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Typical Houses in Solingen-Gräfrath
Typical Houses in Solingen-Gräfrath
Coat of arms of Solingen
Coat of arms
Solingen   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°10′0″N 07°05′0″E / 51.16667°N 7.08333°E / 51.16667; 7.08333Coordinates: 51°10′0″N 07°05′0″E / 51.16667°N 7.08333°E / 51.16667; 7.08333
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Düsseldorf
District Urban districts of Germany
 • Lord Mayor Norbert Feith, CDU (CDU)
 • Total 89.45 km2 (34.54 sq mi)
Elevation 53-276 m (−853 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 155,768
 • Density 1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 42601-42719
Dialling codes 0212
Vehicle registration SG

Solingen (German pronunciation: [ˈzoːlɪŋən]) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area, and with a 2009 population[2] of 161,366 is the second largest city in the Bergisches Land. It is a member of the regional authority of the Rhineland.

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 Dreiturm, DOVO Solingen, Wüsthof, J. A. Henckels, Böker, Klauberg, Eickhorn-Solingen, and numerous other manufacturers. Wilkinson's German operations are also based here.

In Medieval times, the swordsmiths of Solingen coined the town's image, which is preserved to this date. 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:

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:

  • Gräfrath
  • Wald (Solingen)
  • (Solingen-)Mitte
  • Ohligs/Aufderhöhe/Merscheid
  • Höhscheid/Burg

The individuals boroughs are in part composed of separate quarters or residential areas with their own names, although they often lack precise borders. Examples of these areas are Balkhausen, Brabant, Broßhaus, Central, Dahl, Demmeltrath, Dorperhof, Flachsberg, Fürk, Fürkeltrath, Fuhr, Glüder, Gosse, Hackhausen, Haasenmühle, Hasseldelle, Hästen, Hossenhaus, Ittertal, Kannenhof, Katternberg, Ketzberg, Kohlfurth, Kotzert, Krahenhöhe, Külf, Landwehr, Mangenberg, Mankhaus, Maubes, Meigen, Müngsten, Nümmen, Papiermühle, Piepersberg, Rüden, Schaberg, Schieten, Schnittert, Theegarten, Unterland, Weyer, Widdert, Wilzhaus, and Zum Holz.


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.

Coins issued after World War I by the City of Solingen

Blacksmith smelters, dating back to 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.

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 are brewing, dyeing, weaving and brick-making. Before 1891 it was known as Merscheid.

In World War II the Old Town was completely destroyed by an air raid of the British air force in 1944 and 1,800 people died and over 1,500 people badly injured.[3] As such, there are few pre-war sights in the centre.


Solingen's population doubled between the years 1880 and 1890 due to the incorporation of the city 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 "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.

Year Population
1747 ca. 2,000
1804 ca. 2,871
1818 ca. 4,000
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
Year Population
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
Year Population
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
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Census results

30.9 % of the population of Solingen has foreign roots (statistics 2012).

Largest groups of foreign residents
Nationality Population (2013)
 Turkey 6,188
 Italy 5,421
 Greece 1,225
 Poland 1,192
 Serbia 1,085
 Croatia 407



Solingen Hauptbahnhof is served by Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn line S1 from Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf International Airport Station. S-Bahn line S7 links Solingen (including the station nearest the town centre, Solingen Mitte, and Solingen Grünewald) to Wuppertal via Remscheid, Lennep and Ronsdorf. The Rhein-Wupper-Bahn (RB 48) runs over the Gruiten–Köln-Deutz line to Cologne and Bonn Hauptbahnhof via Opladen.

