Solingen (German pronunciation: [ˈzoːlɪŋən] ⓘ; Limburgish: Solich) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located some 25 km east of Düsseldorf along the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area, and, with a 2009 population of 161,366, is after Wuppertal the second-largest city in the Bergisches Land. It is a member of the regional authority of the Rhineland.
|• Lord mayor (2020–25)||Tim Kurzbach (SPD)|
|• Total||89.45 km2 (34.54 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||276 m (906 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||53 m (174 ft)|
|• Density||1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
Solingen is called the "City of Blades", since it has long been renowned for the manufacturing of fine swords, knives, scissors and razors made by famous firms such as WKC, DOVO, Wüsthof, Zwilling J. A. Henckels, Böker, Güde, Hubertus, Diefenthal, Puma, Clauberg, Eickhorn, Linder, Carl Schmidt Sohn, Dreiturm, Herder, Martor Safety Knives, and numerous other manufacturers.
In medieval times, the swordsmiths of Solingen designed the town's coat of arms, which continues to the present. In the latter part of the 17th century, a group of swordsmiths from Solingen broke their guild oaths by taking their sword-making secrets with them to Shotley Bridge, County Durham in England.
Solingen lies southwest of Wuppertal in the Bergisches Land. The city has an area of 89.45 square kilometres (34.54 sq mi), of which roughly 50% is used for agriculture, horticulture, or forestry. The city's border is 62 kilometres (39 mi) long, and the city's dimensions are 15.6 kilometres (9.7 mi) east to west and 11.7 kilometres (7.3 mi) north to south. The Wupper river, a right tributary of the Rhine, flows through the city for 26 kilometres (16 mi). The city's highest point at 276 metres (906 ft) is in the northern borough of Gräfrath at the Light Tower, previously the water tower, and the lowest point at 53 metres (174 ft) is in the southwest.
Neighbouring cities and communities Edit
The following cities and communities share a border with Solingen, starting in the northeast and going clockwise around the city:
- Wuppertal (unitary urban district)
- Remscheid (unitary urban district)
- Wermelskirchen (within the Rheinisch-Bergischer district)
- Leichlingen (Rheinisch-Bergischer district)
- Langenfeld (within the district of Mettmann)
- Hilden (Mettmann)
- Haan (Mettmann)
City administration Edit
Solingen currently consists of five boroughs. Each borough has a municipal council of either 13 or 15 representatives (Bezirksvertreter) elected every five years by the borough's population. The municipal councils are responsible for many of the boroughs' important administrative affairs.
The five city boroughs:
- Wald (Solingen)
The individuals boroughs are in part composed of separate quarters or residential areas with their own names, although they often lack precise borders. These areas are:
- Aufderhöhe: Aufderbech, Börkhaus, Gosse, Horn, Holzhof, Josefstal, Landwehr, Löhdorf, Pohligsfeld, Riefnacken, Rupelrath, Siebels, Steinendorf, Ufer, Wiefeldick
- Burg: Angerscheid, Höhrath
- Gräfrath: Central, Flachsberg, Flockertsholz, Focher Dahl, Fürkeltrath, Heide, Ketzberg, Külf, Nümmen, Piepersberg, Rathland, Schieten, Zum Holz
- Höhscheid: Balkhausen, Bünkenberg, Dorperhof, Friedrichstal, Fürkelt, Glüder, Grünewald, Haasenmühle, Hästen, Katternberg, Kohlsberg, Meiswinkel, Nacken, Pfaffenberg, Pilghausen, Rölscheid, Rüden, Schaberg, Schlicken, Unnersberg, Weeg, Widdert, Wippe
- Merscheid: Büschberg, Dahl, Dingshaus, Fürk, Fürker Irlen, Gönrath, Hübben, Hoffnung, Limminghofen, Scheuren, Schmalzgrube
- Mitte: Entenpfuhl, Eick, Grunenburg, Hasseldelle, Kannenhof, Kohlfurth, Krahenhöhe, Mangenberg, Meigen, Müngsten, Papiermühle, Scheidt, Schlagbaum, Schrodtberg, Stöcken, Stockdum, Theegarten, Vorspel, Windfeln
- Ohligs: Brabant, Broßhaus, Buschfeld, Caspersbroich, Deusberg, Engelsberger Hof, Hackhausen, Keusenhof, Mankhaus, Maubes, Monhofer Feld, Poschheide, Scharrenberg, Schnittert, Suppenheide, Unterland, Wilzhaus, Verlach
- Wald: Bavert, Demmeltrath, Eschbach, Eigen, Fuhr, Garzenhaus, Itter, Kotzert, Lochbachtal, Rolsberg, Vogelsang, Weyer
Middle Ages Edit
Solingen was first mentioned in 1067 by a chronicler who called the area "Solonchon". Early variations of the name included "Solengen", "Solungen", and "Soleggen", although the modern name seems to have been in use since the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
Blacksmiths' smelters, dating back over 2000 years, have been found around the town, adding to Solingen's fame as a Northern Europe blacksmith centre. Swords from Solingen have turned up in places such as the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the British Isles. Northern Europe prized the quality of Solingen's manufactured weaponry, and they were traded across the European continent. Solingen today remains the knife-centre of Germany.
