Frankenberg, Hesse
Frankenberg an der Eder is a town in Waldeck-Frankenberg
Waldeck-Frankenberg is a Kreis in the north of Hesse, Germany. Neighbouring districts are Höxter, Kassel, Schwalm-Eder, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Hochsauerland.-History:...

 district in Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

, 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...


The mountain at a ford
Ford (crossing)
A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or in a vehicle. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.The names of many towns...

 over the Eder
The Eder is a 177 km long river in Germany, and a tributary of the Fulda River. It was first mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus as the Adrana in the territory of the Chatti....

 north of the Burgwald range was for a long time a fortified place, playing an especially important rôle under the Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 in the Saxon Wars
Saxon Wars
The Saxon Wars were the campaigns and insurrections of the more than thirty years from 772, when Charlemagne first entered Saxony with the intent to conquer, to 804, when the last rebellion of disaffected tribesmen was crushed. In all, eighteen battles were fought in what is now northwestern Germany...

. The current town was built in 1233-1234 by the Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

n Landgrave and quickly earned economic importance for its location at the junction of two trade routes.

In a fire on 9 May 1476, about which the Frankenberg chronicler Wigand Gerstenberg compiled a detailed description, the town was almost utterly destroyed. Built anew in the 16th century, the town never did recover its former importance.

The downtown core consists of the renovated Old Town and the likewise renovated New Town with many half-timbered
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...



Frankenberg lies between the Burgwald range in the south and the Breite Struth (hills) in the northwest, where the river Nemphe empties into the Eder. North of the town, the Nuhne empties into the same river at the constituent community of Schreufa. It is 27 km north of Marburg
Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...


Neighbouring communities

Frankenberg borders in the north on the community of Vöhl, in the east on the town of Frankenau
-Location:Frankenau lies in the Kellerwald range southwest of the Talgang . It is found on the southern edge of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park on the upper reaches of the Lorfebach, a tributary to the Eder...

, in the southeast on the community of Haina
Haina is a community in Waldeck-Frankenberg in northwest Hesse, Germany.-Location:Haina lies in Waldeck-Frankenberg south of Frankenberg and east of Burgwald at the southwest slope of the Kellerwald range...

, in the southwest on the community of Burgwald
-Location:Burgwald lies east of Battenberg and roughly 30 km north of the university town of Marburg. The community lies on the northwestern edge of the Burgwald range, Hesse's biggest contiguous woodland.-Neighbouring communities:...

, in the west on the community of Allendorf
Allendorf (Eder)
Allendorf is a municipality in Waldeck-Frankenberg in Hesse, Germany.- Location :Allendorf lies in the upper Eder Valley between Frankenberg and Battenberg west of the Burgwald range and east of the Breite Struth ....

, and in the northwest on the town of Lichtenfels
Lichtenfels, Hesse
Lichtenfels is a small town in Waldeck-Frankenberg district in northwest Hesse, Germany.- Location :Lichtenfels lies at the northeast foot of the Rothaargebirge, some southwest of Kassel. It is not far from the western end of the Edersee in the southwest of the Waldecker Land...

 (all in Waldeck-Frankenberg).

Constituent communities

  • Dörnholzhausen, 77 inhabitants
  • Friedrichshausen, 382 inhabitants
  • Geismar, 1102 inhabitants
  • Haubern, 549 inhabitants
  • Hommershausen, 158 inhabitants
  • Rengershausen, 417 inhabitants
  • Röddenau, 1707 inhabitants
  • Rodenbach, 176 inhabitants
  • Schreufa, 1215 inhabitants
  • Viermünden, 872 inhabitants
  • Wangershausen, 210 inhabitants
  • Willersdorf, 627 inhabitants

Population figures as at 2005


At the foot of the mountain on which the town of Frankenberg was built crossed two old military and commercial roads. From the area of the lower Main, from the Burgwald range, came the Weinstraße ("Wine Road"), crossing the Eder through a ford and then going on through the heights on the river's left bank to 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"...

. From the west came the Siegener Straße ("Siegen Road") over the Lahn-Eder watershed
Water divide
A drainage divide, water divide, divide or watershed is the line separating neighbouring drainage basins...

, leading round the mountain to the north and further on into Lower Hesse
Lower Hesse
Lower Hesse a historic designation for an area in northern Hesse, Germany.The term Lower Hesse originated in the Middle Ages for the so-called "lower principality" of Hesse, which was separated until 1450 from the so-called "upper principality" by the area Ziegenhain...


