Coburg (German pronunciation: [ˈkoːbʊɐ̯k]) is a town located on
the Itz river in the
Upper Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. Long
part of one of the
Thuringian states of the Wettin line, it joined
Bavaria by popular vote only in 1920. Until the revolution of 1918, it
was one of the capitals of the Duchy of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Through successful dynastic policies,
the ruling princely family married into several of the royal families
of Europe, most notably in the person of Prince Albert, who married
Queen Victoria in 1840. As a result of these close links with the
royal houses of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
Coburg was frequently visited by the crowned heads of Europe and their
Coburg is also known as the location of Veste Coburg, one of Germany's
largest castles. In 1530,
Martin Luther lived there for six months
during which he worked on translating the Bible into German.
Today, Coburg's population is close to 41,500. Since it was little
damaged in World War II,
Coburg retains many historic buildings,
making it a popular tourist destination.
5.1 Town twinning
5.2 Coat of arms
7 Arts and culture
8.1.4 Local public transport system
9 Notable people
10 More sons and daughters of the town
10.1 Born before 1900
10.2 Born after 1900
12 Further reading
13 External links
Coburg lies about 90 kilometres (56 miles) south of
Erfurt and about
100 kilometres (62 miles) north of
Nuremberg on the river Itz. It is
an urban district and is surrounded by the Landkreis Coburg. Coburg
lies at the foot of the Thuringian Highland. Coburg,
Bavaria was part
Germany until reunification in 1990, but on three sides it
Thuringia which was East Germany. The border between Bavaria
Thuringia was also the inner German border.
Coburg pattern English (London) silver spoons, c. 1830
Coburg is divided into 15 Stadtteile:
Coburg (town proper)
Neu- and Neershof
Ehrenburg Palace, rebuilt after a catastrophic fire in 1690, received
its Gothic revival exterior in the 19th century
Coburg was first mentioned in a monastic document dated 1056, which
marked the transfer of ownership to the Archbishop-Elector of
Cologne,:16 although there was a settlement at the site that
predates it called Trufalistat. The origin of the name
unclear; the first element may be kuh, which would give a literal
meaning of "cow borough".
"Coburg" initially referred to a property centred on the hill where
Veste Coburg was later built. Its oldest remains date to the 12th or
13th century. In 1248, the castle came into possession of the House of
Henneberg and in 1353 it passed to the House of Wettin:16 with the
marriage of Frederick III with
Catherine of Henneberg
Catherine of Henneberg and was
initially regarded by them as a Saxon outpost within Franconia.
Diet of Augsburg
Diet of Augsburg in 1530 reformer
Martin Luther spent six
months at the castle (located at the southernmost point of the Saxon
duchy) while his liege lord, John, Elector of Saxony, attended the
Diet. Luther was forbidden to attend by the Elector, who feared that
he would be imprisoned and burned as a heretic. While quartered at the
castle Luther continued with his translation of the Bible into German.
In 1547, the princely residence was moved from the Veste to a former
monastery, rebuilt as a Renaissance palace, the Ehrenburg.:16
Coburg was raised to the status of capital of one of the
dynasty's splintered Saxon-Thuringian territories, the newly created
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg under the leadership of Duke John Casimir (ruled
1596–1633). From 1699 to 1826, it was one of the two capitals of the
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and from 1826–1918 it was a capital
of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Ernest Frederick, the fourth Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, moved his
Coburg in 1764.
Coburg then became capital of
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and later of the Duchy of
Coburg and Gotha.
