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Coat of arms of Gudensberg
Coat of arms
Gudensberg   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°11′N 09°22′E / 51.183°N 9.367°E / 51.183; 9.367Coordinates: 51°11′N 09°22′E / 51.183°N 9.367°E / 51.183; 9.367
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Kassel
District Schwalm-Eder-Kreis
Subdivisions 7 Stadtteile
 • Mayor Dr. Edgar Franke (SPD)
 • Total 46.5 km2 (18.0 sq mi)
Elevation 228 m (748 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 9,264
 • Density 200/km2 (520/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 34281
Dialling codes 05603
Vehicle registration HR

Gudensberg is a small town in northern Hesse, Germany. Since municipal reform in 1974, the nearby villages of Deute, Dissen, Dorla, Gleichen, Maden and Obervorschütz have been parts of the municipality.


Gudensberg is situated in the Schwalm-Eder district at the southeasternmost edge of the Habichtswald Nature Park, about 20 km south of Kassel and 10 km northeast of Fritzlar.

The town's municipal area borders in the north and northeast on Edermünde, in the east on constituent communities of Felsberg which lie along the lower reaches of the river Eder. South and southeast of the river Ems lie further parts of Felsberg. In the south, southwest, and west are constituent communities of Fritzlar. In the northwest, Gudensberg's community of Gleichen abuts Niedenstein; in this direction, behind the Odenberg (381 m), rise the Langenberge (a low mountain range), which belong to the Habichtswald Nature Park.



In the area around Gudensberg, many prehistoric and early historic finds have shown that the area was inhabited by people now known as the Chatti. On the Lamsberg, finds from the Rössen culture have been unearthed. In 1938, between the Odenberg and Gudensberg, a Linear Pottery culture settlement from about 4000 BCE and an Iron Age settlement were unearthed. At the Kassler Kreuz, a graveyard with cremated remains from about 1000 BCE was discovered when a railway was built in 1899.

In the 10th century, the Hof Wodensberg, a farm in Gudensberg, was run using three-field crop rotation. Gudensberg itself had its first documentary mention in 1121. The town's name is presumably derived from an older form, Wotansberg, after the god Wōdanaz who was worshiped as the highest god by the Chatti in Old Germanic times. In the Middle Ages, a castle was built on the mountain and was named the Obernburg. It was the seat of Hessian regional counts (Gaugrafen). From 1122 to 1247, Gudensberg belonged to the Landgraves of Thuringia, and the place experienced a heyday, with its first town wall built between 1170 and 1180, and its first mention as a town in 1254 with a town constitution at the turn of the 13th century.

With the partition of Thuringia, Gudensberg fell to the Landgraviate of Hesse, and in 1277, Henry I was proclaimed the first Landgrave of Hesse on the Mader Heide (heath) near Gudensberg. In 1300, Landgrave Henry I moved his residence from Gudensberg to Kassel and Gudensberg lost its political and administrative importance. In 1324, however, Gudensberg was still being mentioned as the "Capital of Nyderlandt". In 1365, the Hospital Heiliger Geist (Holy Ghost Hospital) for lepers was founded.

In the many feuds between the Archbishopric of Mainz and the Landgraviate of Hesse, Gudensberg was one of Hesse's main bases and repeatedly suffered damage as a result. In 1387, Gudensberg and the Wenigenburg (castle) – but not the Obernburg – were taken by troops from Mainz and burnt down. Fiery catastrophes befell the town a number of times. In 1587, the town was laid waste through carelessness. In 1640, during the Thirty Years' War, the town was sacked by Imperial troops; in this plundering, the philosopher and theologian Daniel Angelocrater lost all his belongings.

Tilly convened a Landtag of Hessian towns in Gudensberg in 1626. In 1709, Landgrave Karl of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) organized excavations in the Mader Heide which brought to light remnants of Iron Age settlements. In the Seven Years' War, the still partly preserved Obernburg was heavily damaged by bombardment in 1761 by British troops under John Manners's leadership. In 1806, French troops plundered and thoroughly destroyed what was left of the Obernburg. The town gates were torn down as traffic hazards in 1823.


Deute's first documentary mention goes back to 1314. A house dating from 1665 is still preserved today. In the 18th century, there was a working brown coal mine in Deute.


Dissen's first documentary mention goes back to 1061.


Dorla, which lies on the Ems, had its first documentary mention in 1040. The village church was consecrated in 1718.


At the time when the Chatti lived in the area, Maden was a main town, and at the Mader Stein (stone) they held their things. Maden's first mention as Mathanon in pago Hassorum comes from about 800 in the Bresiarium Lulli, making Maden one of Hesse's oldest villages (at least by the measure of documentary mention) and in 2000 it celebrated 1225 years of existence. In 1046, Maden was mentioned as Madanum, in 1061 as Madena and in 1295 as major Maden. Emperor Otto I, the Great, awarded Maden to the Archbishop of Mainz.