Frankish times

After the Hesse area had been swallowed up into the Frankish domains about the year 500, the well defended mountain became involved in the quarrels of heightened military importance with the Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 who lived north of the Eder. The mountain had already been fortified by the Franks in earlier times. As the number of Saxon incursions nevertheless rose in the early 8th century, Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

 had strong defences built, ensuring their efficacy by maintaining a constant presence there.

These measures served during the Saxon Wars (772 to 804) as the base for Frankish counterattacks far inside the Saxons' territory, earning the Weinstraße new importance as a route of advance, connection and supply. After the Saxons had been subjugated and Christianized
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

, the fortification became redundant. The building works, left as they were to decay, kept alive the memory of the Franks.

Town's founding

Whether the mountain was further used for living is not known with any certainty. There might have been storage and trading places for travellers and merchants who were passing through town. Only in the early decades of the 13th century does history once again shed light on "the Frankenberg". The Thuringian-Hessian Landgraves were trying to forge a connection between their holdings in Upper Hesse and those in Lower Hesse by somehow getting around the County of Ziegenhain
Ziegenhain is a municipality in the district of Altenkirchen, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany....

 that lay between them.

This plan was at odds with what the Archbishops of Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, who were, for their part, also expanding, from the west into the Wohra Valley, had in mind. The Landgrave of Thuringia struck back at the Archbishops decisively. Since the Frankenberg had passed to the Landgraves in 1122 and lay in the Vogtei of the Vögte von Keseberg, he chose, right in the middle of the Mainz county of Battenberg
-Places:* Battenberg, Hesse, a town in Hesse, Germany* Battenberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, a town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany* Battenberg Mausoleum, mausoleum of Prince Alexander of Battenberg in Sofia, Bulgaria...

, on the boundary between the court regions of Röddenau and Geismar, to build a castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

, and furthermore a town, disregarding all of the local lords' objections. On the uppermost peak of the mountain, which fell away steeply on three sides, appeared the castle, commanding the whole middle Eder Valley. Onto this was built a ward, which also enclosed the ecclesiastical area. Right behind this, going by exact plans (as can be seen in the town's layout), the town was built.

The mountain ridge and the mountainside that dropped so sharply off to the north were embraced by the great marketplace
A marketplace is the space, actual, virtual or metaphorical, in which a market operates. The term is also used in a trademark law context to denote the actual consumer environment, ie. the 'real world' in which products and services are provided and consumed.-Marketplaces and street markets:A...

. Splitting the marketplace in two, with the town hall built at its west end, is something that might have been done sometime later.

A further intention can be seen beyond simply making the town into a stronghold. This lay in also giving the town economic strength by using its advantageous location on the trade roads. The new town's people were from the surrounding village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s and hamlets
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

, having been resettled in town or, in some cases, having voluntarily moved there.

In the course of time, 16 former living places around town were forsaken, but many of their names live on in names given fields and meadows. Frankenberg was soon girt by a mighty town wall. Of the 25 towers and gates, only the Hexenturm ("Witches' Tower") still stands today; all five town gates have vanished.


The new community grew quickly, underpinned by a healthy merchant and craftsman class. It was a sign of the growing prosperity that already in 1286, after the church dependence of Geismar had been broken, building work began on the great Marienkirche (Church of Mary) – now known as the Liebfrauenkirche – which was built using the Elisabethkirche in Marburg
Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

 as a model. Frankenberg buyers and sellers broadly fostered trade links, as witnessed not only by the weekly markets, but also by the four yearly fairs. The economic upswing also afforded a quick upward cultural development. Already in the 13th century, Frankenberg had a town school (Lateinschule
Latin school was the grammar school of 14th to 16th century Europe, though the latter term was much more common in England. Emphasis was placed, as the name indicates, on learning to use Latin. The education given at Latin schools gave great emphasis to the complicated grammar of the Latin...

), which reached its greatest heights about 1500. Onto the church, which had been completed in 1353, the Marienkapelle (Mary's Chapel) was built between 1370 and 1380, one of Thyle von Frankenberg's masterworks.

New Town's founding

The steady population growth brought the need for a bigger town, and so, on the Landgrave's initiative, the New Town was established at the foot of the mountain towards the Eder. It rose along the Siegener Straße (a commercial road), even having its own administration, although it was still under the Old Town's church and court, and had no marketplace of its own. Only in 1556 was it united with the Old Town into one municipality.

The Great Fire and its aftermath

On 9 May 1476, a fire broke out that burnt the whole New Town and Old Town down. Even the Liebfrauenkirche was burnt right out. Although the townsfolk promptly tackled the job of building their town over again, Frankenberg, which had hitherto been among Hesse's most important towns, never fully recovered from this catastrophic fire. In 1507, half the New Town burnt down again.

