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Neumünster (Low German: Niemünster and Neemünster) is an independent city and a regional center in the middle of Schleswig-Holstein. With around 80,000 inhabitants (as of 2019), the Fairtrade city is the fourth largest city in Germany's northernmost region after Kiel, Lübeck and Flensburg. Neumünster is particularly known as the “horse town” for the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet and the Holstenhallen.

Mentioned in a document for the first time in 1127 as the Augustinian monastery "Wippenthorp im Gau Faldera", Neumünster was a center of the German cloth and leather industry for a long time and has been an important traffic junction since time immemorial. In possession of city rights from 1870, the large medium-sized town on the Schwale has been part of the Hamburg metropolitan region since May 2012.



Middle age
The Augustiner Stift Neumünster was founded in 1127 by the missionary and later Bishop of Oldenburg and Holy Vizelin (also Vicelin), mentioned in a document under the name Wippenthorp in the Gau Faldera. The current name can be traced back to the Novum Monasterium (the "New Minster") built by Vizelin, whose name was first mentioned in 1136. In this document Vicelin and his congregation were granted the right to mission in the Slavic region up to the Peene by Archbishop Adalbert von Bremen and the income that had belonged to the church in Wippendorf from ancient times was transferred. The monastery was moved to Bordesholm around 1330.

Neumünster was on the eastern branch of the Ochsenweg, which crossed the Cimbrian Peninsula in a north-south direction. Furthermore, the trade route Lübsche Trade crossed the Neumünster area in an east-west direction.

In 1498, Augustinian nuns founded a monastery on the so-called Klosterinsel, a former river island of the Schwale, which is now in the city center. This was dissolved in 1566 after the Reformation.

Early modern age
For the fish farming and the operation of mills around 1503 monks dammed the swallow for the first time. The mill pond was created in today's city center. A year later, the stain, now small stains, burned off.

In 1637 there was a major fire of unknown cause in Neumünster, in which the majority of the houses were destroyed. Neumünster's heyday as a cloth-making town began in 1760 with the establishment of the “privileged woolen factory” on the monastery island. It was the first factory to be built in Neumünster.

In 1769, the Großflecken completely replaced the Kleinflecken as a marketplace. Until 1948 all markets took place here. These included a weekly market that had been approved since 1764 and previously only took place once a year on the anniversary of the death of John the Baptist.

In 1780 there was another major fire that destroyed all the houses on Plöner Strasse and some of the houses on Großflecken (a total of 46 houses).

19th century
In 1808, Spanish-French troops took Napoleon's quarters in Neumünster. With their high demands, they put a heavy burden on the city.

Schooling has been compulsory in Neumünster since 1813. Initially, two “preparatory schools” were set up.

After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the Napoleonic Wars, Holstein became part of the German Confederation in 1815, but was still ruled in personal union by the Danish king.

The post office, which was a major economic factor in the city, decided in 1816 to set up an "extra post station" and connection points to the fast stagecoaches to Kiel and Altona, among others. Shortly thereafter, daily mail was introduced. Riders and coachmen made up to five deliveries every day.

In 1817, a fire that broke out in Großflecken destroyed several houses between Teich and Lütjenstrasse.

The industrial age began in Neumünster in 1824 when the Renck cloth factory imported a steam engine from England. However, three years later the factory was destroyed in a fire and 150 people lost their jobs. However, the factory was rebuilt and operated until 1884. The cloth maker Hans Lorenz Renck (1840–1893) later built the first fully integrated cloth factory and thus combined all production steps in one house.

The foundation stone for the Vicelinkirche on Kleinflecken was laid in 1828. The Vicelinkirche was consecrated on May 11, 1834. The builder was Christian Frederik Hansen. At the same time, a school for the poor was set up for children from socially disadvantaged parents. There was also a “factory school” for children who had to do child labor, but this was closed in 1893 because the work of school-age children was banned.

