Town hall

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 48°22′32″N 9°43′57″E / 48.37556°N 9.73250°E / 48.37556; 9.73250Coordinates: 48°22′32″N 9°43′57″E / 48.37556°N 9.73250°E / 48.37556; 9.73250
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Tübingen
District Alb-Donau-Kreis
  Mayor Ulrich Ruckh
  Total 75.24 km2 (29.05 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 6,783
  Density 90/km2 (230/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 89598–89601
Dialling codes 07394, 07384
Vehicle registration UL

Schelklingen is a town in the district of Alb-Donau in Baden-Württemberg in Germany. It is situated 10 km north of Ehingen, and 20 km west of Ulm. Schelklingen with the major part of its territory (82%) forms part of the Swabian Jura Biosphere Reserve.


Spring of the small river Urspring

The town centre of Schelklingen is located in the prehistoric valley of the Danube at the feet of the Swabian Alb or Swabian Jura (547 m above NN). The villages Hausen ob Urspring, Justingen and Ingstetten are located on the table land of the Swabian Alb. In the Schmiech valley are located the villages of Schmiechen, Hütten, Gundershofen and Sondernach.

Neighbouring municipalities

To the north of Schelkingen is the town of Heroldstatt, to the east the town of Blaubeuren, to the south-east the town of Erbach, to the south are Altheim and Allmendingen, and to the west are Mehrstetten and the town of Münsingen, the latter both belonging to the county of Reutlingen.

Municipal structure

The borough of Schelklingen has the following municipal subdivisions: the villages of Schmiechen, Hausen ob Urspring, Justingen, Ingstetten, Hütten, Gundershofen and Sondernach. Within the borough are the municipalities of Schmiechen, Hausen ob Urspring, Justingen, Ingstetten, Hütten, Gundershofen and Sondernach. Also within the borough are smaller hamlets, individual farms, old corn mills, castles and an old monastery: Muschenwang Farm (Hausen ob Urspring), Oberschelklingen Farm (to Schelklingen), the hamlet of Sotzenhausen (former cement factory, Schelklingen: not to be confused with the hamlet of Sotzenhausen which was incorporated in 1835 into Pappelau, today the town of Blaubeuren), the corn mill hamlet of Springen (Gundershofen), the Riedmühle mill (Sondernach), the hamlet of Talsteußlingen and Neusteußlingen Castle (Hütten), the hamlet of Teuringshofen (Hütten) and the old monastery of Urspring (Schelklingen).

Rivers and lakes



Middle Ages and early modern times

The first owners of the village and castle of Schelklingen were free lords of Schelklingen, probably related to the lords of Steußlingen, Justingen, etc. In 1127, three brothers, called of Schelklingen, donated property to the monastery of Urspring. Approximately in 1200 by the way of purchase, marriage or inheritance the territory of Schelklingen was acquired by the Counts of Berg (Grafen von Berg) which later adopted the name Counts of Berg-Schelklingen (Grafen von Berg-Schelklingen). For the first time in 1234, Schelklingen is called town (civitas, municipal law). In 1343, the last Count of Berg-Schelklingen sold the territory of Schelklingen to the Dukes of Austria and received it back as fief. When the last Count of Berg-Schelklingen died in 1346, the territory of Schelklingen went to the Dukes of Austria.

Schelklingen was later administered by Further Austria (Vorderösterreich) and remained Austrian until 1806. The Peace of Pressburg (Frieden von Pressburg) of 1805 brought Schelklingen to the Grand-Duchy of Württemberg as reward for the military help given to Napoleon by Württemberg.

The permanent shortage of money on the side of the Dukes of Austria and the high prestige connected with an own dominion on the side of the landed gentry were the reasons why the territory of Schelklingen (together with Ehingen and Berg) most the time was mortgaged and given away as a fief. While during the period from 1346 to the end of the 15th century the masters of the mortgage changed fast, the situation became more stable afterwards. Up to 1568 the territories of Ehingen, Schelklingen and Berg were possessed by the following persons respectively families:

In 1568, the town of Ehingen was able to free herself from a new mortgage, while paying a large sum of money to the Austrian rulers residing in Innsbruck. This way, the direct aristocratic rule ended, and the territories of Ehingen, Schelklingen and Berg in future were administered by Austrian governors, most the time noblemen. In 1680 the Count of the Empire (Reichsgraf) and bishop of Eichstätt Marquard Schenk von Castell reminded the German Emperor of his merits and services. Thus, thanks to his efforts, the family Schenk von Castell first received the territories of Schelklingen and Berg (without Ehingen) first as a mortgage and finally in 1732 as a personal fief. The feudal rule of this family over Schelklingen and Berg lasted until the middle of the 19th century when the last obligations were abolished. Franz Ludwig Schenk von Castell (1736–1821), a prosecutor of criminals, was the most influential owner of the two territories during the 18th century.

In 1806, Schelkingen was acquired by Württemberg, and the King of Württemberg was busy to end feudal rule in his new Kingdom. Mediatization ended the rule of the Schenk von Castell family in Schelklingen, and the counts step-by-step sold their properties there.