The seat of the Amt
Amt (subnational entity)
Amt is a type of administrative division governing a group of municipalities, today only found in Germany, but formerly also common in northern European countries. Its size and functions differ by country and the term is roughly equivalent to a U.S...

of Frankenberg, which had existed since the 14th century and which included the town areas of Frankenberg and Frankenau as well as half the court region of Geismar, was relocated to the Wolkersdorf Hunting Lodge, itself built on the site of an old moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

-ringed castle. Thus was born the Amt of Wolkersdorf, to which belonged the Röddenau lower courts (with the amalgamated courts of Rengershausen and Bromskirchen) and the Geismar court (the "Ämmetche"). Only in the 16th century was there once again an Amt of Frankenberg under which were united not only the town but also Rodenbach farm and the Wiesenfeld wine cellars. The Amt was united with the Amt of Wolkersdorf in 1604.

Frankenberg in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries

In the 16th century, the town was built anew. Only the Steinhaus ("Stone House") had withstood the fire right up to the roof. Building work on the stately new town hall, which is still the town's landmark today, was begun in 1509. After 1526, as was true throughout Hesse, the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 was introduced into Frankenberg by the preachers Ludwig Stippius and Caspar Tholde. The church reform forced by Landgrave Moritz in 1606 is responsible for destroying the apostle and saint statues in the church and the Marienkapelle. In Plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 years between 1529 and 1611, the University of Marburg
Philipps University of Marburg
The Philipp University of Marburg , was founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse as the world's oldest university dating back to a Protestant foundation...

 five times sought refuge within Frankenberg's walls.

The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 (1618 to 1648) struck the town a heavy blow. Frankenberg's advantageous location at an important crossroads became the town's scourge, as it also did in later wars. Troops from both sides on their way through, and a long occupation by Imperial troops, brought immeasurable harm down on the town. Nearby, on the Totenhöhe ("Dead Man's Heights"), a battle was fought in 1646 between troops from Hesse-Darmstadt
Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was a member state of the Holy Roman Empire. It was formed in 1567 following the division of the Landgraviate of Hesse between the four sons of Philip I, the last Landgrave of Hesse....

 and troops from Hesse-Kassel
The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

 (or Hesse-Cassel), with the latter reinforced by Swedish
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 troops and winning the encounter.

Frankenberg up until the First World War

Under Napoleonic rule (1806 to 1813), Frankenberg was home to the seat of a canton in the department of Werra in the Kingdom of Westphalia
Kingdom of Westphalia
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte...

. In 1821, Frankenberg became district seat (Kreisstadt) of the newly formed district of Frankenberg, consisting of the former Ämter
Amt (subnational entity)
Amt is a type of administrative division governing a group of municipalities, today only found in Germany, but formerly also common in northern European countries. Its size and functions differ by country and the term is roughly equivalent to a U.S...

of Frankenberg, Hessenstein, Rosenthal and Haina, along with the court district of Viermünden. The district council – after 1834 provincial council – had its seat in the St. Georgenberg Monastery. Frankenberg had sunk down from a key town to an unnotable, mean little town. Its economic underpinnings, as had already been so in the Middle Ages
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...

, were the clothiers and the tanners. Whereas by the late 18th century the woolmen's and clothiers' guild had 106 members and the tanners' guild 46, by the middle of the 19th century, membership in the woolmen's and clothiers' guild rose to 140, and red and white tanning blossomed once again. Alongside other guilds, there was also at that time a stocking weavers' and glovers' guild. In the second half of the century, a noticeable downswing set in, which could even be seen in population figures (2,611 in 1787, 3,163 in 1867 and 2,787 in 1894).

From 1590 to 1818, copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 was mined
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 and smelted
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 near Frankenberg. During the 19th century, various attempts were undertaken to get the mining industry running again, but in 1875, it was abandoned for good. Sights between Frankenberg and Geismar still bear witness today to the mining in days of yore, as do some placenames such as "Alte Hütte" ("Old Ironworks"), "Neue Hütte" ("New Ironworks") and "Zechenhaus" ("Colliery House").

