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Ulm Donauschwabenufer1.jpg
Coat of arms of Ulm
Map of Germany, Position of Ulm highlighted
Coordinates 48°24′0″N 9°59′0″E / 48.4°N 9.983333°E / 48.4; 9.983333
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Tübingen
District Urban district
City subdivisions 18 Stadtteile
Lord Mayor Ivo Gönner (SPD)
Basic statistics
Area 118.69 km2 (45.83 sq mi)
Elevation 500 m  (1641 ft)
Population 120,925  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 1,019 /km2 (2,639 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate UL
Postal codes 89073–89081
Area codes 0731, 07304,
07305, 07346

Ulm (German pronunciation: [ˈʔʊlm]) is a city in the German Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 (2006), forms an urban district of its own (German: Stadtkreis) and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and traditions as a former Free Imperial City (German: freie Reichsstadt). Today, it is an economic centre due to its varied industries, and it is the seat of a university (University of Ulm, founded in 1967). Internationally, Ulm is primarily known for the tallest church in the world, the Gothic minster (Ulm Minster, German: Ulmer Münster) and as the birthplace of Albert Einstein.



Ulm lies at the point where the rivers Blau and Iller join the Danube, at an altitude of 479 m (1,571.52 ft) above sea level. Most parts of the city, including the old town, are situated on the left bank of the Danube; only the districts of Wiblingen, Gögglingen, Donaustetten and Unterweiler lie on the right bank. Vis-à-vis of the old town, on the other side of the river, lies the twin city of Neu-Ulm in the state of Bavaria, smaller than Ulm and until 1810 a part of it (population ~50,000). Except for the Danube in the south, the city is surrounded by forests and hills which rise to altitudes of over 620 m (2,034.12 ft), some of them part of the Swabian Alb. South of the Danube, plains and hills finally end in the northern edge of the Alps, which is approximately 100 km from Ulm and is visible from the city on clear days.

The city is divided into eighteen districts (German: Stadtteile): Ulm-Mitte, Böfingen, Donaustetten, Donautal, Eggingen, Einsingen, Ermingen, Eselsberg, Gögglingen, Grimmelfingen, Jungingen, Lehr, Mähringen, Oststadt, Söflingen (mit Harthausen), Unterweiler, Weststadt, and Wiblingen.


The city of Ulm is situated in the northern part of the North Alpine Foreland Basin, where the basin reaches the Swabian Alb. The Turritellenplatte of Ermingen ("Erminger Turritellenplatte") is a famous palaeontological site of Burdigalian age.

View from the Münster towards Hirschstraße.


The oldest traceable settlement of the Ulm area began in the early Neolithic period, around 5000 BC. Settlements of this time have been identified at the villages of Eggingen and Lehr, today districts of the city. In the city area of Ulm proper, the oldest find dates from the late Neolithic period. Ulm was first mentioned in 854 and declared an Imperial City (German: Reichsstadt) by Friedrich Barbarossa in 1181.

At first, Ulm's significance was due to the privilege of a Königspfalz, a place of accommodation for the medieval German kings and emperors on their frequent travels. Later, Ulm became a city of traders and craftsmen. One of the most important legal documents of the city, an agreement between the Ulm patricians and the trade guilds (German: Großer Schwörbrief), dates from 1397. This document, considered an early city constitution, and the beginning of the construction of an enormous church (Ulm Minster, 1377), financed by the inhabitants of Ulm themselves rather than by the church, demonstrate the assertiveness of Ulm's mediæval citizens. Ulm blossomed during the 15th and 16th centuries, mostly due to the export of high-quality textiles. The city was situated at the crossroads of important trade routes extending to Italy. These centuries, during which many important buildings were erected, also represented the zenith of art in Ulm, especially for painters and sculptors like Hans Multscher and Jörg Syrlin the Elder. During the Reformation, Ulm became Protestant (1530). With the establishment of new trade routes following the discovery of the New World (16th century) and the outbreak and consequences of the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), the city began to decline gradually. Around 1700, it was alternately invaded several times by French and Bavarian soldiers.

