Schwelm is a town in the district of Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis in the administrative region of Arnsberg within the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Schwelm Stadtansicht.JPG
Flag of Schwelm
Coat of arms of Schwelm
Location of Schwelm within Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis district
BochumDortmundEssenGelsenkirchenHagenHerneKreis MettmannKreis UnnaMärkischer KreisOberbergischer KreisRemscheidWuppertalBreckerfeldEnnepetalGevelsbergHattingenHerdeckeSchwelmSprockhövelWetter (Ruhr)WittenSchwelm in EN.svg
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Schwelm is located in Germany
Schwelm is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51°16′N 7°16′E / 51.267°N 7.267°E / 51.267; 7.267Coordinates: 51°16′N 7°16′E / 51.267°N 7.267°E / 51.267; 7.267
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionArnsberg
 • Mayor (2020–25) Stephan Langhard[1] (SPD)
 • Total20.5 km2 (7.9 sq mi)
213 m (699 ft)
 • Total28,590
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes02336
Vehicle registrationEN
Town map by Johann Ricer, 1722


Schwelm is situated in the southeast of the "Ruhrgebiet", the Ruhr district of Germany, between Westphalia and the "Bergisches Land". Schwelm is commonly known as the "Pforte Westfalens" ("Gate to Westphalia").

Neighbouring placesEdit

Surrounding towns include Ennepetal, Gevelsberg, Sprockhövel and Wuppertal.

Division of the townEdit

Schwelm is called the "town of neighbourhoods". It is made up of the following 13 neighbourhoods:[3]

  • Aechte de Muer
  • Brunnen
  • Fronhof
  • Linderhausen
  • Loh
  • Möllenkotten
  • Oberstadt
  • Oehde
  • Ossenkamp
  • Parliament
  • Rote Wasser
  • Winterberg
  • Zur alten Post


The history of Schwelm can be traced back to the ninth century, where it is first mentioned as "Suelmiu". The town of Schwelm was officially established in 1496 and became seat of the Ennepe-Ruhr district in 1929. According to its area, Schwelm is the smallest town in North Rhine-Westphalia.


A Westphalian variety of high German is spoken in Schwelm (Westphalian: from old Saxon Westfal = "western land"). The Westphalian dialect belongs to the low Saxon dialects, which is a part of the family of low German dialects. Compared to other German regions (e.g., Bavaria or Swabia) the dialect does not have a strong influence on the everyday speech. Especially the elderly population is still able to speak Schwelm's original Westphalian tongue, called Schwelmer Platt, which is quite different from standard high German and bears a certain resemblance to Dutch.


The current mayor of Schwelm is Stephan Langhard of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2020. In the most recent mayoral election on 13 and 27 September 2020, Langhard advanced to the runoff with 41.85% of votes against Philipp Beckmann of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), who won 30.4%. Heinz-Jürgen Lenz, with the endorsement of the CDU and The Greens, placed third with 27.8%.[4] In the runoff, Langhard won with 52.4% of votes.[5]

Local councilEdit

Results of the 2020 city council election.

The Schwelm city council governs the city alongside the Mayor. The most recent city council election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:

Party Votes % +/- Seats +/-
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 3,302 29.5   1.8 14   2
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 2,998 26.8   2.7 13   2
Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) 1,794 16.1   7.1 8   5
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 1,532 13.7   6.9 7   3
Schwelmer Voters' Association/Citizens for Schwelm (SWG/BfS) 484 4.3   3.7 2   1
The Left (Die Linke) 484 4.3   1.4 2 ±0
Education, Innovation, Future (BIZ) 441 3.9 New 2 New
All for Schwelm (AFS) 145 1.3 New 0 New
Valid votes 11,180 98.5
Invalid votes 172 1.5
Total 11,352 100.0 48   10
Electorate/voter turnout 22,534 50.4
Source: City of Schwelm

Points of interestEdit

Schwelm has got a historical town center with many old houses, some of which date back to the 18th century. The Altmarkt is a historical market place lying in front of the tall Christuskirche, the town's principal Protestant church. From the Altmarkt, the decorative street Kölner Strasse leads uphill and is part of the former road to Cologne.

Until 2011, Schwelm was home to the Brauerei Schwelm, the "Schwelm Brewery", one of few remaining private breweries in North Rhine-Westphalia. Established in 1830 by Haarmann & Kathagen, the brewery was one of the first worldwide to switch from wooden to metal storage containers. The original administration building, the Rietz'sche Haus built in 1701, is an appealing house in the town center. Most of the brewery's historic production site, however, was torn down in 2012.

The oldest piano manufacturer in the world is located in Schwelm. Since 1794, Rud. Ibach Sohn has been building pianos and, until 1904, organs in Schwelm.

Europe's biggest fair-trade organisation "GEPA" was founded in Schwelm in the 1970s, but is now located in Wuppertal.

A historical Jewish cemetery, dating from the late 18th century is located in the countryside about 1.3 km south of the town's center. It is maintained by the municipality and volunteers.[6]

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Schwelm is twinned with:[7]

Notable peopleEdit

Gustav Heinemann in 1969


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wahlergebnisse in NRW Kommunalwahlen 2020, Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, accessed 19 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2020" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Schwelm - town of neighbourhoods". Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Mayoral election" (in German). City of Schwelm. 13 September 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Mayoral runoff election" (in German). City of Schwelm. 27 September 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  6. ^ Helbeck, Gerd: Juden in Schwelm. 1st ed. 1988, 2nd ed. 2007 (written by a renowned town archivist and printed by the local Historical Society, the book includes a chapter on the cemetery)
  7. ^ "Partnerstadt". (in German). Schwelm. Retrieved 2021-03-09.

External linksEdit