Only when the railway reached Frankenberg did a new economic upswing, albeit a modest one, come to the town. In 1890, the Marburg-Frankenberg line was opened, and the Brothers Thonet
Michael Thonet
Michael Thonet was a German-Austrian cabinet maker.Thonet was the son of master tanner Franz Anton Thonet of Boppard. Following a carpenter's apprenticeship, Thonet set himself up as an independent cabinetmaker in 1819. A year later, he married Anna Grahs, with whom he had seven sons and six...

 from Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 furthermore set up a chair-making factory near the railway station making use of the wealth of wood in the area. Ten years later, the line was extended through Korbach
Korbach is the district seat of Waldeck-Frankenberg in northern Hesse, Germany. It is over a thousand years old and a former Hanseatic town. It is located on the German Framework Road.- Geography and geology :...

 to Warburg
Warburg is a town in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia on the river Diemel near the three-state point shared by Hessen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is in Höxter district and Detmold region...

, making connections to Westphalia. In 1908, the stretch of line to Bestwig
Bestwig is a municipality in the Hochsauerland district, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Bestwig is situated on the river Ruhr, approx...

 was completed, and in 1910, so was the one to Berleburg.

The town's water supply originally came through public and private wells
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

. After the Great Fire of 1476, this was supplemented in 1502 by building the waterworks
WaterWorks is a water park owned by Cedar Fair, located at the back of Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia. When it debuted in 1992, it was originally named Hurricane Reef...

 in Niedermühle whereby Eder water, driven by a waterwheel in the Eder, was fed into the Old Town and distributed to various cisterns. In 1899, a public waterworks was built. Instead of using the Eder's water, however, the new waterworks used springwater from the pond lands in Teichmühle driven by water power from the Nemphe, and also by motor power, into a tank high up the Burgberg, whence it was piped to individual houses.

In 1913, the Gernshäuser Springs came along whose water still runs down the slopes even today into the lower town. In 1903, in the municipal building "Niedermühle", a turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...

 was built that was driven by Eder water. With this turbine and a naturally aspirated gas engine (60 horsepower
Horsepower is the name of several units of measurement of power. The most common definitions equal between 735.5 and 750 watts.Horsepower was originally defined to compare the output of steam engines with the power of draft horses in continuous operation. The unit was widely adopted to measure the...

), direct current
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 was generated for Frankenberg's first electric light. As part of the electrification of North Hesse, alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 power supplies were ensured with PreussenElektra
PreussenElektra was a German electric company that existed from 1927 to 2000. From its founding until around 1970, it was owned by the Republic of Prussia and the Federal Republic of Germany...

's overland cables in 1921.

In 1871, a land survey of the Frankenberg municipal area was done. Land acquisitions were undertaken in the 1890s and were completed by 1904. The economic upswing before the First World War was expressed in population figures that were rising again. In 1908, 3,314 people lived in Frankenberg. The town now began to expand beyond its limits, which had been in place since its founding, marked by the town wall. In 1890, the railway station, the Thonet chair factory
Gebrüder Thonet
Gebrüder Thonet is a European furniture manufacturer based in the German town of Frankenberg, Hesse. It was founded by Michael Thonet. It merged with Mundus in 1922....

 and soon afterwards the new post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

 were built behind the provincial council office. In 1900, the savings bank
Savings bank
A savings bank is a financial institution whose primary purpose is accepting savings deposits. It may also perform some other functions.In Europe, savings banks originated in the 19th or sometimes even the 18th century. Their original objective was to provide easily accessible savings products to...

 building went up before the Geismarer Tor ("Geismar Gate"). Following this were the Amt court in 1903 and the teachers' college with a drill school in 1905. The building nowadays houses the Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 (Edertalschule). In 1913, the town school (Ortenberg-Schule) came into being. In 1905, before the Linnertor (gate), the Jewish school was built.

An economic and cultural stagnation was brought upon Frankenberg by the First World War. During the Second World War, too, there were very few meaningful changes in town, other than a few new houses in Ederdorf and a few building renovations and expansions in the main town. Even a town expansion of 144 ha east of the cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

, as recommended in 1914 in a report about the Gau of Frankenberg by the Research Body for German Housing Business (Forschungsstätte für die Deutsche Siedlungsgesellschaft) at the Reichsherrnstättenamt, was never undertaken.

Weimar Republic and Third Reich

Only slowly did Frankenberg recover from the First World War's consequences. As the money lost its worth and the attendant economic downfall set in, there came a new wave of emigration from the town, especially overseas. In 1922, the town got its own Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

, as of 1925 named the Edertalschule (Eder Valley School). When the inflation ended in autumn of 1923, bringing with it an upswing in the economy, this was expressed in, among other ways, the Stoelcker chair factory setting up shop in town in 1925. The upswing, however, did not last long. The world economic crisis struck the structurally weak and highly indebted town hard. In the face of rising joblessness and social need, the NSDAP
National Socialist German Workers Party
The National Socialist German Workers' Party , commonly known in English as the Nazi Party, was a political party in Germany between 1920 and 1945. Its predecessor, the German Workers' Party , existed from 1919 to 1920...

's propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 was finding fertile ground here, as it was throughout the district, by the end of the 1920s, which was reflected in election results. After Hitler seized power
Machtergreifung is a German word meaning "seizure of power". It is normally used specifically to refer to the Nazi takeover of power in the democratic Weimar Republic on 30 January 1933, the day Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany, turning it into the Nazi German dictatorship.-Term:The...

 in January 1933, Frankenberg town council gave several places new names: the Steingasse ("Stone Lane") became Adolf-Hitler-Straße, Röddenauer Straße became Hermann-Göring-Straße, and the Untermarkt ("Lower Market") became Hindenburg-Platz, and the people, above all the youth, were infected with the Nazi ideology.

Worst affected by all this were Frankenberg's Jewish townsfolk, who, already having had to deal with discrimination and harassment for a long time, were systematically persecuted, stripped of their rights, and in the end, murdered. Luckily, most of the town's Jews had managed to get out of Germany early enough. Those who stayed behind because they either had no money or kin living abroad or trusted that nothing would happen to them, had all been deported to the death camps
Extermination camps in the Holocaust
Extermination camps were camps built by Nazi Germany during the Second World War to systematically kill millions by gassing and extreme work under starvation conditions. While there were victims from many groups, Jews were the main targets. This genocide of the Jewish people was the Third...

 by 1942. At least eight Jews from Frankenberg and three from the outlying centre of Röddenau lost their lives to the Nazis' racial madness. Since 1988, a memorial plaque at the town hall has recalled Frankenberg's Jewish community and Holocaust victims.

During the Second World War, Frankenberg was spared for the most part any direct exposure to military action. There were, however, two air-raids in March 1945 on the railway station in which more than 90 people lost their lives. In August 1944, a Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 field hospital was moved from Grodno
Grodno or Hrodna , is a city in Belarus. It is located on the Neman River , close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania . It has 327,540 inhabitants...

 to Frankenberg and housed at the town's two schools and at the Amt court. When the Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 came marching in on 29 March 1945, they met no resistance whatsoever. Two hundred and eighty-five men from Frankenberg never came home from the war.

Frankenberg after the Second World War

With the stream of refugees after the Second World War, Frankenberg's population rose sharply by two thousand, requiring that the town's building area be expanded.

Already before currency reform in 1948, the Frankenberg district had begun building the district hospital on the Goßberg, to which a nursing school
Nursing school
A nursing school is a type of educational institution, or part thereof, providing education and training to become a fully qualified nurse. The nature of nursing education and nursing qualifications varies considerably across the world.-United Kingdom:...

 and nurses' residence were added in the early 1970s. In 1975, the hospital was expanded and has since then become a modern Hessenklinik ("Hesse Clinic").

Since 1962, Frankenberg has been a garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

 town. In 1962-1963, the problem of sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

 disposal was solved by building a sewage treatment plant
Sewage treatment
Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

, which was expanded in 1978. The rising demand for water was satisfied by boring deep wells and building both elevated water tanks and pumping works. Also rising was demand for electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

 and this was satisfied by building new 20 kV loop line and new transformer stations
Electrical substation
A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions...

. The existing schools (Ortenbergschule, Edertalschule, Burgwaldschule) were expanded into modern schools and in Wermersdorf, the Wigand-Gerstenberg-Schule (named after the chronicler) was newly built. The district vocational school, which had been housed in the barracks at the sporting ground on the Eder since 1950, was newly built in the early 1960s on Marburger Straße and expanded into an effective vocational education centre with a vocational technical school and upper school for engineering. Near Geismarer Straße, the Friedrich-Trost-Schule (school for students with learning disabilities
Learning disability
Learning disability is a classification including several disorders in which a person has difficulty learning in a typical manner, usually caused by an unknown factor or factors...

