Konstanz (pronounced [ˈkɔnstants], locally [ˈkɔnʃtants]; formerly
English: Constance, Czech: Kostnice, Latin: Constantia) is a
university city with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the
western end of
Lake Constance in the south of Germany, bordering
Switzerland. The city houses the University of
Konstanz and was for
more than 1200 years residence of the Roman Catholic Diocese of
4 Image gallery
6 Main sights
7 International relations
9 World Heritage Site
10 Notable people
10.1 Early times to 1800
10.2 From 1801-1900
10.3 From 1901 to modern times
11 See also
13 External links
The Imperia at the
Lake Constance harbour of
Konstanz is the city's
Konstanz is situated on
Lake Constance (Bodensee in German). The Rhine
river, which starts in the Swiss Alps, passes through Lake Constance
and leaves it, considerably larger, by flowing under a bridge
connecting the two parts of the city. North of the river lies the
larger part of the city with residential areas, industrial estates,
and the University of Konstanz; while south of the river is the old
town, which houses the administrative centre and shopping facilities
in addition to the Hochschule or the University of Applied Sciences.
Car ferries provide access across
Lake Constance to Meersburg, and the
Katamaran provides a shuttle service for pedestrians to
Friedrichshafen. At the old town's southern border lies the Swiss town
Konstanz is subdivided into 15 wards or districts (Stadtteile). The
Mainau belonged to the ward of Litzelstetten, a separate
municipality until its incorporation into
Konstanz on December 1,
Wards of Konstanz
Schnetztor, a section of the former city wall.
Konstanz Marktstätte, the main square in the old town.
See also: Bishopric of Constance
The first traces of civilization in
Konstanz date back to the late
Stone Age. During the reign of Augustus, the
Celts living south of the
Danube were conquered by the Romans. Around 40 AD, the first Romans
settled on the site. This small town on the left bank of the
probably first called Drusomagus and belonged to the
Roman province of
Raetia. Its later name, originally Constantia, comes either from the
Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus, who fought the
Alemanni in the
region and built a strong fortress around 300 AD, or from his grandson
Constantius II, who visited the region in 354. The remains of the late
Roman fortress Constantia were discovered in 2003.
Around 585 the first bishop took up residence in
Konstanz and this
marked the beginning of the city's importance as a spiritual centre.
By the late Middle Ages, about one quarter of Konstanz's 6,000
inhabitants were exempt from taxation on account of clerical rights.
Trade thrived during the Middle Ages.
Konstanz owned the only bridge
in the region, which crossed the Rhine, making it a strategic location
in the Duchy of Swabia. Its linen production had made an international
name for the city and it was prosperous. In 1192,
Konstanz gained the
status of Imperial City so it was henceforth subject only to the Holy
In 1414 to 1418, the
Council of Constance
Council of Constance took place, during which, on
6 July 1415,
John Hus (Czech religious thinker, philosopher and
reformer), who was seen as a threat to
Christianity by the Roman
Catholic Church, was burned at the stake. It was here that the Papal
Schism was ended and
Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V was elected during the only
conclave ever held north of the Alps. Ulrich von Richental's
illustrated chronicle of the
Council of Constance
Council of Constance testifies to all the
major happenings during the Council as well as showing the everyday
life of medieval Konstanz. The Konzilgebäude where the conclave was
held can still be seen standing by the harbour. Close by stands the
Imperia, a statue that was erected in 1993 to satirically commemorate
In 1460, the Swiss Confederacy conquered Thurgau, Konstanz's natural
Konstanz then made an attempt to get admitted to the Swiss
Confederacy, but the forest cantons voted against its entry, fearing
over-bearing city states;
Konstanz then joined the Swabian League
instead. In the
Swabian War of 1499,
Konstanz lost its last privileges
Thurgau to the Confederation.
Protestant Reformation took hold in
Konstanz in the 1520s, headed
by Ambrosius Blarer. Soon the city declared itself officially
Protestant, pictures were removed from the churches, and the bishop
temporarily moved to Meersburg, a small town across the lake. The city
first followed the Tetrapolitan Confession, and then the Augsburg
Confession. However, in 1548 Emperor Charles V imposed the Imperial
Konstanz and it had to surrender to Habsburg
Austria which had
suddenly attacked. Thus
Konstanz lost its status as an imperial city.
The new Habsburg rulers were eager to re-Catholicise the town and in
1604 a Jesuit College was opened. Its accompanying theatre, built in
1610, is the oldest theatre in
Germany still performing regularly.