Reichsstadt Ulm
Imperial City of Ulm
Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
Duchy of Swabia
Map with Imperial Free City of Ulm (shaded area), with the Danube (black diagonal) running below the area.
Capital Ulm
Government Republic
Historical era Middle Ages
 - Settlement founded around 5000 BC
 - Gained Reichsfreiheit 1181
 - Großer Schwörbrief 1397
 - Reformed to Protestantism 1530
 - Truce of Ulm in
    Thirty Years' War
 - Mediatised to Bavaria 1803
 - Annexed by Württemberg 1809

In the wars following the French Revolution, the city was alternately occupied by French and Austrian forces, with the former ones destroying the city fortifications. In 1803, it lost the status of Imperial City and was absorbed into Bavaria. During the campaign of 1805, Napoleon managed to trap the invading Austrian army of General Mack and forced it to surrender in the Battle of Ulm. In 1810, Ulm was incorporated into the Kingdom of Württemberg and lost its districts on the other bank of the Danube, which came to be known as Neu-Ulm (New Ulm).

In the mid-19th century, the city was designated a fortress of the German Confederation with huge military construction works directed primarily against the threat of a French invasion. The city became an important centre of industrialisation in southern Germany in the second half of the 19th century, its built-up area now being extended beyond the medieval walls. The construction of the huge minster, which had been interrupted in the 16th century due to economic reasons, was resumed and eventually finished (1844–91) in a wave of German national enthusiasm for the Middle Ages.

Nazi Germany
From 1933 to 1935, a concentration camp primarily for political opponents of the regime was established on the Kuhberg, one of the hills surrounding Ulm. The Jews of Ulm, around 500 people, were first discriminated against and later persecuted; their synagogue was torn down after Kristallnacht in November 1938. The sole RAF strategic bombing during World War II against Ulm occurred on December 17, 1944, against the 2 large lorry factories of Magirius-Deutz and Kässbohrer, as well as other industries, barracks, and depots in Ulm. The Gallwitz Barracks and several military hospitals were among 14 Wehrmacht establishments destroyed.[1] The raid killed 707 Ulm inhabitants and left 25,000 homeless and after all the bombings, over 80% of the medieval city centre lay in ruins.[citation needed]

Most of the city was rebuilt in the plain and simple style of the 1950s and 1960s, but some of the historic landmark buildings have been restored. Due to its almost complete destruction in 1944, the Hirschstraße part of the city primarily consists of modern architecture. Ulm experienced substantial growth in the decades following World War II, with the establishment of large new housing projects and new industrial zones. In 1967, Ulm University was founded, which proved to be of great importance for the development of the city. Particularly since the 1980s, the transition from classical industry towards the high-tech sector has accelerated, with, for example, the establishment of research centres of companies like Daimler, Siemens and Nokia and a number of small applied research institutes near the university campus. The city today is still growing, forming a twin city of 170,000 inhabitants together with its neighbouring Bavarian city of Neu-Ulm, and seems to benefit from its central position between the cities of Stuttgart and Munich and thus between the cultural and economic hubs of southern Germany.


Saint George's Catholic church, Ulm

The city has very old trading traditions dating from medieval times and a long history of industrialisation, beginning with the establishment of a railway station in 1850. The most important sector is still classical industry (machinery, especially motor vehicles; electronics; pharmaceuticals). The establishment of the University of Ulm, one of the best research universities in Germany and in the world too, which focuses on biomedicine, sciences and engineering, helped support the transition to high-tech industry in close connection to academic research, especially after the crisis of classical industries in the 1980s.

Companies with headquarters in Ulm include:

  • Ebner & Spiegel GmbH (book printing)
  • Gardena AG (gardening tools)
  • J. G. Anschütz (firearms for sports and hunting)
  • Müller Ltd. & Co. KG (major German trade company)
  • Ratiopharm (pharmaceuticals)
  • Carl Walther GmbH (fire arms, especially pistols)
  • Wieland-Werke AG (non-ferrous semi-finished products)
  • Britax Roemer Kindersicherheit GmbH (Child safety products)

Companies with important plants in Ulm include:


In 2007 the city of Ulm was awarded the European Energy Award for their remarkable local energy management and their efforts against climate change[2]. Examples of these efforts are a biomass power plant operated by the Fernwärme Ulm GmbH (10 MW electrical output), and the world's biggest passive house office building, the so-called Energon, located in the "Science City" near the university campus. Moreover, the city of Ulm boasts the second largest solar power production in Germany [3]. For all new buildings, a strict energy standard (German KFW40 standard) is mandatory since April 2008. The Ulm Minster is powered fully by renewables since January 2008[3]. Till the end of 2011 as a European pilot project a self-sustaining data-center well be constructed in the west-city of Ulm[4]. There is a solar-powered ferry that crosses the Danube 7 days a week in the summer.


