Dorsten (ˈdɔʁstən) is a town in the district of Recklinghausen
Recklinghausen (district)
Recklinghausen is a Kreis in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Borken, Coesfeld, Unna,district-free cities Dortmund, Bochum, Herne, Essen, Gelsenkirchen and Bottrop, and the district Wesel.-History:...

 in North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and has a population of just below 80,000.

Dorsten is situated on the western rim of Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

 bordering the Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

. Its historical old town lies on the south bank of the river Lippe
Lippe is a Kreis in the east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Herford, Minden-Lübbecke, Höxter, Paderborn, Gütersloh, and district-free Bielefeld, which forms the region Ostwestfalen-Lippe....

 and the Wesel–Datteln Canal and was granted city rights in 1251. During the twentieth century, the town was enlarged in its north by the villages of the former Herrlichkeit
Herrschaft may be:*Herrschaft , a concept introduced by Max Weber in his Economy and Society; the term has no English equivalent and is usually left untranslated, but roughly means institutionalized authority inducing obedience...

. While Dorsten's northern districts are thus shaped by the rural Münsterland with its many historical castles, just south of the town the Ruhr region
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

 begins, Germany's largest urban agglomeration
In the study of human settlements, an urban agglomeration is an extended city or town area comprising the built-up area of a central place and any suburbs linked by continuous urban area. In France, INSEE the French Statistical Institute, translate it as "Unité urbaine" which means continuous...

 with more than seven million inhabitants.

The exact linguistic derivation of the word “Dorsten” is unknown, leaving the meaning of the town’s name unclear.


Archaeological findings show that the area was already populated during the Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 and Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 Ages, from about 4000 BC onwards. The Romans established a military camp
The Latin word castra, with its singular castrum, was used by the ancient Romans to mean buildings or plots of land reserved to or constructed for use as a military defensive position. The word appears in both Oscan and Umbrian as well as in Latin. It may have descended from Indo-European to Italic...

 in Dorsten-Holsterhausen in 11 BC and Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus
Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman politician and general under Emperor Augustus, mainly remembered for having lost three Roman legions and his own life when attacked by Germanic leader Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.-Life:His paternal grandfather was senator Sextus Quinctilius...

 passed through it in 9BC on his way to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius of the Cherusci ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the...


From around 700 AD onwards, the Archbishopric of Cologne
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne
The Archdiocese of Cologne is an archdiocese of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany.-History:...

 began to evangelise the area around Dorsten. Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 Konrad von Hochstaden
Konrad von Hochstaden
Konrad von Hochstaden was Archbishop of Cologne from 1238 to 1261.-Life:Konrad was a son of Count Lothar of Hochstadt, canon of St. Maria ad Gradus and of the old Cologne Cathedral, and Mathilde of Vianden. His date of birth is unknown, and nothing is known of his early youth...

, together with the Count of Cleves
Duchy of Cleves
The Duchy of Cleves was a State of the Holy Roman Empire. It was situated in the northern Rhineland on both sides of the Lower Rhine, around its capital Cleves and the town of Wesel, bordering the lands of the Prince-Bishopric of Münster in the east and the Duchy of Brabant in the west...

, granted Dorsten the city rights
German town law
German town law or German municipal concerns concerns town privileges used by many cities, towns, and villages throughout Central and Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages.- Town law in Germany :...

 in 1251. Due to its economically favourable position on the river Lippe, the town became a member of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 of international trading cities and turned into the richest town in the Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen
Vest Recklinghausen was an ecclesiastical territory in the Holy Roman Empire, located in the center of today's North Rhine-Westphalia. The rivers Emscher and Lippe formed the border with the County of Mark and Essen Abbey in the south , and to the Bishopric of Münster in the north...


In 1488, Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 monks established a monastery which continues to exist today as the world’s oldest permanently existing cloister of this order. The monks founded Gymnasium Petrinum
Gymnasium Petrinum Dorsten
Gymnasium Petrinum is a state-funded secondary school and the oldest Gymnasium in the German town of Dorsten, North Rhine-Westphalia.-History:...

 in 1642 and in 1699 the Ursulines
The Ursulines are a Roman Catholic religious order for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula.-History:St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a...

 set up a cloister including a boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

 for girls. However, the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) and the continuous occupation by various forces badly derogated Dorsten’s medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...


It was only during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 of the nineteenth century that Dorsten returned to its former prosperity. Spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

, weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

 and metal casting industries found their way into town and in 1912, the first coal mine opened. Between 1929 and 1975, surrounding villages became districts of the gradually enlarging town of Dorsten. Only a few days before the end of the Second World War, the historical old town was almost completely destroyed in an Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 air raid
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

. However, after 1945, the town’s centre was rebuilt on its historical foundations and thus still resembles its medieval shape today.

Dorsten is widely known today for its Jewish Museum of Westphalia which was established in 1987. In 2001, the last coal mine closed and the town celebrated its 750th jubilee with a festival in the old town.

Main sights

  • Schloss Lembeck
  • Historical Town Hall
  • Jewish Museum of Westphalia
  • Historical Tüshaus Mill


Dorsten has its own airfield. The airfield has a grass strip with a runway of 800 metres and one government-sponsored hangar being used by the local gliding club.

Twin towns - Sister cities

Dorsten is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

Crawley is a town and local government district with Borough status in West Sussex, England. It is south of Charing Cross, north of Brighton and Hove, and northeast of the county town of Chichester, covers an area of and had a population of 99,744 at the time of the 2001 Census.The area has...

 in United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Dormans is a commune in the Marne department in north-eastern France.-Twin towns — Sister cities:Dormans is twinned with: Dorsten, Germany - Further reading :...

 in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Ernée is a commune in the Mayenne department in north-western France.It is named after the River Ernée, which runs through the town and is situated about halfway between the towns of Laval and Fougères...

 in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Hainichen in Germany
Hod HaSharon
Hod HaSharon
Hod HaSharon is a city in the Center District of Israel.Officially declared a city in 1990, Hod HaSharon was created from the union in 1964 of four neighboring villages: Magdiel, Ramatayim, Hadar, and Ramat Hadar...

 in Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

Newtownabbey is a large town north of Belfast in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Sometimes considered to be a suburb of Belfast, it is separated from the rest of the city by Cavehill and Fortwilliam golf course...

 in United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Waslala is a municipality in the Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte department of Nicaragua - it is 71 miles from Matagalpa and 161 miles from Managua....

 in Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

Rybnik is a city in southern Poland, in the Silesian Voivodeship. Rybnik is located close to the border with the Czech Republic and just outside the southern border of the largest urban area in Poland, the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union...

 in Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

(since 15.04.1994)
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