Chemnitz (, from 1953 to 1990: ''Karl-Marx-Stadt'', ; Czech
: ''Saská Kamenice'') is the third largest city in the German federal state
. It is the 28th largest city
of Germany as well as the fourth largest city in the area of former East Germany
, Leipzig and Dresden. The city is part of the Central German Metropolitan Region
, and lies in the middle of a string of cities sitting in the densely populated northern foreland
of the Elster
and Ore Mountains
, stretching from Plauen
in the southwest via Zwickau
, Chemnitz and Freiberg
to Dresden in the northeast.
Located in the Ore Mountain Basin
, the city is surrounded by the Ore Mountains to the south and the Central Saxon Hill Country
to the north. The city stands on the Chemnitz River
(progression: ), which is formed through the confluence of the rivers Zwönitz
in the borough of Altchemnitz.
The name of the city as well as the names of the rivers are of Slavic
origin. Chemnitz is the third largest city in the Thuringian
dialect area after Leipzig and Dresden. The city's economy is based on the service sector
and manufacturing industry
. Chemnitz University of Technology
has around 10,000 students.
Chemnitz is going to be the European Capital of Culture
Chemnitz is named after the river Chemnitz
, a small tributary of the Zwickau Mulde
. The word "Chemnitz" is from the Sorbian language
( hsb|Kamjenica), and means "stony rook
. The word is composed of the Slavic word meaning "stone" and the feminine suffix .
It is known in Czech
as and in Polish
as . There are many other towns named Kamienica or Kamenice in areas with past or present Slavic settlement.
An early Slavic tribe's settlement was located at , and the first documented use of the name Chemnitz was the 1143 site of a Benedictine
monastery around which a settlement grew. Circa 1170 Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
granted it the rights of an Imperial city
. In 1307, the town became subordinate to the Margraviate of Meissen
, the predecessor of the Saxon state. In medieval times
, Chemnitz became a centre of textile production and trade. More than one third of the population worked in textile production.
Geologist Georgius Agricola
(1494-1555), author of several significant works on mining and metallurgy
including the landmark treatise ''De Re Metallica''
, became city physician of Chemnitz in 1533 and lived here until his death in 1555. In 1546 he was elected a Burgher of Chemnitz and in the same year also was appointed Burgomaster (lord mayor), serving again in 1547, 1551, and 1553. In spite of having been a leading citizen of the city, when Agricola died in 1555 the Protestant Duke denied him burial in the city's cathedral due to Agricola's allegiance to his Roman Catholic faith. Agricola's friends arranged for his remains to be buried in more sympathetic Zeitz
, approximately 50 km away.
By the early 19th century, Chemnitz had become an industrial centre (sometimes called "the Saxon Manchester
", german: Sächsisches Manchester, ). In 1913, Chemnitz had a population of 320,000 and, like Leipzig and Dresden, was larger at that time than today. After losing inhabitants due to the First World War
Chemnitz grew rapidly again and reached its all-time peak of 360,250 inhabitants in 1930. Thereafter, growth was stalled by the world economic crisis
As a working-class industrial city, it was a powerful center of socialist political organization after World War I. At the foundation of the German Communist Party the local Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany
voted by 1,000 votes to three to break from the party and join the Communist Party behind their local leaders, Fritz Heckert
and Heinrich Brandler
. In March 1919 the German Communist Party had over 10,000 members in the
city of Chemnitz.
World War II
Allied bombing destroyed 41 per cent of the built-up area of Chemnitz during the Second World War
. Chemnitz contained factories that produced military hardware and a Flossenbürg forced labor
subcamp (500 female inmates) for Astra-Werke AG
. The oil refinery
was a target for bombers during the Oil Campaign of World War II
, and Operation Thunderclap
attacks included the following raids:
* 14/15 February 1945: The first major raid on Chemnitz used 717 RAF
bombers, but due to cloud cover most bombs fell over open countryside.
* 2/3–5 March: USAAF
bombers attacked the marshalling yards.
* 5 March: 760 RAF bombers attacked.
The headquarters of the auto manufacturer Auto Union
were also based in Chemnitz since 1932 and its buildings were also badly damaged. At the end of the war, the company's executives fled and relocated the company in Ingolstadt
, Bavaria, where it evolved into Audi
, now a brand within the Volkswagen group.
The World War II bombings left most of the city in ruins and post-war
, the East German reconstruction included large low rise (and later high-rise ) housing. Some tourist sites were reconstructed during the East German
era and after German reunification
. The city was occupied by Soviet troops on 8 May 1945.
