10 largest cities in Germany
Frankfurt am Main




Freiburg im Breisgau is an independent city in Baden-Württemberg. From 1945 until the founding of the state of Baden-Württemberg on April 25, 1952, Freiburg im Breisgau was the state capital of the state of Baden. The southernmost city in Germany is the seat of the regional council Freiburg as well as the regional association of the southern Upper Rhine and the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. It is almost completely enclosed by this district to which it does not belong; As an independent city, Freiburg forms an urban district.

Freiburg, located on the Dreisam River, currently has 231,195 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019), making it fourth on the list of the largest cities in Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Mannheim. According to the OECD, the population of the region ("metropolitan area") Freiburg (with the districts of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald and Emmendingen) was already 656,753 in 2018. It is located in the trinational metropolitan region of the Upper Rhine with around six million inhabitants.

The old town with its landmarks - especially the cathedral and the Bächle - is the destination of over three million visitors every year.

With the Albert Ludwig University, founded in 1457, Freiburg is one of the classic German university cities.



The first centuries after the city was founded
The first mention of settlements in the area of ​​today's Freiburg, the Wiehre, Zähringen and Herdern, can be found in a document from the year 1008. Around 1091 the Zähringer Duke Bertold II built the Castrum de Friburch (Leopoldsburg ruins) on the Schlossberg. Bertold's son Konrad granted the settlement of servants and craftsmen at the foot of the mountain market and town rights in 1120. In place of the now too small church, Bertold V initiated the generous construction of today's cathedral, the v. a. was financed by the income of the silver mines in the Black Forest, which contributed significantly to the prosperity of the Freiburg citizens.

After the Zähringers died out, the Counts of Urach took over the rule in 1218 and called themselves the Counts of Freiburg from then on. After frequent quarrels with the counts about finances, the citizens of Freiburg bought themselves in 1368 with 15,000 marks of silver from the reign of the unloved Egino III. go and submit to the protection of the House of Habsburg.

Freiburg had to provide the new rulers with soldiers and financial aid. In the Battle of Sempach, the Swiss Confederates won against the Austrian Duke Leopold III in 1386. and wiped out a large part of the Freiburg nobility. The guilds then ruled the city council. Freiburg was an imperial city until 1427. In 1457, Archduke Albrecht founded the University of Freiburg as lord of the Austrian foothills.

Counter Reformation and the Thirty Years War
In 1498 Maximilian I held the Reichstag in Freiburg. At the same time, the farmers on the Upper Rhine rose up under the sign of the Bundschuh, but the uprising near Freiburg under Joß Fritz in 1513 was betrayed. In 1525, during the German Peasants' War, farmers under the leadership of Hans Müller took Freiburg and forced the city council to join an evangelical-Christian association. When the iconoclasts enforced Protestantism in Basel in 1529, the Prince of Science Erasmus of Rotterdam and the Basel Cathedral Chapter fled to Catholic Freiburg. With the completion of the high choir, which was consecrated by the auxiliary bishop of Constance in 1513, the cathedral was finally completed in 1536.

Shortly after the beginning of the Thirty Years' War in 1620, the Jesuits took over the University of Freiburg. In 1632 the Swedes under General Horn occupied the town, which changed hands several times in the following years. An imperial Bavarian army under the generals Franz von Mercy and Jan van Werth took Freiburg in 1644. Then it came to the battle of Freiburg between the Bavarians and Franco-Weimar troops.

Conflicts with France and Napoleon's rule
In the second half of the 17th century, under Louis XIV, there were repeated attacks on the right bank of the Rhine. After the Dutch War, Emperor Leopold I had to cede the city of Freiburg and its fiefs as well as Betzenhausen and Kirchzarten to the French crown in the Peace of Nijmegen in 1679. After Louis XIV had instructed Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban to develop the city into a modern fortress, the king visited Freiburg in 1681 to personally assess the progress of the work. He stayed at the Basler Hof. In the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, Louis XIV was allowed to keep the territories occupied in Alsace, including the free imperial city of Strasbourg, but had to return Freiburg to the Habsburgs. Towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, Marshal Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars occupied Freiburg again in 1713. In the second Austrian War of Succession, the French under Marshal François de Franquetot defeated the Austrians on July 5, 1744 near Weissenburg, besieged Freiburg and were finally able to take the city. When the French troops had to evacuate Freiburg, they thoroughly destroyed the fortifications. Only the Breisacher Tor remained as part of the Vauban buildings.


