Coat of arms

Coordinates: 50°13′53″N 7°35′27″E / 50.23139°N 7.59083°E / 50.23139; 7.59083Coordinates: 50°13′53″N 7°35′27″E / 50.23139°N 7.59083°E / 50.23139; 7.59083
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis
  Mayor Walter Bersch (SPD)
  Total 75.13 km2 (29.01 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 15,404
  Density 210/km2 (530/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 56154
Dialling codes 06741, 06742, 06745
Vehicle registration SIM

Boppard, formerly also spelled Boppart, is a town and municipality (since the 1976 inclusion of 9 neighbouring villages, Ortsbezirken) in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis (district) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, lying in the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is also a state-recognized tourism resort (Fremdenverkehrsort) and is a winegrowing centre.



View from the Vierseenblick.
The Vierseenblick chairlift.

Boppard lies on the upper Middle Rhine, often known as the Rhine Gorge. This characteristic narrow form of valley arose from downward erosion of the Rhine’s riverbed. Since 2002, the Gorge has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 17 km stretch of the Rhine forms the town’s eastern limit. Along this part of the river lie the outlying centres of Hirzenach and Bad Salzig, as well as the town’s main centre, also called Boppard.

Directly north of Boppard, the Rhine takes its greatest bend. This bow is called the Bopparder Hamm, although this name is more commonly applied to the winegrowing area found along it. The best known lookout point over this bow in the Rhine is the Vierseenblick, or "Four-Lake View". This vista gets its name from the way in which the Rhine can be seen from here, or rather the way in which it cannot be seen: hills block out most of the view of the river itself so that visitors can only see four apparently separate patches of water, rather like four lakes. These are all actually parts of the Rhine; there are no lakes to be seen. The Vierseenblick can be reached by chairlift.

Boppard’s town forest is the second biggest in Rhineland-Palatinate with an area of 43.6 km².

Since 1969, the town of Boppard has belonged to the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis, and is the district’s northernmost municipality. Boppard is a middle centre; the nearest upper centre is Koblenz, some 22 km away.

Constituent communities

Since 1976, Boppard has consisted of ten Ortsbezirke, a special kind of municipal internal division found in some cities and towns in Rhineland-Palatinate (and also Hesse). Each Ortsbezirk has its own council, whose head bears the title Ortsvorsteher. Some of these Ortsbezirke even have their own Ortsteile, but these have no separate representation on any council. Boppard’s Ortsbezirke are as follows:


The earliest trace of settlement unearthed by archaeologists in the Boppard area has been a storage yard dating back some 13,000 years to the time of the Federmesser culture.

Roman times

Late Roman castrum

In the course of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul and the ensuing Roman settlement of the lands on the Rhine’s left bank, there also followed the founding of Vicus Baudobriga (also Bodobriga or Bontobrica) on the way into the Mühltal (valley). The name is of Celtic origin, which implies that there had been Celtic settlement before the Romans came, or perhaps that there was one at the same time as the Romans were there. With the expansion of the Limes, the Middle Rhine lost its strategic importance. On the other hand, the river was gaining more and more importance as a supply and trade avenue. In the mid 3rd century, the Rhine’s right bank had to be evacuated and conceded to the Germani, thereby making the Rhine the Empire’s border once more. In 355, Roman Emperor Julian stopped the Germanic invasion and began securing the Middle Rhine. His successor Valentinian I finished the work. It was also at this time that the Late Roman castrum, the Römerkastell Boppard on the Roman road through the Rhine valley, was built. Towards the end of 405, the last Roman troops were withdrawn to defend Italy. The town’s next documentary mention did not come until the Early Middle Ages. According to this source from 643, Boppard was a Frankish royal estate and an administrative centre of the Bopparder Reich (a Merovingian state).

