Oldenburg

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This article is about the German city. For other uses, see Oldenburg (disambiguation).
Oldenburg
Schlosswache mit Lambertikirche.jpg
Coat of arms of Oldenburg
Coat of arms
Oldenburg   is located in Germany
Oldenburg
Oldenburg
Coordinates: 53°08′38″N 8°12′50″E / 53.14389°N 8.21389°E / 53.14389; 8.21389Coordinates: 53°08′38″N 8°12′50″E / 53.14389°N 8.21389°E / 53.14389; 8.21389
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Urban district
Subdivisions 33 boroughs, separated into nine census tracts
Government
 • Lord Mayor Gerd Schwandner (since 2006) (Ind.)
Area
 • Total 102.96 km2 (39.75 sq mi)
Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 157,706
 • Density 1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 26001–26135
Dialling codes 0441
Vehicle registration OL
Website www.oldenburg.de

Oldenburg (German pronunciation: [ˈɔldənbʊʁk] ( ); Low German: Ollnborg; Saterland Frisian: Ooldenbuurich) is an independent city in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany. During the French annexation (1811–1813) in the wake of the Napoleonic war against Britain, it was also known as Le Vieux-Bourg in French. The city is situated at the Rivers Hunte and Haaren, in the northwestern region between the cities of Bremen in the east and Groningen (Netherlands) in the west. It has a population of 157,267 (May 2011).[2] The formal name is Oldenburg (Oldenburg) or Oldenburg (Oldb) (spoken: Oldenburg in Oldenburg) to distinguish it from the city of Oldenburg in Holstein.

The city is the place of origin of the House of Oldenburg. Before the end of the German Empire (1918), it was the administrative centre and residence of the monarchs of Oldenburg.

History[edit]

Archaeological finds point to a settlement dating back to the 8th century. The place was first mentioned in 1108 as Aldenburg in connection with Elimar I (also known as Egilmar I) who is now commonly seen as the first count of Oldenburg. The town gained importance due to its location at a ford of the navigable Hunte river. Oldenburg became the capital of the County of Oldenburg (later Duchy, Grand Duchy, and Free State), a small state in the shadow of the much more powerful Hanseatic city of Bremen.[3]

In the 17th century, Oldenburg was a wealthy town in a time of war and turmoil and its population and power grew considerably. In 1667, the town was struck by a disastrous plague epidemic and, shortly after, a fire destroyed Oldenburg. The Danish kings, who were also counts of Oldenburg at the time, were not much interested in the condition of the town and it lost most of its former importance. In 1773, Danish rule ended. It was only then that the destroyed buildings in the city were rebuilt in a neoclassicist style.[3] (In German, the ‘neoclassicist style’ of that period would usually be called klassizistisch, while neoklassizistisch specifically refers to the classicist style of the early 20th century.)

After German Emperor Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate following the exhaustion and defeat of the German Empire in World War I, monarchic rule ended in Oldenburg as well with the abdication of Grand Duke Frederick Augustus II of Oldenburg (Friedrich August II von Oldenburg) on 11 November 1918. The Grand Duchy of Oldenburg now became the Free State of Oldenburg (Freistaat Oldenburg), the city remained the capital.

In the 1928 city elections, the Nazi Party received 9.8% of the vote, enough for a seat on the Oldenburg city council. In the September 1930 Oldenburg state elections, the Nazi Party's share of the vote rose to 27.3%, and on May 29, 1932, the Nazi Party received 48.4% of the state election, enough to put the Nazi party in charge of forming a state government and, significantly, making Oldenburg the first state in the country to put the Nazis in power based on electoral turnout. By that fall, a campaign of Aryanization began, forcing the sale of formerly Jewish-owed properties at steep discounts.[4]

In 1945, after World War II, the State of Oldenburg was part of the British zone of occupation. The British military government of the Oldenburg region resided in the city. Several displaced persons camps were set up in the city that had suffered only 1.4% destruction during the bombing campaigns of World War II.[5] About 42,000 refugees migrated into Oldenburg, which raised the number of residents to over 100,000. In 1946, the Free State of Oldenburg was dissolved, and the area became the 'Administrative District' of Oldenburg (Verwaltungsbezirk Oldenburg) as part of the newly formed federal German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). The city was now capital of the district. In 1978, the district was dissolved and succeeded by the newly formed Weser-Ems administrative region (Regierungsbezirk Weser-Ems), again with the city as administrative capital. The State of Lower Saxony dissolved all regierungsbezirks by the end of 2004 in the course of administrative reforms.