The city became part of the
Grand Duchy of Baden
Grand Duchy of Baden in 1806. In 1821, the
Bishopric of Constance
Bishopric of Constance was dissolved and became part of the
Archdiocese of Freiburg.
Konstanz became part of the
German Empire in
1871 during the unification of Germany. After
World War I
World War I it was
included within the Republic of Baden.
Memorial to the murdered Jews of Konstanz
On 22 October 1940, 110 of the last Jewish residents were deported to
Gurs internment camp
Gurs internment camp in France. Most of those who were still alive in
August 1942 were murdered in either Sobibór or Auschwitz.
Because it almost lies within Switzerland, directly adjacent to the
Konstanz was not bombed by the Allied Forces during
World War II. The city left all its lights on at night, and thus
fooled the bombers into thinking it was actually part of Switzerland.
After the war,
Konstanz was included first in
South Baden and then in
the new state of Baden-Württemberg.
The Altstadt (Old Town), which is large considering the small size of
modern Konstanz, has many old buildings and twisting alleys. The city
skyline is dominated by the majestic "Münster" Cathedral ("Münster
Unserer Lieben Frau"), several other churches and three towers left
over from the city wall, one of which marks the place of the former
medieval bridge over the Rhine.
The University of
Konstanz was established close to the town in 1966.
It houses an excellent library with approximately two million books,
all freely accessible 24 hours a day, as well as a botanical garden
(the Botanischer Garten der Universität Konstanz). Especially since
2007, the university, being one of the nine German universities most
successful in the German Universities Excellence Initiative, has
gained considerable reputation as a so-called "elite university".
Konstanz was the birthplace of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin,
constructor of the famous
Swiss shoppers returning to their home country from
In the late 2010s,
Konstanz has become a popular destination for
Einkaufstourism, or cross-border shopping by Swiss due to lower prices
on basic items in Germany, a favorable exchange rate between the Swiss
franc and the euro, and a generous German VAT refund for non-European
Union residents. Retail chains such as H&M and dm have built large
new stores near the town's central square to cater to this trade, and
Konstanz residents feel the city is losing its historic character
in the process; many of them avoid the area on Saturdays. This has led
to friction with officials from
Kreuzlingen as their city has seen no
economic benefit from this trade, and they have been requesting that
their national government bring up the issue of the VAT refund with
The late Roman fortress Constantia at the Münsterplatz.
The Konzilgebäude in Konstanz.
The plaque on the house where Jan Hus stayed in 1414.
Largest groups of foreign residents
Serbia & Montenegro
Its location by a lake in south-west
Konstanz an oceanic
climate (Cfb) with warm, humid summers and cold winters.
Climate data for Konstanz,
Germany for 1981–2010 (Source: DWD)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Data derived from Deutscher Wetterdienst
Imperia, a 9 m-tall sculpture
Jan Hus Museum
Konzil edifice, dating to the 15th century
Niederburg (Lower Castle)
Remains of a Roman fortress, near the Cathedral
Schnetztor, fortified gate of the former city walls
Konstanz was also home to a large synagogue, destroyed by the Nazi
government in 1938.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Konstanz is twinned with:
Fontainebleau, France, since 1960
Richmond-upon-Thames, United Kingdom, since 1983
Tábor, Czech Republic, since 1984
Lodi, Italy, since 1986
Suzhou, PR China, since 2007
Wycliffestead Lutterworth, United Kingdom, since 2015
Konstanz station is served by the Upper
Rhine Railway running west to
Singen with connections to all parts of Germany, and the
Konstanz line running south into Switzerland, connecting to
major routes at Weinfelden. Services are provided by the Deutsche Bahn
AG and also the Swiss
Thurbo company and its German subsidiary. The
nearest airport is at Friedrichshafen, which can be reached by a fast
ferry service on the lake, which also connects
Konstanz to other
lakeside towns. The airport mainly hosts domestic flights, but flights
Turkey are available. The nearest international
airports are in Stuttgart, in Basel, and Zürich, which has a direct
train from Konstanz. Bus services within the city are provided by
Friedrichshafen have been connected by the
two (since 2008, three) catamarans Constance and Fridolin since 2005.
World Heritage Site
It is home to one or more prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house)
settlements that are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the
UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Early times to 1800
Ulrich Zasius (1461–1536) German jurist.
