|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|• Mayor||Kurt Pirmann (SPD)|
|• Total||70.64 km2 (27.27 sq mi)|
|Elevation||300 m (1,000 ft)|
|• Density||480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Zweibrücken appears in Latin texts as Geminus Pons and Bipontum, in French texts as Deux-Ponts. The name derives from Middle High German Zweinbrücken (literally twin-bridge, double-bridge, two bridges). In modern German the name means two-bridges.
The town was the capital of the former Imperial State Palatinate-Zweibrücken of the House of Wittelsbach. The ducal castle is now occupied by the chief court of the Palatinate (Oberlandesgericht). There is a fine Gothic Protestant church, the Alexander-Kirche, founded in 1493.
Since the end of the 12th century, Zweibrücken was the seat of the County of Zweibrücken, the counts being descended from Henry I (Heinrich I.), youngest son of Simon I, Count of Saarbrücken (d. 1182). The line became extinct on the death of Count Eberhard II (1394), who in 1385 had sold half his territory to the count palatine of the Rhine, and held the other half as his feudal domaine. Louis (d. 1489), son of Stephen, founded the line of the counts palatine of Zweibrücken (Pfalz-Zweibrücken). In 1533, the Counts palatine converted Pfalz-Zweibrücken to the new Protestant faith. In 1559, a member of the line, Duke Wolfgang, founded the earliest grammar school of the town (Herzog-Wolfgang-Gymnasium), which existed until 1987.
After Charles X Gustav, the son of John Casimir, count palatine of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, succeeded his cousin Queen Christina of Sweden on the Swedish throne, Pfalz-Zweibrücken was in personal union with Sweden until 1718.
In 1731, Pfalz-Zweibrücken passed to the Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken branch of the counts palatine, from where it came under the sway of Bavaria in 1799. But it was occupied by France in 1793 and in 4 November 1797, Zweibrücken became a canton centre in department of Mont Tonnerre. At the Peace of Lunéville in 1801 French annex of Zweibrücken was confirmed; on its reunion with Germany in 1814 the greater part of the territory was given to Bavaria, the remainder to Oldenburg and Kingdom of Prussia. The town of Zweibrücken became part of the Palatine region of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
At the ducal printing office at Zweibrücken the fine series of the classical editions known as the Bipontine Editions was published (1779 sqq.).
The last prominent social event before the First World War was the inauguration of the Rosengarten (rose garden) by Princess Hildegard of Bavaria in June 1914. As a consequence of the First World War, Zweibrücken was occupied by French troops between 1918 and 1930. In the course of the Kristallnacht in 1938, the Zweibrücken synagogue was destroyed. With the outbreak of the Second World War the town was evacuated in 1939-1940, as it lay in the ‘Red Zone’ on the fortified Westwall (Siegfried Line). Shortly before the end of the war, on 14 March 1945 the town was nearly completely destroyed from bombing by the Royal Canadian Air Force, with the loss of more than 200 lives. On 20 March American ground troops reached Zweibrücken. The town became part of the new state of Rhineland-Palatinate after the war.
In 1990 the city underwent a major change. With the departure of the Americans, the military area became free, which corresponded altogether to a third of the entire urban area. Unemployment increased to approximately 21%, leading to a decrease in demand in the retail trade of approximately 25%. These events led to rapid, creative decisions on the part of the town, with the resultant changes becoming the model for other communities. Within the core of the town, a small pedestrian precinct was completed, which includes some restored historic buildings.
Weaving, brewing and the manufacture of machinery, chicory, cigars, malt, boots, furniture and soap were the chief industries before World War II. Nowadays Terex cranes and bulldozers and John Deere harvesting equipment are the chief industries.
Zweibrücken Air Base
On the outskirts of the town, Zweibrücken Air Base was for many years home to U.S. airmen and their families. Prior to being a USAFE base, the base was operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. It was known as #3 Fighter Wing, part of #1 Canadian Air Division with headquarters in Metz, France. During the years 1953 to 1968, it was the home to 413, 427 and 434 Fighter Squadrons flying F-86 Sabre jets, and 440 Squadron, which flew the CF-100 Canuck, then the CF-104 Starfighter. The RF-4C was stationed at Zweibruecken AB from the 1970s to 1991 under the 38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. These were photo-reconnaissance aircraft with missions all over Europe and used in Desert Storm.
The Short C-23 Sherpa, a small prop-driven transport plane, also flew out of the base in the 1980s under the 10th Military Airlift Squadron, a tenant Military Airlift Command unit. The squadron's mission was to deliver high-priority aircraft parts to bases in USAFE to ensure a maximum number of aircraft were combat-ready. Today Zweibrücken Air Base has been transformed into the modern Zweibrücken Airport , an international airport with flights to Palma de Mallorca, Antalya, Gran Canaria, Teneriffe, Rhodos, Heraklion and Fuerteventura (TUIfly), Istanbul (Pegasus Airlines)
On the other side of the town was Kreuzberg Kaserne, home to various units of the United States Army. Only one combat unit was located there: Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 60th Air Defense Artillery, with its Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) at Ramstein Air Base. The 3d Battalion, 60th ADA was a subordinate unit of the 32nd Army Air Defense Command. Major tenants at Kreuzberg Kaserne were USAISEC-EUR (Information Systems Engineering Command - Europe) and the USA MATCOMEUR (Material Command, Europe), later renamed the US Army Material Management Agency, Europe.
Climate in this area has mild dfferences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|Climate data for Zweibrücken|
|Average high °C (°F)||3
|Average low °C (°F)||−1
|Avg. precipitation days||21||16||19||15||16||16||13||12||13||16||17||20||194|
|Source: Weatherbase |
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Zweibrücken". Encyclopædia Britannica 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Ammerich, Hans, "Zweibrücken. Die alte Herzogsstadt in Geschichte und Gegenwart", Zweibrücken 1983
- Bartz, Günther, "Zweibrücken. Frühe Kunde – Herzogliche Zeiten – heute", Speyer 1960
- Lehmann, Johann Georg, "Vollständige Geschichte des Herzogthums Zweibrücken und seiner Fürsten, der Stamm- und Voreltern des k. bayer. Hauses", Munich, 1867
- Molitor, Ludwig, "Vollständige Geschichte der ehemals pfalz-bayerischen Residenzstadt Zweibrücken von ihren ältesten Zeiten bis zur Vereinigung des Herzogtums Zweibrücken mit der Bayerischen Krone", Zweibrücken 1884
- (German) Official website
- (German) Page with Photos and Information
- (English) Page about Outlets Zweibrücken
- (German) Information Portal about Zweibrücken