Windhoek (/ˈvɪnt.hʊk/ VINT-huuk; Afrikaans: [ˈvəntɦuk]; German: About this sound Windhuk ; Khoekhoe: ǀAiǁgams; Otjiherero: Otjomuise) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level, almost exactly at the country's geographical centre. The population of Windhoek in 2011 was 325,858, growing continually due to an influx from all over Namibia.

The town developed at the site of a permanent spring known to the indigenous pastoral communities. It developed rapidly after Jonker Afrikaner, Captain of the Orlam, settled here in 1840 and built a stone church for his community. In the decades following, multiple wars and armed hostilities resulted in the neglect and destruction of the new settlement. Windhoek was founded a second time in 1890 by Imperial German Army Major Curt von François, when the territory became colonised by Germany.

Windhoek is the social, economic, political, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every Namibian national enterprise, governmental body, educational and cultural institution is headquartered there.



The city of Windhoek is traditionally known by two names: ǀAiǁGams, (Khoekhoe: hot springs) and Otjomuise[3] (Otjiherero: place of steam). Both traditional indigenous names refer to the hot springs near today's city centre.

Theories vary on how the place got its modern name of Windhoek. Most believe it is derived from the Afrikaans word wind-hoek (wind corner). Another theory suggests that Captain Jonker Afrikaner named Windhoek after the Winterhoek Mountains at Tulbagh in South Africa, where his ancestors had lived. The first known mention of the name Windhoek was in a letter from Jonker Afrikaner to Joseph Tindall, dated 12 August 1844.[4]


In 1840 Jonker Afrikaner established an Orlam settlement at Windhoek.[5] He and his followers stayed near one of the main hot springs, located in the present-day Klein Windhoek suburb.[6] He built a stone church that held 500 people; it was also used as a school. Two Rhenish missionaries, Carl Hugo Hahn and Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt, started working there in late 1842. Two years later they were driven out by two Methodist Wesleyans, Richard Haddy and Joseph Tindall.[7][8] Gardens were laid out and for a while Windhoek prospered. Wars between the Nama and Herero peoples eventually destroyed the settlement. After a long absence, Hahn visited Windhoek again in 1873 and was dismayed to see that nothing remained of the town's former prosperity. In June 1885, a Swiss botanist found only jackals and starving guinea fowl amongst neglected fruit trees.[9]

Colonial era

Windhoek at the end of the 19th century
Stamps for German South West Africa postmarked Windhuk
Sanderburg, one of the three castles of Windhoek

In 1878, Britain annexed Walvis Bay and incorporated it into the Cape of Good Hope colony in 1884, but Britain did not extend its influence into the interior. A request by merchants from Lüderitzbucht resulted in the declaration of a German protectorate over what was called German South West Africa in 1884. The borders of the German colony were determined in 1890 and Germany sent a protective corps, the Schutztruppe under Major Curt von François, to maintain order. Von François stationed his garrison at Windhoek, which was strategically situated as a buffer between the Nama and Herero peoples. The twelve strong springs provided water for the cultivation of produce and grains.

Colonial Windhoek was founded on 18 October 1890, when von François fixed the foundation stone of the fort, which is now known as the Alte Feste (Old Fortress).[10] After 1907, development accelerated as indigenous people migrated from the countryside to the growing town to seek work. More European settlers arrived from Germany and South Africa. Businesses were erected on Kaiser Street (presently Independence Avenue), and along the dominant mountain ridge over the city. At this time, Windhoek's three castles, Heinitzburg, Sanderburg, and Schwerinsburg, were built.

South African administration after World War I

The German colonial era came to an end during World War I when South African troops occupied Windhoek in May 1915 on behalf of the British Empire. For the next five years, a South African military government administered South West Africa. It was assigned to the United Kingdom as a mandate territory by the newly formed League of Nations, and South Africa administered it. Development of the city of Windhoek and the nation later to be known as Namibia came to a virtual standstill. After World War II, Windhoek's development gradually gained momentum, as more capital became available to improve the area's economy.