In the early 19th century, the town's medieval fortifications were
demolished and replaced by parks. The duke also started the collection
of copperplate engravings that is today part of the Veste Coburg
museum. Under his son, Ernest, the Schlossplatz (de) with what is
Landestheater Coburg was created. He also rebuilt the
Ehrenburg in Gothic revival style.:17
In the mid-19th century, Duke Ernest II supported national and liberal
Coburg hosted the first meeting of the German National
Association, the founding of the Deutscher Sängerbund (de) and
the first Deutsches Turnfest (de) (national sports
During the 19th century, dynastic marriages created ties with the
royal families of Belgium, Bulgaria, Portugal and Britain. This turned
the ducal family from the rulers of a fairly obscure backwater duchy
into one playing an influential role in European politics. The era of
political influence peaked with Leopold Frederick; born Prince of
Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, becoming the King of
Belgium in 1831 and Prince
Albert of Saxe-
Coburg and Gotha, born in Schloss Rosenau, marrying his
Queen Victoria in 1840. The marriage between Albert and
Victoria established the present British royal house, which renamed
itself Windsor during World War I. This marriage in turn led to a
union with Germany's ruling dynasty, the Hohenzollerns, when the
couple's eldest child, Victoria, married the future Kaiser Friedrich
After her marriage,
Queen Victoria said of Coburg:
If I were not who I am, this would have been my real home, but I shall
always consider it my second one.
Due to the royal connections among the royal houses of Europe, Coburg
was the site of many royal Ducal weddings and visits. Britain's Queen
Victoria made six visits to
Coburg during her 63-year reign. In 1894
the wedding of
Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse
Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and Princess Victoria
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha brought together Queen Victoria, her
son Edward (future Edward VII), her second son Alfred (Duke of
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha), her daughter the German dowager Empress Friedrich
(Victoria), and many of her grandchildren, such as future Tsar
Nicholas and Alexandra of Russia (Alix of Hesse), Kaiser Wilhelm II of
Germany, and the future King George V of the United Kingdom.
Old print image of Coburg, seen from the south
Veste Coburg at night, 2007
In November 1918, the last Duke of Saxe-
Coburg and Gotha, Charles
Edward, abdicated. The Freistaat
Coburg which now came into being had
to decide whether to become part of
Thuringia or Bavaria. In a
November 1919 referendum, the locals voted to join
Bavaria with an 88%
majority. On 1 July 1920,
Coburg joined Bavaria.:17
Coburg was the first German town in which the
Nazi Party won
the absolute majority of the popular vote during municipal
elections. In 1932,
Coburg was the first German town to make Adolf
Hitler an honorary citizen.
After World War II, which
Coburg survived largely undamaged, the town
faced the challenge of integrating over 15,000 refugees. In addition,
whilst the other Saxon-Thuringian principalities were incorporated
into the German Democratic Republic, Bavarian
Coburg became part of
West Germany. As a result, the town spent the
Cold War years lying
right next to the Iron Curtain, surrounded by East German territory on
three sides and cut off from much of its natural back country.:17
In 1946, Polish ambassador
Oskar R. Lange
Oskar R. Lange alleged that
Coburg was a
base for the Western Allies to organize a Polish armed insurgency led
Władysław Anders against the Soviet-backed communists in
Over two thirds of Coburg's population live in the core town of Coburg
rather than in one of the Stadtteile merged with it in the 20th
century. Some of those retain a largely rural character.
Most residents of
Coburg are members of the Evangelical Church
(Lutheran). Other Christian communities are Baptists, Seventh-day
Adventists, the ICF Movement, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Old
Catholics and the New Apostolic Church, as well as The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are also three communities of
Coburg had a large Jewish community until the 1940s. Jews had
lived there since the 14th century. The old synagogue was a former
church. Today it is used by Old Catholics.
Coburg became Protestant
after the Reformation. All Catholics were persecuted. A new Catholic
community was founded in the 19th century.
In 1919 Max Brose (de) and Ernst Jüngling established the metal
works Max Brose & Co. to manufacture car parts. The company is
still in operation today, as Brose Fahrzeugteile.
In 1950, the Haftpflicht-Unterstützungs-Kasse kraftfahrender Beamter
Deutschlands a. G. (today HUK-Coburg (de)) relocated from Erfurt
to Coburg. HUK is today the largest employer and largest payer of
Gewerbesteuer (de) (local corporate tax) in Coburg.