) was built. From it grew in the early 1980s the Kegelberg-Schule (school for educables). Late in the 1970s, there came into being on the Kegelberg a workshop for those with handicaps and an integrative kindergarten sponsored by the Lebenshilfe-Werk ("Assisted Daily Living Works")

On the floodplain
A floodplain, or flood plain, is a flat or nearly flat land adjacent a stream or river that stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls and experiences flooding during periods of high discharge...

 in the 1960s an industrial park
Industrial park
An industrial park is an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development...

 opened up – and has been expanded – in which a few sizeable new businesses have been able to establish themselves, strengthening Frankenberg's economic power and improving its economic structure. Also built on the floodplain was a new emergency management
Emergency management
Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

 centre that houses all institutions involved in protection against catastrophes, such as the fire brigade – local and from farther afield – emergency management, Technisches Hilfswerk
Technisches Hilfswerk
The Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk is a civil protection organisation controlled by the German federal government...

and the German Red Cross
German Red Cross
The German Red Cross , or the DRK, is the national Red Cross Society in Germany.With over 4.5 million members, it is the third largest Red Cross society in the world. The German Red Cross offers a wide range of services within and outside Germany...


In 1967 a new indoor swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

 was built right near the parklands on Teichweg and in 1972, an outdoor swimming pool with a miniature golf
Miniature golf
Miniature golf, or minigolf, is a miniature version of the sport of golf. While the international sports organization World Minigolf Sport Federation prefers to use the name "minigolf", the general public in different countries has also many other names for the game: miniature golf, mini-golf,...

 course was built onto it. As part of municipal reforms in 1970 and 1971, 12 villages voluntarily joined the town of Frankenberg, thereby enlarging the town's municipal area from 2 736 ha to 12 518 ha and increasing the population from 9,397 to 15,263. In 1974, owing to the realignment of municipalities in Hesse, Frankenberg, which had been a district seat, had to give this status up to Korbach; on 1 January 1974, Korbach became the district seat of the new district of Waldeck-Frankenberg, created through a merger of the former districts of Frankenberg and Waldeck.

The postal service
Deutsche Bundespost
The Deutsche Bundespost was created in 1947 as a successor to the Reichspost . Between 1947 and 1950 the enterprise was called Deutsche Post...

 built a new post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

 in the 1970s on Sudetenstraße and a telecommunications office on Marburger Straße with a transmission tower, whose height rivalled the Liebfrauenkirche tower's.

The Ederberglandhalle, finished in time for the Hessentag (yearly state fair in Hesse, held in a different town every year) in 1989, is today the hub of the town's cultural life.

The greatest influence on Frankenberg's development came from the town renovation plans, initiated by town council's decision on 10 August 1967, for the Old Town and New Town centres (16 ha and 8 ha respectively). Remodelling the Old Town and New Town by building parking garages
Multi-storey car park
A multi-storey car-park is a building designed specifically to be for car parking and where there are a number of floors or levels on which parking takes place...

 and pedestrian precincts changed the shape of the town core, but not always to its advantage. One hundred half-timbered
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...

 buildings were torn down as part of this renovation and were replaced by new buildings that were not always agreeable. The remodelling did, however, contribute to improving the town's economic situation considerably. Frankenberg has become a shopping town, inviting people to take a walk and visit the Old Town and New Town.

History of the civic coat of arms

Frankenberg's civic coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 might heraldically be described thus: In azure a three-knolled hill Or above which a lion rampant gules with four bars argent armed and crowned Or and langued gules.

The town's current coat of arms dates back to a small town seal on a document from the St. Georgenberg Monastery dated 2 July 1325 (first occurrence). The seal shows roughly the same as what the current coat of arms shows, except that the lion of Hesse had a double tail. Already in the 14th century, this seal design was being used as a coat of arms and a banner. The local lore has it that the three-knolled hill (called a Dreiberg in German heraldry) refers to the Burgberg, the Goßberg and the Hinstürz, three local peaks.

In 1644, the town of Frankenberg had two small town seals of different sizes made that each show the crowned lion rising out of the three-knolled hill. These still exist today.

On 19 December 1985, the town council finalized a new charter that said in its first section (§1) – as before – the following:
  • As a coat of arms, the town of Frankenberg bears a red-white striped, golden-crowned lion rising out of a three-knolled hill in a blue field.
  • The town colours are blue-white.
  • The official flag shows the civic coat of arms in the middle of the lengthwise-striped blue-white bunting.
  • As a seal, the illustration of the town of Frankenberg (Eder) with wall, gate and five towers is borne.

That last point refers to a town seal first known to have been used on a document from the St. Georgenberg Monastery dated 11 October 1249.