It was a tiny village for centuries, but became a fortified town in the 15th century.
Thirty Years' War Edit
After being ravaged by the plague with about 1,800 deaths in 1614–1619, Solingen was heavily fought-over during the Thirty Years' War, repeatedly attacked and plundered, and the Burg Castle was destroyed.
Modern Age Edit
In 1929, Ohligs located in the Prussian Rhine Province, 17 miles (27 km) by rail north of Cologne became part of Solingen. Its chief manufactures were cutlery and hardware, and there were iron-foundries and flour mills. Other industries were brewing, dyeing, weaving and brick-making.
In World War II, the Old Town was completely destroyed by a bombing raid by the RAF in 1944; 1,800 people died and over 1,500 people were injured. As such, there are few pre-war sites in the centre.
From 1945 to 1949 Solingen was part of the British occupation zone. Reconstruction of the old town began in 1949. The newly built Protestant church in Fronhof was consecrated in 1954, and the destroyed towers of the Catholic church of St. Clemens were rebuilt in a different style. By the end of the 1970s, the city's population had increased due to numerous new housing developments in all parts of the city. The city's infrastructure continued to grow, with the opening of the theatre and concert hall in 1963 and the construction of the Viehbachtalstraße motorway through the city in the late 1970s. In 1975, the city grew again with the incorporation of the previously independent town of Burg an der Wupper. In 1993, Solingen made international headlines for a right-wing extremist arson attack in which five Turkish girls and women were killed. The attack was followed by demonstrations and riots in the city.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, the Klingenstadt has undergone a massive transformation as a result of urban development projects such as Regionale 2006 and City 2013. For example, the new Korkenzieherstrasse cycle path was created and the demolition of the Turmhotel and the former Karstadt Passage made it possible to build a new shopping centre on Neumarkt in Solingen-Mitte. After the closure of the old central station in Solingen-Mitte, Ohligs station was officially named the new Solingen central station by Deutsche Bahn AG on 10 December 2006.
Solingen's population doubled between the years 1880 and 1890 due to the incorporation of the town of Dorp into Solingen in 1889, at which time the population reached 36,000. The population again received a large boost on August 1, 1929 through the incorporation of Ohligs, Wald, Höhscheid, and Gräfrath into the city limits. This brought the population above the 100,000 mark, which gave Solingen the distinction of being a "large city" (Großstadt). The number of inhabitants peaked in 1971 with 177,899 residents, and the 2006 population figure was 163,263.
The following chart shows the population figures within Solingen's city limits at the respective points in time. The figures are derived from census estimates or numbers provided by statistical offices or city agencies, with the exception of figures preceding 1843, which were gathered using inconsistent recording techniques.
|3 December 1846[a]||6,127|
|3 December 1861[a]||10,100|
|3 December 1864[a]||11,800|
|3 December 1867[a]||13,000|
|1 December 1871[a]||14,040|
|1 December 1875[a]||15,142|
|1 December 1880[a]||16,900|
|1 December 1885[a]||18,641|
|1 December 1890[a]||36,540|
|2 December 1895[a]||40,843|
|1 December 1900[a]||45,260|
|1 December 1905[a]||49,018|
|1 December 1910[a]||50,536|
|1 December 1916[a]||45,720|
|5 December 1917[a]||47,459|
|8 October 1919[a]||48,912|
|16 June 1925[a]||52,002|
|16 June 1933[a]||140,162|
|17 May 1939[a]||140,466|
|31 December 1945||129,440|
|29 October 1946[a]||133,001|
|13 September 1950[a]||147,845|
|25 September 1956[a]||161,353|
|6 June 1961[a]||169,930|
|31 December 1965||175,634|
|27 May 1970[a]||176,420|
|31 December 1975||171,810|
|31 December 1980||166,085|
|31 December 1985||157,923|
|25 May 1987[a]||159,103|
|31 December 1990||165,401|
|31 December 1995||165,735|
|31 December 2000||164,973|
|31 December 2005||163,581|
|31 December 2006||162,948|
|31 December 2007||162,575|
|31 December 2008||161,779|
|30 April 2009||160,242|
|9 May 2011[a]||155,265|
|31 December 2012||155,316|
- Census results
30.9% of the population of Solingen has foreign roots (statistics 2012).