After the dissolution of the Länder (states) in the GDR in 1952, Chemnitz became seat of a district (). On 10 May 1953, the city was renamed by decision of the East German government to after Karl Marx
, in recognition of its industrial heritage and the Karl Marx Year
marking the 135th anniversary of his birth and the 70th anniversary of his death. GDR Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl
After the city centre was destroyed in World War II
, the East German authorities attempted to rebuild it to symbolise the conceptions of urban development of a socialist city. The layout of the city centre at that time was rejected in favour of a new road network. However, the original plans were not completed. In addition, the rapid development of housing took priority over the preservation of old buildings. So in the 1960s and 1970s, both in the centre as well as the periphery, large areas were built in apartment-block style, for example . The old buildings of the period, which still existed in the Kassberg
, and especially, were neglected and fell increasingly into dereliction.
On 23 April 1990, a referendum on the future name of the city was held: 76% of the voters voted for the old name "". On 1 June 1990, the city was officially renamed.
After the reunification of Germany
on 3 October 1990, the city of Chemnitz faced several difficult tasks. Many inhabitants migrated to the former West Germany and unemployment in the region increased sharply; in addition Chemnitz did not have adequate shopping facilities, but this was increasingly demanded.
[Kurzfassung zur Promotion des Dipl.-Pol. Alexander Bergmann zur Thematik „Deutschlands jüngste Innenstadt – Rekonstruktion in Chemnitz verstehen“](_blank)
/ref> Large shopping centers were constructed on the city periphery to the early 1990s.
Chemnitz is the only major German city whose centre was re-planned after 1990, similar to the reconstruction of several other German cities in the immediate post-war years. Plans for the recovery of a compressed city centre around the historic town hall in 1991 led to an urban design competition. This was announced internationally by the city and carried out with the help of the partner city of . The mooted project on an essentially unused area of the former city would be comparable in circumference with the in Berlin.
Numerous internationally renowned architects such as , and provided designs for a new city centre. The mid-1990s began the development of the inner city brownfields around the town hall to a new town. In Chemnitz city more than 66,000 square meters of retail space have emerged. With the construction of office and commercial building on the construction site "B3" at the court, the last gap in 2010 was closed in city centre image. The intensive development included demolition of partially historically valuable buildings from the period and was controversial. Between 1990 and 2007 more than 250 buildings were leveled.
In late August 2018 the city was the site of a series of protests that attracted at least 8,000 people. The protests were attended by far-right and Neo-Nazi groups. News outlets reported about mob violence and riots. The protests started after two immigrants from the Middle East were arrested in connection with the murder of Daniel H., a 35 year old German man, the son of a German mother and a Cuban father, which had happened on 26 August. Violent clashes occurred between far-right protesters and far-left counter protesters, leading to injuries. The mobs outnumbered the local police presence. There were reports that rightist protesters chased down dark skinned bystanders and those that appeared to be foreigners on the streets before more police arrived and intervened. The riots were widely condemned by media outlets and politicians throughout Germany, and were "described as reminiscent of civil war and Nazi pogroms."
The reports of mob violence and riots were criticized as incorrect later on. The German language Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung corrected its earlier reports, stating that there had evidently been no mob violence but there have been sporadic encroachments. Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer came to the same conclusion: "there were no mobs and man hunts".
One week after the protests, a free "Concert against the Right" under the motto "We are more" (#wirsindmehr) attracted an audience of some 65,000 people. A one-minute silence commemorated the murdered Daniel H., the son of a German mother and a Cuban father. The concert itself has been criticized for far-left activities and violent song texts of some of the participating bands.
Culture and sights
The city won the bid to be one of the two European Capitals of Culture (in 2025) on the 28th October 2020, beating Hannover, Hildesheim, Magdeburg and Nuremberg.
Theater Chemnitz offers a variety of theatre: opera, plays, ballet and (puppets), and runs concerts by the orchestra Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie.
Tourist sights include the Kassberg neighborhood with 18th and 19th century buildings and the Karl Marx Monument by Lev Kerbel, nicknamed (a Saxon dialect word for head) by the locals. Landmarks include the Old Town Hall with its Renaissance portal (15th century), the castle on the site of the former monastery, and the area around the opera house and the old university. The most conspicuous landmark is the red tower built in the late 12th or early 13th century as part of the city wall.
The Chemnitz petrified forest is located in the courtyard of Kulturkaufhaus Tietz. It is one of the very few in existence, and dates back several million years. Also within the city limits, in the district of Rabenstein, is the smallest castle in Saxony, Rabenstein Castle.
The city has changed considerably since German reunification. Most of its industry is now gone and the core of the city has been rebuilt with many shops as well as huge shopping centres. Many of these shops are international brands, including Zara, H&M, Esprit, , Leiser Shoes, and Peek & Cloppenburg. The large (Red Tower) shopping centre is very popular with young people.