After 1955, large public projects were undertaken, such as the building of new schools and hospitals, tarring of the city's roads (a project begun in 1928 with Kaiser Street), and the building of dams and pipelines to stabilise the water supply.[9] The city introduced the world's first potable re-use plant in 1958, treating recycled sewage and sending it directly into the town's water supply.[11] On 1 October 1966 the then Administrator of South West Africa granted Windhoek the coat of arms and were later registered on 2 October 1970 with the South African Bureau of Heraldry. Initially a stylized aloe was the principle charge but this was later amended to a natural aloe (Aloe littoralis) on 15 September 1972. The Arms are described as "a Windhoek aloe with a raceme of three flowers on an island. Crest: A mural crown Or. Motto: SUUM CUIQUE (To every man his own)".[12]

Windhoek pro forma received its town privileges on 18 October 1965 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the second foundation of the town by von François.[13]

Since Namibian independence

Since independence in 1990, Windhoek has remained the national capital, as well as the provincial capital of the central Khomas Region. Since independence and the end of warfare, the city has had accelerated growth and development.


Expanding the town area has – apart from financial restrictions – proven to be challenging due to its geographical location. In southern, eastern and western directions, Windhoek is surrounded by rocky, mountainous areas, which make land development costly. The southern side is not suitable for industrial development because of the presence of underground aquifers. This leaves the vast Brakwater area north of town the only feasible place for Windhoek's expansion.[14]

Windhoek's City Council has plans to dramatically expand the city's boundaries such that the town area will cover 5,133.4 square kilometres (1,982.0 sq mi). Windhoek would become the third-largest city in the world by area, after Tianjin and Istanbul, although its population density is only 63 inhabitants per square kilometre.[15]


Windhoek is divided into different suburbs:[16]


Windhoek has over 300 sunny days per year.[18] It experiences a hot semi-arid climate (BSh) according to Köppen climate classification as the annual average temperature is above 18 °C (64 °F). The temperature throughout the year would be called mild, due to altitude influence. The annual average high and low temperature range is 13.6 °C (24.5 °F). The coldest month is July, with an average temperature of 13.1 °C (55.6 °F), while the hottest month is December, with average temperature 23.5 °C (74.3 °F). Precipitation is abundant during the summer season, and minimal during the winter season. The average annual precipitation is 367.4 millimetres (14.46 in). Due to its location near the Kalahari Desert, the city receives 3,605 hours of sunshine.

Climate data for Windhoek (1728 m), Namibia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.0
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.3
Average low °C (°F) 17.2
Record low °C (°F) 7.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 78.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 11.1 10.7 10.5 5.5 1.9 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.9 2.8 5.3 7.5 57.7
Average relative humidity (%) 42 56 51 44 37 32 27 19 17 22 30 34 34.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 288 254 282 273 310 309 326 341 321 319 297 285 3,605
Source #1: Deutscher Wetterdienst[19]
Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun only)[20]


Windhoek is the only self-governed settlement in Khomas Region. It is governed by a multi-party municipal council that has fifteen seats.[21] The Council meets once a month (each last Wednesday of the month); its decisions are taken collectively and councillors are bound by such decisions. As individuals, council members have no administrative authority. They cannot give orders or otherwise supervise City employees unless specifically directed to do so by the Council. The Council, however, has complete authority over all administrative affairs in the city. Council members devote their official time to problems of basic policy and act as liaisons between the City and the general public.

SWAPO won the 2015 local authority election and gained twelve seats (37,533 votes). Three opposition parties gained one seat each: The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA, 4,171 votes), the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO, 1,453 votes), and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) with 1,422 votes.[22]


In 1971, there were roughly 26,000 whites living in Windhoek, outnumbering the black population of 24,000. About one third of white residents at the time, at least 9,000 individuals, were German speakers.[23] Windhoek's population currently stands at over 322,500 (65% Black; 17% whites; 18% other), and is growing 4% annually in part due to informal settlements that have even higher growth rates of nearly 10% a year.[14]


The city is the administrative, commercial, and industrial center of Namibia. A 1992/93 study estimated that Windhoek provides over half of Namibia's non-agricultural employment, with its national share of employment in utilities being 96%, in transport and communication 94%, finance and business services 82%.[24] Due to its relative size[25] Windhoek is, even more than many other national capital cities, the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every national enterprise is headquartered here. The University of Namibia is, too, as are the country's only theatre, all ministry head offices, and all major media and financial entities.[26] The governmental budget of the city of Windhoek nearly equals those of all other Namibian local authorities combined.[27] Of the 3,300 US$-millionaires in Namibia, 1,400 live in Windhoek.[28]