Ernst Vögelin (1529–1589) 16th-century German pioneer book printer
Wacker von Wackenfels (1550–1619) active
diplomat, scholar and author, with an avid interest in history and
philosophy. A follower of Neostoicism
Tobias Pock (or Poch, Bock or Pockh) (1609-1683) Austrian Baroque
painter of Swabian descent, a pioneer of sacral art. He was born in
Konstanz, where his father worked as a master at the Cathedral
Guillaume Henri Dufour
Guillaume Henri Dufour (1787–1875) Swiss army officer, bridge
engineer and topographer.
Marie Ellenrieder (1791–1863) German painter
Josef Albert Amann
Josef Albert Amann (junior) (1866–1919), gynecologist
Heinrich Ernst Kromer (1866–1948), painter, sculptor, writer
Konrad Beyerle (1872–1933), jurist, historian and politician
Conrad Grober (1872–1948), priest and archbishop, teacher and pastor
Wilhelm von Scholz (1874–1969), writer and dramatist
Walter Julius Viktor Schoeller (1880–1965), chemist, chief
representative and head of research at Schering AG, friend of Otto
Hahn and Wilhelm Traube
Friedrich Flick (1883–1972), entrepreneur
Jacob Picard, origin. Jacob Pickard , pseud. J. P. cheeks
Michaela von Neipperg (1885–1957), Countess and Benedictine nun,
religious superior at the Municipal Women's Clinic Konstanz
Siegfried Adolf Handloser (1885–1954) Doctor, Prof. Dr. med.,
Generaloberstabsarzt of the German Armed Forces Medical Services, one
of the accused in the Doctors' Trial in Nuremberg, after the main
Melanie Risch (1887–1944), victim of Nazism
Anne Winterer (1894–1938) German photographer known for her
industrial and cultural work.
From 1901 to modern times
Werner Berger (1901–1964), SS-Oberscharführer and member of
commando 99 in Buchenwald concentration camp
Gerda Bormann (1909–1946), spouse of NSDAP-politician Martin
Bormann, private secretary of Adolf Hitler,
Julius Federer (1911–1984), jurist
François Stahly (1911–2006), French sculptor
Karl Schiess (1914–1999), jurist, politician (CDU), minister and
Egon Mayer (1917–1944), fighter ace in the
Luftwaffe during World
Hermann Viellieber (1917–1993), politician (CDU), Member of Landtag
Werner Maihofer (1918–2009), politician (FDP) and university
teacher, Member of Bundestag, minister of the interior (1974–1978)
Hans Maria Wingler (1920–1984), art historian and founder of
Rosemarie Banholzer (born 1925), dialect author
Berthold Keller (1927–2012), trade unionist
Martin Gotthard Schneider (1930-2017) theologian, church musician,
Landeskantor, songwriter and academic teacher.
Theo Sommer (born 1930), newspaper editor. He has been at Die Zeit
since 1958, rising to Editor-in-Chief and Publisher.
Martin Elsässer (born 1933), diplomat
Rolf Böhme (born 1934), Staatssekretär (1978–1982),
Lord Mayor of
Uli Trepte (1941-2009), German musician best known for his
Krautrock bands in the early 1970s.
Hermann Vogler (born 1944),
Lord Mayor of Ravensburg
Hans-Peter Repnik (born 1947), politician (CDU), Member of Bundestag,
secretary of state (1989–1994),
Friedhelm Repnik (born 1949), Social minister of Baden-Württemberg
Horst Frank (born 1949), jurist,
Lord Mayor of
Peter Berger (born 1949), rower, competed
1968 Summer Olympics
1968 Summer Olympics and in
the 1972 Summer Olympics
Ian Ashley Murdock (1973–2015), American software engineer, founder
Larissa Vassilian (born 1976), German journalist of German-Armenian
descent, podcasts as Annik Rubens
Cathedral of Konstanz
Konstanz (University of Applied Sciences)
University of Konstanz
^ "Gemeinden in Deutschland nach Fläche, Bevölkerung und
Postleitzahl am 30.09.2016".
Statistisches Bundesamt (in German).
^ Gagnon, Milan (March 6, 2017). "The Swiss Invasion". Slate.
Retrieved March 6, 2017.
^ "Ausgabe der Klimadaten: Monatswerte".
UNESCO World Heritage. "Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around
the Alps". whc.unesco.org.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Konstanz.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Konstanz.
"Constance". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). 1911.
(in German) Konstanz: history and images
University of Konstanz
Online journal about Constance
University of Applied Sciences
Photos of the Carnival (~Shrovetide, ~Mardi Grass) in Constance
Südkurier Local newspaper for Konstanz
Towns and municipalities in Konstanz
Büsingen am Hochrhein