The Niederwalddenkmal is a monument located in the Niederwald landscape park, near Rüdesheim am Rhein in Hesse, Germany. It overlooks the valley of the Rhine and was built in the 1870/80s to commemorate the Unification of Germany.
The monument was constructed to commemorate the foundation of the German Empire after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The first stone was laid on September 16, 1871, by Kaiser Wilhelm I (William I). The sculptor was Johannes Schilling, and the architect was Karl Weisbach. The total cost of the work is estimated at one million gold marks. The monument was inaugurated on September 28, 1883. The 38 metres (125 ft) tall monument represents the union of all Germans.
The central figure is the 10.5 metres (34 ft) tall Germania figure. In the sculptured impression, Germania holds the recovered crown of the emperor in the right hand and in the left the Imperial Sword.
On the left side of the monument is the "peace statue". The "war statue" is located on the right.
The monument's main inscription is engraved on the pedestal of the Germania statue: "ZUM ANDENKEN AN DIE EINMUETIGE SIEGREICHE ERHEBUNG DES DEUTSCHEN VOLKES UND AN DIE WIEDERAUFRICHTUNG DES DEUTSCHEN REICHES 1870-1871." ("In memory of the unanimous victorious uprising of the German People and of the reinstitution of the German Empire 1870-1871"). The original idea by sculptor Johannes Schilling of the victory of the united German People was later changed into a more hostile interpretation against the "sworn enemy" France.
The Niederwald is a broad hill on the right bank of the Rhine, between that river and the Wisper, opposite Bingen am Rhein. The hill forms the southwestern apex of the Taunus range. Its summit is covered by dense forest of oak and beech. Its southern and western sides, which descend sharply to Rüdesheim am Rhein and Assmannshausen on the Rhine, are covered with vineyards. The monument is located at the edge of the forest, on the crest of the hill above Rüdesheim.
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- (English) Niederwalddenkmal official site. History, photos and travel information on the Niederwalddenkmal.