The Hermannsdenkmal is a monument located in Ostwestfalen-Lippe
Ostwestfalen-Lippe , abbreviation OWL, is a region in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with a 2,000-years-old history and culture. Ostwestfalen-Lippe is the eastern part of the region of Westphalia, joined with the Lippe region. Translated to English, the name would be East...

 in 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...

 in the Southern part of the Teutoburg Forest
Teutoburg Forest
The Teutoburg Forest is a range of low, forested mountains in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia which used to be believed to be the scene of a decisive battle in AD 9...

, which is southwest of Detmold
Detmold is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of about 74,000. It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947...

 in the district of 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....

. It stands on the densely forested and 386 m tall Teutberg in the ring fortification located there, which is called Grotenburg.

The monument commemorates the Cherusci
The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

 war chief Hermann or Armin (Latin: Arminius
Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

) and 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...

 in which the Germanic tribes under Arminius recorded a decisive victory in 9 AD over three Roman legions under 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...

. At the time it was built, the location of the statue was believed to have been very near the actual site of the battle, though it is now known through excavations that the battle actually happened near Kalkriese
Kalkriese is a 157-m high hill in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is hard to pass along Kalkriese's northern slope because one has to cross many deep brooks and rivulets. To the north of the Kalkriese is a large wetland, which stretches north for a large distance. It is a presumed archaeological site of...

, a considerable distance to the west and north of the monument.

The sword has the following inscription:

German unity (is) my strength - my strength (is) Germany's might.


Construction for the 53.46 m (173.39 ft) tall statue was started in 1841, but not completed until 1875 with the help of substantial funds from the state 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...

. It was built according to plans by the sculptor Ernst von Bandel.

Under the impression of the repeated defeats at the hands of the French and the fractured nature of the German states, Germans began to orient themselves toward the ancient past as a source of national pride. This search for identity is exemplified in several national memorials including the Walhalla temple
Walhalla temple
The Walhalla temple is a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished Germans, famous personalities in German history — politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue". The hall is housed in a neo-classical building above the Danube River, east of Regensburg, in...

 near Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

 and the Statue of Arminius.

However, the statue was not completed until after the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870-1871, and the unification of most of Germany in 1870 under Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...



The statue is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany with over 130,000 visitors a year. Of similar popularity are the Externsteine
The Externsteine are a distinctive rock formation located in Ostwestfalen-Lippe of northwestern Germany, not far from the city of Detmold at Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills...

, which are located nearby. The statue's base may be climbed up to a level before the figure starts, affording wide landscape views.

A similar Hermann Heights Monument exists in New Ulm, Minnesota
New Ulm, Minnesota
New Ulm is a city in Brown County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,522 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brown County....

, a town settled by German immigrants. The term "Herman the German
Herman the German
The Hermann Heights Monument is a statue erected in New Ulm, Minnesota. The statue depicts Hermann the Cheruscan, also known by the Latin name Arminius, but locals refer to the statue as Hermann the German. The only National Register of Historic Places property of its kind in Minnesota, the...

" is also commonly used by English speakers as an affectionate name for the Hermannsdenkmal - and also as a jocular term for (male) Germans in general.

See also

  • Walhalla temple
    Walhalla temple
    The Walhalla temple is a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished Germans, famous personalities in German history — politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue". The hall is housed in a neo-classical building above the Danube River, east of Regensburg, in...

     (Hall of the Slain, Regensburg, Germany)
  • Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame, Munich, Germany)
  • Befreiungshalle
    The Befreiungshalle is a historical classical monument upon Mount Michelsberg above the city of Kelheim in Bavaria, Germany. It stands upstream of Regensburg on the river Danube at the confluence of the Danube and the Altmühl, i.e...

     (Hall of Liberation, Kelheim, Germany)
  • Heldenberg Memorial
    Heldenberg Memorial
    The Heldenberg Memorial is an open-air pantheon in the grounds of the castle at Kleinwetzdorf, Heldenberg, Lower Austria. It houses busts and statues of Austrian rulers and military personnel and was set up in 1849 by Joseph Gottfried Pargfrieder, a major supplier to the imperial army, who claimed...

     (in Austria)
  • List of statues by height
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