HistoryThe heart of what is now Leverkusen was Wiesdorf, a village on the , which dates back to the 12th century. With the surrounding villages which have now been incorporated, the area also includes the rivers Wupper and Dhünn, and has suffered a lot from flooding, notably in 1571 and 1657, the latter resulting in Wiesdorf being moved East from the river to its present location. During the Cologne War, from 1583 to 1588 Leverkusen was ravaged by war. The entire area was rural until the late 19th century, when industry prompted the development that led to the city of Leverkusen, and to its becoming one of the most important centres of the German chemical industry. The chemist Carl Leverkus, looking for a place to build a dye factory, chose Wiesdorf in 1860. He built a factory for the production of artificial ultramarine blue at the Kahlberg in Wiesdorf in 1861, and called the emerging settlement "Leverkusen" after his family home in Lennep. The factory was taken over by the During the Second World War, the IG Farben factories were bombed by the RAF on 22 August 1943, again by the RAF during Battle of Berlin (RAF campaign), bombing campaigns on 19/20 November, the USAAF Eighth Air Force on 1 December 1943, and finally once again by the RAF on 10/11 December 1943. In 1975, Opladen (including Quettingen and Lützenkirchen since 1930), Hitdorf and Bergisch Neukirchen joined Leverkusen. The present city is made up of former villages, originally called Wiesdorf, Opladen, Schlebusch, Manfort, Bürrig, Hitdorf, Quettingen, Lützenkirchen, Steinbüchel, Rheindorf and Bergisch-Neukirchen.
DemographicsPopulation development since 1832:
MayorThe current Mayor of Leverkusen is Uwe Richrath of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD), elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020. The most recent mayoral election was held on 13 September 2020, with a runoff held on 27 September, and the results were as follows: ! rowspan=2 colspan=2, Candidate ! rowspan=2, Party ! colspan=2, First round ! colspan=2, Second round , - ! Votes ! % ! Votes ! % , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Uwe Richrath , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party , 28,016 , 46.1 , 29,438 , 70.0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Frank Schönberger , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union , 14,198 , 23.4 , 12,619 , 30.0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Stefan Baake , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens , 7,283 , 12.0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Roland Hartwig , align=left, Alternative for Germany , 3,132 , 5.2 , - , , align=left, Karl Schweiger , align=left, Citizens' List Leverkusen , 3,070 , 5.1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Monika Ballin-Meyer-Ahrens , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party , 2,613 , 4.3 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Christian Alexander Langer , align=left, Die PARTEI , 1,377 , 2.3 , - , , align=left, Markus Beisicht , align=left, Awakening Leverkusen , 1,101 , 1.8 , - ! colspan=3, Valid votes ! 60,790 ! 98.8 ! 42,057 ! 99.1 , - ! colspan=3, Invalid votes ! 744 ! 1.2 ! 362 ! 0.9 , - ! colspan=3, Total ! 61,534 ! 100.0 ! 42,419 ! 100.0 , - ! colspan=3, Electorate/voter turnout ! 126,846 ! 48.5 ! 126,801 ! 33.5 , - , colspan=7, Source
City councilThe Leverkusen city council governs the city alongside the Mayor. The most recent city council election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows: ! colspan=2, Party ! Votes ! % ! +/- ! Seats ! +/- , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) , 16,859 , 27.8 , 4.7 , 14 , 3 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democratic Party (SPD) , 15,276 , 25.2 , 3.1 , 13 , 1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) , 11,015 , 18.2 , 8.8 , 9 , 4 , - , , align=left, Citizens' List Leverkusen (Bürgerliste) , 3,630 , 6.0 , 1.0 , 3 , 1 , - , , align=left, Opladen Plus (OP) , 3,601 , 5.9 , 0.7 , 3 , ±0 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Alternative for Germany (AfD) , 3,466 , 5.7 , New , 3 , New , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, Free Democratic Party (Germany), Free Democratic Party (FDP) , 2,937 , 4.8 , 1.0 , 3 , 1 , - , bgcolor=, , align=left, The Left (Germany), The Left (Die Linke) , 2,092 , 3.4 , 0.4 , 2 , ±0 , - , , align=left, Citizens' Forum Green Leverkusen – Climate List (Büfo) , 909 , 1.5 , New , 1 , New , - , , align=left, Awakening Leverkusen (AUF) , 876 , 1.4 , New , 1 , New , - ! colspan=2, Valid votes ! 60,661 ! 98.6 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=2, Invalid votes ! 866 ! 1.4 ! ! ! , - ! colspan=2, Total ! 61,527 ! 100.0 ! ! 52 ! ±0 , - ! colspan=2, Electorate/voter turnout ! 126,846 ! 48.5 ! 2.3 ! ! , - , colspan=7, Source
Coat of armsThe coat of arms consists of the two-tailed rampant red lion of the Bergisches Land with a blue crown on a silver background and an Line (heraldry)#Embattled and variants, embattled line in front.