French revolutionary troops took Freiburg in 1796. After three months, Archduke Karl liberated the city. When the Duke of Modena Hercules III. lost his Italian possessions in the Peace of Campo Formio in 1797, four years later in 1801 in the Peace of Lunéville he received the Breisgau as compensation. Hercules III did not agree to this exchange, as he did not consider his losses to be sufficiently compensated. Therefore he did not visit the Breisgau after 1801. The business of government was conducted by Baron Hermann von Greiffenegg, who formally took possession of the Breisgau for the Este family on March 2, 1803. After Hercules' death in October 1803, the Breisgau fell to his daughter Maria Beatrice, who was married into the House of Habsburg. But this fashionable-Habsburg interlude lasted only for a short time, because by order of Napoleon, Breisgau and Ortenau fell to Baden in 1805, which had been an electorate since 1803. The final act of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 confirmed that Freiburg would remain with the Grand Duchy of Baden.

End of Napoleonic rule until World War I
In 1821, Freiburg replaced Constance as the bishopric. In 1827 Freiburg became the seat of the newly founded Archdiocese of Freiburg. In 1845 the railway line towards Offenburg was opened. The revolution of 1848 had a particularly violent impact in south-west Germany, although Baden had received a fairly liberal constitution during the Restoration in 1818. There was bloody barricade fighting in Freiburg, in which, in addition to Baden government troops, Hessian associations were involved.

With the establishment of the Empire in 1871, the city took part in the general economic boom in Germany. Under Mayor Otto Winterer, Freiburg got its face with the development of new districts in the style of historicism. An electric tram started running as early as 1901.

During the First World War, French planes bombed the open city of Freiburg on December 14, 1914. The event shocked residents. When an air raid in April 1915 killed an adult and seven children, it resulted in a wave of people fleeing the city.

The return of Alsace to France after the lost war hit Freiburg particularly hard economically.

Freiburg under the National Socialists
Two Reich Chancellors in the early years of the Weimar Republic came from Freiburg: Constantin Fehrenbach and Joseph Wirth.

The National Socialists also took power in Freiburg in 1933. The university was brought into line under the rectorate of Martin Heidegger. In 1938, the Freiburg synagogue went up in flames during the Night of the Pogroms. In 1940, as part of the so-called Wagner-Bürckel campaign, the Jews who remained in Freiburg were deported to the Gurs internment camp in southern France.

The Luftwaffe mistakenly carried out a bomb attack on Freiburg on May 10, 1940, in which 57 people were killed. Under the code name Operation Tigerfish, the British Royal Air Force bombed the city on the evening of November 27, 1944, killing around 2,800 citizens. After the attack, only the relatively undamaged Freiburg Minster rose from the ruins of the old town, which had been completely destroyed in the northern part, but the strong detonation waves had covered the nave. With new bricks donated from Basel, the cathedral was almost completely covered again by January 1946.

After General Charles de Gaulle was awarded his own zone of occupation at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 and the French 1st Army had crossed the Rhine near Speyer at the end of March 1945, the 9th Colonial Infantry Division stood before Freiburg in mid-April. The SS General Georg Keppler (XVIII SS Army Corps) considered defending the city pointless and pulled out “the defense forces (2 battalions) designated for this purpose, contrary to the repeated express“ Führer order ”.

The "town surrenders almost without a fight" confirmed the French Army General Lattre de Tassigny on April 21, 1945.

Development of the city since 1945
In October General de Gaulle held a victory parade in Freiburg. As a result of the division of Germany into different occupation zones, Freiburg became the capital of the newly founded state of Baden in 1946. The Prime Minister was Leo Wohleb, who was born in Freiburg and resided in the Colombischlössle while the state parliament met in the historic department store. After a referendum in 1951, South Baden was absorbed into the state of Baden-Württemberg - despite bitter resistance from broad sections of the population.


The student unrest of the late 1960s was also reflected in Freiburg. In the 1970s, the growing political awareness led to the participation of many Freiburg residents in the successful resistance of the Kaiserstühler farmers against the planned Wyhl nuclear power plant. As a result of these events, a strong autonomous scene and a broad ecologically oriented spectrum developed in the city. Freiburg became a stronghold of the newly founded Greens and is therefore called the eco capital of Germany. A climate also developed scientifically and economically in Freiburg that has given the city a leading role as an environmental city - it appeared at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai as the “Green City”.

Due to its convenient location and the universities and research institutions, Freiburg has become increasingly a popular city for congresses, trade fairs and meetings, especially the Freiburg Concert Hall and the Freiburg Exhibition Center. International city tourism plays a major role.

