke of Brunswick barracks) at the western town frontier.
The town provides all types of general-educating school. At present time (2022) there are eleven elementary schools (age 6 to 10), three secondary schools (age 10 to 16), and five secondary schools with upper level education (age 10 to 19, ending with the university entrance exam (Abitur), two of them as comprehensive schools and the other three of type "gymnasium", a Freie Waldorfschule (age 6 to 18) and furthermore two vocational colleges.
Minden is site of a branch of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule) specializing in architecture, construction engineering, technology, engineering and mathematics, social studies, business and health. Its location is the Campus Minden, a former barracks area. The University of Hagen (Distance Learning University) has a centre of study. There is also a campus of the University Hospitals of the Ruhr-University of Bochum in Minden.
Minden offers a Folk high school (Volkshochschule) and musical education in a municipal music school.
- Johann Vesling (1598–1649), physician
- Georg Wilhelm von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen (1726–1794), Hanoveran officer
- Caroline von Humboldt (1766–1829), art historian
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784–1846), astronomer and mathematician
- Karl von Vincke (1800–1869), politician and officer
- Pauline von Mallinckrodt (1817–1881), founder of the order Sisters of Christian Charity
- Hermann von Mallinckrodt (1821–1874), politician
- Otto von Diederichs (1843–1918), Admiral of the Imperial German Navy, Chief of the East Asia Squadron
- Otto von Emmich (1848–1915), General
- Franz Boas (1858–1942), American anthropologist and pioneer of modern anthropology
- Ludwig Borckenhagen (1859–1917), Admiral of the Imperial German Navy
- Otto Quante (1875–1947), portrait, figure and landscape painter
- Hans Koeppen (1876–1948), officer and racing driver
- Gertrud von le Fort (1876–1971), writer
- Hans Cramer (1896–1968), General of the Wehrmacht
- Hermann Bartels (1900–1989), architect in national socialism
- Heinrich Trettner (1907–2006), General of the Wehrmacht, General Inspector of the Bundeswehr
- Karl Strauss (1912–2006), brewer
- Heinz Körvers (1915–1942), handball player
- Hans Wollschläger (1935–2007), translator of James Joyce and Edgar Allan Poe
- Herbert Lübking (born 1941), handball player, field handball world champion
- Jutta Hering-Winckler (born 1948), lawyer and patron of music
- Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (born 1951), politician
- Burkhard Schwenker (born 1958), manager
- Lutz Hachmeister (born 1959), media historian, filmmaker and journalist
- Wolfgang Rathert (born 1960), musicologist
- Yves Eigenrauch (born 1971), footballer
- René Müller (born 1974), footballer
- Martin Schmeding (born 1975), concert organist and academic teacher
- Jan-Martin Bröer (born 1982), rower
- Thilo Versick (born 1985), footballer
- Tim Danneberg (born 1986), footballer
- René Rast (born 1986), racing driver
- Jan-Christoph Borchardt (born 1989), open source interaction designer
- Friedrich Hoffmann (1660–1742), practiced in Minden as garrison physician and inventor of the Hoffmannstropfen (Compound spirit of ether)
- Melitta Bentz (1873–1950), inventor of the coffee filter
- Hans-Josef Becker (born 1948), archbishop of Paderborn
Baron Ludwig von Vincke, who was born in Minden, was awarded honorary citizenship on 23 December 1841. He was worked toward the unification of Westphalia as well as Prussian administrative reforms. Other honorary citizens are the Presidents of the Minden District Karl Gottlieb Richter (1777–1847) und Franz von Borries (1785–1858). In recent times the long-serving mayor (1977–1991) Heinz Röthemeier was named to honorary citizenship.
Twin towns – sister citiesEdit
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Minden.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1905 New International Encyclopedia article about "Minden".|
- Official website (in German)
- Official website (in English)
- History of Minden (in German)
- Chronik Mindens (in German)
- Views of Minden (360°) (in German)
- Minden Foto Gallery(in German)
- Town centre views