|• Mayor||Lothar Christ (CDU)|
|• Total||76.08 km2 (29.37 sq mi)|
|Elevation||60 m (200 ft)|
|• Density||390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Dialling codes||0 23 89|
Werne is a town in the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the Unna district in Germany. It is located on the southern edge of the Münsterland region near the Ruhrgebiet. The population of Werne is about 32,000.
Middle Ages and early modern period
The first Bishop of Münster, Liudger established Werne as a parish by erecting a chapel in the southern parts of the Dreingau ("in pago dreginni"). He acted on orders of Charlemagne who, having finally brought the region under the fold of Francia following the conclusion of the Saxon Wars, was eager to press on with Christianization. The Latin text of the oldest preserved document ("in villa quae dicitur werina"), which dates from 834 and is being kept at the Leiden University Library, indicates that by this time a village had already formed around the chapel.
Traders and peasants continued to accrete throughout the next three centuries. At some point between the years 1192 and 1195, the regional bishopric established a customs agency at Werne and put the place under its direct jurisdiction. The year 1253 found Werne in an alliance (the "Werner Bund") with the cities of Münster, Dortmund, Soest and Lippstadt to defend transit and trading rights relating to a bridge over the Lippe river. In 1470 Werne became a member of the Hanseatic League. A town hall was built from 1512 to 1561.
The first moves towards a fortification of Werne date to 1302 when a trench was dug around the church; this was improved and extended to protect the entire settlement in 1383, two years before it received town privileges in 1385. After Adolph I, Duke of Cleves had burned Werne to the ground in 1400, the full fortification of the city commenced in 1415. However, this did not prevent occupation, looting and torching of the city on several occasions during the Thirty Years' War and of course it was no help at all against the Black Death, which killed 313 people (out of a population of about 1,000) in 1636 and 1637 while the war still raged. (Parts of the city wall and some of the towers were pulled down in 1779; the last city gate (the "Neutor") was demolished in 1843.)
The Peace of Westphalia, signed in 1648 at the nearby cities of Münster and Osnabrück, had essentially expelled Protestantism from the Werne region. From 1671 to 1673 the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin erected a cloister and, from 1677 to 1681, the Catholic Church. (The Martin Luther Church at the Wichernstraße dates from 1904).
From the Napoleonic time to industrialization
Werne, which had come under the administration of Prussia in 1803 when the Prince-Bishopric of Münster had been dissolved, was attached to the Grand Duchy of Berg by Napoleon in 1806. The Congress of Vienna restored the city to Prussia which incorporated it with other territories into its Province of Westphalia. In 1831 was granted a degree of administrative independence under the Prussian municipal code of 1831.
In 1873 and 1874 the search for coal produced a brine thermal spring, and the Werne Baths were established in 1878. The actual coal mine did not commence operations before 1899; it was operated until 1975. Today the buildings of the "Zeche Werne" have been converted to public meeting places, or are part of a business park.
The railway line Münster-Werne-Dortmund was opened in 1928. It had taken a significant amount of lobbying to get Werne a railway station, which was totally refurbished in 2005.
World War II
During the war, 471 citizens of Werne died and 500 more disappeared without trace. The town accommodated nearly 4,000 refugees.
Famous People from Werne
- Gabriele Behler, politician
- Hans-Martin Linde, classical flautist
- Nikolaos Katsigiannis, handball player
Twin towns — Sister cities
Werne is twinned with:
- Bailleul, France, since 1968
- Lytham St. Annes, United Kingdom, since 1984
- Kyritz, Germany, since 1990
- Wałcz, Poland, since 1992
- Poggibonsi, Italy, since 2000
- Website of the town
- International Club Werne
- Pictures and some information in english language about Werne on a German homepage