Old town hall

Coat of arms
Coordinates: 49°12′N 7°36′E / 49.200°N 7.600°E / 49.200; 7.600Coordinates: 49°12′N 7°36′E / 49.200°N 7.600°E / 49.200; 7.600
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Urban district
  Lord Mayor Bernhard Matheis (CDU)
  Total 61.37 km2 (23.70 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 40,125
  Density 650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 66953–66955
Dialling codes 06331
Vehicle registration PS
Website www.pirmasens.de

Pirmasens (Palatine German: Bärmesens) is an independent town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near the border with France. It is famous for the manufacture of shoes. The surrounding rural district was called Landkreis Pirmasens from 1818 until 1997, when it was renamed to Südwestpfalz.


Early years

The first mention of "Pirminiseusna", a colony of Hornbach Abbey, dates from 860. The name derives from St. Pirminius, the founder of the cloister. During the period it was under rule of the Bishopric of Metz.[2] It was passed to Diocese of Speyer in last quarter of 11th century before capturing by County of Saarbrücken in 1100.

In 1182, County of Saarbrücken was divided by Simon II and Henry I, were sons of Simon I. Pirmasens was given to latter and Henry I's dominion was named as County of Zweibrücken.[3] He built Lemberg Castle for protecting his dominion in 1198. During the period Pirmasens was formal jurisdiction in Bishop of Metz. But, parish administration of Pirmasens was passed to monastery of Hornbach after confirmation of John, Bishop of Metz in 1225.

In 1297, County of Zweibrücken was divided and Pirmasens was passed to County of Zweibrücken-Bitsch, Eberhard I's dominion. He traded some localities with Duke Frederick III of Lorraine and took lordship of Bitsch at same year. In this period village of Pirmasens was part of Reischsamt of Lemberg.

In 1525, during German Peasants' War, Pirmasens was looted by peasants of Bitsch.

In 1560, Ludowika Margaretha of Zweibrücken-Bitsch, was daughter of Count James of Zweibrücken-Bitsch (1510–1570), was the last male member of the House of Zweibrücken, was married of Philip V, Count of Hanau-Lichtenberg. In 1570, County of James of Zweibrücken-Bitsch died without male heir and Countess Ludowika Margaretha inherited the County of Bitsch, the Lordship of Ochsenstein and half the Lordship of Lichtenberg (his father already held the other half). James's older brother, Simon V Wecker, had already died in 1540, also without a male heir. A dispute about the inheritance erupted between the husbands of Ludowika Margaretha and her cousin Amalie, Philip V of Hanau-Lichtenberg and Philip I of Leiningen-Westerburg,[4] respectively. Formally, the County of Bitsch and district of Lemberg were fiefs of the Duchy of Lorraine and such fiefs could only be inherited in the male line.

Philip V was initially successful in the dispute with Philip I about Zweibrücken-Bitsch. However, he introduced the Lutheran confession in his newly gained territories in 1572. This made the powerful and Catholic Duke of Lorraine unhappy. The Duke terminated the fief and in July 1572 Lorraine troops occupied the county. Since Philip V's army was no match for Lorraine, he took his case to the Imperial Chamber Court in Speyer. During the trial, Lorraine argued that, firstly, a significant part of the territory of Zweibrücken-Bitsch had been obtained in an exchange with Lorraine in 1302 and, secondly, the Counts of Leiningen had sold their hereditary claims to Lorraine in 1573. In 1604, Hanau-Lichtenberg and Lorraine decided to settle out of court. In a treaty signed in 1606, it was agreed that Bitsch would revert to Lorraine and Hanau-Lichtenberg would retain Lemberg. This was reasonable, as it corresponded approximately to the religious realities of the territories. Thus, Pirmasens was part of County of Hanau-Lichtenberg.