Demography[edit]

Historical population of Oldenburg
Year 1502 1667 1702 1769 1816 1828 1837 1855 1871
Population ~ 2,300 ~ 4,300 ~ 5,000 6,959 6,278 6,800 9,280 11,370 13,928
Rank Nationality Population (2013)
1  Turkey 1,689
2  Poland 989
3  Iraq 981
4  Russia 551
5  Italy 393
6  Netherlands 269
7  Syria 264
8  Romania 248

City government[edit]

Local elections take place every five years. The city council (Stadtrat) has 50 seats. The lord mayor is elected directly by the citizens.

Political parties in Oldenburg (Oldb) and their percentages of votes in past city council elections[6]
election
year
SPD Bündnis ’90/
Die Grünen
CDU Die Linke Freie Wähler/
FW-BFO
FDP Piraten
Partei
NPD
2001 40.1% 13.6% 30.5% 3.9% 2.8% 8.2% - -
2006 32.7% 21.2% 26.0% 7.2% 5.4% 6.3% - -
2011 34.0% 27.3% 20.6% 6.1% 3.1% 3.0% 2.8% 1.1%
Resulting distribution of seats in the city council
election
year
total
seats
SPD Grüne CDU Linke FW FDP Piraten WFO NPD
2001 50 21 7 15 2 1 4 - - -
2006 50 16 11 13 4 3 3 - - -
2011 50 17 14 10 3 2 1 1 1 1

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Transport[edit]

Oldenburg Castle
Oldenburg Castle and square (2012)
  • The city centre of Oldenburg is surrounded by a ring of freeways (autobahns) consisting of A 28, A 29 and A 293. Because of this, Oldenburg is connected to the nation-wide network of federal autobahns, as well as to the international E-road network (German: Europastraßen)
  • The small Hatten Airfield, (Flugplatz Oldenburg-Hatten ICAO airport code: EDWH), is located about 17 km south-west of Oldenburg. It serves to small aircraft (private planes, gliders, balloons, and helicopters). A flight training school is also located there, and small planes can be chartered. Scenic flights can be booked as well.
  • Oldenburg is connected to shipping through the Küstenkanal, a ship canal connecting the rivers Ems and Weser. With 1.6 million tons of goods annually, it is the most important non-coastal harbour in Lower Saxony.
  • Bicycles play a very important part in personal transport.

Agriculture[edit]

The city is surrounded by large agricultural areas, about 80% of which is grassland. There are farms near and even a few within city limits. Predominant agricultural activities of the region are the cultivation of livestock, especially dairy cows and other grazing animals, crops such as grains for food and animal feed, as well as asparagus, corn, and kale.

Cultural life[edit]

Recurring cultural events[edit]

  • Kultursommer (summer of culture), series of free musical and other cultural events in the city centre during summer holiday season in July.
  • CSD Nordwest (Christopher Street Day) parade of the regional Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community in June, with up to 10,000 participants (since 1995).
  • Stadtfest, a three-day festival of the city centre in August/September, comprises gastronomical offerings and rock and pop music performances on various stages.
  • Oldenburg International Film Festival, privately organised film festival in September, focussed on independent film and film makers. The festival is funded through public subsidies and private sponsoring.
  • Kramermarkt, fun fair at the Weser-Ems Halle on ten days in September/October. The tradition of this annual volksfest dates back to the 17th century, when the Kramermarkt was a market event at the end of the harvest.
  • Oldenburger Kinder- und Jugendbuchmesse (KIBUM), an exhibition of new German language children's and youth literature, takes place over 11 days in November. A non-commercial fair organised by the city government in cooperation with the public library and the university library. In the course of the fair, a prize, the Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis, is awarded to a debuting author or illustrator.