Holy Roman Empire

Until 1309, Boppard was a free imperial city, and as such was often frequented by the German kings, who would then reside at the so-called Royal Estate.[2] A bronze seal-die dating from 1228–36, now in the British Museum, proclaims the independence of Boppard under the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor. Its excellent state of preservation provides a tantalizing glimpse of the medieval town, complete with Romanesque cathedral and city walls.[3] The Royal Estate lay at the end of the Mühltal on the Rhine. Governing the town and the surrounding Imperial Estate were Imperial ministeriales; the head official in town was the Schultheiß. A series of the ministeriales lived in the town, among whom were the Beyer von Boppard family, the family "among the Jews", the von Schönecks and the von Bickenbachs (named after the village of Bickenbach in the Hunsrück).

In 1309 and 1312, Emperor Heinrich VII pledged Boppard along with its outlying lands to his brother, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier. The Boppard townsfolk, however, felt that this merger with the Electorate of Trier was unlawful. They tried to struggle against what they saw as a foreign ruler and in 1327, they set up their own council. After a short siege, Baldwin had the town stormed and quelled this challenge to his authority, thus absorbing the town of Boppard into the Electorate of Trier. Baldwin then had the toll castle – the Alte Burg ("Old Castle") – expanded, which was also meant to ensure his lordship over the town.

The Alte Burg ("Old Castle")

The Elector managed to win over the town nobility by taking them into his service and giving them jobs in administration, but the arrangement still did not sit well with the townsfolk. They had but one hope: to get rid of the pledge arrangement and reinstate the town’s lost Imperial immediacy. Emperor Karl IV, though, dashed this hope. In 1368, he raised the sum of the pledge and promised that neither he nor his successor would allow the pledge to be redeemed. With high hopes, the townsfolk turned in 1496 to King of the Romans (and later Holy Roman Emperor) Maximilian I, who was supporting the town in its dispute with the Elector of Trier, Johann II of Baden. He freed Boppard from Electoral jurisdiction and tolls. However, Maximilian overstepped his authority in redeeming the pledge and had to revise his decision. This led in 1497 to the Boppard War. The Bopparders were not prepared to see their town once more annexed by the Electorate. So, the Elector of Trier advanced on the town with an army of 12,000 soldiers. The neighbouring places of Bad Salzig and Weiler surrendered without a fight. Boppard could not withstand the siege for long, and in the end had to acknowledge the Elector as their ruler.

In the Thirty Years' War, Boppard lost one third of its population. Swedish troops under Rhinegrave Otto Ludwig occupied the town on 18 January 1632. In the Nine Years' War (1688–1697; known in Germany as the Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg, or War of the Palatine Succession), an attack by French troops was successfully repulsed. In the War of the Polish Succession, French troops under General de Court attacked Boppard. The new Electoral City Policy of 1789 was meant to strengthen the Elector’s influence, but by 1794, French Revolutionary troops had occupied the town, which remained under French rule for the next 20 years.

Prussian times

Former coat of arms of the town of Boppard from 1817. Here, the eagle’s talons are not of a different tincture, and it is not surmounted by an inescutcheon as it is in the newer arms. Otherwise, the newer arms are based on the older ones.

Until Napoleon’s downfall in 1813 and 1814, Boppard, along with all the lands on the Rhine’s left bank, belonged to France. After Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher defeated the French troops, the victorious powers shared the administration of the territories under them. Thus, for a year and a half, Boppard was governed by the "Imperial and Royal" Austrian and Royal Bavarian joint Landesadministrationskommission.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna assigned the town along with the Rhine’s left bank as far upstream as Bingerbrück to the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1816, new districts (Kreise) were established and Boppard was assigned to the Sankt Goar district, which was dissolved in 1969. At the time of the Vormärz, political tensions arose in Boppard, too. These flared up in particular around the long-time mayor, Matthias Jacobs, who as the representative of the long established, Catholic middle and lower classes was always trying to prevail against the town’s wealthy, liberal upper class. Only in the Year of Revolution (1848) did his opponents manage to drive him out of office.