The Chemnitz Industrial Museum is an Anchor Point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz opened in 2014 and is located in the former Schocken Department Stores.
The , formerly a bank, opened on 1 December 2007. , who lived in Munich, had a collection of some 2,500 pieces of modern art, including many paintings and drawings by , and others. The is a municipal botanical garden, and the is a non-profit garden specializing in arctic and alpine plants.
File:Altes und Neues Rathaus am Chemnitzer Marktplatz 2015.jpg|Old and new city hall
File:Chemnitz, Roter Turm und Galerie Roter Turm.JPG| Red tower
File:Chemnitz Opernhaus 2002.jpg|Chemnitz Opera at Opernplatz
File:St.-Petri-Kirche in Chemnitz (Barras).JPG|St. Petri church
File:Lutherkirche chemnitz.jpg|Lutheran church
File:Schlossteich und -kirche in Chemnitz (Hiroshi).JPG|Castle church over the Castle Lake
File:Hotel Mercure, Chemnitz, 2015.jpg|The Mercure Hotel, tallest building in Chemnitz
File:Chemnitz-Glaesernes-Kaufhaus.jpg|The Transparent department store
File:Chemnitz-Falkeplatz.jpg|View over during night time
File:Castle Rabenstein 1 (aka).jpg|
File:Karl-Marx-Monument in Chemnitz.jpg|Bust of Karl Marx, the city's erstwhile namesake
File:Hauptgebäude der TU Chemnitz, 2015.jpg|Chemnitz University of Technology
File:Blick zur Galerie Roter Turm und zum Hotel Mercure in Chemnitz 2015.jpg|View over the city halls and the inner city
File:Chemnitz-AmSchloss.jpg|Guest houses at Castle park
File:Der Versteinerte Wald von Chemnitz im Lichthof des Kulturkaufhaus DAStietz, 2015.jpg|Chemnitz petrified forest inside the
File:Kaufhaus Schocken in Chemnitz 2014.jpg|State Museum of Archaeology Chemnitz
The city of Chemnitz consists of 39 neighborhoods. The neighborhoods of Einsiedel, Euba, Grüna, Klaffenbach, Kleinolbersdorf-Altenhain, Mittelbach, Röhrsdorf and Wittgensdorf are at the same time localities within the meaning of Sections 65 to 68 of the Saxon Municipal Code. These neighborhoods came in the wake of the last incorporation wave after 1990 as formerly independent municipalities to the city of Chemnitz and therefore enjoy this special position compared to the other parts of the city. These localities each have a local council, which, depending on the number of inhabitants of the locality concerned, comprises between ten and sixteen members as well as a chairman of the same. The local councils are to hear important matters concerning the locality. A final decision is, however, incumbent on the city council of the city of Chemnitz.
[ (PDF; 75 KB)] The official identification of the districts by numbers is based on the following principle: Starting from the city center (neighborhoods Zentrum and Schloßchemnitz), all other parts of the city are assigned clockwise in ascending order the tenth place of their index, the one-digit is awarded in the direction of city periphery in ascending order.
The city area does not include a unified, closed settlement area after numerous incorporations. The rural settlements of mainly eastern districts are separated from the settlement area of the Chemnitz city center, whereas this partly continues over the western city limits to Limbach-Oberfrohna and Hohenstein-Ernstthal.
