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Coat of arms of Kassel
Kassel is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°19′0″N 09°30′0″E / 51.316667°N 9.5°E / 51.316667; 9.5
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Kassel
District Urban district
Mayor Bertram Hilgen (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 107 km2 (41 sq mi)
Elevation 167 m  (548 ft)
Population 193,518  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 1,809 /km2 (4,684 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate KS
Postal codes 34001–34134
Area code 0561

Kassel (German pronunciation: [ˈkasəl]; until 1926 officially Cassel)[1] is a town located on the Fulda in northern Hesse, Germany, one of the two origins of the Weser river. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel administrative region (Regierungsbezirk) and of the district (Kreis) of the same name. In 2007 the town had approximately 198,500 inhabitants and has a total area of 107 square kilometers (41 square miles). Kassel is the largest town in the north of Hesse (Nordhessen).



The city's name is derived from the ancient Castellum Cattorum, a castle of the Chatti, a German tribe that had lived in the area since Roman times.

Kassel was first mentioned in 913 AD as the place where two deeds were signed by king Conrad I. The place was called Chasella and was a fortification at a bridge crossing the Fulda river. A deed from 1189 certifies that Kassel had city rights, but the date of their conveyance is not known.

A map of Kassel in 1648.

In 1567, the landgraviate of Hesse, until then centered in Marburg, was divided among four sons, with Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) becoming one of its successor states. Kassel was its capital and became a center of Calvinist Protestantism in Germany. Strong fortifications were built to protect the Protestant stronghold against Catholic enemies. In 1685, Kassel became a refuge for 1700 Huguenots who found shelter in the newly established borough of Oberneustadt. Landgrave Charles, who was responsible for this humanitarian act, also ordered the construction of the Oktagon and of the Orangerie. In the late 18th century, Hesse-Kassel became infamous for selling mercenaries (Hessians) to the British crown to help suppress the American Revolution and to finance the construction of palaces and the landgrave's opulent lifestyle.

In the early 19th century, the Brothers Grimm lived in Kassel and collected and wrote most of their fairy tales there. At that time, around 1803, the landgravate was elevated to a principality and its ruler to Prince-elector. Shortly after, it was annexed by Napoleon and in 1807 it became the capital of the short-lived Kingdom of Westphalia under Napoleon's brother Jérôme. The electorate was restored in 1813.


Having sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War for supremacy in Germany, the principality was annexed by Prussia in 1866. The Prussian administration united Nassau, Frankfurt and Hesse-Kassel into the new Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Kassel ceased to be a princely residence, but soon developed into a major industrial center as well as a major railway junction.

In 1870, after the Battle of Sedan, Napoleon III was sent as a prisoner to the castle of Wilhelmshohe above the city.

Kassel 360° Panorama view from the Tower of the Lutherkirche.
Wilhelmshöher Allee.
World War II
Kassel was the Headquarters for Germany’s Wehrkreis IX, and a local subcamp of Dachau concentration camp provided forced labor for Henschel facilities.[2] The most severe bombing of Kassel in World War II destroyed 90% of the downtown area, some 10,000 people were killed, and 150,000 were made homeless. Most of the casualties were civilians or wounded soldiers recuperating in local hospitals, whereas factories survived the attack generally undamaged. Karl Gerland replaced the regional Gauleiter, Karl Weinrich, soon after the raid. The US Army captured Kassel on 3 April 1945.

Post-war, most of the ancient buildings were not restored, and large parts of the downtown area were completely rebuilt in the style of the 1950s. A few historic buildings, however, such as the Museum Fridericianum (see below), were restored. In 1949, the interim parliament ("Parlamentarischer Rat") eliminated Kassel in the first round as a city to become the provisional capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bonn won).

Main sights

Due to the destruction of 1943 the city was almost completely rebuilt in the fashion of 1950s. Hence there are a very few old buildings in downtown. The oldest monument is the Druselturm. The Brüderkirche and the Church of St. Martin are also in part of medieval origin. The towers of St. Martin are from the 1950s.

What historic buildings have remained undamaged are mainly outside the center of town. Wilhelmshöhe Palace, above the city, was built in 1786 by landgrave Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel. The palace now is a museum and houses a world-famous wallpaper collection, an important collection of Graeco-Roman antiques and a fine gallery of paintings comprising the second largest collection of Rembrandts in Germany. It is surrounded by the beautiful Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe with many appealing sights. The Oktagon is a huge octagonal stone structure carrying a giant replica of Hercules "Farnese" (now at Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, Italy). From its base down to Wilhelmshöhe Palace runs a long set of artificial cascades which delight visitors during the summer months. The Löwenburg ("Lions Castle") is a replica of a medieval castle, also built during the reign of Wilhelm IX. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 Napoléon III was imprisoned in Wilhelmshöhe. In 1918 Wilhelmshöhe became seat of the German Army Command (OHL): it was there that the military commanders Hindenburg and Ludendorff prepared the German capitulation.