Ulm is situated at the crossroads of the A8 motorway (connecting the principal cities of southern Germany, Stuttgart and Munich) and the A7 motorway (one of the main motorways running from northern to southern Europe). It is thus in easy reach of both Stuttgart (50 mins) and Munich (90 mins), whose international airports also serve the Ulm area.

The city's railway station is served, among other lines, by one of the principal European train lines (ParisStrasbourgStuttgart – Ulm – MunichViennaBudapest). Direct connections to Berlin are also available.

Ulm features a good public transportation system, based on several bus lines and a streetcar line. Park and ride is available, as well as parking garages in the city centre. Several streets in the old town are restricted to pedestrians and bicycles only.

Education and culture

The Ulm Public Library

The University of Ulm was founded in 1967 and focuses on the sciences, medicine, engineering, and mathematics / economics. With 7,246 students in 2005–06, it belongs to the smaller universities in Germany.

Ulm is also the seat of the city's University of Applied Sciences (German: Fachhochschule), founded in 1960 as a public school of engineering. The school also houses numerous students from the around the world as part of an international study abroad programme.

In 1953, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill founded the Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm), a design school in the tradition of the Bauhaus, which was however closed in 1968.

Ulm's public library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm) features over 480,000 print media. The city has a public theatre with drama, opera and ballet, several small theatres, and a professional philharmonic orchestra.



Ulm Marktplatz (market square) with town hall (right) and public library (center)
Town hall
Ulm: View through Rabengasse towards the minster


  • Ulm Minster (German: Ulmer Münster, built 1377-1891) with the world's highest church steeple (161.53 m (529.95 ft) high and 768 steps). Choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin the Elder (1469–74), famous sculpture Schmerzensmann (Man of Sorrows) by Hans Multscher (1429).
  • The old Fischerviertel (fishermen's quarter) on the River Blau, with half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and picturesque footbridges. Interesting sights here are the Schiefes Haus (crooked house), a 16th-century house today used as a hotel, and the Alte Münz (Old Mint), a mediæval building extended in the 16th and 17th centuries in Renaissance style.
  • The remaining section of the city walls, along the river, with the 14th-century Metzgerturm (butchers' tower) (36 m (118.11 ft) high).
  • The Rathaus (Town Hall), built in 1370, featuring some brilliantly-coloured murals dating from the mid-16th century. On the gable is an astronomical clock dating from 1520. Restored after serious damage in 1944.
  • The Krone inn, a medieval complex of several houses (15th / 16th century, extensions from 19th century), where German kings and emperors were accommodated during their travels.
  • Several large buildings from the late Middle Ages / renaissance used for various purposes (especially storage of food and weapons), e.g. Schwörhaus, Kornhaus, Salzstadel, Büchsenstadel, Zeughaus, Neuer Bau.
  • The historic district Auf dem Kreuz, a residential area with many buildings from before 1700.
  • Wiblingen Abbey, a former benedictine abbey in the suburb of Wiblingen in the south of Ulm. The church shows characteristics of late baroque and early classicism. Its library is a masterpiece of rococo. Photo of Wiblingen Abbey's Baroque library


  • Building of the Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm), an important school of design (1953–68) in the succession of the Bauhaus.
  • Stadthaus, a house for public events built by Richard Meier, directly adjacent to the minster.
  • Stadtbibliothek, the building of the public library of Ulm was erected by Gottfried Böhm in the form of a glass pyramid and is situated directly adjacent to the town hall.


  • Albert Einstein Memorial - A small memorial at the site of the house where Albert Einstein was born in the Bahnhofstraße, between the present-day newspaper offices and the bank. The house itself and the whole district was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944.
  • Memorial for Hans and Sophie Scholl - A small memorial on Münsterplatz in memory of these two members of the Weiße Rose (White Rose, a resistance group opposed to the Nazi regime), who spent their youth in Ulm. Their family's house near the memorial was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944.

Other landmarks

Notable inhabitants

Born in Ulm

Otherwise associated with Ulm

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Ulm is officially not twinned. But there are relations with:

External links



  • Johannes Baier: Über die Tertiärbildungen im Ulmer Raum. In: Documenta Naturae. 168; München, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86544-168-3


  1. ^ "RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  2. ^ [1] website of the city of Ulm, European Energy Award
  3. ^ SWU Fakten, Stadtwerke Ulm, visited 15. Mai 2008
  4. ^ [2] Press release at
  5. ^ "Bratislava City - Twin Towns". © 2003-2008 Retrieved 2008-10-26. 