The physician Dr. Heusner and the local businessman Jacob Mallmann opened the Mühlbad (baths) at Remigiusplatz (square) in 1841. Under Jacob’s successor, Josef Syrée, who between 1848 and 1892 was Boppard’s mayor, the town developed into a tourism centre and a spa. This new industry was furthered by the building of the Koblenz-Bingerbrück railway and the railway station in 1859. Steamship traffic on the Rhine, too, led to an upswing in the town’s fortunes as a tourist centre. The Catholic middle and lower classes and the liberal, upper-class newcomers often found themselves at odds with each other, and this broke out into the open in 1872 with the Kulturkampf, which lasted several years. In particular, Mayor Syrée’s and his liberal followers’ conversion to Old Catholicism brought yet another religious figure into the fray. As the representative of the Catholic middle and lower classes, the long-time dean Berger, who also enjoyed some fame as a poet, was the mayor’s opponent.

During the 19th century, Boppard’s population grew from some 3,000 at the beginning to some 5,000 by about 1875.

20th century


About 1903, work began on linking another railway line to the station, the Hunsrückbahn. Because the old Säuerlingsturm, a tower that had been part of the town’s mediaeval fortifications, was standing in the way, it had to be dismantled in 1906–1908, and it was then reassembled – albeit with thinner walls – north of its old location.[4] In 1908, the last section of this line was completed and in the same year, it was opened.

Even after the First World War, the Rhine Province, and thereby Boppard too, belonged to Prussia. Between 1919 and 1923, there were efforts throughout the Rhineland to separate from Prussia, but they were unsuccessful. The National Socialists’ seizure of power in 1933 brought Boppard no changes at first, as the Centre Party had won 50% of the vote at the 1933 elections. However, on Kristallnacht (9–10 November 1938), the Nazis destroyed the synagogue on Binger Gasse (lane), which had been opened in 1867. Many Jews were seized, and some were sent to concentration camps. Roughly two thirds of the 100 or so Jews living in Boppard emigrated. Those that remained were deported in 1942. In 1940, the Marienberg Convent and its associated school were closed under pressure from the régime. Although Boppard was not the main target of any air strike, bombs were nevertheless dropped on the town. Beginning on 19 March 1945, the Rhine’s left bank was controlled by United States forces, who built an emergency bridge across the Rhine at Boppard.

Since 1946, the town has been part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In 1952, the outlying centre of Boppard-Buchenau was founded. In the course of administrative restructuring in Rhineland-Palatinate in the 1960s, the district of Sankt Goar was dissolved and Boppard was grouped into the new district of Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis. Municipal boundaries, too, underwent reform. For Boppard, this meant that as of 28 July 1970, the town found itself, along with Bad Salzig, Buchholz, Herschwiesen, Hirzenach, Holzfeld, Oppenhausen, Rheinbay, Udenhausen and Weiler in a new Verbandsgemeinde. This, however, did not last. Later that same year, the idea was floated to merge Boppard with these nine other municipalities to form a unified, greater Boppard. This was meant to simplify administration, and besides, it would bring the town a DM 12,000,000 bonus from the state. With the promise that this money would be spent mainly on the outlying centres, eight of the ten still self-administering municipalities – including Boppard itself – came round to seeing the merger as the right way to proceed. Bad Salzig, on the other hand, would only agree to amalgamation as long as the new, greater Boppard could be called Boppard-Bad Salzig. Oppenhausen, for its part, completely refused to even consider the idea. Nonetheless, since the municipalities that agreed to amalgamation were home to more than two thirds of the Verbandsgemeinde’s population, and since the Verbandsgemeinde council itself also supported the proposal, the Minister of the Interior was able to effect the change by issuing a regulation. This was implemented on 31 December 1975. The newly founded municipality was given the name of Boppard. This led the now Ortsteil of Bad Salzig to appeal to the State Constitutional Court – on the same day – and file suit to have the Interior Ministry’s regulation overturned. The ruling came on 8 May 1977; the Court rejected Bad Salzig’s bid.

Since the old town of Boppard was dissolved by the regulation, Boppard also no longer held town rights. Boppard’s legal quest was, however, more successful than Bad Salzig’s, and an appeal to the state government led to Boppard being granted town rights once more on 10 July 1976.