In 1986, the city hosted the seventh state horticultural show in Baden-Württemberg, which was of great importance for the development of the western districts and also resulted in the establishment of the eco-station. A strong population increase called for the expansion of old and the construction of new residential areas. The internationally known district of Vauban was built on the site of the former Vauban / Schlageter barracks abandoned by the French garrison in 1992. In 1993 the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Rieselfeld district took place.

In 1996 the city exceeded the population of 200,000. These include around 30,000 students studying at the university and four other colleges.

The construction of a new district has been under discussion since 2015 in order to counter the housing shortage. The local council decided in favor of the previously agriculturally used "Dietenbach" area, between Rieselfeld and the Mitte feeder road. In 2018, an alliance of more than 15 initiatives collected over 12,500 signatures and thus brought about a referendum on the planned Dietenbach district. On February 24, 2019, a majority voted in favor of the development of the Dietenbach site in the referendum.

As the seat of the archbishopric and ecclesiastical institutions such as the German Caritas Association, Freiburg is a center of the Catholic Church. In 1978 the 85th German Catholic Day took place in Freiburg. Mother Teresa attended. On September 24th and 25th, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI visited as part of his visit to Germany in Freiburg at the invitation of Robert Zollitsch, the archbishop of Freiburg at the time and chairman of the German Bishops' Conference. The pontiff celebrated, among other things. a youth vigil at Freiburg airport and a Eucharist celebration on September 25, 2011 with over 100,000 believers. He also met victims of abuse, held talks with Helmut Kohl, constitutional judges and the Presidium of the Central Committee of German Catholics and gave an ecclesiological speech to 1,500 invited guests in the Freiburg Concert Hall.

The city's 900th anniversary celebration in 2020 was interrupted in March by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated protective measures and has therefore been extended until July 2021. For a few weeks in summer and autumn 2020, the celebrations continued with small and medium-sized events.

Freiburg under the aspect of European relations
Due to its location in the trinational metropolitan region of the Upper Rhine and as a neighboring city, From Strasbourg, Freiburg is becoming increasingly important for the growing together of Europe. The city is the seat of consulates and honorary consulates of various European countries. The regional council of Friborg, the city administration, the University of Friborg and many other institutions work closely with partner organizations in the neighboring countries of France and Switzerland. As a city that belonged to the Kingdom of France towards the end of the 17th century (1677–1697) and was the site of a large garrison of the French occupying forces after the Second World War, Freiburg has always played a pioneering role in relations with the neighboring country. Freiburg works particularly closely with the French cities of Mulhouse and Colmar. The French play an important role as workers and customers in the Freiburg economic region. The “Center culturel français” (CCF) Conrad Schroeder and the University's France Center make important contributions to the cultural and political relations between the two countries. In 2001 and 2010, Franco-German summits of the heads of state and government took place in Freiburg. Close relationships have always existed with the neighboring Swiss city of Basel (see Erasmus von Rotterdam and Basler Hof), which are still maintained today.


Geographical location

Freiburg is located in the south-west of Baden-Württemberg on the south-eastern edge of the Upper Rhine Rift Valley and largely in the Freiburg Bay and at the western foot of the Black Forest. The closest major cities are: Mulhouse (French: Mulhouse) in Alsace, about 46 kilometers to the southwest, Basel, about 51 kilometers to the south, Strasbourg, about 66 kilometers to the north, Zurich, about 85 kilometers to the southeast, Karlsruhe, about 120 kilometers to the north and Stuttgart, about 133 kilometers northeast of Freiburg. The Dreisam flows through Freiburg.

The expansion of the city in north-south direction is 18.6 kilometers, in east-west direction 20 kilometers. It is 3 kilometers from the district boundary to the French border and 42 kilometers to the Swiss border. Freiburg has an altitude difference of over 1000 meters, from Waltershofen 196 m above sea level. to the Schauinsland 1284 m above sea level.

The street name "Auf der Zinnen" is reminiscent of the city's former city wall. The 48th parallel north of it runs about 200 meters north of it. The place is highlighted on both sides of the north-south thoroughfare, which is called Habsburgerstrasse here, by writing in paving stones of different colors, so that the geographical latitude is recognizable.

Neighboring communities
The following cities and municipalities border the city of Freiburg; they are called clockwise, starting in the north, and are all in the Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald district, with the exception of Vörstetten, which belongs to the Emmendingen district: Vörstetten, Gundelfingen, Glottertal, Stegen, Kirchzarten, Oberried (Breisgau), Münstertal / Black Forest, Bollschweil, Horben , Au (Breisgau), Merzhausen, Ehaben, Schallstadt, Bad Krozingen, Breisach am Rhein, Merdingen, Gottenheim, Umkirch and March.

