View over Stendal
|• Mayor||Klaus Schmotz|
|• Total||268.02 km2 (103.48 sq mi)|
|• Density||150/km2 (390/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Situated west of the Elbe valley, the Stendal town centre is located some 125 km (78 mi) west of Berlin, around 170 km (110 mi) east of Hanover, and 55 km (34 mi) north of the state capital Magdeburg. Stendal is the seat of a University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule) and preserves a picturesque old town including a historic market and several churches. The nearby village Uchtspringe is home to a psychiatric rehabilitation clinic.
Stendal station is the most important interchange and rail hub in the north of Saxony-Anhalt. Located on the Berlin–Lehrte railway and the parallel Hanover–Berlin high-speed railway line, it is regularly served by Intercity and Intercity-Express (ICE) trains. A direct connection to the German Autobahn network is planned with the extension of the BAB 14 from Magdeburg to Schwerin.
The municipal area comprises the incorporated villages of Buchholz, Dahlen, Groß Schwechten, Heeren, Insel, Möringen, Nahrstedt, Staats, Uchtspringe, Uenglingen, Vinzelberg, Volgfelde, and Wittenmoor.
A settlement named Steinedal in the Eastphalian Balsamgau of Saxony, then a possession of Saint Michael’s Abbey in Hildesheim, was mentioned in a deed allegedly issued by Emperor Henry II in 1022. However, the entry has proven to be a 12th century forgery, as the original document contained no such record. The fortified town near the Elbe crossing at Tangermünde was actually founded and granted Magdeburg rights by the first Brandenburg margrave Albert the Bear about 1160.
The parish church of St Mary's was first mentioned in 1283. Stendal quickly prospered as a centre of commerce and trade; it received city walls about 1300, the citizens joined the Hanseatic League in 1358 and purchased the privilege of minting from the Brandenburg margarves in 1369. A Latin school is documented from 1338. In 1456 the Hohenzollern elector Frederick II Irontooth founded a convent of Augustinian nuns, which today is the site of a museum. In 1502 his descendant Elector Joachim I Nestor married Princess Elizabeth of Denmark at Stendal. Magnificent churches, the town hall and the two remaining city gates are still proof of Stendal's former wealth.
The Stendal citizens turned Protestant in 1539; with the reformator Konrad Cordatus serving as superintendent. For centuries part of the Brandenburg margraviate, Stendal with the Altmark region passed to the Prussian Province of Saxony after the Napoleonic Wars. A Prussian garrison town since the 17th century, it hosted the 10th (Magdeburg) Hussars regiment from 1884.
Stendal was the site of a Luftwaffe airfield in World War II, which had been the site of the first German Fallschirmjäger training school from 1936; the famous boxer Max Schmeling was trained as a paratrooper here in 1940/41. The town suffered from strategic bombing. In April 1945, the aerodrome served as starting place of the Sonderkommando Elbe unit, only a few days before the local authorities surrendered to the US Army. On May 4, the commander of the Wehrmacht 12th Army, General Maximilian von Edelsheim signed the capitulation document at the Standal town hall.
From 1949 until German reunification in 1990, the town belonged to East Germany, part of Bezirk Magdeburg from 1952. Until 1994, the Stendal barracks served as home base for a riflemen division of the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Army. In 1983 the construction of the Stendal Nuclear Power Plant was begun north of the town, but abandoned after reunification. In 2009 the Stendal citizens voted for the prefix Hansestadt ("Hanse City").
Theatre of the Altmark
The area has a theatre named Theater der Altmark, Stendal. It was founded in 1946 and has always had a particular involvement in youth and children's theatre. Theatrical performances and dance events are staged, as well as concerts, conferences and meetings.
The Winckelmann Museum is named after Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the founder of classical archaeology. Its holdings include biographical documents, works, designs and diagrams as well as Greek sculptures or casts, along with other small artworks from antiquity. Since summer 2003 the museum has been the owner of the world's biggest Trojan horse. With its size of 15.60 m high, 13 m long, 9.50 m wide and its weight of 45 tons it offers a beautiful view over Stendal.
Exhibitions are held relating to archaeology and the history of art from the 18th and 19th centuries; there is also a modern art museum. The museum is the seat of the Winckelmann-Gesellschaft(the Winckelmann Society).
In addition, the museum has exhibits relating to the history and cultural history of the city of Stendal and of the Altmark dating from the prehistoric period through the area's early history right up to the present. There are exhibits pertaining to the Hanseatic League, Romanesque art and local archaeological material.
Fire Brigade Museum
The town also has the Landesfeuerwehrmuseum (Fire Brigade Museum), showing the development of fire fighting and protection from the leather bucket to modern fire engines.
Other buildings include the Gothic cathedral, the Town Hall with the statue of Roland and the two mediaeval town gates. There are also other churches in the area.
Stendal is also part of the Altmark cycle path. Information and maps about this cycle path can be had for free from the tourist information office.
Seats in the town's assembly (Stadtrat) as of 2015 local elections:
- Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU): 14
- The Left: 11
- Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD): 8
- Free Democratic Party (FDP): 1
- Alliance '90/The Greens: 1
- Alternative for Germany (AfD): 1
- Pirate Party Germany: 1
- Independent: 3
After allegations of falsification were raised, the 2014 elections had to be held again.
- Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898), since 1872.
- Friedrich Hermann Haacke (1824–1899), a physician who dedicated his life to fighting against the cholera epidemics which affected Stendal in the 19th century. The Haacke-Brunnen, a well in the Sperlingsberg quarter, honours him.
- Gustav Nachtigal (1834–1885), doctor and explorer in Africa. He is honored with bust at the Gustav Nachtigal square.
- Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), a pioneer of classical archaeology and the history of art. He was born in Stendal in 1717, the son of a shoemaker. He is commemorated by the above-named museum.
The French writer Marie-Henri Beyle (1783–1842) lived near Stendal in 1807–08 as an official of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia. According to general belief, he used the alias Stendhal from 1817 in homage to Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
- Official website (German) (English)