From 1832 the Altona-Kieler Chaussee ran through the town. The then sovereign, King Friedrich VI. by Denmark, built between 1830 and 1832. The official inauguration took place in 1834. The old Bundesstraße 4 followed the Chaussee in the Neumünster area. There are milestones in Einfeld, in Tungendorf, on Altonaer Straße in front of the Holstenschule and between Wittorf and Brokenlande.

The industrialist Renck was very committed to a railway connection between Neumünster and Rendsburg. After five years of effort, the line went into operation in 1845, after the first Neumünster Railway had opened on the Kiel – Neumünster – Altona line in 1844.


After some professors from Kiel on July 20, 1846 called on the population to rebel against the Danish authorities, the so-called patriotic rebellion against Danish rule gradually arose until 1848. After initial support, however, Prussia concluded a separate peace with Denmark in 1850, leaving Holstein and Schleswig on their own. The troops of the two duchies were finally subject to the Danish army in 1851.

In 1852 the first water pipeline at least partially ended the situation where water had to be drawn from wells or rivers.

In 1857 Rencks Park was created on the southeastern edge of the monastery island.

House numbers were introduced in Neumünster in 1860. A year later, a railway repair shop was set up, which over the decades has grown into one of the largest employers in the city.

After the German-Danish War in 1864 and the German War in 1866, Neumünster became part of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein in 1867, like all of Holstein.

In 1870 Neumünster received city rights. The development of the city in the second part of the 19th century was largely shaped by the emerging textile industry and the expansion into a railway junction in the center of Holstein. Due to the good rail connection to the port of Hamburg, via which both raw hides and tannins were imported in large quantities, as well as the lack of restrictive water legislation in Schleswig-Holstein until 1913, an important leather industry was able to develop.

Numerous factory chimneys were part of the Neumünster silhouette until the 1970s. The city coat of arms shows this to this day.

In 1869 the founding meeting of the first Neumünster volunteer fire brigade took place and on July 1, 1914 the Neumünster professional fire brigade was founded.

In 1871 the Holsten School was founded as a private school for boys from the upper middle class. The founding of the private secondary girls' school, which is now called the Klaus Groth School in Neumünster and has been state-owned since 1925, also took place at this time.

In 1872 the first permanent garrison was moved to Neumünster. After the withdrawal in 1897, the Infantry Regiment No. 163 finally became. Together with its sister regiment Lübeck it formed the 81st Infantry Brigade of the 17th Division of the IX. Army Corps - 17th Reserve Division of the Northern Army during the First World War - stationed in a barracks built especially for this purpose (later the Sick barracks), where it remained until it was dissolved after the First World War.

The first large department store, a branch of today's Karstadt AG, was opened around 1891, but completely destroyed in 1944 and only rebuilt in another location in 1964.

Early 20th century
In 1901 Neumünster became an independent city. In 1903 the Volksbank eG Neumünster and in 1910 the bathing establishment on Klosterstrasse were opened. During the First World War, Neumünster was of strategic importance because of its cloth, leather and metal industries. In the turnip winter of 1917, however, many people died of starvation.

Between 1913 and the mid-1920s, the workforce rose from just under 5,200 to over 10,100. At the same time, the proportion of workers in the cloth industry fell from 45.8 to 35.4%, while the proportion of those employed in the leather industry rose from 32.7 to 45.3%.

