Vlotho is located along the Weser river, south of the Wiehengebirge, bordering on the Ravensberger Hügelland in the west, Lipperland in the south, and the Weserbergland in the east. The Weser river runs through the city east to north and thus separates the northeast part of the town, Uffeln, from the rest of the city. The highest point is the Bonstapel at 342 m in the south-east.
The first historical records of Vlotho go back to the year 1185. In 1248, Vlotho gained the official status of a city, but lost it again due to both pestilence and war. In the 17th century, Vlotho recovered as a location for industry, most notably paper. During the Thirty Years War, on 17 October 1638 Vlotho was the site of a battle, which resulted in a victory for an Imperial army under the command of Field Marshal Melchior, Count of Hatzfeldt over a Palatinate-Swedish army under the command of Charles Louis of Palatine. In 1650, Vlotho regained the right to hold a market, and in 1719, became an independent city. A harbour was built and Vlotho became the location of cigar, machine, and textile industry. In 1875, Vlotho station was constructed, and in 1928, a bridge replaced the ferry across the Weser river. In 1969, the old city of Vlotho was unified with the communities of Exter and Valdorf. In 1973, Uffeln (formerly part of the district of Minden) joined Vlotho.
Guthrie, William P (2003), "Appendix F:The Action at Vlotho, October 17, 1638", The Later Thirty Years War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia, Contributions in Military Studies 222 (illustrated ed.), Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 72, 73, ISBN9780313324086