Today starts the Small Town series. I will do as many of these as I can and I am starting with Germany. All of these small towns have 50,000 inhabitants or less. I will be covering 8 different towns in today's post. I have included as much as I can about each small town.
Mariendorf is a locality in the southern Tempelhof-Schöneberg borough of Berlin. Mariendorf is situated between the localities of Tempelhof in the north and Marienfelde and Lichtenrade in the south. To the west it shares a border with the Lankwitz locality of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, to the east with Britz and Buckow, parts of the borough of Neukölln.
Mariendorf was mentioned for the first time in a document of 1348, when it was held by the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Order of Saint John (the Johanniterorden). The Johanniter sold Mariendorf, together with Tempelhof and Marienfelde, to the city of Berlin and Coelln in 1435. In 1800, Mariendorf had 162 inhabitants.
Beginning in 1872, a Villenkolonie ("mansion colony") was developed in the south end of Mariendorf, and by 1900 the village had 5,764 inhabitants. The Trabrennbahn (harness racing track) opened in 1913, and in 1920 Mariendorf became formally amalgamated into the greater city of Berlin. The Volkspark Mariendorf was developed in 1924.
At the end of Second World War, Mariendorf became a part of the American zone of occupation. In 1946, Mariendorf's Eisenacher Straße was the site of a displaced persons´ camp which housed roughly 3,250 persons until 1948.
In 1966, an U-Bahn underground station was constructed to serve the district on line U6.
Bad Oeynhausen- 49,513
Bad Oeynhausen is a spa town on the southern edge of the Wiehengebirge in the district of Minden-Lübbecke in the East-Westphalia-Lippe region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The closest larger towns are Bielefeld (39 kilometres southwest) and Hanover (80 km east). In the village of Bergkirchen, which belongs to Bad Oeynhausen, a wellspring sanctuary existed in pre-Christian (Saxon) times at the local crossing of the Wiehengebirge, which was replaced in the 9th century by a church. Today's church is a subsequent building. On the church and the downhill-situated Widukind spring plates explain this further. A few metres from the church a 13th-century timbered homestead can still be found.
In 753 Pepin the Short, according to the Royal Frankish Annals, stopped over ad locum qui dicitur Rimiae, so that Rehme is commonly accepted as the oldest part of town.
The origin myth of Bad Oeynhausen relates that in 1745 a local farmer named Sültemeyer noticed that after his pigs had wallowed in nearby mud they had a salty crust on their backs and he decided to investigate the source. After public awareness of this finding, King Frederick II of Prussia ordered the construction of a saltworks, which was named "Royal Saline Neusalzwerk". Today's Sültemeyer Fountain (colloquial: Pig-Fountain), in the city centre, is a reminder of the city's beginning.
After 1830, mining captain Carl Baron of Oeynhausen (1795–1865) oversaw drilling in today's spa garden area in search of salt deposits, but instead found a thermal salt spring in 1845. Quickly the healing abilities of this spring were discovered and first baths were built in the community, which now was called "Neusalzwerk near Rehme". In 1848 King Frederick William IV of Prussia renamed it to "Royal Bath (German: Bad) Oeynhausen", and this name was retained after receiving its own town charter in 1860. The opening of the Cologne-Minden railway line in 1849 connected the city with railroad network. The growth of spa activities and the town's development continued into World War II. Among other things the Kurpark (spa garden), according to plans by Peter Joseph Lenné, and the Kurhaus (spa hotel) in 1908 (from 1980-2002 a Casino was located here; today called the Kaiserpalais, it hosts a Varieté, a noble restaurant and a discothèque) were constructed. At the beginning of the 20th century residential houses for the bourgeoisie were built around the spa garden. The extraordinary conglomeration of different architectural styles of the spa garden's buildings and the surrounding mansons bestowed Bad Oeynhausen the unofficial title "Museum for the Architecture of the 19th Century". One of the most famous buildings, the "Farne-Villa" was replaced by a new building in 1969.
