Reichelsheim (Odenwald)

Not to be confused with Reichelsheim (Wetterau).

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 49°43′0″N 08°51′0″E / 49.71667°N 8.85000°E / 49.71667; 8.85000Coordinates: 49°43′0″N 08°51′0″E / 49.71667°N 8.85000°E / 49.71667; 8.85000
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Darmstadt
District Odenwaldkreis
  Mayor Gerd Lode (SPD)
  Total 58.21 km2 (22.48 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 8,540
  Density 150/km2 (380/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 64381–64385
Dialling codes 06164
Vehicle registration ERB

Reichelsheim (Odenwald) is a community in the Odenwaldkreis (district) in Hesse, Germany.



Reichelsheim lies in the middle Odenwald at elevations between 200 and 538 m in the middle of the Geo-Naturpark Bergstraße-Odenwald.

Neighbouring communities

Reichelsheim borders in the north on the communities of Fränkisch-Crumbach, Brensbach and Brombachtal, in the east on the town of Michelstadt and the community of Mossautal (all in the Odenwaldkreis), in the south on the community of Fürth and in the west on the town of Lindenfels (both in Bergstraße district).

View of the community

Constituent communities

Reichelsheim’s Ortsteile, besides the main one, also called Reichelsheim, are Beerfurth, Bockenrod, Eberbach, Erzbach, Frohnhofen, Gersprenz, Gumpen, Klein-Gumpen, Laudenau, Ober-Kainsbach, Ober-Ostern, Rohrbach and Unter-Ostern.


In 1303, Reichelsheim had its first documentary mention.


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

Parties and voter communities %
SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany 45.8 14 45.8 14
CDU-RWG Christian Democratic Union of Germany - Reichelsheimer Wähler-Gemeinschaft 41.1 13
FDP Free Democratic Party 7.5 2 4.6 1
GREENS Bündnis 90/Die Grünen 5.6 2 6.4 2
CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany 24.4 8
RWG Reichelsheimer Wähler-Gemeinschaft 18.8 6
Total 100.0 31 100.0 31
Voter turnout in % 55.2 62.0


In the mayoral election in 2008, Stefan Lopinsky (RWG) was elected with 61.2% of the vote.

From 1990 to 2008, the community’s mayor was Gerd Lode (SPD).

Coat of arms

The community’s arms might heraldically be described thus: Gules on a mount Or three oaks Or, in between also two oak saplings Or, above them three mullets of six argent, the sinister and dexter slightly lower.

Culture and sightseeing

Fairytale and Saga Days

Since 1995, yearly on the last weekend in October, the Reichelsheimer Märchen- und Sagentage are held, during which the Wildweibchenpreis (or “Wild Woman Prize”, this “wild woman” being a character in German legend) is awarded. Many mediaeval sets and costumes are on show to admire.

Regional museum

This is housed in the former town hall, Germany’s oldest timber-frame town hall with the stud bracing called a Mannform in German. Exhibition highlights are mining, typical handicrafts such as gingerbread baking, Gäulchesmacher (woodcarvers who carve horses), shakemakers and shoemakers along with village school life of yore and the old Reinheim-Reichelsheim railway.

Schloss Reichenberg
Schloss Reichenberg entrance

Schloss Reichenberg

Today’s Schloss Reichenberg (palace) came into being as Richenburg Castle in the 13th century, and had its first documentary mention in 1307. Worth noting is the Herrenhaus (“Lord’s house”), or Palas. The Palas was called the Crooked Building (Krummer Bau) for its crooked footprint.

Here on 14 February 1776, Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck, who later became a prominent botanist, zoologist and mycologist, was born. He was a friend of Goethe’s, a cofounder of the University of Bonn and the Bonn Botanical Garden, President of the Leopoldina for 40 years and Director of the Botanical Garden in Breslau (now Wrocław in Poland), where he died on 16 March 1858.

Until the mid 19th century, the castle was undergoing continual changes in noble ownership. From 1876 to 1924, the castle, now styled Schloss Reichenberg, was used as a private upperclass boys’ school. Thereafter, the Siefert family from the Frohnhof took over the palace. They sold some of the buildings in 1963 as a holiday home to Deutsche Bundespost.

In July 1979, Schloss Reichenberg was bought by the ecumenical community Offensive Junger Christen (OJC, literally “Young Christians’ Offensive”, but known in English as the Reichenberg Fellowship). They converted it into a publicly accessible international meeting and conference centre with a palace café. The upper, older part of the palace, the so-called Crooked Building, is currently being renovated.

Economy and infrastructure


By way of Bundesstraßen 47 (Nibelungenstraße between Michelstadt and Worms) and 38 (between Roßdorf bei Darmstadt and Weinheim/Mannheim), which together run through the community, Reichelsheim is linked to the long-distance road network. Bus connections to Bensheim, Fürth im Odenwald, Reinheim and Michelstadt afford a link to the public railway network (Deutsche Bahn and Odenwaldbahn).


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