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Ulm [1] is a town at the edge to Bavaria in Baden-Württemberg, south west Germany. It is home to the highest church steeple in the world (161.53m), even higher than the Dome of Cologne. Ulm has 120,000 inhabitants.

Ulm from above
Ulm from above


Albert Einstein was born here.

Ulm has a lot of dense fog in some times of the year. Especially in late autumn and early spring. Sometimes you can see only 30-50 m far (90-150 ft). The illuminated church looks impressive when it disappears in the fog.

Getting there

By train

The railway station is in the town center, about a 10 minute walk from the cathedral(Ulmer Münster). Remember there are special train tickets for Baden-Württemberg and Bayern. With these ticket up to five people can use all regional trains for a whole day for only 30 Euro (all together). Prices may change, so check here (only in German) for latest prices.

By plane

Nearby airports are Munich, Stuttgart, Friedrichshafen, Memmingen and Augsburg. From these Airports you can take the ICE or IC train to get to Ulm.

Getting around

The town center is small enough to walk around, but there are lots of buses and even sightseeing boats on the Danube (Donau) River.

  • Cathedral: Construction on the Ulmer Münster began in the 14th century, but the current version was only fully completed in 1890. The interior of the Münster contains gorgeous choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin (1469–1474) from the 15th century. The top of the steeple can be reached by climbing 768 steps and offers an amazing view of Ulm and the region (4€ for adults). On clear days, it is possible to see the Alps.
The Ulmer Münster
The Ulmer Münster
  • Fishermen's Quarter (Fischerviertel)
  • Schwörmontag (town festival with lots of people swimming in the Donau river. Every year on next to last Monday in July), also known as "Nabada"
  • Blautopf in Blaubeuren (a small town near Ulm).
  • The Christmas market on the plaza in front of the Münster.
  • The Wednesday and Saturday Farmers' Market in front of the Münster.
  • The Rathaus (city hall) with its ancient colorful painted walls and the astronomical clock (dating from 1520).
  • The library of Ulm, also known as "Glaspyramide" (glass pyramid), because of its architecture.
  • Museum of Bread Culture in the Old City, dedicated to the 6,000-year history of bread.
  • Kunsthalle Weishaupt
  • Walk along the Donau river through the Fischerviertel. Visit the many art galleries there. See the Schiefes Haus and enjoy the nice and little houses with very little streets between and small rivers. Visit the birthplace of Albert Einstein.
  • Find out about all the current events happening in the city and the surroundings from event portal. The site is in german, but the people behind it are nice and give you gladly info in English if you contact them directly.


The major shopping street starts at the train station and leads directly to the Ulmer Münster church.

  • The Hemperium restaurant/bar where various meals made from the (impotent) male hemp plant are served. Prices are very attractive and food is good.
  • There are plenty of places to eat in the nice and quiet Fischerviertel, where you can get some genuine German food and beer.
  • The Kornhäusle is a cozy small restaurant which serves crèpes (yummy salty french pancakes), also very nice. Website:
  • The Tagblatt opens until late and is famous for it's big salads. It has one of the nicest beergardens right next to the river Danube.
  • The Donaustern is one of the better kebab booths in Ulm
  • Gaststätte zur Stadt Heidenheim, Oststadt. Big meals, Biergarten during summer.
  • The Barfüßer restaurants brew their own beer. There is also one Barfüßer beer garden directly at the Donau river.
  • Murphy's Law is an Irish Pub.
  • The Schlössle is perhaps one of the nicest beer gardens and can be reached within a 15min walk from the city. They also serve their own beer. Schlössle Biergarten.
  • Hotel Schiefes Haus[2]. Very nice, but also very expensive (about 120 Euro).

The Ulm tourist office is very good. There are many pensions in the old town whose owners do not speak english well and prefer the office to act for them. The old town on its own is worth the stop with some excellent stuben.


There are a lot of internet cafes all over the town. Just ask.

You can get free internet access at the new Stadtbibliothek (city library), next to the Rathaus (city hall). They have about 30 PC there. WLAN is also available there.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also ulm



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Latin Ulm, acronym for Latin "ultra limites militiae", "beyond the limits of the militia".

Proper noun


  1. A city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany



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