Before the Thirty Years War, Pirmasens were 59 families and about 235 inhabitants resident, whereas in Lemberg were counted 54 families (about 215 people). When counting is assumed that at that time there was a family of four to five people. In 1622, Pirmasens and Lemberg were ravaged by Spaniards and Croatian horsemen of the Imperial troops. The imperial army, the village had partially set on fire. Even the church was destroyed in a fire, after the withdrawal of the troops, Pirmasenser began to rebuild it.[5] It was again ravaged by imperial troops under Matthias Gallas. They also looted Lemberg Castle, which was burned in 1636. Then the headquarters of the Lutheran parish of Lemberg was moved to Pirmasens.[6] But, it was heavily damaged in it. In 1657, only 9 families (about 40 people) were lived in it. However, the population increased by immigration Reformed Swiss, Catholic Tyrolean and families from Franconia and Württemberg slowly, so that in 1661 in Pirmasens 21 families (about 87 people) were counted. However, during Franco-Dutch War, Louis XIV sent troops to the Palatinate under his marshall Turenne for relieve fortress of Landau and reinforce imperial ones. In 1677 Pirmasens was occupied and burned. It was under French rule until 1679. In 1691, only 16 people were lived in village of Pirmasens. During the Nine Years' War, it was sacked by French troops under General de Ezéchiel Mélac, who devastated the Palatinate in 1689. At same time the Lemberg Castle was still habitable after the destruction of the Thirty Years' War, completely destroyed. Thus, administrative centre of Reichsamt Lemberg was moved to Pirmasens in 1697. So, Pirmasens elevated to town status.

In 1736, Johann Reinhard III, who last count of Hanau-Lichtenberg, died without male heir and the duchy was passed to Landgrave Ludwig IX of Hesse-Darmstadt, who was son of Countess Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg, sole heir of County of Hanau Lichtenberg and Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt.

In 1763 Pirmasens is chartered by landgrave Ludwig IX (Hesse-Darmstadt).

In 1793 it was the location of the Battle of Pirmasens between Prussia and Braunschweig against the French Corps of the Vosges. The French lost the battle, but their opponents' divisions nevertheless enabled them to return and occupy Pirmasens by the end of the year: between 1798 and 1814, the town was included in the French département of Mont-Tonnerre ("Donnersberg-Département" in German). After the French defeat, it was bounded to Rhenish Palatinate of Bavaria.

20th century

Pirmasens in 1910.

On 15 March 1945 Pirmasens was captured by US troops, and the following year it became part of the newly founded Bundesland Rhineland-Palatinate. During the occupation on Sept. 19 the Museum of Pirmasens announced that about 50 paintings which had been stored in the air-raid shelter at Husterhoh School during the war have been plundered during the arrival of the American troops.

Main sights


Evolution of population (since 1875):

  • 1875 - 10.136
  • 1890 - 21.041
  • 1925 - 42.996
  • 1933 - 47.221
  • 1939 - 50.560
  • 1950 - 49.676
  • 1970 - 57.773
  • 1987 - 47.997
  • 2000 - 45.212
  • 2001 - 44.822
  • 2002 - 44.367
  • 2003 - 43.971
  • 2004 - 43.637
  • 2005 - 44.137
  • 2006 - 43.456
  • 2007 - 41.875
  • 2008 - 41.358
  • 2011 - 40.887


Town council as at August 2014:

CDU 40.7% - 18 seats
SPD 28.0% - 12 seats
FWB 10.4% - 5 seats
REP 4.6% - 2 seats
Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) - 4.0% - 2 seats
Die Linke 5.0% - 2 seats
The Greens 4.6% - 2 seats
National Democratic Party of Germany 2.0% 1 seat

Twin towns






  • FK Pirmasens
  • TV 1863 Pirmasens
  • VFB Pirmasens
  • GW Pirmasens
  • SG Pirmasens
  • Rot-Weiß Pirmasens
  • Blau-Weiß Pirmasens
  • ASV Pirmasens
  • TTC Pirmasens
  • TUS/DJK Pirmasens
  • SV 1907 Ruhbank
  • RC Pirmasens
  • 1. Boule Verein Pirmasens
  • MTV 1873 Pirmasens



Notable people

See also


  1. "Gemeinden in Deutschland mit Bevölkerung am 31. Dezember 2015" (PDF). Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 2016.
  2. http://www.evk-hornbach.de/history.html Homepage of the Protestant church communities and Brenschelbach Hornbach: The history of the monastery of Hornbach
  3. http://www.historischer-verein-pirmasens.de/pirmasenser_chronik.htm History of village of Pirmasens between 850-1763
  4. http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Seite:De_Zimmerische_Chronik_2_251.jpg Zimmerische Chronik, vol. 2, p. 251
  5. Julius B. rejection: Beloved Pirmasens . 1 edition. Vol 1 (740-1790), Comet-Verlag, Pirmasens, 1978 , ISBN 3-920558-00-6 , pp. 23-24
  6. Fritz Claus : Mary Rosenberg. Legend Sage and history. 3rd Edition, Edenkoben, 1911, publishing Zweibrücker People's Daily, p 331

Further reading

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