Another large park is the Karlsaue along the Fulda River. Established in the 16th century, it is famous for the Orangerie, a palace built in 1710 as a summer residence for the landgraves. Today there is also a planetarium in the park. In addition, the Park Schönfeld contains a small, municipal botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten Kassel.

Kassel is scene of Documenta, an important international exhibition of modern and contemporary art. Museums include: Schloss Wilhelmshöhe (Antiquities Collection and Old Masters; wall paper museum), Museum für Sepulkralkultur (the only German Museum for Sepulchral Culture); Art Gallery (Albrecht Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Anthony van Dyck), New Gallery (Tischbein Family, Joseph Beuys).

Tram in Kassel.
The Oktagon above the city.


The city operates a tram system (streetcar); a Stadtbahn-like system with light rail vehicles running on both main line rail and railroad tracks, called Regio Citadis line RT3 that runs to Warburg. The city also operates buses and managed the development of the Kassel kerb which improves the alignment of modern low-floor buses with bus stops.

The city is connected to the DB network by two stations, Kassel Hauptbahnhof, and Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe. The traditional central station (Haupbahnhof) has been reduced to the status of a regional station since the opening of the Hanover-Würzburg high-speed rail line in 1991 and its station (Wilhelmshoehe) on the high-speed line where InterCityExpress (ICE) and InterCity services call at.

Kassel is connected to the interstates or freeways autobahn services A 7, A 49 and A 44.


The University of Kassel was founded in 1971, and is the newest university in the state of Hesse.


In 1558 the first German observatory was built in Kassel, followed in 1604 by the Ottoneum, the first permanent theater building, and in 1779 by Europe's first public museum, named the Museum Fridericianum after its founder. By the end of the 19th century the museum held one of the largest collections in the world of watches and clocks. Since 1955 the Documenta, an international exhibition of modern and contemporary art, has been held regularly in Kassel. The Documenta now takes place every 5 years and the next will be in mid-2012. As a result of the Documenta 6 (1977), Kassel became the first town in the world to have been illuminated by LASER-beams at night (Laserscape, by artist Horst H. Baumann).

Famous people

Famous inhabitants of Kassel include Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, while he was king of Westphalia; the Brothers Grimm; F. W. Murnau, the movie director; Paul Reuter, founder of the Reuters news agency; Franz Rosenzweig, philosopher, Philipp Scheidemann, briefly Germany's Chancellor after World War I; and Louis Spohr, the 19th-century composer and violinist, who is commemorated by a museum in the city. Astrid and Thorwald Proll, members of the German terrorist group the Red Army Faction (also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang) active during the 1970s and 1980s, were born here in 1947 and 1941, respectively. Kassel is also the birthplace of Annika Mehlhorn, a German butterfly and medley swimmer who competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Helmut Hasse (1898-1979) did fundamental work in algebra and number theory. Rudolf Erich Raspe, a Landgrivate Councilman who fled Kassel with a substantial part of the Princely coffers to England. There he writes a much-read book " The Occurrences of the Baron von Münchhausen". Diego Sanmartin, editor of "Entre Vecinos", one of the most important newspapers in Caracas.

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Kassel is twinned with


  1. ^ "Beschluß des Preußischen Staatsministeriums über die Schreibweise 'Kassel' vom 4.12.1926", Amtsblatt der Regierung zu Kassel, 1926 (cited in Rathaus-Info der Stdt Kassel): p. 283, 1926-12-12, 2003-01-09,, "Das Preußische Staatsministerium hat durch Beschluß vom 4. Dezember 1926 IV. a. II. 1531, III, genehmigt, daß die Schreibweise des Ortsnamens Cassel in " K a s s e l " abgeändert wird, welches hiermit öffentlich bekannt gegeben wird"  
  2. ^ Edward Victor. Alphabetical List of Camps, Subcamps and Other %20 of % 20 camps. htm

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CASSEL, or Kassel, a city of Germany, capital of the former electorate of Hesse-Cassel, and, since its annexation by Prussia in 1866, capital of the province of Hesse-Nassau. Pop. (1885) 64,083; (1905) 120,446. It is pleasantly situated, in a hilly and well-wooded country, on both sides of the river Fulda, over which a stone bridge leads to the lower new town, 12 4 m. by rail N.N.E. from Frankfort-on-Main. The river is navigable for barges, and railways connect the town with all parts of Germany. The streets of the old town are narrow and crooked, and contain many picturesque gabled houses, generally of the 17th century, but those of the upper and lower new town, and the three suburbs, are not surpassed by any in Germany. The principal streets are the Kflnigs-strasse (5100 ft. long and 60 broad), the Schdne Aussicht, and the Stande-platz (180 ft. broad with four rows of linden trees). The large Friedrichs-platz is 1000 by 4 50 ft. in area. In it stands a marble statue of the landgrave Frederick II. There is a fine view from the open side. The former residence of the electors (Residenzschloss) fronts this square, as well as the Museum Fridericianum, with a facade of Roman-Ionic columns. The museum contains various valuable collections of curiosities, interesting mosaics, coins, casts, a library of 230,000 volumes, and valuable manuscripts. In the cabinet of curiosities there is a complete collection of clocks and watches from the earliest to the present time. Among these is the so-called Egg of Nuremberg, a watch made about 150o by Peter Henlein. Among other public places and buildings worthy of notice are the Roman Catholic church, with a splendid interior; the Kiinigs-platz, with a remarkable echo; the Karls-platz, with the statue of the landgrave Charles; and the Martins-platz, with a large church - St Martin's - with twin towers, containing the burial-vaults of the Hessian princes. The gallery of paintings, housed in a handsome building erected in 1880 on the Schdne Aussicht, contains one of the finest small collections in Europe, especially rich in the works of Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Van Dyck.