Further reading

  • Hans Joachim von Brockhusen: Die Hoheitszeichen der Stadt Frankenberg. – In: Heimatkalender für den Kreis Frankenberg-Eder, 1950, S. 53-56.
  • Heinz Brandt: Siegel und Wappen der Stadt Frankenberg. Stadttor, Mauer und Löwe. – In: Unser Frankenberger Land 16, 1990, Nr. 9 vom 3. November 1990.
  • Jürgen Römer: Die Stadt Frankenberg an der Eder (DKV-Kunstführer, Nr. 538). München/Berlin 1999


  • Liebfrauenkirche – (1286 to 1380), a Gothic
    Gothic architecture
    Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

     building in the style of Marburg
    Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

    's Elisabethkirche
    Elisabeth Church (Marburg)
    St. Elisabeth's Church is a religious building in Marburg, Germany, built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in honour of Elisabeth of Hungary...

    ), which was utterly burnt out in the Great Fire of 1476.
  • Former hospital church – Built 1513-15. This church has one nave and a wooden vault from 1865. Inside is a pulpit from the 17th century.
  • Former St. Georgenberg Monastery – (several building phases from 1249 to the 17th century) Today the former Cistercian Monastery houses, among other things, the district local history museum.
  • The 10-towered town hall (1509) – Between the Upper and Lower Markets. The first town hall was torn down in 1421 to make way for the forerunner to today's town hall. This second town hall already had ten towers representing the ten guilds in the town. The current building is a reconstruction of that second town hall, which burnt down in the Great Fire of 1476.
  • Steinhaus ("Stone House") – Pferdemarkt 20. Built about 1240, it is likely the town's oldest secular building, having come out of the Great Fire of 1476 unscathed. During renovation work (1975–77), the inside was thoroughly gutted and the Gothic stepped gable was rebuilt according to comparable models elsewhere. Inside, the remains of a great kitchen hearth have been preserved.
  • Residential buildings – Thanks to renovations since the 1970s, hardly any closed streetscapes have been kept. Especially fine is the group of buildings at Pferdemarkt 10-16. Parts of them, however, were drastically renovated between 1979 and 1986. Individually, several others are worth mentioning:
    • Geismarer Straße 3 – Half-timbered building from the 16th century with mediaeval stonework.
    • Neue Gasse 5 – Half-timbered building from about 1500, restored 1978-1979.
    • Neustädter Straße 35 – Three-storey house with gable facing the street from 17th century with corner oriel
      An oriel window is a type of bay window which projects from a wall.Oriel may also refer to:Places in the United Kingdom:*Oriel College, Oxford*Oriel Street, Oxford*Oriel Square, Oxford*Oriel Chambers, LiverpoolPlaces in Ireland:...

      , restored 1977. The basement has been destroyed by storage fixtures.
    • Steingasse 1 (Herboldsches Haus) – Three-storey building with corner oriel. The eaves on the right side is fouled considerably by newer building work.
    • Steingasse 17 – One of the town's oldest half-timbered buildings. Restored 1983.
    • Ritterstraße 6-8 – built about 1520.
  • Altes Brauhaus ("Old Brewhouse") – Massive two-storey house with eaves facing the street with pointed-arch driveway, supposedly built in 1538. The building has since been torn down behind its façade and has been incorporated into the hotel
    A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

     complex next door.
  • Former Girls' School – Two-storey half-timbered building from 1769 with half-hipped roof.
  • Hexenturm ("Witches' Tower") from the 13th century with its 3 m-thick walls.
  • Remains of the Franks' defensive works from about 520.


  • Dampfmaschinenmuseum ("Steam Engine Museum"), with the biggest steam engine
    Steam engine
    A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

     of its kind in Germany, with artistic and theatrical performances.
  • "Haus am Geismarer Tor" ("House at the Geismar Gate"), changing exhibitions of Kunsttreff Frankenberg.
  • Thonet-Museum, an internationally noteworthy furniture
    Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

     museum with the world-famous Thonet coffee house chairs.
  • Kreisheimatmuseum ("district local history museum") in the St. Georgenberg Monastery.


The economy is divided evenly over various fields, thus contributing to a very good regional labour situation. Established in Frankenberg are, among others, the famous furniture factory of the Brothers Thonet, a plant belonging to the injection moulding
Injection moulding
Injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts from both thermoplastic and thermosetting plastic materials. Material is fed into a heated barrel, mixed, and forced into a mold cavity where it cools and hardens to the configuration of the cavity...

 firm Hettich and the Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

's Electronic Warfare
Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

 Battalion (Bataillon Elektronische Kampfführung) 932. The biggest employer in the area is the heating technology manufacturer Viessmann
The Viessmann Group is an international heating systems manufacturer headquartered in Allendorf , Germany. The group controlls 23 production and project management divisions in 11 countries, its products are available in 74 countries, owns 32 subsidiaries and 120 sales offices around the world...

 in Allendorf
Allendorf (Eder)
Allendorf is a municipality in Waldeck-Frankenberg in Hesse, Germany.- Location :Allendorf lies in the upper Eder Valley between Frankenberg and Battenberg west of the Burgwald range and east of the Breite Struth ....


