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Neunkirchen

 

Neunkirchen is a Saarland district town on the Blies, about 20 km northeast of the state capital Saarbrücken. With around 46,000 inhabitants, Neunkirchen is the second largest city in Saarland after Saarbrücken. It is the district town of the district of the same name in the east of the Saarland.

 

History

Already in prehistoric times, Kännelkohle / Gagat was mined in the Heinitz district on the Riedberg in the seam Tauentzien, for example in the Hallstatt period (700–450 BC) and Roman times (3rd century AD). This coal mine, the oldest in Germany, is still recognizable today by a pinging train and the memorial stone "An der Keltengrube" not far from the road from Elversberg to Heinitz. The Wiebelskirchen district was first mentioned in a document in 765. "Wiebelskirchen" is the oldest recorded Christian place name in Saarland. The first written mention of Neunkirchen comes from the year 1281. Almost the entire city area belonged to the Principality of Nassau-Saarbrücken. The Princely House built two castles one after the other in the wooded area, which have now disappeared. The renaissance castle on Obere Markt, built from 1575 onwards, was demolished in 1752; the new Jägersberg Castle, begun in the same year, was ruined during the coalition wars.

In 1593, the Neunkircher Eisenwerk was built in Bliestal, which had a significant impact on the town's fate. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who traveled to Neunkirchen as a student in 1770, describes in poetry and truth the picturesque location of the place, the Jägersberg Castle and the iron smelting.

The industrialization of Neunkirchen was closely linked to the Stumm family of mining entrepreneurs. On March 22, 1806, the Stumm brothers took over the Neunkirchen ironworks. In the early days of industrialization, hard coal deposits were tapped from the König pit from 1820 onwards, which, together with the iron ores (minette) found in nearby Lorraine, led to the development of an important iron industry at the Neunkirchen location. Under Carl Ferdinand von Stumm-Halberg, the company rose to become a market leader in the iron and steel industry.

The Stumm family managed their property for a long time as a separate community of Niederneunkirchen, which was separated from Neunkirchen. During the independence of Niederneunkirchen, Neunkirchen was also called Oberneunkirchen. By contract of December 19, 1921, the four communities Kohlhof, Neunkirchen, Niederneunkirchen and Wellesweiler merged into one community, which four days later was granted city rights with effect from April 1, 1922.

Although Neunkirchen had a large working-class population, social democracy and the socialist movement were barely able to gain a foothold here until 1918. However, in the November Revolution of 1918, a workers' council was formed. The red flag was hoisted on the town hall, and the council temporarily took over power in the city, but in the further course mainly took care of the food supply.

During the League of Nations mandate over the Saar (1920-1935) there was a domain school in Neunkirchen.

On February 10, 1933, a gasometer exploded near the ironworks. 68 people died and 190 were injured. A special grave field was laid out for the victims at the main cemetery in Scheib. Many houses became uninhabitable and a new schoolhouse was almost completely destroyed. There were soon special postage stamps that were used to collect for the victims, and the Red Cross helped build a settlement on today's Storchenplatz for those who had become homeless in the accident.

On March 15, 1945, large parts of the city center were destroyed in a bomb attack.

The decline of heavy industry in the 1970s hit Neunkirchen hard. The last coal mine closed in 1968. When the ironworks closed in 1982 (only the rolling mill continued to operate), the city led the German unemployment statistics for a while. The former importance of Neunkirchen as a railway junction has also declined after the partial closure of the marshalling yard.

Parts of the former ironworks are still preserved as an industrial monument "Old Hüttenareal".

At the end of the 1980s, with the construction of the Saarpark Center on the industrial wasteland of the ironworks, the city center of Neunkirchen was greatly changed. The inauguration took place in 1989. With up to 25,000 visitors on normal days and up to 50,000 at Christmas time, it is the best-visited shopping center in Saarland.

Since April 2012 the city of Neunkirchen has been calling itself "Musical City Neunkirchen". Mayor Jürgen Fried gave the impetus for this. He described the musical project Neunkirchen, which was created in December 2002, as a unique selling point of the city. Due to its great success, the musical theme established itself in Neunkirchen, and the project became the pillar on which the concept of the musical city was built. Another mainstay was created by the Neunkircher Musical School, which opened in 2010 alongside the existing music school.

 

Incorporations
In 1922 the previously independent communities of Kohlhof (with Furpach), Niederneunkirchen and Wellesweiler were incorporated; on January 1, 1974 also the communities Hangard, Münchwies and Wiebelskirchen. At the same time, areas of Bexbach (Ludwigsthal, Haseler Mühle, Hirschbergsiedlung), Kirkel-Neuhäusel (Eschweilerhof), Limbach (Bavarian Kohlhof) and Spiesen (human house) were added.

Outsourcing
The new community of Kirkel and the former communities of Kirkel-Neuhäusel and Limbach had lodged a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court of Saarland against the assignment of Bayerisch Kohlhof and Eschweilerhof. However, this was rejected by the judgment of November 17, 1975. After the Saarland government announced in 1979 that it would review the disputed reorganization measures again, in February 1980 the municipality of Kirkel made major efforts to regain the ceded areas. The city of Neunkirchen was not ready to negotiate. On May 10, 1983, the Saarland government issued an ordinance to reclassify the inhabited parts of the Bavarian Kohlhof to the community of Kirkel. The city of Neunkirchen took legal action against it and was ruled on January 30, 1984, because the Constitutional Court upheld the claim. Thus the disputed area remained with Neunkirchen. Finally, the Saarland Landtag passed a law on January 23, 1985, with which the inhabited parts of the Bayerischer Kohlhof settlement were finally assigned to the community of Kirkel with effect from April 1, 1985. The area came to the district Limbach.