Erbach im Odenwald


Coat of arms

Coordinates: 49°39′30″N 8°59′45″E / 49.65833°N 8.99583°E / 49.65833; 8.99583Coordinates: 49°39′30″N 8°59′45″E / 49.65833°N 8.99583°E / 49.65833; 8.99583
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Darmstadt
District Odenwaldkreis
  Mayor Harald Buschmann (CDU)
  Total 62.67 km2 (24.20 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 13,401
  Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 64711
Dialling codes 06062
Vehicle registration ERB

Erbach is a town and the district seat of the Odenwaldkreis (district) in Hesse, Germany. It has a population of around 13,000.



The town lies in the Mittelgebirge Odenwald at elevations between 200 and 560 m in the valley of the Mümling.

One geological peculiarity is the creek Erdbach’s complete disappearance within Dorf-Erbach’s community area. The Erdbach reappears near Stockheim. There are several places where the Erdbach disappears into the ground.

Neighbouring communities

Erbach borders in the north on the town of Michelstadt, in the east on the market town of Kirchzell (in Miltenberg district in Bavaria), in the south on the community of Hesseneck and the town of Beerfelden and in the west on the community of Mossautal (all three in the Odenwaldkreis). A planned merger with the neighbouring town of Michelstadt was blocked in November 2007 by a referendum (Bürgerentscheid). For the time being, ways are being sought to deepen the two towns’ cooperation, and possibly consider a merger once again in a few years’ time.[2]

Constituent communities

Since the amalgamations within the framework of municipal reform in 1972, the district seat of Erbach has been made up of twelveStadtteile:

Stadtteil Area Inhabitants Remarks
Bullau 9.98 km² 410 with the hamlet of Eutergund
Dorf-Erbach 4.08 km² 1,610 with the hamlet of Habermannskreuz
Ebersberg 3.59 km² 250
Elsbach 3.01 km² 120
Erbach 10.89 km² 8,410 with the hamlet of Roßbach
Erbuch 130 with Ernsbach
Erlenbach 4.28 km² 900
Ernsbach 110 with Erbuch
Günterfürst 4.08 km² 760
Haisterbach 5.88 km² 420 with the hamlet of Marbach
Lauerbach 2.27 km² 400
Schönnen 5.53 km² 320


Town council

The municipal election held on 26 March 2006 yielded the following results:

Parties and voter communities %
CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany 36.7 11 39.3 14
SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany 37.9 12 35.4 13
GREENS Bündnis 90/Die Grünen 7.9 3 7.4 3
FDP Free Democratic Party 4.0 1
ÜWG Überparteiliche Wählergemeinschaft der Kreisstadt Erbach e.V. 13.5 4 17.9 7
Total 100.0 31 100.0 37
Voter turnout in % 52.4 55.4


At the elections 2006, Harald Buschmann (CDU) was confirmed in office as mayor with 51.8% of the vote, and again in 2012 with 52.7%.

Coat of arms

The town’s arms might heraldically be described thus: Gules a bend wavy azure, thereon three mullets of six gules.

The wavy bend is taken to be a brook, and the mullets of six (six-pointed stars) were inspired by the arms formerly borne by the princely Counts of Erbach, who were lords of the Odenwald until 1806.

Town twinning

Erbach has partnerships with four towns in Europe:

Culture and sightseeing


Castle of the Counts of Erbach-Erbach

Coat of arms of the County of Erbach, from the Scheibler Armorial (1450-80)

Erbach Palace, the castle of the princely Counts of Erbach was built into a residence in the style of the times in the 18th century. Since the noble house did not have the needed materials on hand, only the middle wing of the planned three-winged building was ever built. The façade is to a great extent built out of not sandstone, but rather sheeting or wood coloured to look like it.

The antique collections at the castle have remained almost unchanged since Count Franz I’s time (1754–1823).

In 2005, the state of Hesse bought the castle for €13,000,000.

Within the castle complex is the likewise Late Baroque orangery with the castle garden.

Citizens' initiatives

In the area of the orangery and the castle garden, a citizens' initiative in the 1970s managed to thwart plans to tear down the orangery and build a highrise hotel on the site

The memorial on the castle square to Count Franz I – the last ruling count – that was knocked off its pedestal and thereby broken was repaired and set back in place with support from two Darmstadt artists and some Erbach citizens. The work was financed through grants from the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (“State Office for Care of Monuments”) as well as donations.

Regular events

Wiesenmarkt/Eulbacher Markt

The Erbacher Wiesenmarkt (“meadow market”) was originally called the Eulbacher Markt or Eulbacher Wiesen(Vieh-)markt. Eulbach is an outlying centre of the neighbouring town of Michelstadt. It was once a regionally very important livestock, horse and farm market.

The livestock and farm market was only moved to Erbach sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century by the Counts of Eulbach. Until about 1960, the livestock and horse market with its associated horseracing and other horse sports was the main part of the Eulbacher Markt. The Schützenhaus (“Marksmen’s House”) standing on the way into the Wiesenmarkt, however, suggests that the Eulbacher Markt, at least in part, must already have been held in Erbach as early as the mid 19th century: it was here that the Democratic Revolutionaries met in 1848 and on what is now the market grounds beside the Schützenhaus that the Odenwald “Moot” (Volksversammlung) was held under the Michelstadt revolutionary and lawyer Ludwig Bogen’s leadership.


The Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach (“Erbach German Ivory Museum”) has been in existence since 1966 and is unique in Europe. Its exhibits are almost exclusively ivory. Visitors can also watch the resident carvers as they go about their artistic work.


Franz I, the last ruling count (1754–1823), introduced ivory carving in 1783, thus giving the town the nickname Elfenbeinstadt (“Ivory Town”). Many artists made their homes here and today their works and activities can still be admired at the town’s Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach. Owing to widespread bans since 1989, aimed at protecting animals, on dealing in ivory, nowadays comparable materials such as animal horns are used. Very popular as a material is prehistoric mammoth tusk, which is still found from time to time in Siberia. Besides the slightly different colour, this is comparable to elephant tusk ivory.

Established businesses



Erbach lies on Bundesstraßen 45 and 47, and also on the Odenwald Railway (RMV Line 65; FrankfurtDarmstadt/Hanau–Erbach–Eberbach). A planned Bundesstraße 45 bypass proposed since the 1970s has once again been included in Hesse state planning.


Notable people

Sons and daughters of the town

People connected with the town


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