Due to Windhoek's proximity to Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek serves an important role in Namibia's tourism. The report on Namibia Tourism Exit Survey 2012 – 2013, produced by the Millennium Challenge Corporation for the Namibian Directorate of Tourism, indicates that 56% of all tourists visiting Namibia during that time period, visited Windhoek.[29] In addition hereto, many of Namibia's tourism related parastatals and governing bodies such as Namibia Wildlife Resorts, Air Namibia and the Namibia Tourism Board as well as Namibia's tourism related associations such as the Hospitality Association of Namibia[30] are headquartered in Windhoek. Windhoek is also home to a number of notable hotels such as Windhoek Country Club Resort and some international hotel chains such as Avani Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Hotels and Resorts, that also operate in Windhoek.


In public life Afrikaans and to a lesser extent German are still used as the lingua franca even though the government only uses the English language.[31]

Notable landmarks

Tintenpalast in Windhoek
Independence Memorial Museum, Aerial view (2017)



Windhoek is connected by rail to:


Downtown Windhoek

In 1928, Kaiserstraße, now Independence Avenue, was the first paved road in Windhoek. Ten years later the next one, Gobabis road, now Sam Nujoma Drive, was also paved. Today out of ca. 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) of Namibia's total road network, about 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) is sealed.

Windhoek's three main access roads from Rehoboth, Gobabis, and Okahandja are paved, and are designed to be able to withstand the largest possible flood to be expected in fifty years. Sealed roads can carry traffic moving at 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph) and should last for 20 years.

As everywhere in Namibia, public transport is scarce and transportation across town is largely done by taxi; there were 6,492 registered taxis in 2013.[41]

Air transportation

Windhoek is served by two airports. The closest one is Eros 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) south of the city center for smaller craft, and Hosea Kutako International Airport 42 kilometres (26 mi) east of the city. A number of foreign airlines operate to and from Windhoek. Air charters and helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft rentals are also available.

Hosea Kutako International Airport

Hosea Kutako International Airport, situated 42 kilometres outside Windhoek, handles over 800,000 passengers a year. It has one runway without capacity limitations. The other international airport is located in Walvis Bay, with domestic airports at Luderitz, Oranjemund and Ondangwa. Air Namibia connects daily to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Frankfurt, with four times weekly connections to Durban via Gaborone. Air Namibia also services Harare, Lusaka and Victoria Falls. South African Airways, TAAG-Angola Airlines, Airlink and Air Namibia all have regular flights to Windhoek-Hosea Kutako International Airport, whilst Condor Flugdienst has bi-weekly turnarounds to Frankfurt.[42] KLM from Amsterdam connects Windhoek 3 times weekly via Luanda. Ethiopian Airlines has 4 weekly direct flights to Addis Ababa. Qatar Airways introduced four times weekly flights between Doha and Windhoek on September 28, 2016. It was the first major carrier to introduce the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner to Namibian aviation. Since July 2017 Eurowings introduced a bi-weekly service between Cologne/Bonn and Windhoek.[43] Airlink start a new service from Johannesburg to St Helena in October 2017.[44] A N$900m/78 km long dual carriageway is being constructed linking Windhoek to Hosea Kutako International Airport.[45]

Eros Airport

Eros Airport is the busiest airport in Namibia in terms of take offs and landings and a domestic hub for Air Namibia.[46] This city airport handles approximately 150 to 200 movements per day (around 50,000 per year). In 2004, the airport served 141,605 passengers, the majority of which are light aircraft. Primarily, limitations such as runway length, noise, and air space congestion have kept Eros from developing into a larger airport. Most of Namibia's charter operators have Eros as their base.[47]


Rugby is a popular sport in Namibia, and the national team is call the Welwitchias. Namibia has made the Rugby World Cup on five occasions, in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015, but has never won a game.

The city has several football clubs which include African Stars F.C., Black Africa F.C., F.C. Civics Windhoek, Orlando Pirates F.C., Ramblers F.C. and SK Windhoek.

Many boxers such as Paulus Moses, Paulus Ambunda and Abmerk Shindjuu are from the city.