The first freely elected mayor after German reunification was Dieter Noll of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who served from 1990 to 1991, followed by Joachim Pilz (CDU) until 1993. The mayor was originally chosen by the city council, but since 1994 has been directly elected. Peter Seifert of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) served from 1993 until 2006. Since 2006, Barbara Ludwig (SPD) has served as mayor. The most recent mayoral election was held on 16 June 2013, with a runoff held on 30 June, and the results were as follows:
! rowspan=2 colspan=2| Candidate
! rowspan=2| Party
! colspan=2| First round
! colspan=2| Second round
| align=left| Barbara Ludwig
| align=left| Social Democratic Party
| align=left| Ralf Burghart
| align=left| Christian Democratic Union
| align=left| Miko Runkel
| align=left| The Left
| align=left| Volkmar Zschocke
| align=left| Alliance 90/The Greens
| align=left| Martin Kohlmann
| align=left| Pro Chemnitz / DSU
| align=left| Hans-Jürgen Rutsatz
| align=left| People's Solidarity
| align=left| Jens Weis
| align=left| Free Democratic Party
! colspan=3| Valid votes
! colspan=3| Invalid votes
! colspan=3| Total
! colspan=3| Electorate/voter turnout
| colspan=7| Source
Wahlen in Sachsen
The most recent city council election was held on 26 May 2019, and the results were as follows:
! colspan=2| Party
| align=left| Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
| align=left| Alternative for Germany (AfD)
| align=left| The Left (Die Linke)
| align=left| Social Democratic Party (SPD)
| align=left| Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne)
| align=left| Pro Chemnitz / German Social Union
| align=left| Free Democratic Party (FDP)
| align=left| Die PARTEI (PARTEI)
| align=left| People's Solidarity (Vosi)
| align=left| Pirate Party Germany (Piraten)
! colspan=2| Valid votes
! colspan=2| Invalid votes
! colspan=2| Total
! colspan=2| Electorate/voter turnout
| colspan=7| Source
Wahlen in Sachsen
Heavy destruction in World War II as well as post-war demolition to erect a truly socialist city centre left the city with a vast open space around its town hall where once a vibrant city heart had been. Because of massive investment in out-of-town shopping right after reunification, it was not until 1999 that major building activity was started in the centre. Comparable to in Berlin, a whole new quarter of the city was constructed in recent years. New buildings include the department store by , with a façade by and Peek & Cloppenburg clothing store by and Partner.
Chemnitz is the largest city of the urban area and is one of the most important economic areas of Germany's new federal states. Chemnitz had a GDP of €8.456 billion in 2016, with GDP per capita at €34,166. Since about 2000, the city's economy has recorded high annual GDP growth rates; Chemnitz is among the top ten German cities in terms of growth rate. The local and regional economic structure is characterized by medium-sized companies, with the heavy industrial sectors of mechanical engineering, metal processing, and vehicle manufacturing as the most significant industries.
About 100,000 people are employed, of whom about 46,000 commute from other municipalities. 16.3% of employees in Chemnitz have a university or college degree, twice the average rate in Germany.
File:VW factory Mosel-Zwickau (aka).jpg| is the largest employer in the Agglomeration.
File:Büro- und Wohnhaus der Deutschen Bundesbank - Filiale Chemnitz, Zschopauer Straße, 2015.jpg|
File:Anbau Dämmerung.jpg|The is the largest hospital in the former East German states and the second biggest employer in Chemnitz.
File:Kaufhaus Peek&Cloppenburg, Chemnitz, Neumarkt, 2015.jpg|Chemnitz is a shopping destination. Photo shows the Peek & Cloppenburg store in the city centre.
File:View from Klínovec northwards.JPG|Chemnitz is the centerpiece of tourism in the Ore Mountains.
After German reunification Saxony faced a significant population decrease. Since 1988 Chemnitz has lost about 20 percent of its inhabitants. The city had a fertility rate of 1.64 in 2015.
Foreign population in Chemnitz by nationality as of 31 December 2019:
A large contributor to the city's foreign population is Chemnitz University of Technology. In 2017, out of its 10,482 students, 2712 were foreign students, which equals to about 25%, making Chemnitz the most internationalised of the three major universities of Saxony.
* Standard German
* Chemnitz dialect, which is a variety of Upper Saxon German
Chemnitz is linked to two motorways (s), A4 and A72 . The motorway junction is situated in the northwestern area of the city. The motorway A72 between and Leipzig is still under construction. Within the administrative area of Chemnitz there are eight motorway exits (). The A4 motorway is part of the European route E40, one of the longest European E roads, connecting Chemnitz with the Asian Highway system to the east and France to the west.
Public transport within Chemnitz is provided with tram and bus, as well as by the . Nowadays, the city and its surroundings are served by one line, five lines of the Chemnitz tramway network, 27 city bus lines, as well as several regional bus lines. At night, the city is served by two bus lines, two tram lines, and the line.
Chemnitz Hauptbahnhof is the main station for the city. No long-distance intercity services have been operated by Deutsche Bahn to or from Chemnitz since 2006. 2 RegionalExpress routes (RE3 from Dresden Hbf via Chemnitz to Hof & RE6 to Leipzig Hbf) operate longer distance journeys through the city. 4 RegionalBahn and 4 CityBahn routes also operate from the Hauptbahnhof.
The length of the tram, and bus networks is , and respectively. In August 2012, electro-diesel trams were ordered from , to support an expansion of the light rail network to , with new routes serving , and .
Three airports are near Chemnitz, including the two international airports of Saxony in Dresden and Leipzig. Both Leipzig/Halle Airport and Dresden Airport are about from Chemnitz and offer numerous continental as well as intercontinental flights.
Chemnitz also has a small commercial airport ( about south of the city. When its current upgrade is completed it will have an asphalt runway long and wide.