In the first half of the 20th century additional thermal salt springs were drilled. Among these the Jordansprudel, drilled in 1926, is best known and with a capacity of 6000 l/min and a total height of up to 40 m it is the world's highest carbonated thermal salt spring and de facto the town's landmark.
Under Nazi Germany, Bad Oeynhausen hosted a synod of the Confessing Church, as well as the home congregation to Jakob Emil Karl Koch, a leading member. The World War II tank factory of the town was bombed on 30 March 1945. Post-war, the town hosted the Control Commission for Germany – British Element (CCG/BE), the military government for the British Zone of Occupation and served as the British Army of the Rhine headquarters. The town was returned to local control in 1954 and spa activities resumed. In 1973, the seven surrounding municipalities Wulferdingsen, Volmerdingsen, Werste, Eidinghaisen, Dehme, Rehme and Lohe of the former "Amt Rehme" were merged with Bad Oeynhausen into one commune. The "State-owned Spa Bad Oeynhausen", property of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, was municipalized in 2004.
Lankwitz- 41,242 inhabitants
Lankwitz is a German locality (Ortsteil) within the borough (Bezirk) of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Berlin. Until 2001 it was part of the former borough of Steglitz. The locality was first mentioned in 1239 with the name of Lankowice. Autonomous Prussian municipality of the former Teltow district, Lankwitz was incorporated into Berlin in 1920, with the "Greater Berlin Act".
Lankwitz is situated in the southern suburb of Berlin, close to the borders with the Brandenburg. It borders with the localities of Steglitz, Lichterfelde, Mariendorf, Marienfelde (both in Tempelhof-Schöneberg district) and, in a short point represented by a bridge over the Teltowkanal, with Tempelhof. The Teltowkanal also remarks the boundary between Lankwitz and Steglitz.
Borken- 40,876 inhabitants
Borken is a town and the capital of the district of the same name, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Borken is situated 10 km east of the Dutch border. Borken station is the northern terminus on the remaining section of the Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck–Winterswijk railway.
The name comes from the German word "Burg" or "Burk" and gradually changed to "Burke", then "Burken" and finally to "Borken". Around the year 800 the village was being used by Charles The Great (Charlemagne) as a stopover place on his travels. In 1226 City rights were granted by Bishop Dietrich II of Isenberg-Limburg. Fortification of the city with walls and towers was first noted in 1391.
In the last years of the Holy Roman Empire (1803–06) it was the capital of the short-lived principality of Salm. From 1810 to 1814 it was part of the French Empire. In 1815 Borken came under the jurisdiction of the Prussian Province of Westphalia. At the same time it became the seat of government for the newly formed district or county of Borken (Kreis Borken). Between 1880 and 1905 the area experienced the building of railroad connections: (1880 Wanne-Borken-Winterswijk line, 1901 Empel-Bocholt-Borken and Borken-Burgsteinfurt, 1905 Borken-Coesfeld-Münster).
Near the end of World War Two the historic center of the city was heavily destroyed. After the war, community rearrangements followed in 1969, including annexation of Gemen and other towns in the vicinity. Between 1975 and 1978 came the cleaning up and rebuilding of the southern part of the old city. There, buildings which had outlasted the destruction of the Second World War were finally demolished. In 2001 Borken celebrated its 775th anniversary.
Haltern am See-37,788 inhabitants
Haltern am See (Haltern at the lake, before December 2001 only Haltern) is a town and a municipality in the district of Recklinghausen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the Lippe and the Wesel–Datteln Canal, approx. 15 kilometres (9 miles) north of Recklinghausen.
The town is about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Düsseldorf.
Former Halteren was founded on February 3rd in 1289. They received the town charter by the prince-bishop of Münster, Everhard von Dienstag.
During Kristallnacht (1938), the town's synagogue, Jewish cemetery and the houses and shops belonging to the town's Jews were vandalised. Jews were deported to concentration camps, the last five of whom were deported in January 1942. Only one of the town's Jews survived the Holocaust: Alexander Lebenstein, after whom a school is named.
