Hechingen is a town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in central Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, 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...

. It is situated about 60 kilometres (37.3 mi) south of the state capital of Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 and 90 kilometres (55.9 mi) north of Lake Constance
Lake Constance
Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee , the Untersee , and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein.The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps...

 and the Swiss
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....


City districts

The city of Hechingen is subdivided into nine neighborhoods, and the downtown is separated into Oberstadt/Altstadt (Upper Town/Old Town) and Unterstadt (Lower Town).

Surrounding region

Other cities in the area include Bodelshausen
Bodelshausen is a municipality in the district of Tübingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.- Geographical Area :Bodelshausen is situated southern of the Rammert forest near the town of Hechingen.- Neighboring municipalities and towns :...

, Mössingen, Jungingen
Jungingen is a village in the Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located nearby the castle Burg Hohenzollern, about 5 km east of Hechingen....

, Bisingen
Bisingen is a municipality in the Zollernalbkreis district, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.- References :...

, Grosselfingen
Grosselfingen is a town in the Zollernalbkreis district, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.- References :Grosselfingen gained recognition when fellow townsman Christov Grosselfinger left in pursuit to fulfill his dream as a dancer on Broadway in New York City...

, Rangendingen
Rangendingen is a town in the Zollernalbkreis district, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.- References :...

, and Hirrlingen
Hirlingen is a municipality in the district of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg in Germany....


Middle Ages

Hechingen is the ancestral home of the Hohenzollern
House of Hohenzollern
The House of Hohenzollern is a noble family and royal dynasty of electors, kings and emperors of Prussia, Germany and Romania. It originated in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century. They took their name from their ancestral home, the Burg Hohenzollern castle near...

. In 1176 the Counts of Hohenberg
Counts of Hohenberg (Swabia)
The Counts of Hohenberg were an ancient swabian dynasty in the southwest of the present-day Germany, in the State of Baden-Württemberg. In the 13th century the dynasty of Hohenberg was one of the most prominent lineages in Southwestern Germany. In 1381 however, Rudolf III...

 separated from the Counts of Hohenzollern and seized several cities from the Hohenzollern. In 1218 the Burgraves of Nuremberg gained independence from them.

The city was founded in 1255 by the Counts of Hohenzollern as their new capital city. The Hohenzollern had great land holdings near Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 and in the Alb-Donau-Kreis during this time.

Hechingen was located on an Imperial highway which led from the middle Neckar
The Neckar is a long river, mainly flowing through the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, but also a short section through Hesse, in Germany. The Neckar is a major right tributary of the River Rhine...

 south by way of Rottweil
Rottweil is a town in the south west of Germany and is the oldest town in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.Located between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb hills, Rottweil has about 25,000 inhabitants...

 to the upper Rhine and the Alpine
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 passes. The Counts of Hohenzollern had financial problems and grew steadily weaker. In 1388, there was a siege, following which Eberhard II, Duke of Württemberg
Eberhard II, Duke of Württemberg
Eberhard VI/II was count of Württemberg-Stuttgart since 1480 as Eberhard VI and Duke Eberhard II of Württemberg since 1496....

 gained feudal rights over the territory. The Counts of Hohenzollern became his vassals and opened the town and their castle to him.

After the town was destroyed by fire in 1401, the Count tried to attract new citizens by granting them rights and privileges. The town thus became the center of the county. The cost of rebuilding was so great that Friedrich XII of Hohenzollern, known as der Öttinger, sold his entire fortune to Württemberg in 1415. Even this was not enough to satisfy his creditors. The Imperial court in Rottweil condemned him. Although his cousins in Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

 attempted arbitration for him, Henriette, Countess of Montbéliard
Henriette, Countess of Montbéliard
Henriette was the daughter of Henry of Orbe , and the heiress of her grandfather, Stephen, Count of Montbéliard. Her great-grandfather was Henry I of Montbéliard. She married Eberhard IV, Count of Württemberg and governed the city of Montbéliard together with her husband.It was because of the...

, Duchess of Württemberg, took the castle in 1423 and destroyed it. After he was freed from prison, Friedrich undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. His brother, Eitel Friedrich IV of Hohenzollern, also pledged his allegiance to Württemberg, turning over his inheritance if he did not have an heir. However, in 1433 at age 50, he had a son, Jos Niklaus, and by his death in 1439 he had regained half of their land.