Points of interest[edit]

  • Core city centre, a large pedestrianised shopping destination for the region.
  • Oldenburg State Theatre, oldest mainstream theatre in Oldenburg, first opened in 1833.
  • Oldenburg Castle in the city centre, until 1918 residence of the monarchic rulers of Oldenburg, today a museum. A public park, the Schlossgarten, is nearby.
  • Weser-Ems Halle, exhibition and congress centre with outdoor fair area, located in Oldenburg Donnerschwee.
  • Small EWE Arena and Large EWE Arena, two sports and event halls located near the main railway station, opened in 2005 and 2013, and seating up to 4,000 and 6,852 visitors respectively. The large arena is also home to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg basketball club.

Jewish community[edit]

Main article: Jews in Oldenburg

The history of the Jewish community of Oldenburg dates back to the 14th century.[7] Towards and during the 19th century, the Jews in Oldenburg were always around 1% of the total population, and by that time had acquired their own synagogue, cemetery and school. Most of them were merchants and businessmen. On 1938 Kristallnacht, the town men were led to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, among them Leo Trepp, the community Rabbi who survived and later became an honorary citizen of Oldenburg and honored by a street named after him.[8] Since 1981 an annual commemoration walk (Erinnerungsgang) has been held by Oldenburg citizens in memory of the deportation of the Oldenburg Jews on November 10th 1938.[9] Those who remained after 1938 immigrated to Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Holland or Palestine. After WWII, a group of survivors returned to the city and maintained a small community until it was dissolved during the seventies. Nevertheless, due to the Jewish former USSR emigration to Germany in the nineties, a community of about 340 people is now maintaining its own synagogue, cemetery and other facilities. The old Jewish cemetery, which is no longer active after the opening of a new one, was desecrated twice in 2011 and 2013.[10]

Media[edit]

Print[edit]

Radio and television[edit]

  • Oldenburg Eins non-commercial public-access cable TV and radio station (live streams available online)
  • Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), public TV and radio broadcaster (part of the ARD), maintains a regional studio in Oldenburg.
  • Radio Bremen, public TV and radio broadcasting organisation (part of the ARD network), covers news of the northwestern region, including Oldenburg.
  • Radio FFN, commercial radio broadcaster, maintains a regional studio located in the NWZ building.

Online[edit]

Education[edit]

Tertiary education[edit]

There are two public universities in Oldenburg:

  • The Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg was founded in 1973 based on a previous college for teacher training, the Pädagogische Hochschule Oldenburg, which had a history in Oldenburg dating back to 1793. The university was officially named after Carl von Ossietzky in 1991. As of January 2012, it has almost 10,700 students, a scientific staff of 1,105, as well as 923 technical and administrative staff.[11] A new faculty of medicine and health sciences was established in 2012 as part of the newly founded European Medical School Oldenburg-Groningen, a cooperation with the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and local hospitals.[12]
  • The Jade University of Applied Sciences (Jade-Hochschule) The former Fachhochschule Oldenburg (until 1999) was founded in 1971, a merger of the previous engineering academy with the nautical college in Elsfleth. Oldenburg already had a history of construction engineering training dating back to 1882. Starting in 2000, the Fachhochschule had been part of multiple re-organisations involving several UAS (Fachhochschule) in the northwestern region. A relaunch under the name Jade-Hochschule took place in 2009 (previously: Fachhochschule Oldenburg/Ostfriesland/Wilhelmshaven). The Jade-Hochschule now comprises branches in three towns: Oldenburg, Elsfleth, and Wilhelmshaven. Based in Oldenburg are the departments of architecture, construction engineering and construction management, geodesy, as well as the institute of hearing aid technology and audiology. There are about 2,000 students in the Oldenburg branch.[13] (The Elsfleth branch offers Bachelor’s degree courses in nautical science, international logistics, and harbour management. The Wilhelmshaven branch offers courses in engineering, business management, and media management.)

Privately managed institutions of higher education:

Other:

  • The Oldenburg branch of the Lower Saxony police academy (Polizeiakademie Niedersachsen) maintains a study facility in Oldenburg preparing candidates for a career in higher-middle-level or higher-level police service.

Primary and secondary education[edit]

Events[edit]

Oldenburg hosted the 2007 Fistball World Championship.

International relations[edit]

Oldenburg is twin towns with following cities and districts:[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]