In March 2015, the town received international attention when 16 students and two teachers from the Joseph-König-Gymnasium in Haltern, were killed in the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash in the French Alps. They were on their way home from a student exchange with the Giola Institute in Llinars del Vallès, Catalonia, Spain. Haltern's mayor, Bodo Klimpel, described it as "the darkest day in the history of our city."
Würselen- 37,074 inhabitants
Würselen is a town in the borough of Aachen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Würselen lies north of the city of Aachen in the immediate vicinity of the tripoint of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Its neighbouring settlements are, in clockwise order, the towns of Herzogenrath, Alsdorf and Eschweiler and the city of Aachen. Würselen is part of Aachen's Nordkreis quarter and is the only part of the city borough without external boundaries.
During the time of the Roman Empire, Roman soldiers were based at Würselen, on an area today known as "Mauerfeldchen" (small mural field). The first mention of the town was as Wormsalt in 870. Between 1265-69, Duke Wilhelm IV of Jülich built the castle of Wilhelmstein. Since 1616 the town has been known as Würselen. In 1972, the neighbouring municipalities of Bardenberg and Broichweiden were incorporated into the town.
Germering- 36,834 inhabitants
Germering is a town within the district of Fürstenfeldbruck, in Bavaria, Germany. It is directly adjacent to the city of Munich and borders it to the west. The area of Germering has an old history attested by findings of burial mounds of the New Stone Age and the Bronze Age, as well as a "villa rustica" (as in nearby Leutstetten) built by the Romans. There was a trade route through the city with numerous brick kilns. After their discovery a glass roof was erected over one (near the Nebelerstrasse) so one can still view it.
Germering was first reliably mentioned about 859-864 A.D. In those days it was still known as Kermeringon, but apparently it was formerly mentioned under the name Germana vel admonte. Unterpfaffenhofen, the south-west part of Germering, was first named in a charter dated 1190, but both villages remained small and rural until they experienced several significant increases in population during the 20th century.
During World War II, a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in the town.
In 1978, the two independent towns Unterpfaffenhofen and Germering were merged to form present-day Germering. The new city coat of arms was created in 1981 by Karl Haas, who incorporated the coats of arms of both former boroughs.
Leer- 33,886 inhabitants
Leer is a town in the district of Leer, the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Leda, a tributary of the river Ems, near the border with the Netherlands.
It has a railway and autobahn connection to Groningen, Netherlands, Emden, Bremen and the South (Rheine and the Ruhrpott industrial region). Leer had been a settlement long before it was first mentioned in written documents. Originally the city was situated at a meander near the mouth of the river Leda into the Ems, which is still the center of the town today. Even though Leer is some 30 km (19 mi) away from the coast, it can be reached by large ships via the Ems. Leer lies close to the Dutch border; the district of Leer shares a border with the Dutch province of Groningen.
There are many traces of early settlements in the area, including crude flint tools that are dated back to roughly 3200 BC.
In 791 AD Saint Ludger built the first chapel in East Frisia at the western edge of the settlement Leer, then still named Hleri after feetlot, willow. This chapel is mentioned for the first time in a written document from 850 AD. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Leer was home town of the Ukena family which was one most influential East-Frisian chieftain families of that time. The town profited from the trade with the Hanse, and a fortress Leerort was built. In 1508, Count Edzard obtained the official right to host a market, which started the tradition of the "Gallimarkt," which is now an annual fair. In 1744 East Frisia fell to Prussia, then ruled by Frederick the Great. Town privileges were awarded in 1823 by George IV, King of Hanover.
In 1854 Leer became connected to the "Hannoversche Westbahn" railway, which at that time connected Emden and Rheine in the Ruhr area. In 1856, the Westbahn was connected to the central German railway network. Unlike Emden, Leer only suffered little damage by Allied bombing in World War II. The city was occupied by Canadian troops on 28 April 1945.
On 1 October 1955, Leer received the status of an independent city.
Hope you enjoyed today's post. I had so much fun researching the different towns and can't wait to dive into other countries.