Bad Homburg vor der Höhe

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Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Emperor Wilhelm's Spa in Bad Homburg
Emperor Wilhelm's Spa in Bad Homburg
Coat of arms of Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Coat of arms
Location of Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe within Hochtaunuskreis district
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe in HG.svg
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe is located in Germany
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe is located in Hesse
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe
Coordinates: 50°13′0″N 8°36′0″E / 50.21667°N 8.60000°E / 50.21667; 8.60000Coordinates: 50°13′0″N 8°36′0″E / 50.21667°N 8.60000°E / 50.21667; 8.60000
Admin. regionDarmstadt
 • MayorAlexander Hetjes (CDU)
 • Total51.17 km2 (19.76 sq mi)
Highest elevation
250 m (820 ft)
Lowest elevation
137 m (449 ft)
 • Total54,227
 • Density1,100/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
61348, 61350, 61352
Dialling codes06172
Vehicle registrationHG, USI

Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (pronounced [baːt ˈhɔmbʊʁk] (About this soundlisten)) is the district town of the Hochtaunuskreis, Hesse, on the southern slope of the Taunus mountains. Bad Homburg is part of the Frankfurt Rhein-Main urban area. The town's formal name is Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (translated as "Bad Homburg before the Height") to distinguish it from other places named Homburg. The name is abbreviated as Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe.[2] It is known best for its medically used mineral waters and spa (hence the prefix Bad, meaning "bath"), and for its casino.

Presently, Bad Homburg is one of the wealthiest towns in Germany (with the Hochtaunuskreis and the Landkreis Starnberg regularly competing for the title of the wealthiest district in Germany).[3] As of 2004, the town's marketing slogan is Champagnerluft und Tradition (Champagne air and tradition).[4]


Middle Ages origins[edit]

Local tradition holds that Bad Homburg's documented history began with the mention of the Villa Tidenheim in the Lorsch codex, associated with the year 782. This Villa Tidenheim was equated with the Old Town, named "Dietigheim". Local historian Rüdiger Kurth doubted this traditional story based on his study of written sources and local factors. During 2002 Kurth initiated archaeological excavations, by the University of Frankfurt, managed by Professor Joachim Henning. The excavations showed that there was not any evidence of settlement between the beginning of the Christian Era and the 13th century. It seems that the historical record which mentions Wortwin (or Ortwin) von Hohenberch as Homburg's founder, as a documentary witness in Eberbach, about 1180 is the first good evidence of the town's existence.

White Tower, viewed from Loewengasse 7.
Landgraves' stately home with park and the Schlossturm ("Weißer Turm" or "White Tower"), Bad Homburg's landmark.
Schlossturm in Bad Homburg.
Bad Homburg Golf Club House in the Kurpark.
Bad Homburg Tennis Club in the Kurpark.
"Russian Chapel", or rather All Hallows' Church.

As early as 1962, in an excavation under the Hirschgangflügel ("Hart-stalking-wing") of Bad Homburg's Schloss (stately home), two burnt layers were discovered, which the man conducting the dig, Günther Binding, accepted as evidence of two former castles having been built on the site, one after the other, but each having burnt down later.

Further digs by the University of Frankfurt at Bad Homburg's Schloss during April 2006, once again initiated by Kurth and managed by Professor Henning, resulted in the discovery that it was actually only one burnt layer, from a half-timbered building—- possibly a castle with towers—- which from ceramic finds could be dated to the 12th or 13th century. Most likely this building had an association with Wortwin's "castle". Quite possibly, though, a further cultural layer from an even earlier time lies underneath these remains. Investigations using methods from natural science (carbon-14 dating and micromorphological analysis) will show whether the dating can be made more precise.

Homberg acquired market rights about 1330, but the document granting these rights is said to have been lost.

The town's name, "Homburg", is from the Hohenberg Castle. The postfix "vor der Höhe" was probably first recorded in a document of 1399. The designation "Bad" was not conferred until 1912.