His son, Count Jos Niklaus of Hohenzollern was able to gain Imperial permission to rebuild the castle, as well as to nullify the agreement with Württemberg. Thus, the city of Hechingen remained in the hands of the Hohenzollern. As a result, the city remained more provincial, and largely agricultural.

Renaissance and Reformation

In 1567, the county was divided in three and became the counties of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and Hohenzollern-Haigerloch. (The latter was rejoined to Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1634.) Hechingen became the residence of the counts of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. Their territory, which consisted of Hechingen and 26 villages, did not change substantially until the 19th century.

Eitel Friedrich IV (1576-1605) made Hechingen a center of art, music, and Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 architecture. Many buildings built during his reign are still to be seen today: the convent church St. Luzen, the hospital, and the lower tower, the last remnant of the city defenses. the Renaissance palace that he built, the Friedrichsburg, was removed at the beginning of the 19th century and replaced by the New Palace.

During the Reformation, Hechingen remained Catholic, but the city was not unaffected by the 30 Years' War. In 1625, Imperial troops reached Hechingen, and the prince (the count had been raised to that status in 1623) bore the cost of supporting them. These costs, along with plundering by the soldiers and several poor harvests, caused great suffering and many deaths in the city.

In 1632, the Swedish army attacked, and the following year the entire Swedish army entered the city. The castle remained in the hands of the Hohenzollerns, and the troops marched on to Sigmaringen
Sigmaringen is a town in southern Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Situated on the upper Danube, it is the capital of the Sigmaringen district....

, which fell into the hands of Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg
Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg
Eberhard III, Duke of Württemberg ruled as Duke of Württemberg from 1628 until his death in 1674....

 (1614-1674) in 1633. Finally, on 5 July 1633, the city fell into the hands of the Württembergs, and the castle was besieged. The siege lasted nine months, the castle receiving food from the local farmers through underground passages and paying for it with precious objects from the castle, since there was no money available.

On 3 April 1634, the castle surrendered to the Württembergs, which only made things worse. The soldiers stole everything they could get their hands on, and the farmers no longer had any animals to plow their fields.

A short time later, Imperial troops reached the city, forcing the Württemberg troops to withdraw, but the Imperial troops were weakened by the long war and could not enforce the peace. The next year, 1635, saw the outbreak of the Plague, which decimated the already weakened population.

In the same year, the castle fell into the hands of Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria
Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria
Maximilian I, Duke/Elector of Bavaria , called "the Great", was a Wittelsbach ruler of Bavaria and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. His reign was marked by the Thirty Years' War ....

 (1573–1651) until 1637, when Hohenzollern rule was restored.

The troops of Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, who was allied with the French, plundered the city completely in 1638 in 12 days. The residents were reduced to eating nettles and snails, since there were not even any cats or dogs left.

In 1639, the city was again occupied by the Bavarians until 1650. Although the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

 was signed in 1648, the troops remained two years longer because the outstanding taxes had not been paid.


The architecture of the city was greatly influenced by the architect Pierre Michel d'Ixnard, who was a predecessor of Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

 in southern Germany.

Nineteenth century

The princes of Hohenzollern maintained good relations with Napoleon, and the last reigning prince, Constantine, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Constantine, Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen
Prince Friedrich Wilhelm Konstantin Hermann Thassilo of Hohenzollern-Hechingen was the last Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen...

 married Eugénie de Beauharnais
Eugénie de Beauharnais
Eugénie Hortense Auguste Napoléone, known as Eugénie de Beauharnais, princess of Leuchtenberg was a Franco-German princess. She was the second daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais and Princess Augusta of Bavaria, and a member of the house of Beauharnais...


The first large palace in the city was Friedrichsburg. The construction of a new palace—Neues Schloss—to replace it was started in 1818, but it was never properly finished because of the financial constraints of Prince Frederik. Neues Schloss is currently the headquarters of the Zollernalb Savings Bank.

Starting in 1826, Constantine and Eugénie made Hechingen into a cultural center in southern Germany. They had famous guests, including Eugénie's cousin, the future Napoleon III, Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

, and Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...


