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For the town in the district of Nürnberger Land, see Alfeld, Bavaria.

Alfeld town hall, behind St. Nicolai
Alfeld town hall, behind St. Nicolai
Coat of arms of Alfeld
Coat of arms
Alfeld   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 51°59′19″N 9°49′37″E / 51.98861°N 9.82694°E / 51.98861; 9.82694Coordinates: 51°59′19″N 9°49′37″E / 51.98861°N 9.82694°E / 51.98861; 9.82694
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Hildesheim
 • Mayor Bernd Beushausen (SPD)
 • Total 72.86 km2 (28.13 sq mi)
Elevation 145 m (476 ft)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
 • Total 19,081
 • Density 260/km2 (680/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 31061
Dialling codes 05181
Vehicle registration HI, ALF

Alfeld is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. Located on the Leine river, it is the second biggest city in the district of Hildesheim in southern Lower Saxony and part of the Metropolitan region Hannover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg. Alfeld is a member of the Leinebergland region and on the German Timber-Frame Road.


The town was founded before 1214, with the name 'Alvelde' recorded in 1214, 1221, and 1233. The toponymic element "-feld" means "open area", "an undeveloped, open field", or "an untilled field". "Al-" likely derives from the Indoeuropean root "el-/ol-" meaning "water", "damp", or "flowing".

In 1426, Alfeld joined the Saxon League of Towns, thus becoming an indirect member of the Hanseatic League. The town was one of the smallest cities in the Hanseatic League, but had become prosperous in the fourteenth and fifteenth century through its trade in beer, hops, linen, and yarn.

Alfeld originally belonged to the Diocese of Hildesheim, but was transferred to the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel after the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud (1519-1523). In retrospect, this Brunswick period constituted Alfeld's Golden Age, its economy and culture flourishing before the Thirty Years' War.

Main Sights[edit]

Sights in Alfeld include the town hall (1586) with its octagonal tower, the church Saint Nicolai and the Fillerturm, a medieval watchtower, and the Fagus Factory of 1911, a fine example of early modernist architecture by Walter Gropius. More famous are the Seven Hills (German: Sieben Berge) in the north and the Lippoldshöhle ("Lippold's cave"), where a legendary robber-knight is said to have lived.


The assertion that the popular fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was born in Alfeld is false. Even though the miners who mined ore In the Seven Mountains believed in the existence of dwarfs, it is more likely that the cradle of the fairy tale is to be searched in France. The version the brothers Grimm heard and wrote down, as they travelled through the Seven Mountains, on the so-called Märchenstrasse (Street Of Fairytales) is just one of many.



The biggest employer of the city is the SAPPI (South African Pulp and Paper Industry) factory with its big chimney, which has become one of Alfeld's landmarks. Even more famous than SAPPI is the Fagus Werk, rebuilt in 1910-1915 after the blueprints of architect Walter-Gropius, what is said to be trend-setting for modern architecture.

Popular culture[edit]

Old Latin school, today museum

Alfeld is a strategically important town fought for repeatedly by both NATO and Soviet forces in Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Alfeld is twinned with:

In Alfeld born[edit]

  • Augustine of Alfeld (1480-1535), Franciscan and controversial theologian
  • Walter Kappe (1905-1944), German Nazi, who ran as an emigrant in the US in the 1930s, propaganda and espionage within the meaning of the NSDAP
  • Albrecht von Goertz (1914-2006), German industrial designer
  • Zbigniew Żedzicki (born 1945), Polish wrestler
  • Uwe Schmidt (born 1954), German politician (SPD) and since July 2009, head of the district Kassel

See also[edit]


External links[edit]