The town contains numerous educational institutions, including a technical college, a school of painting, a celebrated classical school, which the emperor William II. attended, and a military academy. The descendants of the French refugees who founded the upper new town have a church and hospital of their own. There are three Roman Catholic churches, an English church, and two synagogues. Music is much cultivated, and there is an opera with a first-rate orchestra, of which Ludwig Spohr was at one time conductor. The opera-house or theatre was built.

V. 15 a by Jerome Napoleon, but in 1906 money was voted for a new building on the Auetor. A new Rathaus (town-hall) has been erected. There are also the Bose Museum, containing collections of pictures and antiquities of Hessian origin, museums of natural history and ethnography, an industrial exhibition hall, and an industrial art school. A handsome Gothic Lutheran church was erected in 1892-1897, a post office (Renaissance) in 1881, and new administrative offices and law courts in 1876-1880. The municipal (or Murhard) library, in the Hanau park, contains 118,000 volumes. The most noticeable of the modern public monuments are those to the emperor William I. (1898), to the musician Spohr (1883), and the L6wenbrunnen (1881). In the Karlsaue, a favourite public promenade lying just below the Schdne Aussicht, are the Orangerie and the marble baths. Cassel is the headquarters of the XI. German army corps, and has a large garrison. It is a favourite residence for foreigners and retired officers and government officials. The industries embrace engine-building, the manufacture of railway carriages a11d plant, scientific instruments, porcelain, tobacco and cigars, lithography, jute-spinning, iron-founding, brewing and gardening.

On a slope of the Habichtswald Mountains, 3 m. W. of Cassel, and approached by an avenue, is the summer palace of WilhelmshOhe, erected in 1787-1794. Napoleon III. resided here, as a prisoner of war, after the battle of Sedan. The surrounding gardens are adorned with fountains, cascades, lakes and grottos, the principal fountain sending up a jet of water 180 ft. high and 12 ft. in diameter. Here also is an interesting building called the Ldwenburg, erected in 1793-1796 in the style of a fortified castle, and containing among other things portraits of Tudors and Stuarts. The principal curiosity is the Karlsburg cascade, which is placed in a broad ravine, thickly wooded on both sides. A staircase of 900 steps leads to the top. On one of the landings is a huge rudely-carved stone figure of the giant Enceladus, and at the top is an octagon building called the Riesenschloss, surmounted by a colossal copper figure of the Farnese Hercules, 31 ft. high, whose club alone is sufficiently capacious to accommodate from eight to ten persons. In different parts of the park, and especially from the Octagon, charming views are obtained. The park was first formed by the landgrave Frederick II., the husband of Mary, daughter of George II. of England, and was finished by his successor the landgrave William, after whom it was named.

The earliest mention of Cassel is in 913, when it is referred to as Cassala. The town passed from the landgraves of Thuringia to the landgraves of Hesse in the 13th century, becoming one of the principal residences of the latter house in the 15th century. The burghers accepted the reformed doctrines in 1527. The fortifications of the town were restored by the landgrave Philip the Magnanimous and his son William IV. during the 16th century, and it was greatly improved by the landgrave Charles (1 6 541 73 o), who welcomed many Huguenots who founded the upper new town. In 1762 Cassel was captured by the Germans from the French; after this the fortifications were dismantled and New Cassel was laid out by the landgrave Frederick II. In 1807 it became the capital of the kingdom of Westphalia; in 1813 it was bombarded and captured by the Russian general Chernichev; in 1830, 1831 and 1848 it was the scene of violent commotions; from 1850 to 1851 it was occupied by the Prussians, the Bavarians and the Austrians; in 1866 it was occupied by the Prussians, and in 1867 was made the capital of the newly formed Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau.

See Piderit, Geschichte der Hauptand Residenzstadt Kassel (Kassel, 1882); Fr. Muller, Kassel seit 70 Jahren (2 vols., 2nd ed., Kassel, 1893); and Hessler, Die Residenzstadt Kassel and ihre Uyngebung (Kassel, 1902),

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