Main sights and places of interest* BayArena is the home stadium of Bayer Leverkusen, with a capacity of over 30,000. * The Bayer Cross Leverkusen is one of the largest illuminated advertisements in the world. * Freudenthaler Sensenhammer is an industrial museum. * Morsbroich Museum, Schloss Morsbroich – moated castle in the Baroque style, now a museum for contemporary art. * Water Tower Leverkusen-Bürrig – water reservoir containing an observation deck. * Neuland Park – large park beside the . * Japanese Garden – a 1913 garden extended by Carl Duisberg in 1923. * Colony of workers – historical area in the form of houses and other buildings constructed for employees and families of the chemical works at the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century. * ''Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit'' – historical boat bridge next to the Rhine, between Wiesdorf and Rheindorf. * Mausoleum of Carl Duisberg – mausoleum in the centre of the Carl Duisberg Park, next to the Casino. * NaturGut Ophoven – educational centre for nature in Leverkusen-Opladen.
SportsThe city is home of the football team Bayer 04 Leverkusen and the basketball team Bayer Giants Leverkusen, which is the German record holder of German Basketball Championship, national basketball championships. As of 2019, the team plays in the German ProA league and plays its home games in the Ostermann-Arena. The Ostermann-Arena, previously known as Wilhelm Dopatka Halle and Smidt-Arena, was one of the host arenas for the FIBA EuroBasket 1985 (the official European Basketball Championship).
Twin towns – sister citiesLeverkusen is Sister city, twinned with: * Oulu, Finland (1968) * Bracknell, United Kingdom (1975) * Ljubljana, Slovenia (1979) * Nof HaGalil, Israel (1980) * Chinandega, Nicaragua (1986) * Schwedt, Germany (1989) * Racibórz, Poland (2002) * Villeneuve d'Ascq, France (2005) * Wuxi, China (2014)
Notable people*Lothar Rohde (1906–1985), scientist and founder of ''Rohde & Schwarz Messtechnik'' *Heinrich Lützenkirchen (1909–1986), mayor of Leverkusen *Paul Janes, (1912–1987), footballer *Wolf Vostell (1932–1988), sculptor, painter and happening artist *Ileana Jacket, (born 1947), telenovela actress *Bärbel Dieckmann (born 1949), politician (Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD), mayor of Bonn 1994–2009 *Wilfried Schmickler (born 1954), comedian *Andreas Hedwig, (born 1959), archivist *Dietmar Mögenburg (born 1961), athlete *Detlef Schrempf (born 1963), basketball player *Sabine Moussier (born 1966), Mexican telenovela actress *Uta Briesewitz (born 1967), cinematographer *Ralf Schmitz (born 1974), actor and comedian *Jörg Bergmeister (born 1976), racing driver *Ji-In Cho (born 1976), heavy metal singer *Danny Ecker (born 1977), pole vaulter *Felix Sturm (born 1979), middleweight boxer
Sources* Blaschke, Stefan (1999): ''Unternehmen und Gemeinde: Das Bayerwerk im Raum Leverkusen 1891-1914'' Cologne: SH-Verlag, (German) * Archive of Leverkusen (2005): ''Leverkusen. Geschichte einer Stadt am Rhein.'' Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, (German) * Franz Gruß (1987): ''Geschichte und Porträt der Stadt Leverkusen.'' Leverkusen: Verlag Anna Gruß, (German)