After the Revolution of 1848, Constantine retired from public life, and his county passed into the control of the protestant kingdom of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 in 1850. Hohenzollern-Hechingen was then incorporated into the district of Sigmaringen
Sigmaringen is a town in southern Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Situated on the upper Danube, it is the capital of the Sigmaringen district....

, which became the capital. In that same year, Friedrich August Stüler
Friedrich August Stüler
Friedrich August Stüler was an influential Prussian architect and builder. His masterwork is the Neues Museum in Berlin, as well as the dome of the triumphal arch of the main portal of the Berliner Stadtschloss.-Life:...

 began the restoration of the castle.

By 1850, Hechingen had started to industrialize, primarily with Jewish enterprises. By 1871 the city had become one of the most important economic centres in the region, with textiles and machine shops among the major industries.

Twentieth century

In 1925, Hechingen became the capital of a new Landkreis.

Because many of the enterprises in Hechingen were in Jewish hands, they were closed or redistributed by the Nazis. Much of the architecture of the city was destroyed or damaged by Nazi attempts to build air raid shelters in public buildings. The town hall was so damaged that it had to be destroyed.

Many industries, including DEHOMAG
Dehomag was a German subsidiary of IBM with monopoly in the German market before and during World War II. The word was an acronym for Deutsche Hollerith-Maschinen Gesellschaft mbH . Hollerith refers to the German-American inventor of the technology of punched cards, Herman Hollerith.Under Nazi...

, a predecessor of IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

, were relocated to Hechingen from damaged areas of Germany, such as Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. Parts of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society were also relocated there.

In April 1945, American troops entered Hechingen and took over the laboratory and reactor. Many of the physicists were interned in Farm Hall in England and tried over the following months.

The city became part of the French occupation zone, and the military governor of the city was Colonel Courtois.

The Landkreis became part of Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern was a historical state of West Germany. It was created in 1945 as part of the French occupation zone. Its capital was Tübingen...

 in 1947 until the creation of the state of Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 in 1952. In 1973, it was incorporated into the Zollernalbkreis
The Zollernalbkreis is a district in the middle of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The district is located in the Swabian Alb, and contains the second highest elevation of this mountains, the 1011 meter high Oberhohenberg...

, with Balingen
Balingen is a town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, capital of the district of Zollernalbkreis. It is located nearby the Swabian Alb, approx. 35 km to the south of Tübingen, 35 km northeast of Villingen-Schwenningen, and 60 km southwest of Stuttgart.It is home to the Bizerba and Ideal...

 as the capital.

Hechingen has completely restored its nineteenth-century synagogue.


The city of Hechingen has been an important economic center for the region for over a century. In 1848 the first major enterprises were founded by notable Jewish residents. People from Mössingen
Mössingen is a town in the district of Tübingen, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated north of the Swabian Alb, about 13 km south of Tübingen....

, Sonnenbühl
Sonnenbühl is a municipality in the district of Reutlingen, state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany....

, Albstadt
Albstadt is a city in the district of Zollernalbkreis in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located on the Swabian Alb mountains, about halfway between Stuttgart and Lake Constance...

, and the Swabian Alps came to work. After the Second World War, IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

, and HP applied for building permits, which the city government denied. IBM and HP later built facilities in Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen is a German town near Stuttgart at the headwaters of the Schwippe that is the site of a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.-History:* 1155 First documented mention of Sindelfingen...

Böblingen is a town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, seat of Böblingen District. Physically Sindelfingen and Böblingen are continuous.-History:Böblingen was founded by Count Wilhelm von Tübingen-Böblingen in 1253. Württemberg acquired the town in 1357, and on 12 May 1525 one of the bloodiest battles...


Notable enterprises which have plants in Hechingen are Gambro
Gambro is a global medical technology companythat manufactures products for Dialysis treatment.The company is a global leader in developing, manufacturing andsupplying products and therapies for Kidneyand Liver Dialysis, Myeloma Kidney Therapy, and other...

, ELCO, the Hohenzollerische Landesbahn, and Sternenbäck. The city has a big industrial park in the north, which is divided in three areas: Lotzenäcker, Etzental, and Nasswasen. Three other industrial areas can be found in Hechingen: Reinetal, In den Seelenäckern and Auf der Bins.