Railway stations of Solingen
Station Lines served Destinations Notes
Solingen Hauptbahnhof Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg ICE42 DortmundSolingenMannheimMunich (InterCity Express) Interchange with Obus Solingen (trolleybus) lines 681, 682.
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg ICE43 HannoverSolingenCologne – Mannheim – Basel (InterCity Express)
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg ICE91 Dortmund – SolingenFrankfurtVienna (InterCity Express)
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg IC31 HamburgSolingen – Cologne – Frankfurt (InterCity)
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg IC55 Leipzig – Hannover – Solingen – Cologne
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg RE7 Krefeld Hauptbahnhof – Cologne – Solingen – Wuppertal – HagenHammMünster (RegionalExpress)
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg S7 S-Bahn to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof via Remscheid
Logo Deutsche Bahn.svg RB48 Wuppertal – Solingen – Cologne – Bonn (RegionalBahn)
S-Bahn S1 S-Bahn to Dortmund
S-Bahn S7 S-Bahn to Wuppertal via Remscheid
Solingen Mitte S-Bahn S7 Nearest station to historic centre.
Interchange with trolleybus lines 681, 683, 684, 686.
Solingen Grünewald S-Bahn S7 Interchange with trolleybus line 682.
Solingen Vogelpark S-Bahn S1
Solingen Schaberg S-Bahn S7


Solingen trolleybus network map

Solingen has a Trolleybus network, one of only three in Germany remaining besides Eberswalde and Esslingen am Neckar. The network centres on Graf-Wilhelm-Platz (Count William Square).


The first trolleybus was brought into service on 19 June 1952. The network was a conversion of the previous tram services. Conversion from tramway was completed on 2 December 1959. Extensions to the system were opened in 1981-2 – Schlagbaum to Hasselstraße (2.6 kilometres (1.6 mi)) and Höhscheid to Brockenberg (0.8 kilometres (0.50 mi)) respectively – and in 1993 from Aufderhöhe to Mangenberg/Graf-Wilhem-Platz (8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi)).

The mid-1990s saw plans to replace the trolleybuses with diesel buses, but this was never pursued; trolleybuses being preferred over diesel vehicles because of superior acceleration and better suitability for the hilly terrain.

A Solingen trolleybus at Graf-Wilhelm-Platz

As of 2007, 6 lines are in operation. The older lines (681–684) are served every ten minutes, and the newer lines (685–686, opened 22 August 1993) run every half hour, although they are duplicated by each other for the majority of their route. Routes 681 and 682 interchange with the city's principal railway station – Solingen Hbf – which lies in the western suburbs. Line 683 – at 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi), by far the network's longest – also connects to the Wuppertal Schwebebahn at Vohwinkel, the northern end of the route and the western terminus of the Schwebebahn. The southern extent of 683 is the picturesque town of Burg an der Wupper, which contains Schloss Burg (Burg Castle). Burg is also home to the world's only trolleybus turntable, owing to lack of space to provide a full turning circle. This precludes the use of articulated vehicles like on the rest of the network. Until November 2009 this turntable was in regular use for line 683. Since November 2009 line 683 has been extended to Burger Bahnhof. On the new section, the buses use their diesel engine instead of electricity, as no overhead wires were constructed here.


As of early 2007 the fleet stands at 49 vehicles: 15 articulated Berkhof buses (2001/2), 20 articulated Van Hool buses (2002/3), and 14 three-axle MAN buses (1986-7). The latter are due for replacement during 2008. The power supply is 600 v dc.


The nearest Airports are Düsseldorf International Airport and Cologne/Bonn Airport. Both International 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 the airports of Frankfurt am Main (ICE train stop), Dortmund (railway station "Holzwickede" on the RE7 trainline) and the low cost airport Weeze (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 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 Bretheran), 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.

Most of the Turkish immigrants belong to the Muslim faith and they have several mosques/worship places in Solingen.

Main sights[edit]

Müngstener Brücke, a railroad bridge between Solingen and Remscheid.

Locations of note in the city include:

Famous people[edit]

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.


The cargo ship Solingen in 1966

In Mai 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).

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Solingen is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen". Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW (in German). 4 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Bevölkerung im Regierungsbezirk Detmold" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Groneck, Christoph; Lohkemper, Paul (2007). Wuppertal Schwebebahn Album. Berlin: Robert Schwandl. pp. 58–61. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Solingen at Wikimedia Commons