The people of Solingen have been able to elect a council and a mayor since 1374, the year the town was granted its charter. The mayor changed annually on 24 June. Solingen has had a mayor since 1896. During the National Socialist era (1933-1945), the mayor was appointed by the NSDAP and not democratically elected by the people of Solingen.
After the Second World War, the military government of the British occupation zone appointed a Lord Mayor. From 1946, the Solingen City Council elected an honorary Lord Mayor and a full-time Lord Mayor from among its members. Until 1997, the honorary lord mayors had mainly representative functions, while the full-time lord mayors were the chief administrative officers of the city of Solingen. In 1997, the dual leadership of the city administration was abolished. Since then there has been only one full-time Lord Mayor. He is the chairman of the council, the head of the city administration and the first representative of the city. Since 1999, the Lord Mayor has been directly elected by the electorate in a secret ballot.
The current Mayor of Solingen is Tim Kurzbach of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020. The most recent mayoral election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:
|Tim Kurzbach||Social Democratic Party||31,836||55.4|
|Carsten Heinrich Becker||Christian Democratic Union||15,776||27.4|
|Raoul Torben Brattig||Free Democratic Party||2,869||5.0|
|Andreas Lukisch||Alternative for Germany||2,499||4.3|
|Adrian Scheffels||The Left||2,172||3.8|
|Jan Michael Lange||Citizens' Association for Solingen||1,624||2.8|
|Arnold Falkowski||Free Citizens' Union||700||1.2|
|Source: State Returning Officer|
City council Edit
The Solingen 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:
|Christian Democratic Union (CDU)||17,326||30.2||3.9||16||1|
|Social Democratic Party (SPD)||16,229||28.3||1.3||15||±0|
|Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne)||10,428||18.2||7.0||9||3|
|Free Democratic Party (FDP)||3,178||5.5||0.6||3||±0|
|Alternative for Germany (AfD)||2,892||5.0||2.1||3||1|
|The Left (Die Linke)||2,435||4.2||0.7||2||1|
|Citizens' Association for Solingen (BfS)||1,842||3.2||1.1||2||±0|
|Die PARTEI (PARTEI)||1,367||2.4||New||1||New|
|Alternative Citizens' Initiative (ABI)||635||1.1||New||1||New|
|Free Citizens' Union (FBU)||531||0.9||0.5||0||1|
|Solingen Active (Aktiv)||417||0.7||0.7||0||1|
|Source: State Returning Officer|
Solingen Hauptbahnhof is served by Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn line S1 from Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf Airport Station. S-Bahn line S7 links Solingen (including the station nearest the city centre, Solingen Mitte, and Solingen-Grünewald) to Wuppertal via Remscheid, Remscheid-Lennep and Wuppertal-Ronsdorf. This line has been operated by Abellio Deutschland since 15 Dec. 2013. The Rhein-Wupper-Bahn (RB 48) runs over the Gruiten–Köln-Deutz line to Bonn-Mehlem via Opladen and Cologne. It has been operated by National Express as of 13 Dec. 2015.
|Solingen Hauptbahnhof||ICE42||Dortmund – Solingen – Mannheim – Munich (InterCity Express)||Interchange with Obus Solingen (trolleybus) lines 681, 682.|
|ICE43||Hannover – Solingen – Cologne – Mannheim – Basel (InterCity Express)|
|ICE91||Dortmund – Solingen – Frankfurt – Vienna (InterCity Express)|
|IC31||Hamburg – Solingen – Cologne – Frankfurt (InterCity)|
|IC55||Leipzig – Hannover – Solingen – Cologne|
|RE7||Krefeld – Cologne – Solingen – Wuppertal – Hagen – Hamm – Münster – Rheine (RegionalExpress)|
|S7||S-Bahn to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof via Remscheid|
|RB48||Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Solingen – Cologne – Bonn-Mehlem (RegionalBahn)|
|S1||S-Bahn to Dortmund|
|S7||S-Bahn to Wuppertal via Remscheid|
|Solingen Mitte||S7||Nearest station to historic centre.|
Interchange with trolleybus lines 681, 683, 684, 686.