The Hessen-Homburg noble family of landgraves was initiated by Friedrich I of Hessen-Homburg. Friedrich II (1680–1708) attained fame as Prince of Homburg. During 1866, as a result of the Austro-Prussian War, Homburg became Prussian territory.

Spa town and imperial residence[edit]

With the beginning of the spa industry in the town during the mid-19th century, which profited greatly from its casino, the town became an internationally famous spa town. Bad Homburg was favoured particularly by Russian nobility for its baths.

The spa industry began with the discovery of the Elisabethenbrunnen (Brunnen is German for "well") during 1834. The first spa building and the first casino in Homburg were built during 1841–1842 by the brothers François (1806–1877) and Louis Blanc (1806–1852), who later owned the Monte Carlo Casino. During 1860, the town was connected with Frankfurt by a railway line, the Homburger Bahn.

During 1888, Homburg became known throughout the German Empire because Kaiser Wilhelm II declared Homburg's Schloss an Imperial summer residence, and later financed the building of the Church of the Redeemer (Erlöserkirche) nearby. His mother, too, lived there for several years. Edward VII of the UK was also often a guest. It was he who introduced the Homburg hat and permanent turn-up trousers. He also experienced fasting cures at Homburg 32 times.

The "Bad Homburger Golf Club 1899 e. V." in the Röderweisen in Dornholzhausen—nowadays part of Bad Homburg—- is Germany's oldest golf club. It had its beginnings in the Bad Homburg Spa Park (Kurpark), where the old clubhouse and even playable parts of the old golf course may still be found.

Not far away stands the Russian Chapel—- more properly called All Hallows' Church—- an Eastern Orthodox church the first stone of which was laid in the Russian Imperial couple's presence on 16 October 1896, although they did not attend when it was consecrated almost three years later.

King Chulalongkorn of Siam (Thailand) sent a Thai garden pavilion in gratitude for a successful cure. It was erected during 1914.

Horex was a well known German motorcycle brand of the "Horex—Fahrzeugbau AG", founded during 1923 in Bad Homburg by Fritz Kleemann.

Jewish history[edit]

Memorial to Shmuel Yosef Agnon in Bad Homburg

During 1335, permission was given by Emperor Louis IV to Gottfried von Eppstein to settle 10 Jews in each of the localities of Eppstein, Homburg, and Steinheim; it is uncertain, however, whether any Jews settled in Homburg at that time. Evidence for the existence of a permanent Jewish settlement in Homburg is found only at the beginning of the 16th century. Until 1600 it consisted of 2 or 3 families, and by 1632 these had increased to 16. The first Jewish cemetery was purchased during the 17th century. The community continued to grow so rapidly that during 1703 the landgrave Frederick II of Hesse decided on the construction of a special Judengasse (Jewish quarter). A synagogue, built during 1731, was replaced by a new one during 1867. The Jewish community of Homburg was originally part of the jurisdiction of the rabbinate of Friedberg but began to appoint its own rabbis during the 19th century.

A Hebrew printing house was located in Homburg by Seligmann ben Hirz Reis during 1710 until 1713 when he relocated to Offenbach am Main. Among other items, he published Jacob ibn Ḥabib's Ein Ya'akov (1712). Hebrew printing was resumed there during 1724 by Samson ben Salman Hanau but lack of capital limited his output. The press was acquired during 1736 by Aaron ben Ẓevi Dessau whose publications included the Shulhan Arukh (Ḥoshen Mishpat) with commentary (1742). The press was sold during 1748 and transferred during 1749 to Roedelheim. At the beginning of the 20th century, the spa of Homburg became a meeting place of Russian-Jewish intellectuals. The Jewish population numbered 604 (7.14% of the total population) during 1865, declining to 379 in 1910 (2.64%), and 300 during 1933. Of the 74 Jews who remained on 17 May 1939, 42 were deported during 1942/1943.[5]

Modern age[edit]