The Namibia national cricket team, the Eagles, plays the majority of its home games at the Wanderers Cricket Ground.[48] It has also played at other grounds in the city, including the United Ground and the Trans Namib Ground.[49][50] The team took part in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, though they lost all their games. They have played in each edition of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Men's baseball was introduced to Namibia in 1950 at the Ramblers sports club in town.

The 'Tony Rust Raceway' is located west of Windhoek on the Daan Viljoen road, and reopened in 2007.[51]


Tertiary institutions

The general institutions of higher education in Windhoek are:

Other institutions

Other recognisable institutions of higher learning:

Secondary schools

Windhoek has 29 secondary schools and 58 primary schools.[52] Some of the notable schools are:

Cooperation agreements

Windhoek is twinned with:[57]

International relations

Embassies/ High Commissions



Non-resident embassies/high commissions

Resident in Pretoria unless otherwise noted

See also

See also


  1. ^ http://www.windhoekcc.org.na/coun_mayor.php City of Windhoek, 2014-12-01
  2. ^ "Table 4.2.2 Urban population by Census years (2001 and 2011)" (PDF). Namibia 2011 – Population and Housing Census Main Report. Namibia Statistics Agency. p. 39. Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Menges, Werner (12 May 2005). "Windhoek?! Rather make that Otjomuise". The Namibian. 
  4. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "The History of ǁKhauxaǃnas. Introduction". Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Orlams Afrikaners – the Creole Africans of the Garieb". Cape Slavery Heritage. Retrieved 8 July 2010. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Tonchi, Victor L; Lindeke, William A; Grotpeter, John J (2012). Historical Dictionary of Namibia. Historical Dictionaries of Africa, African historical dictionaries (2 ed.). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810879904. 
  7. ^ Vedder, Heinrich (1997). Das alte Südwestafrika. Südwestafrikas Geschichte bis zum Tode Mahareros 1890 [The Old South West Africa. South West Africa's History until Maharero's death 1890] (in German) (7th ed.). Windhoek: Namibia Scientific Society. ISBN 0-949995-33-9. 
  8. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Biographies of Namibian Personalities, A (entry for Jonker Afrikaner)". klausdiers.com. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Windhoek City Council: The History of Windhoek Archived 21 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Biographies of Namibian Personalities, V (entry for Curt von François)". klausdiers.com. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Surviving in an arid land: Direct reclamation of potable water at Windhoek's Goreangab Reclamation Plant" by Petrus Du Pisani
  12. ^ Berry, Bruce (12 February 2014). "Windhoek (Namibia)". www.crwflags.com. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  13. ^ a b "Windhoek erhielt heute Stadtrechte" [Windhoek received town privileges today]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German) (2015 reprint ed.). 18 October 1965. 
  14. ^ a b "Windhoek's battle for land", by Desie Heita; New Era, 10 Feb 2010 Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Retief, Christo (2 July 2013). "Windhoek slaan Afrika-rekord" [Windhoek beats Africa record]. Die Republikein. 
  16. ^ "The Windhoek Structure Plan" (PDF). City of Windhoek. 1996. pp. 11–12. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  17. ^ Ngatjiheue, Charmaine (11 September 2017). "Groot Aub incorporated into Windhoek". The Namibian. p. 5. 
  18. ^ https://weather-and-climate.com/average-monthly-Rainfall-Temperature-Sunshine-in-Namibia
  19. ^ "Klimatafel von Windhuk (Windhoek) / Namibia" (PDF). Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  20. ^ "STATIONSNUMMER 68110" (PDF). Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Know Your Local Authority". Election Watch (3). Institute for Public Policy Research. 2015. p. 4. 
  22. ^ "Local elections results". Electoral Commission of Namibia. 28 November 2015. p. 4. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "The Windhoek Structure Plan" (PDF). City of Windhoek. 1996. p. 6. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  25. ^ The second biggest city in Namibia, Walvis Bay, has 43,700 inhabitants: "ELECTIONS 2010: Erongo regional profile". New Era. 16 November 2010. 
  26. ^ Kapitako, Alvine (12 November 2010). "ELECTIONS 2010: Khomas Region profile". New Era. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. 
  27. ^ Heita, Desie (11 February 2010). "Owning a house ... a dream deferred". New Era. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. 
  28. ^ Nakashole, Ndama (24 April 2017). "Namibians 3rd wealthiest people in Africa". The Namibian. p. 13. 