Freiburg lies on the border between the Black Forest and the Upper Rhine Rift Valley. This elongated fault runs through the middle of the city. The eastern districts are in a connecting valley to the Zartener basin between the mountains Roßkopf in the north and Brombergkopf in the south. The southern districts of Kappel and Günterstal are already in the Black Forest. The Schlossberg, an extension of the foothills zone, protrudes like a nose directly into the inner city area. The rock below the so-called Greifenegg-Schlössle and in the western area of ​​the Augustinerweg was extracted for the construction of the high medieval city wall.

With the 1284 meter high Schauinsland to the southeast, the summit of one of the highest mountains in the Black Forest is part of the Freiburg urban area. At more than 1000 meters, Freiburg is one of the major German cities with the greatest difference in altitude within the urban area. Most of the western districts are located on an alluvial cone that was formed during the last ice age. In the south lies the Schönberg, which is part of the foothills zone, part of the old mountain range, and which only partially slipped when the Upper Rhine Rift collapsed.


Natural reserve

The following seven nature reserves exist in the city of Freiburg. This means that 593.1 hectares of the urban area are under nature protection, that is 3.85 percent, see also the list of nature reserves in Freiburg im Breisgau.
Arlesheimer See: 22.8 ha; Tiengen district
Freiburg Rieselfeld: 257.0 ha; Districts Mundenhof, Rieselfeld, Opfingen and Waltershofen
Gaisenmoos: 25.5 ha; Tiengen district
Honigbuck: 7.5 ha; District Sankt Georgen
Humbrühl-Rohrmatten: 25.8 ha (of which 21.0 ha in the city of Freiburg); Waltershofen district
Mühlmatten: 39.0 ha (of which 19.6 ha in the city of Freiburg); Hochdorf district
Schauinsland: 1,053.9 ha (of which 239.7 ha in the city of Freiburg); Günterstal and Kappel districts

In addition to these nature reserves, there are also landscape protection areas, see also the list of landscape protection areas in Freiburg im Breisgau. In the past few decades, the municipal, official nature conservation was in part not able to meet all the objectives of the municipal protected area ordinances. Freiburg has had a tree protection statute since 1997. Nevertheless, there are always disputes about the felling of trees.



Freiburg lies in a zone with a warm and humid temperate climate, although there are big differences: on the plains it is warmer and drier, in the mountain areas it is cooler and more humid. With a mean average temperature of 11.4 ° C, Freiburg is one of the warmest cities in Germany. During the heat wave of 2003 on August 13th, 40.2 degrees were officially measured. For a long time this was the second highest temperature ever registered in Germany. Since the reference period 1961–1990, the average annual mean temperature has increased from 9.7 ° C to 11.4 ° C (reference period 1981–2010), and in the reference period 1990–2018 even to 11.8 ° C.


The mean annual rainfall of 837 mm is hardly higher than the long-term German average of a good 800 mm. Most of the precipitation falls in the summer months of May to August with a peak of 107 mm in June. The lowest precipitation falls in February with 50.6 mm.

Freiburg is the location of the Center for Medical-Meteorological Research of the German Weather Service. It opened in 2018 at its location in Stefan-Meier-Str. 4 the fifth of a total of ten urban climate stations planned in Germany in order to get measured values ​​of the densely built-up cities in which more than 70 percent of the population lives and works. Compared to the measuring station at Freiburg Airport, the temperatures here can be up to 10 ° C higher. The aim is to react better to climate change.

A specialty of the city's summer climate is the “hell valleys” named after the hell valley to the east. Some time after dark, the mountain wind from the heights of the Black Forest ventilates parts of the city with great regularity. According to weather experts such as Jörg Kachelmann or Hans von Rudloff, this wind is not cool, as is often assumed and often felt, but rather warm, like a blow dryer. The downward wind should therefore bring the city most tropical nights in Germany with temperatures consistently above 20 ° C.

City structure
Freiburg has 28 districts, which are divided into 42 districts, mainly for statistical purposes. The local constitution was introduced in the districts of Ebnet, Hochdorf, Kappel, Lehen, Munzingen, Opfingen, Tiengen and Waltershofen, which were incorporated into the district reform of the former Freiburg district. Thus, these places received a local council to be elected by the local citizenship at the same time as the local council with a local mayor at the top, as well as a local administration. The local councils are to be heard on all important matters relating to the locality. The final decision on a measure, however, rests with the municipal council of the city of Freiburg.