While the spa business experienced a long-term decrease after the two world wars, the town gained importance by becoming the site for headquarters of various authorities and administrative bodies. By autumn 1946, the military government had already ordered the founding of bizonal authorities. Bad Homburg was chosen as the seat of the financial administrative centre. On 23 July 1947, the Bizone Economic Council instituted the "Special Money and Credit Centre" here in preparation for currency reform. The centre was managed by Ludwig Erhard. After the Federal Republic of Germany—- West Germany—- was founded with its capital in Bonn, the Federal Debt Administration (Bundesschuldenverwaltung), the Office for Security Adjustment (Amt für Wertpapierbereinigung) and the Federal Equalization Office (Bundesausgleichsamt) stayed in Bad Homburg.

During the 20th century, Bad Homburg became a favourite residential area among the upper classes. On 30 November 1989, one of its members, Alfred Herrhausen, the manager of the Deutsche Bank, was killed and his driver was injured by a car bomb in Bad Homburg. It is alleged that this was an attack by the Red Army Faction, though this has never been proven.[6]


Lord Mayors[edit]

  • Karl Tettenborn — 1892–1901
  • Ernst Ritter von Marx — 1901–1905
  • Konrad Maß — 1905–1907
  • Walter Lübke DVP 1907–1924
  • Georg Eberlein DVP 1924–1933
  • Richard Hardt NSDAP 1933–1934
  • Erich Meusel NSDAP 1933–1945
  • Georg Eberlein FDP, 1945–1948
  • Karl Horn CDU, 1948–1962
  • Armin Klein CDU, 1962–1980, since 1979 with official designation Lord Mayor
  • Wolfgang Assmann CDU, 1980–1998
  • Reinhard Wolters CDU, 1998–2003 Lord Mayor; His election was subsequently declared invalid, Wolters was thus never officially Lord Mayor. However, the decisions made by him remained in force.
  • Ursula Jungherr CDU, 2003–2009
  • Michael Korwisi, Alliance '90/The Greens, 2009–2015
  • Alexander Hetjes CDU, since 18. September 2015

Coat of arms[edit]

Bad Homburg's civic coat of arms was granted during 1903 but is said to date from the 15th century on the basis of seals known from that time, although they show a saltire rather than the two adzes seen today (the saltire might be two unclear adzes). The reason for the adzes in the arms is not known; it is possibly dialectal canting. The colours, with silver adzes in a blue field, have been in use at least since 1621.[7]


Notable People[edit]

Karoly Lotz, c.1870, self-portrait
Susanne Klatten, 2017

early times[edit]

19th c.[edit]

20th c.[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Bad Homburg vor der Höhe is twinned with:[12]

a. ^ In 1953, the town adopted the ethnic Germans driven out of this town, later also partnership.


  1. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand am 31.12.2019". Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt (in German). July 2020.
  2. ^ "Hauptsatzung der Stadt Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe (Hochtaunuskreis, Regierungsbezirk Darmstadt)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  3. ^ Gerginov, David. "Die 10 reichsten Städte und Landkreise in Deutschland" [The 10 Richest Cities and Districts in Germany]. (in German).
  4. ^ Hieronymi, Leonhard (12 July 2017). "Zwei Stunden in Bad Homburg" [Two Hours in Bad Homburg] (in German). Zeit Online.
  5. ^ FJW, 215; Germania Judaica, vol. 2 (1968), 369; PKG
  6. ^ "Herrhausen-Mord: Neue Theorie über die Herkunft der Bombe" [Herrhausen-Murder: New Theory Regarding Origin of the Bomb] (in German). Spiegel Online. 29 November 2014.
  7. ^
  8. ^ IMDb Database retrieved December 2017
  9. ^ Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel website retrieved December 2017
  10. ^ Der Spiegel, October 12, 2007, Breaking the Silence.... retrieved December 2017
  11. ^ Der Spiegel, October 12, 2007, Breaking the Silence.... retrieved December 2017
  12. ^ "Partnerstädte". (in German). Bad Homburg vor der Höhe. Retrieved 4 February 2021.

External links[edit]