  29. ^ http://www.mcanamibia.org/files/files/exitsurvey.pdf
  30. ^ "Hospitality Association of Namibia". www.hannamibia.com. Retrieved 2015-12-08. 
  31. ^ Thomas Schoch. 2003. Visit Windhoek, People and languages Archived 22 February 2013 at Archive.is.
  32. ^ Bause, Tanja (24 May 2010). "Landmark church celebrates centenary". The Namibian. 
  33. ^ Bause, Tanja (30 January 2012). "Monument's centenary remembered". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. 
  34. ^ Steynberg, Francoise (27 December 2013). "Ruiter val op heiligste dag" [Rider falls on holiest day]. Die Republikein (in Afrikaans). Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. 
  35. ^ "Windhoek Supreme Court". Windhoek Consulting Engineers. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  36. ^ "Windhoek on Foot". Venture Publications. Archived from the original on 18 December 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  37. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Biographies of Namibian Personalities, S". klausdierks.com. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  38. ^ Vogt, Andreas (18 December 2009). "100 years Turnhalle • From gymnasium to Tribunal". Die Republikein. 
  39. ^ Shejavali, Nangula (19 February 2009). "National News 19.02.2009 Public library gets a facelift". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. 
  40. ^ "Windhoek Attractions, Namibia". Sa-venues.com. Archived from the original on 25 November 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  41. ^ Shipanga, Selma (3 April 2013). "A glimpse into the taxi industry". The Namibian. pp. 6–7. 
  42. ^ "Airport Departures and Arrivals". FlightStats. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  43. ^ "Eurowings comes to the land of the brave". Namibia Economist. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  44. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/274166/sa-airlink-plans-oct-2017-st-helena-launch/
  45. ^ "N$900m road works start despite cash and water crunch". The Namibian. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  46. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  47. ^ "Eros Airport". Wikipedia. 2017-09-01. 
  48. ^ Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek, CricketArchive  Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  49. ^ United Ground, Windhoek, CricketArchive  Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  50. ^ Trans Namib Ground, Windhoek, CricketArchive  Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  51. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Tony Rust Raceway, Windhoek". GEL Motorsport Information Page. 
  52. ^ "Schools in Windhoek under pressure for places". The Namibian. Nampa. 15 January 2016. p. 6. 
  53. ^ Du Plessies, P.S. "Dagbreek school Windhoek Namibia-school for learners who are intellectually impaired". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. 
  54. ^ Sergei Mitrofanov. "Eros School for Girls". namibweb.com. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  55. ^ "Saint George's Diocesan College". stgeorgesnamibia.com. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  56. ^ Nakale, Albertina (20 May 2014). "Private school draws praise from Namwandi". New Era. 
  57. ^ "Status of Cooperation Agreement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  58. ^ "Berlin – City Partnerships". Der Regierende Bürgermeister Berlin. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  59. ^ Johannesburg, South Africa
  60. ^ http://www.lelamobile.com/content/72049/Jamaican-capital-city-agrees-to-twin-with-Windhoek/
  61. ^ http://www.sanantonio.gov/Clerk/News-Releases-Events/ArtMID/13292/ArticleID/8990/Windhoek-becomes-first-San-Antonio-Sister-City-in-Africa-10th-total
  62. ^ a b https://www.africaintelligence.com/ama/businessmen/2017/12/26/jan-joubert-s-diamonds-bridgehead-for-relations-with-windhoek,108287381-art
  63. ^ http://www.ccima.net/cmrcontact_fr.php?idRub=1
  64. ^ http://www.mvpei.hr/MVP.asp?pcpid=1613&dmid=243#pocdrz
  65. ^ http://www.diplomatie.gouv.ml/contenu_page.aspx?pa=30[permanent dead link]
  66. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 October 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  67. ^ http://www.mae.ro/en/romanian-missions#737
  68. ^ Non-resident Embassies and High Commissions – Saharawi (Non-resident) Republic of Namibia – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  69. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  70. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  71. ^ http://www.mirco.gov.na/documents/140810/158796/Diplomatic+List+2017/1cf1428c-ccb7-42a4-b8a2-720e8ab19234
  72. ^ http://www.gov.sz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=457&Itemid=270
  73. ^ "High Commission Profile". Tanzania High Commission in South Africa. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  74. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 


External links