Kapp Werkzeugmaschinen has been a manufacturer of machines since 1953,
after taking over the production assets of COMAG (Coburger
Coburg has an above-average share of goods-producing employees. In
2013, out of 32,962 employees 10,421 worked in the manufacturing or
construction sectors (31% vs. a national average of 24%), 4,853 in
trade, transport and tourism, 10,381 in professional services and
7,230 in public and private services.:9
Coburg counted over 61,000 overnight visitors in 2014 (of
which around 53,000 were from Germany). They stayed for a total of
almost 120,000 nights, or close to two nights on average.:15
In 2013, the GDP per inhabitant was €72,219 in Coburg, placing it
6th among the 96 urban and rural districts (Bavarian average:
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Coburg is twinned with:
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Gais, South Tyrol, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy
Garden City, New York, USA
Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom
Niort, Deux-Sèvres, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Oudenaarde, East Flanders, Belgium
Coat of arms
Coburg's coat of arms, honouring the town's patron Saint Maurice, was
granted in 1493.
Coburg has the typical features of a former capital of a German
princely state. There are numerous houses from the 16th, 17th and 18th
centuries. The most important landmarks include:
Eastern choir of Morizkirche
Schlossplatz with Landestheater and Palais Edinburgh
Stadthaus (town house)
Ehrenburg, a former Franciscan convent built in 1220 and turned into a
palace in 1543–1549. It was repeatedly renovated until the 19th
century. Ehrenburg was gutted by fire in 1690 and rebuilt in a Baroque
style, with stucco work by North Italian craftsmen that includes a
"Hall of the Giants" (which contains a plaque that states it was the
location of the first meeting between Britain's
Queen Victoria and
Franz Josef Emperor of Austria in 1860). The internal decoration dates
from the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Its Gothic Revival
exterior was remodelled by
Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the 19th
century. It now also houses a museum as well as a library.
Stadtkirche St. Moriz ("St. Maurice", 14th–16th centuries), is a
Gothic edifice on the
Hallenkirche plan with two towers. The interior,
remade in the 18th century, include the notable funerary moment of
Duke Johann Casimir for his parents, a 13 m-tall alabaster
sculpture painted with statue and reliefs (1595–1598).
The medieval Veste Coburg, one of the biggest castles in Germany,
built starting in 1225 (upon the site of an 11th-century chapel). It
was mostly rebuilt in the 19th century. It has a triple line of walls
with numerous towers. Today the
Veste Coburg is home to three museums.
One is the Fürstenbau (ducal palace), with many furnished rooms of
the Dukes of Coburg, including the apartment where
Martin Luther lived
in 1530. Probably the most notable room in the castle (unique in all
of Germany) is the Jagdzimmer (hunting room) of 1632, which is
entirely made of marquetry wood inlay, done up with over 60 marquetry
panels, deeply coffered marquetry ceilings and a wood paneled floor.
Another museum is the Rüstkammer (armory), containing the largest
collection of medieval armour and weaponry in Germany, with over
10,500 items. The third is the Kunstsammlungen, which contains a
collection of 300,000 copperplate engravings (Kupferstich-Kabinett), a
20,000 piece coin collection (Münzkabinett), a 7,000 piece
documentation collection (Briefe & Urkunden), and a 3,500 piece
glassware collection (Gläser-Sammlung).
Gymnasium Casimirianum, a Renaissance building begun in 1601
Landestheater Coburg, a Neoclassical theatre on Schlossplatz, whose
other landmarks include the Ehrenburg, the Palais Edinburgh (1865),
the Arkaden (1840) Reithalle (1852) and Marstall (rebuilt in 1920).
Coburg Doll Museum.
Natural history museum (de).
