Offenburg ("open borough" - coat of arms showing open gates; Fr. Offenbourg) is a city located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. With about 57,000 inhabitants (2013), it is the largest city and the administrative capital of the Ortenaukreis.
Offenburg is located approximately 15 km east of the river Rhine between Karlsruhe and Freiburg. The French city of Strasbourg lies directly west across the Rhine. Offenburg lies at the mouth of the Kinzig river valley. The Kinzig flows out of the Black Forest and meets the Rhine near Kehl.
|Imperial City of Offenburg|
|Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|•||First documentary mention||1148|
|•||Gained Reichsfreiheit||before 1240 the 13th century|
|•||City razed in Nine Years' War||1689|
|•||Became Badish fief||1701–71|
|•||Ceded to Baden||1803|
In recent times the remainders of Roman settlements have been found within the city's territory. Offenburg was first mentioned in historical documents dating from 1148. By 1240 Offenburg had already been declared a Free Imperial City. In September 1689 the city - with the exception of two buildings - was totally destroyed during the Nine Years War by French troops. Due to Napoleon's dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1803 and reorganization of the German states, in 1803 Offenburg lost its status as a Free Imperial City and fell under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Baden.
During the outbreak of the Revolutions of 1848, the "Offenburger Programm" which contained thirteen demands "in the name of the people of Baden" was announced at the Salmen Inn on 12 September 1847. This was the first democratic demand in Germany. Along with the Karlsbad Resolves, the Offenburger Program demanded basic and human rights as well as freedom of the press and a progressive income tax structure. On 19 March 1848 the demands were confirmed by the 20,000 member Offenburg Peoples' Assembly.
During World War I Offenburg was one of the first cities to experience the effects from aerial bombardment, the operations against the Offenburg railway sidings mostly being flown by aircraft from the Independent Force out of Ochey aerodrome.
It is a mostly forgotten fact that in the aftermath of World War I, during the Occupation of the Ruhr, French troops had occupied Offenburg as it fell within the perimeter of the Kehl bridgehead. The French occupation forces entered the town in February 1923 and stayed until 1924, blocking any traffic on the Rhine Valley Railway between Offenburg and Appenweier.
Following the rise to power of the NSDAP in the 1930s the Jewish population fell victim to acts of repression that in the pre-war era culminated in the vandalization of the local synagoge in November 1938. After the war had begun, those members of the Jewish population that had not managed to emigrate were deported in October 1940 to the concentration camp of Gurs and in 1942 from there to Auschwitz.
In World War II, owing to the geographical proximity to the French border, Offenburg was either exposed to temporary evacuations during the Battle of France in 1940 or artillery fire towards the final stages of World War II. Though only being a primary target on one occasion during World War II on 27 November 1944 when a force of more than 300 USAAF B-17 and Liberator bombers attacked the marshalling yards, many tactical attacks were flown during 1944 and 1945 against the railway installations.
Since then Offenburg has been constantly developing, both in size, inhabitants and prosperity. Between 1971 and 1975 eleven adjacent villages were incorporated into the commune of Offenburg and are now an integral part of the city.
Owing to its favourable geographic situation Offenburg has been lying at the crossroads of important lines of communication that can be traced back to Roman times.
Since the arrival of the railways from Mannheim in 1844, Offenburg had developed into a railway center during the 19th and earlier part of the 20th century. However, since the privatization of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the ensuing restructuring of the Deutsche Bahn AG which subsequently led to the shut down of the railway workshops the operations in Offenburg have considerably shrunk in size. Today Offenburg station lies at the crossroads of a number of railway lines, the most important of which is the Rhine Valley Railway the main line between Karlsruhe and Basel with regular Intercity Express (ICE) services to Basel, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Frankfurt Airport and Amsterdam. The picturesque Black Forest Railway starts at Offenburg as does the line to Strasbourg and the line serving the Rench valley in the Black Forest.
Offenburg airfield (EDTO) has been used for flying purposes since 1911 and has received a paved runway in 1975. It is owned by the municipality. However, since its decommissioning and declassification in the 1990s, the 910 metre asphalt runway (02-20) is only available to resident aeroclubs and to aircraft that have obtained prior permission from the operator. Airports in the vicinity are: Flughafen Lahr in Lahr (EDTL) and, with scheduled traffic, Strasbourg-Entzheim (LFST) and Baden-Söllingen (EDSB). Both, Lahr and Baden-Söllingen had formerly been used by the Canadian Forces in Europe and became available for civil use after the end of the Cold War. The combination of an abundance of three well-equipped airports close by, the ever-growing noise sensitivity of residents as well as the necessity for commercial development areas has in 2012 revived discussions to shut down the aerodrome completely.
Offenburg has a rich trade and manufacturing sector and is home to a number of well-known brands, e.g. tesa, Vivil, Meiko (professional dishwashers), Hansgrohe. The most important single company however, is Hubert Burda Media, one of Germany's most influential publishing companies. The expansion of Burda's printing business after World War II has been the most significant factor to the development of the local economy after 1945.
Apart from the primary and secondary schools that are within the responsibility of several public bodies, Offenburg houses a diverse number of educational institutions.
Offenburg is also home to the University of Applied Sciences Offenburg.
There are several historical attractions in Offenburg including:
Offenburger FV is a German association football club based in the city of Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg. The club is one of the most successful amateur football clubs in Germany.
Offenburg is twinned with:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Offenburg.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Offenburg.|