File:Hauptbahnhof Chemnitz und Bahnhofsvorplatz 2015.jpg|, the main train station of Chemnitz
File:Zentralhaltestelle Chemnitz, Innenstadt, 2015.jpg|Tram stop at at night
File:Trams at Chemnitz Hauptbahnhof - geo.hlipp.de - 5066.jpg|A tram in Chemnitz
File:Flugplatz Chemnitz-Jahnsdorf Edcj 2011.jpg|The small commercial airport
* (basketball, men)
* Chemnitzer PSV (football, handball, volleyball}
* Chemcats Chemnitz (basketball, women)
* (swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, skittles)
* (ice hockey, skater hockey)
* Floor Fighters Chemnitz (floorball)
* (figure skating, ice dancing, curling)
* Chemnitz Crusaders (American football)
* Tower Rugby Chemnitz (rugby)
* Paul Oswald Ahnert (1897–1989), astronomer
* Brigitte Ahrens (born 1945), pop singer
* Olaf Altmann (born 1960), scenic designer
* Mark Arndt (born 1941), Russian Orthodox Archbishop
* Michael Ballack (born 1976), German footballer, former captain of Bayern Munich and Germany
* Veronika Bellmann (born 1960), politician
* Fritz Bennewitz (1926–1995), theater director
* Gerd Böckmann (1944), television actor and director
* Werner Bräunig (1934–1976), writer
* Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645–1714), forest scientist
* Max Eckert-Greifendorff (1868–1938), cartographer and professor
* Gerson Goldhaber (1924–2010), American nuclear and astrophysicist
* Friedrich Goldmann (1941–2009), composer and conductor
* Johannes Hähle (1906–1944), military photographer
* Peter Härtling (born 1933), writer
* Stephan Hermlin (1915–1997), writer
* Stefan Heym (1913–2001), writer and member of the Bundestag of the PDS
* John Kluge (1921–2010), German-American billionaire and media mogul
* Helga Lindner (born 1951), swimmer; Olympic silver medalist
* Max Littmann (1862–1931), architect
* Anja Mittag (born 1985), footballer, World Champion 2007
* Frederick and William , founders of the Diamant bicycle brand
* Carsten Nicolai (born 1965), contemporary artist
* Frei Otto (1925–2015), architect, architectural theorist and professor of architecture, builder of the Munich Olympic Park
* Sylke Otto (born 1969), luge
* Siegfried Rapp (1917–1977), one-armed German pianist
* Frank Rost (born 1973), retired football goalkeeper
* Daniel Rosenfield, AKA C418 (born 1989), Music producer and sound engineer for Minecraft and Stranger Things
* Bruno Salzer (1859-1919), one of Chemnitz leading entrepreneurs
* Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, ice figure skaters: World Champion 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014; Olympic Bronze Medalist 2010, 2014
* Kurt Wagner (1904-1989), German general
* Helmut Schelsky (1912–1984), sociologist and university lecturer
* Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884–1976), painter and graphic artist of expressionism
* Matthias Schweighöfer (born 1981), actor and film director
* Jörg Schüttauf (born 1961), actor
* Matthias Steiner, (born 1982), German-Austrian weightlifter, Olympic Gold Medalist 2008
* Ingo Steuer (born 1966), figure skater
* Hans-Günther Thalheim (1924-2018), germanist and linguist
* Siegfried Vogel (born 1937), operatic bass
* Mandy Wötzel (born 1973), figure skater
* Katarina Witt (born 1965), figure skater
* Klaus Wunderlich (1931–1997), organist
* Frank Heinrich (born 1964), Politician, member of the Bundestag
* Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884–1976), German expressionist painter
* Marianne Brandt, (1893–1983), artist, designer
* Stefan Heym (1913–2001), German-Jewish writer
* Valery Bykovsky (1934–2019), Soviet cosmonaut
* Sigmund Jähn (1937–2019), first German astronaut (Interkosmos flight of 26.8.1978)
Twin towns – sister cities
Chemnitz is twinned with:
* Tampere, Finland (1961)
* Ljubljana, Slovenia (1966)
* Arras, France (1967)
* Timbuktu, Mali (1968)
* Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic (1970)
* Łódź, Poland (1972)
* Mulhouse, France (1981)
* Manchester, England, UK (1983)
* Volgograd, Russia (1988)
* Düsseldorf, Germany (1988)
* Akron, United States (1997)
* Taiyuan, China (1999)
* 2018 Chemnitz protests
Category:Cities in Saxony
Category:Oil campaign of World War II
Category:University towns in Germany
Category:Kingdom of Saxony