Kassel: Wikis


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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
Website www.stadt-kassel.de

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, http://www.kassel.de/cms01/stadtinfo/stadtrecht/anhang/satzungen/02398/index.html, "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 Camps.www.edwardvictor.com/Holocaust/List %20 of % 20 camps. htm

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Kassel [1] is the regional "capital" of North Hesse in Germany and has a population of about 200 000.



Kassel has been first mentioned around 900 AD. Since then it has always been a provincial capital for the realms of North Hesse or Kur-Hesse.

During the 30 years war Kassels Landgraf Philipp declared for the protestants. This had an effect as later numerous Hugenots emigrated from France and brought with them their trade and skills. The impact of the Hugenots can still be witnessed in the centre of Kassel where streets are named after Hugenots.

Kassel became a considerable industrial and scientific city as can still be seen in the Orangerie museum where loads of scientific kit from the enlightenment period is on show. Noticeably the first steam pot producing a fountain was constructed in Kassel by Papin and rumors have it that he left Kassel in his steam boat a few years before James Watt got his prototype into shape.

Kassel was already a heavy industries site by WW2, where trains, tanks and planes were constructed. In the later years of the war Kassel was thoroughly bombed by English and American planes.

Kassel was home to the famous Grimm Brothers who wrote a lot of the fairy tales Disney uses today. The house that they lived in was made into a museum with a lot of interesting artifacts.

Get in

The best way to reach Kassel is by train since most of the Inter-City-Express trains and plenty of local trains stop at the Kassel-Wilhemshöhe station. There is also a Main train station (Hauptbahnhof) very near the city center. This station is also called "Kulturbahnhof". Trains run between the two stations. Much easier to see the downtown area if you take a train to the Hauptbahnhof and begin your exploring from there.

Get around

From the Station, trams leave towards the town centre and one can easily walk to the Bergpark which is visible from where the trams leave. If you are staying a few days in Kassel buy a public transport Wochenkarte. Ride as much as you like on the streetcars and buses for a full week from date of issue. April 2006 price was €16. And while you are at it, don't miss out to have an Italian ice-cream somewhere on the way to the park.

  • Local public transport [2] (only in German).
  • Herkules and Bergpark.
  • Schloss with its old masterpieces of art.
  • Orangerie and Karlsaue
  • Documenta art exhibition (every 5 years only, next summer 2012)
  • Friedericianum - museum
  • Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Worth visiting is the "Bergpark" (Mountainpark) which is supposedly the largest in Europe and second largest park on a mountain slope in the world. The park contains the Herkules statue at its top end which is towering over the city and has become its symbol. Further the park contains loads of smaller features which are mainly fake greek temples, fake medival castles, fake querries - you see where we are getting ... Not fake though are the Rembrandts and Rubens paintings in the Schloss in the park - an entrance fee is charged. The Park also features during summer months the Wasserspiele (watergames) every Wednesday and Sunday starting from 2:30PM. Various of the features such as the Cascades (below the Herkules statue), the fake waterfall and the fake Roman Aqueduct have their water supplies opened for half an hour or so each and the crowd of tourists will move from feature to feature starting on the higher parts moving downslope.
  • The Centre of Kassel itself has been thoroughy destroyed during WW2 and was rebuilt in a post-war fashion - ugly. Hence, the inner city is mainly dominated by bank and mall buildings of the modern sort. However, in walking distance from the main high street, you can reach the Karlsaue, another, french style park with some old buildings containing all sort of museums (tapstries to astrology). That area is also the usual place for the Documenta art exhibition to happen every five years.
  • Getting a little bit out of the city can be a good thing. Near Lohfelden there are beautiful forests and ponds that have really good trails. Also just past there are some great churches and markets.


Shopping can be somewhat difficult in Kassel compared to the United States, but most of the good shopping is located close to the Rathaus so if you get off the Strassenbahn around there you can do most of your shopping.

  • I found a good place to buy all of the stuff I needed for everyday things could be found at Muellers. It is somewhat like a Fred Meyer's or Target.
  • The best place I found to buy clothes was at the H&M right across Muellers located at Koenigsplatz. They have the best prices and clothing in my opinion around Kassel.
  • There are great bakeries on every corner and throughout the city.
  • Another great place to eat is any of the little stands located on Konigsplatz(city centre)
  • The Crèperie is a pub always popular with teenagers close to the Bebelplatz in the Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse.
  • Spot was suppose to be a great place to go out, but it all depends on what night so make sure you find out what type of music is playing that night also it is a little ways off the main strip of Kassel so be prepared for that. The best time to go is Tuesdays before midnight till when they serve beer for 50 cents.
  • Check out the area around the Hauptbahnhof. There you will find Clubs like the ARM and the Cuba club two of the most favourite clubs in Kassel at the moment.
  • Kassel has its own youth hostel close to the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).
  • Schlosshotel Bad Wilhelmshoehe [3] Schlosspark 8 - Four star hotel with a superb view over Kassel or the hillside park with Palace Wilhelmshoehe, Castle Loewenburg and the Herkules.
  • Hotel Albatros [4] downtown and an easy walk from the Hauptbahnhof. A classic German experience with full restaurant/bar on the main level and 15 rooms on the upper two floors. All rooms with WC and shower and TV. 2008 rate was EU46 single, EU 68 double which includes a large breakfast buffet. The restaurant has daily specials, and serves reasonably priced, true German cuisine.
  • Deutsche Märchenstrasse (German Fairytale Road) including Sababurg (original Sleeping Beauty castle), Hoher Meissner (special mount), Wasserschloss Wülmersen.
  • Medieval towns around Kassel
    • Hannoversch Münden
    • Hofgeismar
    • Bad Karlshafen
    • Bad Wildungen
    • Rotenburg/Fulda
    • Borken
    • Hessisch Lichtenau
    • Eschwege
    • Waldeck
    • Frankenberg
    • Grebenstein
    • Melsungen
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. Kassel (independent city in Hesse, Germany)

Simple English


Coordinates 51°19′00″N 09°30′00″E / 51.3166667°N 9.5°E / 51.3166667; 9.5
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Kassel
District Urban district
Mayor Bertram Hilgen (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 161 km2 (62 sq mi)
Elevation 167 m  (548 ft)
Population 193,518  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 1,202 /km2 (3,113 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate KS
Postal codes 34001 – 34134
Area code 0561
Website www.stadt-kassel.de

Kassel is a city in Germany, in the state of Hesse.

It has about 195,000 inhabitants and a university.

Every 5 years there is an international arts exhibition documenta in Kassel. The best football team KSV Hessen Kassel plays in the Regionalliga, the fourth Division in Germany.frr:Kassel


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