Former Carmelite monastery, now the Town Hall
Boppard – Excerpt from Topographia Hassiae by Matthäus Merian, 1655
The Rhine Promenade of Boppard
Weiler with view of the Rhine

Since 1976, the town administration has been housed at the former Carmelite monastery. The mayor’s office, too, is to be found here. The town council meetings, though, are still held at the old Town Hall, built to plans by Paul Rowald in 1884 and 1885 in the Renaissance Revival style, on the marketplace.[5]

Town council

The council is made up of 32 part-time council members, who were elected at the municipal election held on 7 June 2009, and the full-time mayor as chairman.

The municipal election held on 7 June 2009 yielded the following results:[6]

  CDU SPD Grüne Bürger
FDP Total
2009 12 11 3 3 2 1 32 seats

As a result of this division of political fortunes, a CDU-Green-FWG coalition was formed.


The mayor is elected every eight years. Boppard’s current mayor, elected on 1 August 1997 and again on 10 April 2005, is Dr. Walter Bersch, and his deputies are Dr. Heinz Bengart, Ruth Schneider and Horst-Peter Hassbach.[7]

Coat of arms

The German blazon reads: In Gold ein rot bezungter und rot bewehrter schwarzer Adler mit silbernen Krallen, belegt mit einem Herzschild, darin in Silber ein rotes Balkenkreuz.

The town’s arms might in English heraldic language be described thus: Or an eagle displayed sable armed and langued gules and clawed argent, his breast surmounted by an inescutcheon of the last charged with a cross of the third.

Once the new, greater town of Boppard had been founded, the town’s old arms lost their validity. Only in 1985 could the town council reach an agreement on new arms. The problem stemmed from, among other things, wanting to please everyone by choosing an heraldic emblem with which all Ortsbezirke could identify. This was not easy from an heraldic point of view, for only two of the constituent communities, Boppard and Bad Salzig, had borne arms before amalgamation. The other eight therefore had no heraldic history. Thus it was decided that the new coat of arms should be charged with the Imperial Eagle, like the old arms, but that the eagle should have an inescutcheon on its breast, itself charged with Saint George's Cross, ironically the heraldic device formerly borne by the Electorate of Trier, against whose hegemony the townsfolk had once fought so hard. The Imperial Eagle was meant to refer to the time when Boppard was a free imperial city – before the widely unpopular pledge put the town in Electoral-Trier hands – and the Trier cross, of course, to the time under Trier’s rule. An element of unity could be seen in the latter charge, for all but one of the Ortsbezirke had once lain under Electoral-Trier sovereignty, Holzfeld being the only one that never had.

Town partnerships

Boppard fosters partnerships with the following places:

City Region Country Year
Ōme Tokyo  Japan 1965
Amboise Indre-et-Loire (Centre-Val de Loire)  France 1985
Truro  Cornwall (South West England)  UK 1991
Keszthely Zala  Hungary 1997
Nyabitekeri Rwanda Western Province  Rwanda 2008

Culture and sightseeing

Saint Severus’s Church
Carmelite Church
Marienberg Convent
Former synagogue
Schöneck Castle near Windhausen
Boppard, east of the Jakobsbergerhof: Jakobskapelle (chapel)
Boppard, Untere Fraubachstraße 2: Villa Belgrano


The following are listed buildings or sites in Rhineland-Palatinate’s Directory of Cultural Monuments:

Boppard landmarks

Oberstrasse 90
Zum Hirsch before deconstruction

Bad Salzig











Further information on local buildings and sites

Over on the other side of the Rhine stand two castles, Burg Liebenstein and Burg Sterrenberg, known as the Feindliche Brüder ("Adversarial Brothers") after a German legend that arose in the 16th century, and the pilgrimage centre of Kamp-Bornhofen with its mediaeval monastery.

What follows expands somewhat on the entries in the Directory of Cultural Monuments:

Natural monuments

The great bow in the Rhine as seen from the Gedeonseck

The Vierseenblick mentioned above offers a rather obscured view of the Rhine. However, another lookout point nearby affords an outstanding view of the great bow in the Rhine at Boppard. This is the Gedeonseck. In 2006 in this same area, the Mittelrhein-Klettersteig, a via ferrata, was opened. A complete circuit involves eleven different climbs.


