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Bielefeld History, Germany

The name of this city came from the old word bileveld, meaning “hilly field.” The city is situated on and near the hilltops and it is in this location that the intricate Bielefeld History had its beginnings.

Bielefeld History – Early History

The very first settlers arrived in Bielefeld in 1000 AD. In 1214, the city was officially founded by Count Hermann IV of Ravensburg. Shortly after that many developments were done to Bielefeld like the building of the Sparrenburg Castle to safeguard the Bielefeld Pass. In the 14th century, Bielefeld became one of the members of the Hanseatic League and had significantly benefited from its status as the city of linen.

Bielefeld History – Renaissance and the 16th Century

The rule of Bielefeld was passed on to the House of Kleve in 1511. This led to the integration of the old town with the new town. The city of Bielefeld did not escape the power of the Protestant Reformation. It reached the city in 1554 and a significant number of citizens were converted to the religion.

After the Thirty Years War in 1648, Bielefeld became a part of Brandenburg. In 1652, the very first Legge, an institution of linen testing, was founded by the Great Elector. Following this, a medicinal spring was discovered at Kesselbrink. This gave Bielefeld spa town status which lasted for 150 years.

Bielefeld History – Industrial Revolution

Many companies and infrastructures were established and built during the rise of the Industrial Revolution. In 1768, the merchants of Bielefeld instituted modern bleaching works which was the city’s first joint stock company. The Cologne-Minden Railway which connects Bielefeld to the German and European rail network was constructed in 1847. After 4 years, the very first large mechanized spinning mill in Bielefeld was established by the Bozi brothers. Add to this, a lot of other industries were created.

Bielefeld History – 19th Century

The new century started with the construction of a main railway station in Bielefeld. The city slowly gained fame through the opening of a farmhouse museum and a concert hall. In 1933, any type of union and the Social Democrat “Volkswacht” were banned. Democratic parties were dissolved. In 1938, the Synagogue was burnt down during the Third Reich’s Program night.

Bielefeld was not able to escape air strikes by the Allied forces. The city was heavily bombed on September 30, 1944 killing 600 people. After the war, Artur Ladeback was elected as the mayor of Bielefeld. He is known to be the first democratic mayor of the city. In 1969, the Bielefeld University was established. Bielefeld gradually developed as a modern city of arts and technology.

Understanding Bielefeld History is like going through other notable facts in the history of Germany. More information about this country is provided by the Hanover Travel Guide and Muenster Travel Guide.

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