Schmalkalden about 1900

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 50°43′N 10°27′E / 50.717°N 10.450°E / 50.717; 10.450Coordinates: 50°43′N 10°27′E / 50.717°N 10.450°E / 50.717; 10.450
Country Germany
State Thuringia
District Schmalkalden-Meiningen
  Mayor Thomas Kaminski (SPD)
  Total 98.35 km2 (37.97 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 19,291
  Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 98574
Dialling codes 03683
Vehicle registration SM

Schmalkalden (German pronunciation: [ʃmalˈkaldən]) is a town in the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district, in the southwestern portion of Thuringia state in Germany. It is situated on the southern slope of the Thuringian Forest at the Schmalkalde river, a tributary to the Werra. As of 31 December 2010, the town had a population of 19,978.


First mentioned in an 874 deed, Smalcalta in the Frankish duchy of Thuringia received town privileges about 1180. When Landgrave Henry Raspe of Thuringia died without issue in 1247, it passed to the House of Henneberg-Schleusingen, while the major part of the landgraviate fell to the House of Wettin in Meissen. To secure their acquisition the Counts of Henneberg allied with the Landgraviate of Hesse, including the conclusion of an inheritance treaty. In 1360 they together with Landgrave Henry II of Hesse paid off Frederick V, Burgrave of Nuremberg, son of Elisabeth of Henneberg.

Schmalkalden, Matthäus Merian, Topographia Hassiae, engraving, 1655

In 1531 the town hall of Schmalkalden was the site of the establishment of the Schmalkaldic League by Protestant princes under the lead of Landgrave Philip I of Hesse, in order to protect religious and political interests within their domains. In 1537 the Smalcald Articles were drawn up by Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and other reformers.

When the Counts of Henneberg became extinct in 1583, their share was inherited by William IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. William made the town a residence and had Wilhelmsburg Castle erected, finished in 1590. The Lordship of Schmalkalden remained an exclave of Hesse, from 1868 on it was part of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau until it was incorporated into the Province of Saxony in 1944 and in 1945 became part of the State of Thuringia.

The town sustained heavy bomb damage in World War II. From 1949 on, with Thuringia, it formed part of East Germany. After reunification it attained its present political configuration.

Lordship of Schmalkalden
Herrschaft Schmalkalden
State of the Holy Roman Empire
Capital Schmalkalden
Government Principality
Historical era Middle Ages
   Acquired by Henneberg 1247
  Joint rule with Hesse 1360
   To Hesse-Kassel 1583
  To Thuringia 1944
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Landgraviate of Thuringia
Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel

Notable people

International relations

Schmalkalden is twinned with:



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