|• Mayor||Thomas Saxler|
|• Total||3.33 km2 (1.29 sq mi)|
|Elevation||550 m (1,800 ft)|
|• Density||24/km2 (63/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Sassen is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Vulkaneifel district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Kelberg, whose seat is in the like-named municipality.
The municipality’s name, Sassen, is derived from the German word Ansassen or Beisassen, words once used to designate people who were not local, but rather had come from elsewhere to settle. The area around Ülmen and Ürsfeld was already settled when others came along to settle at the village now known as Sassen.
Another explanation, however, is that the name arose from transplanted Saxons brought to the Eifel by Charlemagne. A Carthusian monk wrote in an account that Charlemagne also removed Franks from the Eifel to the Saxons’ homeland as part of his campaign to break Saxon resistance once and for all.
The municipality lies in the Vulkaneifel, a part of the Eifel known for its volcanic history, geographical and geological features, and even ongoing activity today, including gases that sometimes well up from the earth.
In feudal times, which ended in 1794 with the French occupation, Sassen belonged to the Electoral-Cologne Amt of Nürburg. Under Prussian administration, it was a municipality in the Bürgermeisterei (“Mayoralty”) of Kelberg in the Adenau district. In the course of administrative restructuring in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1970, the municipality, along with the others in the Amt of Kelberg, was assigned to the Daun district, which has since been given the name Vulkaneifel.
Below the village once lay a farm, which may have been the “seed” for the first settlement in what is now the municipality. The oldest houses are all bungalows built out of Rhenish brick (an air-dried brick made of 9 parts pumice to 1 part lime) and simple woodwork. The front door opens straight into the kitchen. Above the stove was the smoke hood for smoking meat.
Sassen was once held by the Counts of Nürburg. The court was in Ülmen. Tithes were paid to the castle there and to Nürburg. On the Hohe Acht, a height near the village (not the like-named mountain), lay two fields, one named Zehntanwand and the other Freianwand, references to paying tithes (Zehnten – frei means “free”).
The village’s great age makes itself known in the many legends told hereabouts. One tells of a time in the Thirty Years' War when the Swedes plundered the village. On the nearby Hochkelberg once stood, supposedly, a castle of the Knights Templar, and people speak of a treasure that is supposed to be hidden there.
Ecclesiastically, Sassen once belonged to the parish of Ürsfeld, but since 1809 it has belonged to the parish of Üß.
The council is made up of 6 council members, who were elected by majority vote at the municipal election held on 7 June 2009, and the honorary mayor as chairman.
Sassen’s mayor is Thomas Saxler, and his deputy is Werner Nohner.
Coat of arms
The German blazon reads: Unter silbernem Schildhaupt, darin ein durchgehendes, schwarzes Balkenkreuz, in Rot ein silbernes Antoniuskreuz mit zwei daran hängenden silbernen Pilgerglöckchen.
Until 1794, Sassen belonged as part of the Amt of Nürburg to the Electorate of Cologne. The cross in the chief recalls this time. The charge below this, the T-shaped cross, is Saint Anthony’s attribute, thus representing the municipality’s patron saint. It is shown here with two “pilgrim’s bells”.
Culture and sightseeing
- Saint Wendelin’s Catholic Church (branch church; Filialkirche St. Wendelin), Hauptstraße – aisleless church from 1750.
- Hauptstraße 12 – timber-frame house, partly solid or slated, 19th century.
- Heiligenhäuschen (a small, shrinelike structure consecrated to a saint or saints), east of the village – Baroque red sandstone niche housing, Pietà.