People in Boppard speak a dialect known as Bubberder Platt, Bubberder being the dialectal form of Bopparder. Platt is a word used to designate a dialect; it does not refer here to Plattdeutsch (that is, Low German), for Bubberder Platt actually belongs to the Moselle Franconian dialects, and is closely akin to Luxembourgish. A certain degree of kinship with Rhenish and Hessian speech can also be heard. Furthermore, Bubberder Platt also features sporadic Yiddish influences, for until the time of the Third Reich, Boppard had a considerable Jewish community. Outlying Ortsbezirke, too, have their own local Moselle Franconian forms of speech. South of Boppard runs the "Boppard Line", a linguistic boundary that marks the separation of speech populations who say Korf (to the north) or Korb (to the south).

Regular events

Economy and infrastructure


Vineyards in the Bopparder Hamm

Boppard is characterized by winegrowing, which had its first documentary mention in 643. With 75 ha of planted vineyards, Boppard is the biggest winegrowing centre in the Middle Rhine wine region. Grown here are Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Pinot noir. Together with Boppard’s various other attractions (see above), winegrowing stands as the basis for the town’s tourism industry.

Established businesses

Outside the historic town centre lie many commercial concerns, such as the Boppard-headquartered manufacturer BOMAG, with some 1,200 employees, the cosmetics enterprise Sebapharma GmbH & Co. kg and a software business.

Boppard is known for its very good Rhine wine, attracting tourists with many lodging and dining businesses. From Boppard, excursion ships sail on the Rhine to the Loreley and to Rüdesheim along the loveliest stretch of the whole Rhine Valley with its many castles.


Boppard is on the West Rhine Railway (linke Rheinstrecke in German) between Cologne and Mainz, and on the Hunsrück Railway (Hunsrückbahn) between Boppard and Emmelshausen. The town of Boppard has its main railway station, Boppard Hauptbahnhof as well as five halts, Boppard Süd, Boppard-Buchholz, Boppard-Hirzenach, Boppard-Bad Salzig and Boppard-Fleckertshöhe. At the Hauptbahnhof ("Main Station"), two InterCity trains each day, to and from Frankfurt, stop. Further services are run by DB Regio in the form of two-hourly Regional-Express trains on the KoblenzBingen–Mainz–Frankfurt route. Local transport has been run since December 2008 by TransRegio; this involves hourly trains between Koblenz and Mainz. Passenger transport on the Hunsrückbahn has since December 2009 been run by Rhenus Veniro.

Running through Boppard is the important long-distance highway, Bundesstraße 9. In the outlying centre of Buchholz, furthermore, is an Autobahn interchange onto the A 61, which can be reached by heavy vehicles and those hauling hazardous goods over Landesstraße (State Road) 210 (Simmerner Straße) and by vehicles up to 10.5 t and long-distance buses over Landesstraße 209 (Buchholzer Straße) from the main centre. The Hunsrückhöhenstraße ("Hunsrück Heights Road", a scenic road across the Hunsrück built originally as a military road on Hermann Göring’s orders) also runs through Buchholz.

Public institutions

Old building of the Kant-Gymnasium in Boppard
College building for the Federal Academy for Public Administration (1987)
Altstadthaus, locally typical construction (natural slate) with slated roof


Boppard has three primary schools located in the three biggest Ortsbezirke. Secondary and tertiary schools are all in the main centre of Boppard. These are the Fritz-Straßmann-Schule (Realschule plus), the Bischöfliche Realschule Marienberg, the Kant-Gymnasium Boppard, the berufsbildende Schule ("professional training school") and the Janusz-Korczak-Erzieherschule.

Other educational institutions in Boppard are the Bundesakademie für öffentliche Verwaltung ("Federal Academy for Public Administration"), the Institut für Schulische Fortbildung und Schulpsychologische Beratung ("Institute for Advanced Scholastic Training and Educational-Psychological Counselling") and the medical college.


The Hospital zum Heiligen Geist ("Hospital to the Holy Ghost") is Boppard’s oldest social institution. It has two roots, which stretch back to the Middle Ages. One goes back to a donation made by knightly and noble families in Boppard in the mid 13th century, and the other goes back to 1349 when the Boppard Schöffen (roughly "lay jurists") families founded the church brotherhood, or Schöffen brotherhood with the Kleines Hospital ("Little Hospital"). After the French Revolution, both institutions were merged. In 1855, the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo were called to work at the hospital.

