Solingen (German pronunciation: [ˈzoːlɪŋən] ( listen)) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the northern edge of the region called Bergisches Land, south of the Ruhr area, and, with a 2009 population of 161,366, is after Wuppertal the second largest city in the Bergisches Land. It is a member of the regional authority of the Rhineland.
Solingen is called the "City of Blades", since it has long been renowned for the manufacturing of fine swords, knives, scissors and razors made by famous firms such as Dreiturm, DOVO, Wüsthof, Zwilling J. A. Henckels, Böker, Clauberg, Eickhorn, and numerous other manufacturers.
In Medieval times, the swordsmiths of Solingen coined the town's image, which is preserved to this date. In the latter part of the 17th century, a group of swordsmiths from Solingen broke their guild oaths by taking their sword-making secrets with them to Shotley Bridge, County Durham in England.
Solingen lies southwest of Wuppertal in the Bergisches Land. The city has an area of 89.45 square kilometres (34.54 sq mi), of which roughly 50% is used for agriculture, horticulture, or forestry. The city's border is 62 kilometres (39 mi) long, and the city's dimensions are 15.6 kilometres (9.7 mi) east to west and 11.7 kilometres (7.3 mi) north to south. The Wupper river, a right tributary of the Rhine, flows through the city for 26 kilometres (16 mi). The city's highest point at 276 metres (906 ft) is in the northern borough of Gräfrath at the Light Tower, previously the water tower, and the lowest point at 53 metres (174 ft) is in the southwest.
The following cities and communities share a border with Solingen, starting in the northeast and going clockwise around the city:
Solingen currently consists of five boroughs. Each borough has a municipal council of either 13 or 15 representatives (Bezirksvertreter) elected every five years by the borough's population. The municipal councils are responsible for many of the boroughs' important administrative affairs.
The five city boroughs:
The individuals boroughs are in part composed of separate quarters or residential areas with their own names, although they often lack precise borders. These areas are:
Solingen was first mentioned in 1067 by a chronicler who called the area "Solonchon". Early variations of the name included "Solengen", "Solungen", and "Soleggen", although the modern name seems to have been in use since the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
Blacksmith smelters, dating back to over 2000 years, have been found around the town adding to Solingen's fame as a Northern Europe blacksmith centre. Swords from Solingen have turned up in places such as the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the British Isles. Northern Europe prized the quality of Solingen's manufactured weaponry, and they were traded across the European continent. Solingen today remains the knife-centre of Germany.
It was a tiny village for centuries, but became a fortified town in the 15th century.
In 1929 Ohligs, located in the Prussian Rhine Province, 17 miles (27 km) by rail north of Cologne became part of Solingen. Its chief manufactures were cutlery and hardware, and there were iron-foundries and flour mills. Other industries are brewing, dyeing, weaving and brick-making.
In World War II the Old Town was completely destroyed by an air raid of the British air force in 1944; 1,800 people died and over 1,500 people were badly injured. As such, there are few pre-war sights in the centre.
In 1993 Solingen, the birthplace of Adolf Eichmann became once again the scene of racist violence with its 1993 Solingen arson attack. When four skinheads, with neo-Nazi ties, set fire to the house of a large Turkish family. Three girls and two women died; fourteen other family members, including several children, were injured, some of them severely.
Solingen's population doubled between the years 1880 and 1890 due to the incorporation of the city Dorp into Solingen in 1889, at which time the population reached 36,000. The population again received a large boost on August 1, 1929 through the incorporation of Ohligs, Wald, Höhscheid, and Gräfrath into the city limits. This brought the population above the 100,000 mark, which gave Solingen the distinction of "large city" (Großstadt). The number of inhabitants peaked in 1971 with 177,899 residents, and the 2006 population figure was 163,263.
The following chart shows the population figures within Solingen's city limits at the respective points in time. The figures are derived from census estimates or numbers provided by statistical offices or city agencies, with the exception of figures preceding 1843, which were gathered using inconsistent recording techniques.
30.9% of the population of Solingen has foreign roots (statistics 2012).
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
Solingen Hauptbahnhof is served by Rhine-Ruhr S-Bahn line S1 from Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf Airport Station. S-Bahn line S7 links Solingen (including the station nearest the town centre, Solingen Mitte, and Solingen-Grünewald) to Wuppertal via Remscheid, Remscheid-Lennep and Wuppertal-Ronsdorf. This line has been operated by Abellio Deutschland starting 15 Dec. 2013. The Rhein-Wupper-Bahn (RB 48) runs over the Gruiten–Köln-Deutz line to Bonn-Mehlem via Opladen and Cologne. It has been operated by National Express starting 13 Dec. 2015.
|Railway stations of Solingen|
|Solingen Hauptbahnhof||ICE42||Dortmund – Solingen – Mannheim – Munich (InterCity Express)||Interchange with Obus Solingen (trolleybus) lines 681, 682.|
|ICE43||Hannover – Solingen – Cologne – Mannheim – Basel (InterCity Express)|
|ICE91||Dortmund – Solingen – Frankfurt – Vienna (InterCity Express)|
|IC31||Hamburg – Solingen – Cologne – Frankfurt (InterCity)|
|IC55||Leipzig – Hannover – Solingen – Cologne|
|RE7||Krefeld – Cologne – Solingen – Wuppertal – Hagen – Hamm – Münster – Rheine (RegionalExpress)|
|S7||S-Bahn to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof via Remscheid|
|RB48||Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Solingen – Cologne – Bonn-Mehlem (RegionalBahn)|
|S1||S-Bahn to Dortmund|
|S7||S-Bahn to Wuppertal via Remscheid|
|Solingen Mitte||S7||Nearest station to historic centre.