Coburger Rathaus (de), the town hall, part of the ensemble of
structure on the market market square (de) that also includes the
Stadthaus (see below), the former Beyersches Haus, the
Hof-Apotheke (de), the Stadtbrunnen (fountain) and the central
statue of Prince Albert. The seat of the public administration of
Coburg was moved here in 1438. The original Gothic building proved to
be too small and after 1570 the town bought additional properties and
erected a Renaissance building at the corner with Ketschengasse. In
another rebuilding in 1750-2 both structures were merged. The
appearance of the town hall changed, only the round bay on the corner
remained. The old roofs were replaced by the current garret roof and
the colourful paintings were added to the façade in the 18th century.
Another renovation took place in 1903, when the balcony to the market
square was added and stairwell and entrance were redesigned.:57–8
Stadthaus (de), a late Renaissance building from 1597–9 built
under Duke Johann Casimir to house the ducal administration. It
occupies the complete northern side of the market square.:66–7
Rose Garden, park.
Callenberg Castle, with Saxe-
Coburg family art collection and National
Schloss Rosenau near Coburg.
St. Augustin, Catholic parish church opened in 1860.
The Baroque Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen, 20 kilometres (12 miles)
outside the town.
Arts and culture
Coburg is home to two major festivals: Samba-Festival Coburg (de)
and Johann Strauss Musiktage.
Coburg is referred to as "Europe's
Capital of Samba."
As a result of the large presence of the US Army prior to German
re-unification, Americans and American culture are still present in
Coburg and the surrounding area. This influence ranges from
American-style pubs and restaurants to two sports clubs sponsoring
National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
National Hot Dog and Sausage Council asserts that
traditionally credited with originating the frankfurter. According to
the Council, this claim is disputed and that the hot dog was created
in the late 17th century by Johann Georghehner, a butcher, living in
Coburg was the first German town to elect a
A popular local delicacy is the Coburger Bratwurst, a sausage (the
official measure of which is denoted by the Marshall's staff held by
the statue of the town's patron, Sankt Mauritius, located on the town
hall and overlooking the square) roasted over a pine cone fire.:58
The sausage is served in a Semmel (a small bread bun, a third the size
of the sausage itself), and is highly popular with locals and tourists
Coburg Peak on
Trinity Peninsula in Graham Land,
Antarctica is named
after the town, in connection with the Bulgarian royal house of Coburg
Coburg can be reached by car via B 303 Schweinfurt-Coburg-Schirnding,
B 4 Hamburg-Coburg-
Nuremberg or motorway A 73 Suhl-Coburg-Nuremberg.
Main article: Railway stations in Coburg
Coburg has four train stations:
Coburg main station
From the main station one can go to Lichtenfels, Bamberg, Forchheim,
Fürth and Nuremberg, to Neustadt bei Coburg, Sonneberg, to
Bad Rodach and to Kulmbach, Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg. Since December 2017,
Coburg station is served by
Intercity Express high speed trains of
the Munich-Nuremberg-Coburg-Erfurt-Berlin(-Hamburg) line
Erfurt high-speed railway).
Small planes can land on the two airfields:
Coburg Brandensteinsebene (ICAO-Code: EDQC, founded in 1912)
Coburg Steinrücken (ICAO-Code: EDQY)
Large airports nearby are in Frankfurt,
Erfurt and Nuremberg.
Local public transport system
The public transport system in
Coburg is operated by SÜC (Stadt- und
Überlandwerke Coburg) with 9 bus lines. The OVF (Omnibus Verkehr
Franken) covers Coburg's surrounding countryside with an additional 11
Besides various royalty, other famous individuals associated with
Hans Berger (graduated),
William Frishmuth (born), and
Eduard Study (born).
In 1887, Johann Strauss, also known as the Waltz King, left Vienna
when the Roman Catholic Church forbade his divorce from his second
wife. So he moved to
Lutheran Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with his future third
wife Adele, where he lived the last 13 years of his life in Coburg. He
was, however, buried in Vienna.
Adolf Hitler led several hundred stormtroopers in a march
through the city, fighting pitched street battles with communists.
Nazi era, the
Coburg Badge (made to honor the participants)
was one of the most prestigious party medals.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, May 1860
Hans Morgenthau, (1904–1980), founder of
International Relations as
a field of study, was born here.