After the cloth manufacturer Hans Lorenz Renck had donated Rencks Park to the city of Neumünster in 1870, it was opened to all citizens in 1921.

time of the nationalsocialism
The Schleswig-Holstein NSDAP was founded in Neumünster on March 1, 1925 under the later Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse. The party had a lot of success in the predominantly nationally conservative population of Schleswig-Holstein and Neumünster. The National Socialists also came to power in Neumünster. The most powerful person in Neumünster was the NSDAP district leader Hans Christian Hingst, who was appointed to the Reich Commissariat Ostland in 1941 by his NSDAP Gauleiter Lohse. SS-Hauptsturmführer Hinrich Möller stood by as police director. With the takeover of the police by an SS functionary, the rule of law in Neumünster was completely eliminated. All civil servants and functionaries in the city who were democratically or even constitutionally minded were dismissed. Communists and other people regarded as enemies of the state were taken to a concentration camp for alleged protective custody; in Neumünster the police prison served for this purpose. Soon some of the new rulers committed the first murders. With Möller's participation, the two communists, Christian Heuck and Rudolf Timm, who were imprisoned in the prison, were murdered in early 1934.


Nazi functionaries and activists also persecuted Jews in Neumünster. In 1930 about 30 residents were Jewish. According to the Nuremberg Laws of September 1935, around 70 people were counted as Jews in 1933. During the boycott of Jews (April 1, 1933), Jewish businesses were violently boycotted, and at the same time Jewish officials were dismissed or retired (see Aryan paragraph). Most of the Jewish lawyers had to give up their profession. As early as 1933, in the course of "Aryanizations", businesses that belonged to Jews were taken over. In 1935 there were again major anti-Jewish acts of violence.

In Neumünster, too, the Jewish residents were attacked in their sleep by SA and SS men during the night of the Reichspogromnacht in the night between November 9 and 10, 1938. Their businesses were destroyed. The SA and SS men broke into the apartments of the Jews - children, women and men - with violence and roaring and smashed the inventory and / or threw it on the street. In addition, the beds were cut open, the feathers poured out, and windows were smashed. Victims were often mistreated. All Jewish men were arrested during this operation. During the day, the SA led the arrested “Action Jews” through the city in a pillory parade. The wife of Heinz Baronowitz, who was murdered in Wewelsburg concentration camp in 1942, reported that her husband had to wear a poster hanging around his neck with the text: I murdered von [sic] Rath. The men were interned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for a few months. By the end of 1939, all but a dozen Jewish residents had to leave Neumünster.

A major company in the German leather industry, Adler & Oppenheimer AG, was "Aryanized" in 1940/41. H. Taken from the Jewish owners and renamed Norddeutsche Lederwerke AG. The Jewish residents who remained in Neumünster and other places in Schleswig-Holstein were deported to Riga in the late autumn of 1941 to the Reichskommissariat Ostland subordinate to Hinrich Lohse, which had been established as German territory after Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. There these people were housed under adverse living conditions in the Riga ghetto or in the Jungfernhof camp and later murdered.

The Nazi regime began rearming the Wehrmacht soon after taking power. In 1934 Neumünster was again a garrison town. The infantry regiment No. 46 and part of the artillery regiment No. 66 moved into the old Sick and the new Hindenburg barracks (which later accommodated the 6th Panzer Grenadier Division of the Bundeswehr) as well as the newly built Scholtz barracks (named after the artillery general Friedrich von Scholtz).

Between 1935 and 1938, the 240 hectare Neumünster airfield was built in the west of the city. The Holstenhallen (today a modern multi-purpose hall in which, among other things, the annual NordBau construction fair takes place) was built in 1939 as a cattle auction hall and then used as an aircraft assembly hall from August 1939.

There was a first Allied air raid in Neumünster in 1941. Seven more air raids followed by April 25, 1945, the heaviest of which on April 13, 1945. Neumünster was destroyed by 20 to 30 percent.

Germany ultimately lost World War II. At the end of the war, Neumünster was declared an "open city" and handed over to British troops on May 3, 1945 without a fight. Just one day later, Hans-Georg von Friedeburg signed the surrender of all German troops in northwest Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark on behalf of the last Reich President Karl Dönitz, who had previously left with the last Reich government in Flensburg-Mürwik further north. On May 8, the war finally ended with the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht.