19th and 20th century

During the 19th century Schelklingen evolved from a town of artisans and peasants towards an industrial town. In 1806 the monastery of Urspring was secularized. High costs of maintaining the many buildings finally caused Württemberg to sell the former monastery. In 1832 most of the buildings were bought by the cotton manufacturer Georg Reichenbach with the intention to build up a cotton weaving factory. This factory later adopted the name of Mechanical Weaving Factory Urspring (Mechanische Weberei Urspring, MWU). In 1907, the factory was transferred to Schelklingen into a new building along the Ehingerstraße. In Urspring, most of the factory buildings were removed. Caused by international competition from low-wage countries, the MWU in the 1950s got financial problems and was closed.

In Urspring in 1912, after the grain mill (Dreikönigsmühle) at the Ach spring (Achtopf) was changed into the municipal electricity and water factory, a new grain mill was built which is today used as a school building. From 1907 to 1930 the buildings in Urspring were not inhabited except for a tavern. Only in 1930 the former monastery found a new utilization by the foundation of the Urspring School (Urspringschule), a Protestant country boarding school and gymnasium.

A second industry branch which developed during the 1830s, was the production of matches. This innovation was based on the invention of the phosphor match. Three factories were founded employing many women and children in home work. These factories were closed at the beginning of the 20th century.

During the late 19th century in the valleys of the rivers Blau, Ach and Schmiech evolved the cement industry, based on the invention of the Portland cement. In 1889, the first Barbey factory was built, later called Hammerstein cement factory, and shortly after 1900 the large plant of the Stuttgarter Immobilien- und Baugeschäft. The Hammerstein factory was closed and changed into dwellings for cement workers. This new factory attracted many external workers, especially also many Italian migrant workers: some of them remained in Schelklingen. Later, this cement factory was bought by the Portland-Cement-Fabrik AG Heidelberg und Mannheim AG, today HeidelbergCement.

During the 1870s a Catholic institution for boys living in bad social conditions (Katholische Rettungsanstalt für Knaben) was founded, the St.-Konradihaus. In 1941 the St.-Konradihaus was requisitioned by the government and until 1945 was used as a relocation camp (Umsiedlungslager (SS-Lager)) in order to reeducate people from Alsace.

Territorial development of the town

According to the administrative reorganization of the municipalities (Gemeindegebietsreform in Baden-Württemberg) the following communes have been incorporated into (or merged with) the town of Schelklingen:


Schelklingen is predominantly Catholic: this is caused by historical reasons. The territory of the former dominion of Schelklingen (Herrschaft Schelklingen), conististing of the town of Schelklingen, Hausen ob Urspring and Schmiechen and the territory of the former Urspring monastery until 1806 belonged to Further Austria (Vorderösterreich). During the 16th century until the end of the 30 Years War, the villages of the former territory of Justingen (Reichsherrschaft Justingen, Justingen, Ingstetten, Gundershofen and Hütten) adhered to the belief of Caspar Schwenckfeld, promoted by the lords of Freyberg (Freiherren von Freyberg). When the territory of Justingen was newly acquired again by the prince bishop (Fürstbischof) of Augsburg Johann Christoph von Freyberg (1665–1690), Catholicism was reintroduced. The village of Sondernach was part of the territory of Neusteußlingen; under the rule of the lords of Freyberg residing in the castle Neusteußlingen (not identical with the former, but related) it was Catholic. When this territory went back to the Dukes of Württemberg in the late 16th century, the Reformation was introduced there.

In Schelklingen at the moment exist each one Roman Catholic (Römisch-Katholische Kirche), Lutheran Protestant (Evangelische Kirche) and New-Apostolic (Neuapostolische Kirche) community. In addition, Muslim inhabitants are living in Schelklingen. Most of them are members of the Sunnite Islam. The Islamic citizens came to Schelklingen since the early 1960s by the way of labour migration, mainly from the Republic of Turkey. Some years ago, the Muslim inhabitants built a small mosque (Gebetsstätte) at the outskirts of the town.



During Austrian times the town was administered by the governing official mayor (regierender Amtsbürgermeister) and his predecssor, the lower mayor (Unterbürgermeister). These were supported by an internal and external council (innerer und äußerer Rat) with four members each, called councilors or deputies (Ratsherren, Deputierte). The town offices like town, church, and hospital accountancy, etc. (Stadtrechner, Kirchenpfleger, Spitalpfleger) were distributed among the councilors. The mayors were elected for one year, but reelections were possible, proved by the mayors' partly long years in office. After 1806 Württemberg introduced the position of the Schultheiß, elected for life. Later for towns the title Stadtschultheiß was introduced. In 1930 in Württemberg the title Bürgermeister (mayor) was adopted which is used until the present day. The mayor is currently elected for a term of eight years.