For the last 25 years, one technological focus has been formed by plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s technology. Frankenberg has in Ewikon and Günther two worldwide leaders among companies in so-called hotrunner technology. Likewise important to the economy is Finger Fertighaus, a prefabricated housing company.

Many administrative bodies have their offices in Frankenberg, which was the district seat until 1973.

Since 2005, Frankenberg has been the seat of a professional academy, BA-Nordhessen, which offers systems engineering
Systems engineering
Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field of engineering that focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed over the life cycle of the project. Issues such as logistics, the coordination of different teams, and automatic control of machinery become more...

 as its course of study.

Model Hessian Municipality

Since November 2005, Frankenberg has been a "Model Hessian Municipality", the "Family town with future". This ten-year programme seeks to choose two midsize towns in Hesse, and Frankenberg was chosen from a field of 33 candidates. The other town has not been chosen yet.

With the "Family town with future" model project, the state of Hesse would like to test whether, and if so with what success, municipal measures can have a positive influence on demographic development. As part of the scientifically conducted experiment, the town gets up to €5,000,000, spread out over the experiment's running time, to carry out the municipal measures in question. The focus of the Frankenberg experiment will be measures aimed at making family life and work life compatible (the so-called work-life balance).

Regular festivals

  • "Nightgroove", the pub festival
  • Maistadtfest (May Town Festival)
  • Pfingstmarkt (Whitsun Market)
  • Lichterfest & Bütower Treffen (Light Festival & Bütow Meeting)
  • Beach-Cup auf dem Obermarkt
  • Rolling Oldies
  • Herbststadtfest (Autumn Town Festival)
  • Halloween-Shopping


  • Tyle von Frankenberg, building master and sculptor in stone, (14th century)
  • Wigand Gerstenberg, chronicler (1457–1522), compiled the "Stadtchronik für Frankenberg bis 1525" ("Town chronicle for Frankenberg to 1525")
  • Philipp Soldan, sculptor, carver, building master and painter, (1500–1570)
  • Georg Thonet, entrepreneur, great-grandson of Michael Thonet
    Michael Thonet
    Michael Thonet was a German-Austrian cabinet maker.Thonet was the son of master tanner Franz Anton Thonet of Boppard. Following a carpenter's apprenticeship, Thonet set himself up as an independent cabinetmaker in 1819. A year later, he married Anna Grahs, with whom he had seven sons and six...

    , built the Thonet firm back up after the Second World War and won it international fame, especially with Bauhaus
    ', commonly known simply as Bauhaus, was a school in Germany that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. It operated from 1919 to 1933. At that time the German term stood for "School of Building".The Bauhaus school was founded by...

     steel-pipe furniture. (1909–2005)
  • Ansgar Nierhoff, sculptor and artist, grew up in Frankenberg
  • Christiane Kohl, journalist (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and writer ("Der Jude und das Mädchen" – "The Jew and the Girl")
  • Friedhelm König, Evangelistic writer, spent a great deal of his life in Frankenberg and is cofounder of the Frankenberger Handelsschule.

in 1994 the town conducted an international artist workshop for two months which was called' stele mensch and the sculptures mace during these worlshop were installed in different parts of the town.

Partner towns

Brou, 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...

Frankenberg, Saxony
Frankenberg is a town in the district of Mittelsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Zschopau, northeast of Chemnitz.It was the site of the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenburg....

, Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....

Manningtree is a town and civil parish in the Tendring district of Essex, England, which lies on the River Stour. It adjoins built-up areas of Lawford to the west and Mistley to the east and the three parishes together are sometimes referred to as "Manningtree".Manningtree is a claimant for the...

, Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, 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...

 Seekirchen am Wallersee
Seekirchen am Wallersee
Seekirchen am Wallersee is a town in the district of Salzburg-Umgebung in the state of Salzburg in Austria.-History:The territory was settled 5,000 years ago and is the oldest Austrian settlement that still exists today...

, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

Bytów is a town in the Middle Pomerania region of northern Poland in the Bytów Lakeland with 16,888 inhabitants . Previously in Słupsk Voivodeship , it is the capital of Bytów County in Pomeranian Voivodeship .-History:...

, 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...

(adoptive town)

External links

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