Neumünster after the end of the war
Like the rest of Schleswig-Holstein, Neumünster belonged to the British zone of occupation at the end of the war. Since "at the end of the war the Allies did not know whether the German population would also totally capitulate", the British occupiers set up Civil Internment Camp No. 1. All persons were interned there who were presumed to have been important functionaries of the NSDAP. In the fall of 1945, 11,000 people were imprisoned there. Among them "there was a comparatively high proportion of suspected war criminals, for whom the British secret service - mostly successfully - searched". Many of the others were soon released because the British did not have enough documents about the many people who had been incriminated. The camp was closed in autumn 1946, and the remaining 6,000 inmates were transferred to the Eselheide internment camp near Paderborn.


At the same time, Neumünster experienced a wave of refugees. In 1947 Neumünster had 66,945 inhabitants; 16,375 of these were displaced or refugees, i.e. almost one in four. In order to counter the resulting lack of living space, a large part of the military airfield area was converted into a new housing estate, the new Böcklersiedlung district, from 1950 onwards. This was named after Hans Böckler, the first DGB chairman who personally laid the foundation stone at the start of construction.

During the period from 1933 to 1945, some streets were renamed after National Socialist greats and so-called "martyrs". The latter were mostly members of SA and SS groups who had died during the Weimar Republic in the phase of power gain before 1933 in mostly self-instigated violent confrontations with members of democratic parties or communists.

Martin Martens, SS man from Wattenbek, who died in 1931 in a shootout with KPD and Reichsbanner people on the Gänsemarkt.
Adolf Hitler, "Führer" of the German Reich from 1933 to 1945.
Dietrich Eckart (1868–1923), editor-in-chief of the Völkischer Beobachter and former confidante of Hitler.
Wilhelm Gustloff (1895–1936), regional group leader of the NSDAP foreign organization in Switzerland, shot in 1936 by a German-speaking Yugoslav student of Jewish origin who wanted to set an example against the discrimination against “Jews” in Germany.
Hans Schemm (1891–1935), Minister of Culture in Bavaria, Gauleiter of the Bavarian Ostmark and head of the National Socialist Teachers' Association, died in a plane crash.

During the period from 1945 to 1947, the British occupying powers named some street names after the locally deployed military personnel. Some of these people could be identified:
Colonel Combe, member of the military government in Neumünster.
Colonel Crompton, Commandant of the Neumünster Military Governorate.
Major Norton, first British city commandant.
Pat Wilson, American Air Force and Administration Officer.
Tremsletts can probably be seen as a fictional person, because the Gartenallee did not previously have an offensive name. But there was a British interrogation center here. On a whim, the officers gave this street its name, which can be interpreted as "Avenue of the Trembling".


Location and geology

Neumünster lies on the edge of a wide sandy plain in the Holstein Geestrück. This part of the Holstein Vorgeest, the so-called Neumünster Meltwater Plain, was raised by meltwater and the sands in it from three glacier gates near Timmaspe, Einfeld and Bornhöved. In the area of ​​today's Einfelder See there was a glacier gate during the Vistula Ice Age, so that the sander root located there is considered the most important for the filling of the Neumünster area. In the far north, in the area of ​​the Einfelder See and the Dosenmoor, the hill country of East Holstein reaches the urban area. The Schwale flows through Neumünster, which flows into the Stör in the south of the city.

Kiel is about 30 kilometers north of Neumünster, while to the south it is about 70 kilometers to Hamburg. The city, which has been an independent city since 1901, borders clockwise on the districts of Plön, Segeberg and Rendsburg-Eckernförde.



Due to its location in Central Europe, Neumünster has a humid, cool, temperate transitional climate that is neither very continental nor very maritime. The average annual temperature is 8.1 ° C, with 775 millimeters of precipitation per year. The driest month is February with 47 millimeters of precipitation, the wettest month is August with 84 millimeters. The coldest month is January with an average of 0.1 ° C, the warmest month is July with an average of 16.6 ° C.