Fritz Mollwitz, (1890–1967), professional baseball player, was born
Baroness Louise Lehzen, (1784–1870), governess and confidante of
Queen Victoria, lived here.
Prince Albert (1819–1861), husband of Queen Victoria, was born in
Leopold I of Belgium, was born here, to Francis, Duke of
More sons and daughters of the town
Born before 1900
Princess Charlotte Wilhelmine of Saxe-Coburg-
Princess and Countess of Hanau-Münzenberg
Princess Luise Dorothea of Saxe-Meiningen
Princess Luise Dorothea of Saxe-Meiningen (1710–1767), Duchess of
Saxony-Gotha and Altenburg
Anton Schweitzer (1735–1787), composer
Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-
Saalfeld (1737–1815), Austrian Field
Johann Christian August Clarus
Johann Christian August Clarus (1774–1854), physician
Gustav König (1808–1869), painter
Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly
Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly (1813–1871), Austrian statesman
Ernest II, Duke of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1818–1893)
Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I of Belgium (1790–1865), first king of the Belgians
Heinrich Rückert (1823–1875), historian and Germanist
Felix Draeseke (1835–1913), composer
Max Brückner (de) (1836–1919), theater painter
Princess Amalie of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1848–1894), Princess and
Duchess in Bavaria
Bernhard Fischer (1852–1915), hygienist
Eduard Study (1862–1930), mathematician
Anna Ritter (née Nuhn, 1865–1921), poet and writer
Otto Appel (1867–1952), phytomedicine doctor
Hans Berger (1873–1941), neurologist and psychiatrist
Princess Alexandra of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1878–1942), Princess of
Great Britain and Ireland and a member of the House of Saxony-Coburg
and the Gotha family and later by marriage Princess to
Louis Oppenheim (1879–1936), utility graphic artist
Fred Immler (1880–1965), actor
Charles Edward, Duke of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884–1954), the last
Duke of Saxony-
Coburg and Gotha
Fritz Mollwitz (1890–1967), baseball player in the USA
Born after 1900
Yvonne Desportes 1930
Hans Morgenthau (1904–1980), jurist and political scientist
Kurt Eccarius (1905-died after 1969), head of the detention area in
Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Ernst Kupfer (1907–1944), fighter pilot in the Second World War
Yvonne Desportes (1907–1993), French composer
Sibylle of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1908-1972) Princess of Sweden married
to hereditary prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden and mother to King Carl
XVI Gustav of Sweden
Günther Weißenborn (1911–2001), pianist, composer and conductor
Eva Ahnert-Rohlfs (1912–1954), astronomer
Wolfgang Stammberger (1920–1982), politician (FDP, SPD), Member of
Bundestag, Federal Minister of Justice,
Lord Mayor of Coburg
Heinrich Strecker (1922–2013), professor of statistics and
Werner Scheler (born 1923), physician and pharmacologist
Hubertus Ernst (1938–2016), entrepreneur
Tatunca Nara (born 1941), German-Brazilian impostor
Klaus Volk (born 1944), lawyer and criminal lawyer
Klaus-Peter Göpfert (born 1948), wrestler
Klaus Janson (born 1952), American comic artist
Martin May (born 1961), actor, author and narrator
Bernd Friedmann (born 1965), musician and producer
Frank Greiner (born 1966), footballer
Claudia Porwik (born 1968), tennis player
Andreas Hackethal (born 1971), professor
Julia Stoschek (born 1975), art collector
Martin Forkel (born 1979), footballer
Andreas Wolf (born 1990), handball player
Marius Wolf (born 1995), footballer
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coburg.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Coburg.
Coburg Tourist Board
World sites atlas
Schloss- und Gartenverwaltung Coburg
Twin towns of Coburg
Urban and rural districts in the Free State of
Neustadt (Aisch)-Bad Windsheim
Neustadt an der Waldnaab