The mayor of Hechingen is Jürgen Weber. He was elected to be mayor until October 2012. Former mayors of Hechingen include:
  • 1798–1822 Friedrich Johann Neyer
  • 1822–1823 Karl von Paur
  • 1823–1830 Gustav Freiherr Frank von Fürstenwerth
  • 1830–1831 Johann Nepomuk von Giegling
  • 1831–1833 Friedrich Milden
  • 1833–1834 Anton Strässle
  • 1834–1839 Anton Speidel
  • 1839–1846 Joseph Stehle
  • 1846–1848 Xaver Dieringer
  • 1848–1859 Gustav Ruff, Stadtschultheiß
  • 1859–1891 Carl Baur, Stadtschultheiß
  • 1892–1908 Konrad Mayer, Stadtschultheiß (Mayor since 1901)
  • 1908–1926 Anton Häussler
  • 1929–1945 Paul Bindereif
  • 1946–1948 August Pretzl
  • 1948–1967 Paul Bindereif
  • 1967–1995 Norbert Roth (CDU)
  • Since 1995 Jürgen Weber (FWV)

  • Partner cities

    Joué-lès-Tours is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France.It is the largest suburb of the city of Tours, and is adjacent to it on the southwest....

    , 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...

    , since 1973 Limbach-Oberfronhna, Germany, since 1990 Hódmezővásárhely
    Hódmezővásárhely , Romanian: Ioneşti) is a city in south-east Hungary, on the Great Hungarian Plain, at the meeting point of the Békés-Csanádi Ridge and the clay grassland surrounding the river Tisza...

    , Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

    , since 1994

    Notable residents

    • Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
      Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
      Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben , also referred to as the Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian-born military officer who served as inspector general and Major General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War...

       (1730–1797), Prussian military officer
    • Karoline Kaulla
      Karoline Kaulla
      Karoline Kaulla , but known foremost under the name Madame Kaulla) or "Kiefe" Auerbacher, born 1739 in Buchau am Federsee, died March 18, 1809 in Hechingen, was one of the greatest Court Jews of her time, and was reputed to have been the richest woman in Germany.Her father, Isaak Raphael, was a...

       (1739–1809), Court Jew
    • Samuel Ullman
      Samuel Ullman
      Samuel Ullman was an American businessman, poet, humanitarian. He is best known today for his poem Youth which was a favorite of General Douglas MacArthur. The poem was on the wall of his office in Tokyo when he became Supreme Allied Commander in Japan...

       (1840–1924), poet
    • Elsa Einstein (1876–1936), cousin and wife of Albert Einstein
      Albert Einstein
      Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

    • Wilhelm von Preußen, last German Crown Prince
    • Paul Levi
      Paul Levi
      Paul Levi was a German Jewish Communist political leader. He was the head of the Communist Party of Germany following the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in 1919.-Early years:...

       (1883–1930), communist leader
    • Friedrich Kessler
      Friedrich Kessler
      Friedrich Kessler was an American law professor who taught at Yale Law School , University of Chicago Law School, and University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He was a contract law scholar, but also wrote of trade regulation law...

       (1901–1998), law professor
    • Markus Wolf
      Markus Wolf
      Markus Johannes "Mischa" Wolf was head of the General Intelligence Administration , the foreign intelligence division of East Germany's Ministry for State Security . He was the MfS's number two for 34 years, which spanned most of the Cold War...

       (1923–2006), spymaster
    • Wolfgang Abendroth
      Wolfgang Abendroth
      Wolfgang Abendroth was a socialist German jurist and political scientist. He was born in Elberfeld, now a part of Wuppertal in North Rhine-Westphalia. Abendroth was an important contributor to the constitutional foundation of postwar West Germany. He briefly held a professorship in law in East...

       (1906–1985), socialist jurist and political scientist
    • Klaus Kinkel
      Klaus Kinkel
      Klaus Kinkel is a German civil servant, lawyer, and politician of the liberal Free Democratic Party . He served as Federal Minister of Justice , Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the government of Helmut Kohl. He was also chairman of the liberal Free Democratic Party from 1993...

      (* 1936), vice chancellor of Germany

    External links

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