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Not to confused with the surname, Katzenellenbogen
For the medieval county, see County of Katzenelnbogen.
Coat of arms of Katzenelnbogen
Coat of arms
Katzenelnbogen is located in Germany
Coordinates: 50°16′0″N 7°59′0″E / 50.26667°N 7.98333°E / 50.26667; 7.98333Coordinates: 50°16′0″N 7°59′0″E / 50.26667°N 7.98333°E / 50.26667; 7.98333
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Rhein-Lahn-Kreis
 • Mayor Horst Klöppel
 • Total 9.20 km2 (3.55 sq mi)
Elevation 280 m (920 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 2,183
 • Density 240/km2 (610/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 56368
Dialling codes 06486
Vehicle registration EMS
Website http://www.vg-katzenelnbogen.de

Katzenelnbogen is the name of a castle and small city in the district of Rhein-Lahn-Kreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Katzenelnbogen is the seat of the Verbandsgemeinde ("collective municipality") Katzenelnbogen.


Katzenelnbogen originated as a castle built on a promontory over the river Lahn around 1095. The lords of the castle became important local magnates, acquiring during the centuries some key and highly lucrative customs rights on the Rhine. The Counts of Katzenelnbogen also built Burg Neukatzenelnbogen and Burg Rheinfels on the Rhine. The German family died out in 1479, while the Austrian lineage continued, and the county became disputed between Hesse and Nassau. In 1557, the former finally won, but when Hesse was split due to the testament of Philipp the Magnanimous, Katzenelnbogen was split as well, between Hesse-Darmstadt and the small new secondary principality of Hesse-Rheinfels. When the latter line expired in 1583, its property went to Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), which added the inherited part of Katzenelnbogen to its side-line principality of Hesse-Rotenburg. After the Congress of Vienna, this part of Katzenelnbogen was given to Nassau in exchange for property that had been taken away from it; after the War of 1866, with all Nassau, it became part of Prussia.

In 1945, Hesse-Darmstadt was united with most of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, which included the former Hesse-Kassel along with Nassau and the formerly Free City of Frankfurt, to form the federal state of Hesse. Thus, Hesse now includes the larger part of former county of Katzenelnbogen. A smaller part of Nassau, including the old castle and village bearing the name of Katzenelnbogen, ended up as part of Rhineland-Palatinate (part of the Rhein-Lahn and Westerwaldkreis districts). One of the titles of the Queen of the Netherlands (the House of Orange-Nassau) is that of Countess of Katzenelnbogen.


The name Katzenelnbogen derives from the old Cattimelibocus.[2] It consists of the ancient Germanic tribal name of the Chatti and Melibokus, the Roman name of any mountains[clarification needed] like the Harz or the Teutoburg Forest.[3] In German, Katzenelnbogen means "cat's elbow".

History of wine[edit]

In the history of wine, Katzenelnbogen is famous for the first documentation of Riesling grapes in the world: this was in 1435, when the storage inventory of Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen, a member of the Holy Roman high nobility, lists the purchase of vines of "Rieslingen".


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden am 31.12.2012". Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 2013. 
  2. ^ "Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888, Vol. 9, Page 623". 
  3. ^ "Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888, Vol. 11, Page 449". 

External links[edit]