In 1956 and 1957, the hospital foundation acquired some buildings right near the hospital that were on the Rhine and on Niederstadtstraße, and in the years that followed, until 1962, the hospital was thoroughly renovated and also expanded. The expansion claimed the Hospitalsgasse ("Hospital Lane") as a victim; this no longer exists. The gynaecology department was housed in the new building on the Rhine and new operating rooms were built on the main floor at the old building. Moreover, the hospital acquired new two- and three-bed rooms. A further expansion building was begun in 1975 and dedicated two years later. Since then, it has been used as a nursing home for seniors.

In January 1999, the focus on psychosomatic medicine was instituted. Four years later in 2003, the Boppard hospital joined together with the Gesundheitszentrum Evangelisches Stift St. Martin Koblenz ("health centre") and the Diakoniezentrum Paulinenstift Nastätten and founded the Verbundklinikum Stiftungsklinikum Mittelrhein, another hospital in Koblenz.

Today, the Hospital zum Heiligen Geist has at its disposal 152 beds. In 2009, work began, funded by the hospital foundation, on a seniors’ home at the Villa Belgrano.


In November 2008, a new Stadthalle – literally "town hall", but actually an event venue – was opened in Boppard, right on the marketplace. This new hall offers considerably more room than what was available at the old Hotel Römer, which had had to be torn down owing to fears that it would collapse. The hall is used for both conventions and municipal gatherings on the one hand, and theatrical productions, concerts and comedian acts on the other, and it is also here that Carnival sessions are staged by KG Bälzer Knorrköpp and KG Schwarz-Gold Baudobriga.

Swimming pool

In Boppard-Buchenau were once found municipal indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The outdoor pool was completed in 1962 and the indoor in 1973. Owing to acute demand for renovation, the outdoor pool ceased to be opened in 2009. For the same reason, the same was done with the indoor pool the following year.[10] With the investor monte mare, the town of Boppard has negotiated a plan to build a new swimming pool. The new complex, if built, is to be called Römer-Therme Monte Mare and is to be fed with hot mineral water, which has already been successfully tapped.[11] The town council, however, postponed the date for the onset of construction indefinitely in early December 2009.[12]


The museum is housed in the old Electoral castle. On permanent display there are exhibits about the town’s history, Michael Thonet and his bentwood furniture, the composer Engelbert Humperdinck and other people somehow linked with the town. In November 2009, the museum was closed for four years for a thorough €9,000,000 renovation. This work on the castle building will be financed mainly by the Federal world heritage programme.[13]

Famous people

Sons and daughters of the town

Famous people associated with the town

Further reading



  1. "Gemeinden in Deutschland mit Bevölkerung am 31. Dezember 2015" (PDF). Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 2016.
  2. Heinrich Gengler: Regesten und Urkunden zur Verfassungs- und Rechtsgeschichte der deutschen Städte im Mittelalter, Erlangen 1863, S. 255–261
  3. British Museum Collection
  4. Stadtbefestigung Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.; retrieved 9 April 2010
  5. Das Rathaus in Boppard Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., retrieved 8 May 2010
  6. Kommunalwahl Rheinland-Pfalz 2009, Stadt- und Gemeinderatswahlen
  7. Boppard’s council
  8. Directory of Cultural Monuments in Rhein-Hunsrück district
  9. Webseite der Stadt Boppard: Stadtrat beschließt wichtige Zukunftsvorhaben
  10. Webseite der Stadt Boppard: Hallenbad Boppard schließt endgültig; retrieved 31 March 2010.
  11. Rhein-Zeitung: Boppard ist heiß auf Römer-Therme; retrieved 22 February 2010.
  12. Mittelrhein-Kurier: Abschnitt: Römertherme vor dem Aus? retrieved 22 February 2010.
  13. Webseite der Stadt Boppard: Museum
  14. Boppard-Online: Wer war Engelbert Humperdinck?
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