Interchange with trolleybus lines 681, 683, 684, 686.
|Solingen Grünewald||S7||Interchange with trolleybus line 682.|
The first trolleybus was brought into service on 19 June 1952. The network was a conversion of the previous tram services. Conversion from tramway was completed on 2 December 1959. Extensions to the system were opened in 1981–82 – Schlagbaum to Hasselstraße (2.6 kilometres (1.6 mi)) and Höhscheid to Brockenberg (0.8 kilometres (0.50 mi)) respectively – and in 1993 from Aufderhöhe to Mangenberg/Graf-Wilhem-Platz (8.2 kilometres (5.1 mi)).
The mid-1990s saw plans to replace the trolleybuses with diesel buses, but this was never pursued; trolleybuses being preferred over diesel vehicles because of superior acceleration and better suitability for the hilly terrain.
As of 2007[update], 6 lines are in operation. The older lines (681–684) are served every ten minutes, and the newer lines (685–686, opened 22 August 1993) run every half-hour, although they are duplicated by each other for the majority of their route. Routes 681 and 682 interchange with the city's principal railway station – Solingen Hbf – which lies in the western suburbs. Line 683 – at 14.5 kilometres (9.0 mi), by far the network's longest – also connects to the Wuppertal Schwebebahn at Vohwinkel, the northern end of the route and the western terminus of the Schwebebahn. The southern extent of 683 is the town of Burg an der Wupper, which contains Schloss Burg (Burg Castle). Burg is also home to the world's only trolleybus turntable, owing to lack of space to provide a full turning circle. This precludes the use of articulated vehicles like on the rest of the network. Until November 2009 this turntable was in regular use for line 683. Since November 2009 line 683 has been extended to Burger Bahnhof. On the new section, the buses use their diesel engine instead of electricity, as no overhead wires were constructed here.
As of early 2007[update] the fleet stands at 49 vehicles: 15 articulated Berkhof buses (2001/2), 20 articulated Van Hool buses (2002/3), and 14 three-axle MAN buses (1986-7). The latter are due for replacement during 2008. The power supply is 600 V DC.
The nearest Airports are Düsseldorf Airport and Cologne/Bonn Airport. Both International Airports can be reached by train from Solingen-Hauptbahnhof (change trains at Köln-Messe/Deutz Station for the S-Bahn 13 to Cologne/Bonn Airport). Other easily reached airports are the airports of Frankfurt am Main (ICE train stop), Dortmund (railway station "Holzwickede" on the RE7 trainline) and the low cost airport Weeze (coaches from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof).
Solingen has belonged from its beginnings to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne (Erzbistum Köln), and more specifically to the Archdeaconry of the Probst (provost) of St. Kunibert, the deanery of Deutz. Although the Protestant Reformation gradually made gains in the city, which was under the control of the Counts of Berg, the population by and large remained Catholic for a while. The Catholic community was newly endowed by the local lord in 1658 and in 1701 received a new church building. In 1827 Solingen became the seat of its own deanery within the newly defined Archdiocese of Cologne, to which the city's current parishes still belong.
As mentioned, the Reformation only gradually gained a foothold in Solingen. A reformed church affiliated with the Bergisch synod was established in 1590, and the city's parish church became reformed in 1649. Lutherans had been present in Solingen since the beginning of the 17th century, and a Lutheran congregation was founded in 1635. In 1672 a formalized religious agreement was reached between the city's religious groups. The Reformation was also introduced in Gräfrath in 1590, where a church council was apparently established in 1629. The Reformed and Lutheran churches were formed into a united church community in 1838 following the general merger of Reformed and Lutheran churches in Prussia in 1817.
The Protestant parishes originally belonged to the district synod of Lennep, today part of the city Remscheid. A new synod was established in Solingen in 1843, and the city acquired its own superintendent, a form of church administrator. This formed the basis for the present-day Church District of Solingen, a member of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland. With the exception of the free churches, most Protestant churches belong to the Church District of Solingen.
Today approximately 34% of Solingen's population belongs to Protestant churches, and roughly 26% belong to Catholic churches. Other church communities in Solingen include Greek Orthodox, Evangelical Free (including Baptist and Brethren), Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, and free churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses and the New Apostolic Church also have communities in Solingen.
Most of the Turkish immigrants belong to the Muslim faith and they have several mosques/worship places in Solingen:
Locations of note in the city include:
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The founders of Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, which later became the automobile company Studebaker, trace their lineage to bladesmen from the region that migrated to America in 1736.
The Solingen Alligators are a baseball and softball club from Solingen. The club was founded in 1991 and the first men's team was promoted to the first division of the Baseball Bundesliga for the 2003 season. It has played there in every season since, winning the league championship in 2006 and 2014. The club claims over 250 members.
The Schachgesellschaft Solingen e.V. 1868 is best known for its chess team, which plays in the Schachbundesliga (Chess Bundesliga), the top tier of the German chess league system, and is the most successful club in German chess history, having won a record 12 national titles (1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1980/81, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1996/97 and 2015/16), three national cups (1986, 2006 und 2009) and 2 European cups (1976 and 1990).
In handball, Solingen's most successful team is Bergischer HC, playing in the top-tier Handball-Bundesliga which they were promoted to for the second time in 2013, reaching 15th place in the 2013–14 campaign and therefore staying in the top flight for a second consecutive season. BHC originates from a 2006 cooperation between the SG Solingen and rivals LTV Wuppertal from the nearby city of the same name. The club advertises itself as a representative of the entire Bergisches Land region. The team plays its home games at both Solingen's Klingenhalle (2,600 seats) and Wuppertal's Uni-Halle (3,200 seats).
In May 1955, the city of Solingen took over the partnership of the German general cargo ship Solingen of the Hamburg-American Packet Transit Actien-Gesellschaft (Hapag).
Solingen is twinned with: