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Juleum Novum, building of the former University of Helmstedt
Juleum Novum, building of the former University of Helmstedt
Coat of arms of Helmstedt
Coat of arms
Helmstedt   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 52°13′41″N 11°00′38″E / 52.22806°N 11.01056°E / 52.22806; 11.01056Coordinates: 52°13′41″N 11°00′38″E / 52.22806°N 11.01056°E / 52.22806; 11.01056
Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Helmstedt
First mentioned 952
 • Mayor Heinz-Dieter Eisermann (Ind.)
 • Total 46.97 km2 (18.14 sq mi)
Elevation 123 m (404 ft)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
 • Total 23,254
 • Density 500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 38350
Dialling codes 05351
Vehicle registration HE
Website www.stadt-helmstedt.de

Helmstedt (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛlmˌʃtɛt]) is a town on the eastern edge of the German state of Lower Saxony. It is the capital of the District of Helmstedt. The historic university and Hanseatic city conserves an important monumental heritage of Romanesque and Renaissance buildings, as well as numerous timber framed houses. During the German partition the nearby Bundesautobahn 2 was the site of the Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing, the most important on the former inner German border as starting point of the shortest land route between West Germany and West Berlin.


Helmstedt is situated in a basin between the Elm and Lappwald hill ranges, at the transition area between the northern foothills of the Harz mountains and the North German Plain. It is surrounded by the Elm-Lappwald Nature Park. The town centre is located about 36 kilometres (22 mi) east of Braunschweig, 45 kilometres (28 mi) west of Magdeburg, and 90 kilometres (56 mi) east of the state capital Hanover.

The municipal area includes the localities of Barmke and Emmerstedt, both incorporated by a 1974 administrative reform, as well as the resort town of Bad Helmstedt, about 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) east of the town centre. Helmstedt currently has about 23,000 inhabitants (2013).


The settlement in the Duchy of Saxony was first mentioned as Helmonstede in a 952 deed issued by the German king Otto I. In former times also called Helmstädt, the town developed in the vicinity of the Benedictine St. Ludger's Abbey that was founded around 800 by Saint Liudger as a mission station. Helmstedt's town privileges were documented in 1247. It belonged to the Abbacy of Werden until 1490, when it was bought by the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg. From 1576 to 1810, the University of Helmstedt was located here.

From the late 1940s to 1990, the town was the site of a major border crossing between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. The main rail and autobahn route between West Germany and Berlin, across the GDR, began at the Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing, also known as Checkpoint Alpha. Official military traffic from NATO countries to West Berlin was only allowed to use this route.

Famous citizens[edit]

Paul Gottlieb Werlhof 1742

In addition, see the list of famous students and professors of the University of Helmstedt.



  1. ^ Landesbetrieb für Statistik und Kommunikationstechnologie Niedersachsen, 102 Bevölkerung - Basis Zensus 2011, Stand 31. Dezember 2015 (Tabelle K1020014)

External links[edit]