Count Werner IV of Maden founded the Benedictine monastery of Breitenau near Guxhagen in 1113. After Werner's death in 1121, rule and ownership rights passed to Count Giso IV from the Burg Hollende. Lower jurisdiction was held as of the 14th century by Alb. Lugelin, Gerlach von Linne and the von Holzsadel family.

Maden was the seat of the County of Hesse. In 1325 it was called: "County and state court of Hesse, that one calls the court of Maden". The Wodanstein in Maden was first mentioned in 1408.

Between Maden and Gudensberg lies the historically important Mader Heide (heath).


Half-timbered houses in Obervorschütz
Bridge over the Emsbach in Obervorschütz

The find of a stone axe in the area bears witness to a very early culture settling in the Obervorschütz area about 3000 BCE. A late-Roman era metalwork find was a Roman belt mount bearing Germanic imagery indicating a skilled artisan in the area.[2] However, the village's first documentary mention, under the name Burrisuzze, did not come until 1074. It was later mentioned in 1275 as villa superior Vorskutheund and in 1357 as Obirm Vorschütz.


Town council[edit]

Town council consists of 31 municipal representatives:

(as of municipal elections held on 26 March 2006)

Culture and sightseeing[edit]


Above the town, on the Schlossberg, lie the ruins of the old castle, the Obernburg. On a saddle below the Obernburg, a tower that was part of the town's old defences still stands. From the 306-m-high mountain there is an outstanding view across the heath, to the Mader Stein, to the Nenkel and to the Odenberg (other mountains).

Various historic buildings are to be found in the town core, mostly half-timbered houses, among them the old Amtshaus with its Renaissance porch, the rectory from 1642, the Renthof built in 1643, and the town's oldest building, the Ackerbürgerhaus, built in 1596. The Evangelical church St. Margarete is a Gothic structure from the 14th century, with additions and renovations in the 15th and 16th centuries. On Kasseler Straße, at the corner of Fritzlarer Straße, is the Hospital of the Holy Ghost, founded in 1365 for lepers, but renovated many times up until the 18th century. The Classicist town hall dates from 1839. Also in the Old Town is the Old Cemetery with historic gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries. Interesting is a horseshoe print on a stone in the churchyard wall. It is said that Charlemagne's horse made this mark when he stood on this stone in the now abandoned village of Karlskirchen, when his rider had just fought a battle there.

Natural monuments[edit]

Dissen's most notable landmark is a basalt knoll, the Scharfenstein, which attracts a lot of climbers because of the way it formed. There is also a gallery grave. Less notable but legendary is the Glisborn (or sometimes Glißborn), a spring north of the Scharfenstein that was a holy place to the Chatti, who believed it held healing powers, and that it was of godly origins. In the Gudensberg Town Forest lies the Lautarius Grave, an archaeological site from the New Stone Age, built by the Wartberg culture.

Scenic mountaintops near Gudensberg include the Maderstein at the edge of the Maden Heath (Mader Heide), the Odenberg, the Nenkel and the Wartberg.

Economy and infrastructure[edit]


Gudensberg lies on Autobahn A 49. An express busline joins Gudensberg with Kassel and Fritzlar, and at times with Bad Wildungen and Frankenberg.

Grifte-Gudensberger Kleinbahn[edit]

Gudensberg's former railway station (2005)

The Kleinbahn was a "small" railway, small in the operational sense; the track was standard gauge and the trains full-sized. Work on it was begun in 1898, and the 7.72 km-long line with four stations was opened on 15 July 1899. The service ran as follows:

  • Grifte, 0.00 km
  • Haldorf, 2.58 km
  • Dissen, 4.25 km
  • Gudensberg, 7.72 km

The cancellation of passenger services on the line came on 31 December 1954. Thereafter, only a packaging machine manufacturer from Gudensberg used the line to ship his wares, and even then only weekly. The tracks were torn up in 1980, and the railway embankment is nowadays used as a cycling and hiking path.

Established businesses[edit]

Big Drum, GTS Stanztechnik, Weber Netze, DPD Lager 34, Stolle.


The town has three kindergartens, two primary schools (one of which is in Obervorschütz), one comprehensive school with a school observatory, a special school and a media centre.

Sons and daughters of the town[edit]


  • Eduard Brauns: Wander- und Reiseführer durch Nordhessen und Waldeck, A. Bernecker Verlag, Melsungen 1971, S.303.
  • Eckhart G. Franz: Chronik von Hessen. Chronik-Verlag, Dortmund 1991. ISBN 3-611-00192-9.


This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.

External links[edit]