Municipal council

As of the municipal election of 2009, the following was the distribution of seats on the town council:

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Schelklingen is the coat of arms of the former Counts of Berg-Schelklingen except that the red and white strips are organized in the opposite way. They are not running from left to right (coat of arms of Ehingen), but from the right upper side to the lower left side. The municipal colours are white and red.

Coat of arms of the parts of the municipality


Hausen ob Urspring






Economy and infrastructure


Schelklingen is a small regional railway knot. At this place the Danube Valley Railway (Donautalbahn) from Ulm to Donaueschingen meets the Swabian Alb Railway which is coming from Kleinengstingen over Münsingen to Schelklingen. While traffic on the Schwäbische Albbahn ist quite low, departures and arrivals are frequent on the Donautalbahn. Schelklingen is a stop both for regional express trains and both for regional trains. Therefore at least two trains per hour are leaving for Ulm. Into the opposite direction for Sigmaringen, a train is leaving every hour; and trains are leaving every two hours for the much more remote town of Titisee-Neustadt. Every hour, via Ulm station, regional trains are leaving for Memmingen. Schelklingen is member of the Donau-Iller regional traffic network Donau-Iller-Nahverkehrsverbund.

Schelklingen is related to the supraregional road net via the Federal Road 492 (Bundesstraße 492) (BlaubeurenEhingen). Schelklingen has access to the Federal motorway system via the Federal Motorway A 8 (A 8) – exit Merklingen respectively Federal Motorway A 7 (A 7) – exit Ulm/Langenau.

Local enterprises

Larger plants of the HeidelbergCement AG and Cooper Standard Automotive are located in the town.


Schelklingen has an elementary school (Grundschule), an extended elementary school (Hauptschule) with a practical secondary school (Werkrealschule), all included in the Heinrich-Kaim-school, as well as four additional elementary schools in the parts of the town, all supervised by the municipality.

In addition, the Urspring School (Urspringschule) offers high school studies (Gymnasium) accompanied by a boarding school, under the supervision of the Protestant Church. In addition to the Abitur, practical studies can be finished as well.

View of the Urspring School

The St. Konradihaus is an institution for youth assistance with a boarding school, where young people from the age of 12 years onwards may obtain general schooling and occupational education.

Furthermore, four Roman Catholic, two municipal and one Protestant kindergarten exist in the town.

Culture and things to see

Tower of the Hohenschelklingen castle
The spring of the river Urspring in the former monastery of Urspring


The municipal public library is located in the Old Townhall. Its holdings are stored in an online library catalogue.


A theatre club exists, presenting popular performances. There is no theatre in the strict sense of the word any more.


Orchestras and clubs


Castles and manor houses

Religious buildings

Bell tower of the parish church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Herz-Jesu)

Parish and curate houses

Houses of the nobility

Municipal buildings

Houses of citizens


Regular festivals

Culinaric specialties

Typical Swabian dishes (like Spätzle, Maultaschen, Saure Kutteln, Sauerbraten, etc.) are served by different restaurants and taverns.


Honorary citizens

Schelklingen has awarded the rights of honorary citizenship to the following persons:

Sons and daughters of the town

The following list contains important personalities, born in Schelklingen, arranged by year of birth. Persons are included in this list irrelevant of the fact if they lived and worked in Schelklingen later in their life or not.

Other important personalities

In this place well-known personalities are listed which in Schelklingen have spent parts of their life or have died there.



  1. "Gemeinden in Deutschland nach Fläche, Bevölkerung und Postleitzahl am 30.09.2016". Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 2016.
  2. See the ironic anecdote of the Zimmerische Chronik: Zimmerische Chronik, Band 3, S. 352.
  3. A graphic representation of the town wall in 1780 is included in Franz Rothenbacher, Die projektierte Umwandlung des Schelklinger Spitals in ein Zuchthaus 1780-1781. Mannheim: Selbstverlag, 2007. (Complete text (PDF)).
  4. Manfred Hörner (1995). "Stadion, Christoph von, Bischof von Augsburg (1517-1543)". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 10. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 1087–1090. ISBN 3-88309-062-X.
  5. Kathrin Brüggenthies (2009). "Günter, Heinrich". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 30. Nordhausen: Bautz. cols. 531–536. ISBN 978-3-88309-478-6.
  6. Volker Schäfer, Neue Funde zu Friedrich List. Folge VI: Schelklingen 1809-1810: Friedrich List als württembergischer Steuerrenovator. In: Reutlinger Geschichtsblätter Jg. 1996, NF Nr. 35, 1996, S. 183-220
  7. Klaus Brügelmann, Urspring als Fabrik. In: Urspring-Nachrichten 1987. Schelklingen. Stiftung Urspringschule, S. 16-18
  8. Wilhelm Lederer, Schelklinger Persönlichkeiten und Ehrenbürger. In: Stadt Schelklingen (Hrsg.), Schelklingen: Geschichte und Leben einer Stadt. Ulm: Süddt. Verlagsges., 1984, S. 433; Klaus Brügelmann, Urspring als Fabrik. In: Urspring-Nachrichten 1987. Schelklingen. Stiftung Urspringschule, S. 23-25
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