|Solingen Grünewald||S7||Interchange with trolleybus line 682.|
Air transport Edit
The nearest airports are Düsseldorf Airport and Cologne Bonn Airport. Both airports can be reached by train from Solingen-Hauptbahnhof (change trains at Köln Messe/Deutz station for the S-Bahn 13 to Cologne Bonn Airport). Other easily reached airports are Frankfurt Airport (ICE train stop), Dortmund Airport (railway station "Holzwickede" on the RE7 trainline) and the low cost Weeze Airport (coaches from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof).
Solingen has belonged from its beginnings to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne (Erzbistum Köln), and more specifically to the Archdeaconry of the Probst (provost) of St. Kunibert, the deanery of Deutz. Although the Protestant Reformation gradually made gains in the city, which was under the control of the Counts of Berg, the population by and large remained Roman Catholic for a while. The Catholic community was newly endowed by the local lord in 1658 and in 1701 received a new church building. In 1827 Solingen became the seat of its own deanery within the newly defined Archdiocese of Cologne, to which the city's current parishes still belong.
As mentioned, the Reformation only gradually gained a foothold in Solingen. A reformed church affiliated with the Bergisch synod was established in 1590, and the city's parish church became reformed in 1649. Lutherans had been present in Solingen since the beginning of the 17th century, and a Lutheran congregation was founded in 1635. In 1672 a formalized religious agreement was reached between the city's religious groups. The Reformation was also introduced in Gräfrath in 1590, where a church council was apparently established in 1629. The Reformed and Lutheran churches were formed into a united church community in 1838 following the general merger of Reformed and Lutheran churches in Prussia in 1817.
The Protestant parishes originally belonged to the district synod of Lennep, today part of the city Remscheid. A new synod was established in Solingen in 1843, and the city acquired its own superintendent, a form of church administrator. This formed the basis for the present-day Church District of Solingen, a member of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. With the exception of the free churches, most Protestant churches belong to the Church District of Solingen.
Today approximately 34% of Solingen's population belongs to Protestant churches, and roughly 26% belong to Catholic churches. Other church communities in Solingen include Greek Orthodox, Evangelical Free (including Baptist and Brethren), Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, and free churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses and the New Apostolic Church also have communities in Solingen.
Catholic Church St. Clemens
Protestant Church Wald
Protestant Chapel of St. Reinoldi in Rupelrath
Martin-Luther-Church in Solingen-Mitte
Protestant Church Burg
Protestant Church Gräfrath
Protestant Church, Dorp
Most of the Turkish immigrants belong to the Muslim faith and they have several mosques/worship places in Solingen:
Main sights Edit
- Burg Castle, the castle of the counts of Berg
- Müngsten Bridge, a railway bridge connecting Solingen with the neighbour town of Remscheid. Standing at 107 m above the ground, it is the highest railway bridge in Germany. It was constructed in 1897 and originally named the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brücke after Wilhelm I
- Klosterkirche, former convent church (1690)
- Rhineland Industrial Museum Hendrichs Drop Forge, an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage
- German Blade Museum, presenting swords and cutlery of all epochs
- Art Museum Solingen (Museum of Art)
- Museum Plagiarius, the Plagiarius exhibition shows more than 350 product units – i.e., original products and their brazen plagiarisms – in direct comparison. The registered society conducts an annual competition that awards the anti-prize "Plagiarius" to those manufacturers and distributors that a jury of peers have found guilty of making or selling "the most flagrant" imitations.
- Laurel and Hardy Museum
- Zentrum für verfolgte Künste (Center for Persecuted Arts)
Parks and gardens Edit
American football Edit
Association football Edit
The Solingen Alligators are a baseball and softball club from Solingen. The club was founded in 1991 and the first men's team was promoted to the first division of the Baseball Bundesliga for the 2003 season. It has played there in every season since, winning the league championship in 2006 and 2014. The club claims over 250 members.
The Schachgesellschaft Solingen e.V. 1868 is best known for its chess team, which plays in the Schachbundesliga (Chess Bundesliga), the top tier of the German chess league system, and is the most successful club in German chess history, having won a record 12 national titles (1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1980/81, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1996/97 and 2015/16), three national cups (1986, 2006 und 2009) and 2 European cups (1976 and 1990).
