A view over the town in autumn
|• Mayor||Jürgen Daul|
|• Total||88.25 km2 (34.07 sq mi)|
|Elevation||89 m (292 ft)|
|• Density||230/km2 (590/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Holzminden (German pronunciation: [hɔltsˈmɪndən]) is a town in southern Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Holzminden. It is located on the river Weser, which at this point forms the border with the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Holzminden is first mentioned in the 9th century as Holtesmeni. However, the name did not at this time refer to the present city, but to the village of Altendorf, the "old village", which was incorporated into the city in 1922.
During the reign of Louis the Pious (814–840), monks from the Abbey of Corbie in France came to this part of Germany and founded a daughter house at Hethis in the Solling. As it became clear that this site was unviable (owing to lack of access to water) it was abandoned, and a new monastery, Corbeia nova (Corvey Abbey), opened close to the river. Old documents show that many pious donations were given to the Holtesmeni (monastery).
The settlement is believed to have come into being, along with other settlements in the vicinity, in the 6th-7th centuries. Other villages were subsequently abandoned as Holzminden was granted municipal liberties, allowing greater privileges to its inhabitants, and attracting new settlers from the surrounding hinterland.
In 1200 the town was brought under the protection of the prince’s castle of Everstein, and by 1245 it had received a charter. This was granted by the Count of Everstein. The town's coat of arms shows the Everstein lion rampant within the open town gate.
From 1408 the town belonged to the Welfen princes; and from the 16th century to the princes of Brunswick of the Wolfenbüttel line. From the 16th century until 1942, Holzminden therefore lay within Brunswick-Lüneburg.
In 1640, during the Thirty Years' War, the town was destroyed by the Imperial troops, a blow from which it only slowly recovered. Until the 20th century Holzminden remained a provincial town of small farmers and holdings.
During World War I, Holzminden was the site of a large civilian internment camp on the outskirts of the town, which held up to 10,000 Polish, Russian, Belgian and French nationals, including women and children (1914–18); and also of a smaller prisoner-of-war camp for captured British and British Empire officers (1917–18).
Crafts and farming have long ceased to be the main town's sources of income. Holzminden is now a largely industrial town.
In the late 19th century, Dr Wilhelm Haarmann began developing the scent and flavours industry. In 1874, with Ferdinand Tiemann, he succeeded in synthesising vanillin from coniferyl alcohol. More products were subsequently developed. The modern successor of their enterprise is the Symrise factory: Holzminden is a centre of the flavour and fragrance ingredient industry, its products being used throughout the world in cosmetic and food manufacture.
The large Stiebel Eltron company, which produces heating equipment and ovens, has its headquarters in Holzminden.
As a part of the former territory of Brunswick, Holzminden maintains a Protestant tradition. The church of St. Pauls in Altendorf, dating from before 1200, is the oldest of the town's churches. In its unadorned simplicity it offers a serene place for rest and contemplation. Other churches in the town are named after Luther, St. Michael, St. Thomas and St. Joseph.
The Tilly House of 1609 is located on the Johannis Square. It has a fine Renaissance door, which survived the fires of the Thirty Years' War. The Count of Tilly, commander of the Imperial forces, is said to have spent a night here.
The Reichspräsidentenhaus links the old part of the town with the Hafendamm and was opened in 1929. The beautiful Glockenspiel (carillon) is very popular, and plays well known tunes at set times.
The steeple of the Lutheran church has become a symbol of Holzminden. The interior was remodelled in 1577, when it was made into a two-room church.
The Severinsche Haus is a richly decorated house dating from 1683. It is the largest of the bourgeois houses, is decorated with a distinctive weathercock, and is known for its slanting floors.
- The town museum
- The doll and toy museum (private)
- HAWK, the Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst, was founded in 1831/32 by Friedrich Ludwig Haarmann as the first college of architecture in Germany. The Bauschule is now a prominent feature of the town, and many student activities, such as the traditional master's procession, are regular events on the Holzminden calendar.
- LSH, the Internat Solling, is a private boarding school founded in 1909 as part of an educational reform movement that sought to cultivate "Mind, Heart and Hand" equally. The campus occupies large parklike grounds on a western slope of the Solling.
Holzminden is twinned with:
- Leven in Fife, UK
Freemen of the town
- August Hampe (20 April 1866 – 6 Feb. 1945 in Holzminden), German politician, Minister of Justice of the Braunschweig District.
- Erwin Böhme (29 July 1879 – 29 Nov. 1917 at Zonnebeke), World War I flying ace.
- Leopold Scherman (d. 11 Sept. 1970), architect.
- Carl Wilhelm Gerberding (14 Mar. 1894 – 2 May 1984), industrialist and founder of Dragoco.
- Adolf Heusinger (4 Aug. 1897 – 30 Nov. 1982 in Cologne), German general.
- Eberhard Itzenplitz (b. 8 Nov. 1926), film director.
Other notable people who have lived in Holzminden
- Robert Bunsen (1811–1899), chemist.
- Wilhelm Raabe (1831–1910), novelist.
- Generaloberst Nikolaus von Falkenhorst(1885-1968) Alleged war criminal. Did not follow the Commando Order. Guilty on 8 other charges.
- James Whale (1889–1957), film director.
- Niels Jannasch (1924–2001), mariner, curator and maritime historian.
- Jonatan Briel (1942–1988), film director and actor.
- Uwe Schünemann (b. 1964), CDU politician and Minister of Lower Saxony.
- Meinolf Sellmann computer scientist
- Holzminden internment camp
- Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp
- Holzminden (district)
- Metropolitan region Hannover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg
- Landesbetrieb für Statistik und Kommunikationstechnologie Niedersachsen, Fortgeschriebene Einwohnerzahlen zum 31. Dezember 2012
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Holzminden". Encyclopædia Britannica 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 624.
- Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst
- Internat Solling