Rüthen(German pronunciation: [ˈʁyːtn̩]) is a town in the district of Soest, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Aerial photograph of Rüthen
Aerial photograph of Rüthen
Coat of arms of Rüthen
Coat of arms
Location of Rüthen within Soest district
North Rhine-WestphaliaPaderborn (district)Soest (district)Warendorf (district)HammUnna (district)Märkischer KreisHochsauerlandkreisSoestEnseWelverAnröchteLippstadtWerlGesekeLippetalBad SassendorfRüthenWickedeWarsteinErwitteMöhneseeRüthen in SO.svg
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Rüthen is located in Germany
Rüthen is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51°29′36″N 8°29′0″E / 51.49333°N 8.48333°E / 51.49333; 8.48333Coordinates: 51°29′36″N 8°29′0″E / 51.49333°N 8.48333°E / 51.49333; 8.48333
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionArnsberg
 • MayorPeter Weiken
 • Total158.09 km2 (61.04 sq mi)
Highest elevation
440 m (1,440 ft)
Lowest elevation
280 m (920 ft)
 • Total10,826
 • Density68/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes02952
Vehicle registrationSO


Rüthen is situated at the northeastern border of the natural preserve Arnsberger Wald between the Haarstrang and the valley of the river Möhne, approx. 20 km south of Lippstadt and 35 kilometres (22 mi) south-west of Paderborn. The highest point is the Wehberg with a height of 528.9 metres (1,735 ft), the lowest point the valley of the river Pöppelsche at 130 metres (430 ft). With an area of more than 310 square kilometres (120 sq mi) it is the largest town within the district of Soest.

Neighbouring municipalitiesEdit

Division of the townEdit

Today Rüthen is the commune largest in area in the district of Soest with an area of 158 square kilometres (61 sq mi). After the local government reforms of 1975 Rüthen consists of the following 15 districts:

  • Rüthen (5,360 inhabitants)
  • Altenrüthen (550 inhabitants)
  • Drewer (780 inhabitants)
  • Hemmern (170 inhabitants)
  • Hoinkhausen (170 inhabitants)
  • Kallenhardt (1,810 inhabitants)
  • Kellinghausen (90 inhabitants)
  • Kneblinghausen (310 inhabitants)
  • Langenstraße-Heddinghausen (460 inhabitants)
  • Meiste (410 inhabitants)
  • Menzel (426 inhabitants)
  • Nettelstädt (111 inhabitants)
  • Oestereiden (870 inhabitants)
  • Weickede (25 inhabitants)
  • Westereiden (530 inhabitants)

International relationsEdit

Rüthen is twinned with:


Schloss Körtlinghausen near Rüthen

The city of Rüthen was first mentioned in a document of the Kloster Grafschaft (abbey earldom) in 1072. The area around Rüthen already belonged to the Erzbistum Köln (archbishopric Cologne) in the High Middle Ages. On 29 September 1200 Rüthen was given town law by the sovereign, the archbishop of Cologne Adolf I. von Altena. Starting in 1375 Rüthen belonged to the Hanse, an economic alliance of trading cities and their guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe in the later Middle Ages. The merchants of the city had far reaching business connections and because of that were able to ensure wealth. In the following centuries, however, the importance of Rüthen decreased massively.

Like many other cities in the duchy of Westfalen, Rüthen held witch trials. From 1573 to 1660, 104 people were tried as witches and wizards, at least 79 being sentenced to death. Freunnd Happen, who had been accused of being a sorcerer, was discharged after two months of torture on 23 September 1660.

Population developmentEdit

Year/Date Population
1819 1,739
1822 1,799
1825 1,823
1828 1,951
1831 1,899
1834 1,860
1837 1,863
1840 1,938
1843 2,040
1846 2,026
1849 2,006
1852 1,941
1855 1,896
1858 1,830
1861 1,899
Date Population
1864 1,827
1867 1,794
1871 1,700
1875 1,652
1880 1,783
1885 1,723
1890 1,859
1895 2,018
1900 2,072
1905 2,218
1910 2,295
17 May 1939 2,622
13 September 1950 3,541
6 June 1961 4,160
27 May 1970 5,177
Date Population
30 June 1985 10,925
31 December 2000 11,500
31 December 2005 11,143
31 December 2006 11,019
31 December 2007 10,894



  • Catholic Church St. Nikolaus. The church was built in the 13th century after a fire in the city. Its tower received its current top in 1712.
  • Catholic Church St. Johannes der Täufer. The other Catholic Church in Rüthen was built 1871–1874 with an older tower from 1737. In this tower there is a madonna figure generally considered the oldest piece of art of Rüthen.
  • Former Abbey of the order of capuchins. What used to be an abbey now houses 13 apartments. The historic garden has been reconstructed.
  • Former Abbey of the order of ursulines The 1749-built abbey was built exactly where 10 years earlier an abbey of another order burned down. Today it houses a bank.
  • The old cityhall is a 1726- to 1730-built complex noticeable for its façade and big, curved flight of stairs.
  • Of the medieval town fortifications, aside big parts of the city wall, only the Hachtor and the Hexenturm (witches' tower) still exist. The Hachtor is an old town gate that has also been used as a prison.
  • The Jewish cemetery from 1625 is the oldest of its kind in Westfalen, located right next to the Hachtor.

In the village of Kallenhardt you can find Schloss Körtlinghausen (1714), a small castle surrounded by water, a catholic church from 1722 and an old cityhall from the 14th or 15th century.


The Hohler Stein in Kallenhardt is a big cave in which archaeological findings from the Stone Age and Bronze Age were made.



  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2019" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 17 June 2020.

External linksEdit