In handball, Solingen's most successful team is Bergischer HC, playing in the top-tier Handball-Bundesliga which they were promoted to for the second time in 2013, reaching 15th place in the 2013–14 campaign and therefore staying in the top flight for a second consecutive season. BHC originates from a 2006 cooperation between the SG Solingen and rivals LTV Wuppertal from the nearby city of the same name. The club advertises itself as a representative of the entire Bergisches Land region. The team plays its home games at both Solingen's Klingenhalle (2,600 seats) and Wuppertal's Uni-Halle (3,200 seats).
In May 1955, the city of Solingen took over the partnership of the German general cargo ship Solingen of the Hamburg-American Packet Transit Actien-Gesellschaft (Hapag).
Twin towns – sister cities Edit
Notable people Edit
- Johann Wilhelm Meigen (1764–1845), entomologist
- J. C. C. Devaranne (1784–1813), helped to lead resistance against Napoleonic occupation in 1813
- Karl Mager (1810–1858), school educator and school politician
- Karl Adams (1811–1849), mathematician and teacher
- Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), landscape painter
- Adolf Kamphausen (1829–1909), biblical scholar
- Carl Klönne (1850–1915), banker
- Ernst Otto Beckmann (1853–1923), chemist
- Ludwig Woltmann (1871–1907), anthropologist, zoologist and neo-Kantian
- Artur Möller van den Bruck (1876–1925), writer
- Albert Müller (1891–1954), communist and politician
- Paul Voss (1894–1976), designer
- Paul Franken (1894–1944), socialist politician, victim of Stalinism
- Karl Allmenröder (1896–1917), fighter pilot
- Hanns Heinen (1895–1961), writer, journalist and publicist
- Carl Clauberg (1898–1957), Nazi gynecologist and war criminal
- Erwin Bowien (1899–1972), painter and writer
- Hermann Friedrich Graebe (1900–1986), manager and engineer, 'Righteous Among the Nations' by Israel
- Josef Dahmen (1903–1985), actor
- Adolf Eichmann (1906–1962), SS-Obersturmbannführer and major organiser of the Holocaust
- Georg Meistermann (1911–1990), painter of sacred and secular glass windows
- Jürgen Thorwald (1915–2006), writer, journalist and historian
- Christel Rupke (1919–1998), swimmer
- Walter Scheel (1919–2016), politician (FDP), the 4th President of Germany (1974–1979)
- Bettina Heinen-Ayech (1937–2020), painter and publicist
- Klaus Lehnertz (born 1938), athlete
- Adolf Weil (1938–2011), motocross rider
- Christoph Wolff (born 1940), musicologist
- Pina Bausch (1940–2009), dancer and choreographer
- Ulay (1943–2020), artist
- Wolfgang Schwerk (born 1955), Ultramarathon runner
- Timotheus Höttges (born 1962), CEO of Deutsche Telekom
- Richard David Precht (born 1964), philosopher, writer and publicist
- Veronica Ferres (born 1965), actress
- Sebastian Thrun (born 1967), entrepreneur, educator and computer scientist
- Jens Weidmann (born 1968), President of Deutsche Bundesbank
- Mola Adebisi (born 1973), TV-presenter
- Marco Matias (born 1975), German-Portuguese singer
- Fahriye Evcen (born 1986), actress
- Kevin Kampl (born 1990), Slovenian footballer
- Christoph Kramer (born 1991), footballer
The founders of Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, which later became the automobile company Studebaker, trace their lineage to bladesmen from the region that migrated to America in 1736.
- Wahlergebnisse in NRW Kommunalwahlen 2020, Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, accessed 19 June 2021.
- "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2021" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
- "Bevölkerung im Regierungsbezirk Detmold" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Solingen: Gedenken an Solinger-Bombenopfer vor 70 Jahren |". Archived from the original on 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2014-11-06.
- Groneck, Christoph; Lohkemper, Paul (2007). Wuppertal Schwebebahn Album. Berlin: Robert Schwandl. pp. 58–61.
- "Städtepartnerschaften und Patenschaft". solingen.de (in German). Solingen. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
- DeWitt, Bill. "Family Origins and The Wagon Business". Studebaker 100. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- "History of the Studebaker Family and Company". Studebaker Family National Association. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2017.