For other uses, see Witten (disambiguation).

Town hall in Witten

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 51°26′0″N 7°20′0″E / 51.43333°N 7.33333°E / 51.43333; 7.33333Coordinates: 51°26′0″N 7°20′0″E / 51.43333°N 7.33333°E / 51.43333; 7.33333
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Arnsberg
District Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis
  Mayor Sonja Leidemann (no party affiliation)
  Total 72.40 km2 (27.95 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 96,700
  Density 1,300/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 58401 - 58456
Dialling codes 02302
02324 (Buchholz)
Vehicle registration EN, WIT
Website witten.de

Witten is a university city in the Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis (district) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the home of the Witten/Herdecke University, the first private university in Germany.


Witten is situated in the Ruhr valley, in the southern Ruhr area.

Bordering municipalities

Division of the town

Witten is divided into 8 boroughs and every of these boroughs is divided into city-districts. Every district has its own district-number:


St. Maria Church

Roman Catholic

When Witten was first mentioned in historical documents, it was part of the Archdiocese of Cologne. Since 1821 it has been a part of the Diocese of Paderborn; however, the borough of Herbede belongs to the Diocese of Essen. In the 19th century the Ruhr area drew up to 500,000 Poles from East Prussia and Silesia, most of whom were Catholic. Hundreds settled in Witten, leading to a growth in the Catholic community. Today, between 30 and 40 per cent of the population is Catholic.


In the 16th century Witten was influenced by Martin Luther's Reformation, and until the late 19th century, Witten was a predominantly Protestant town with just a few Catholic inhabitants. Between 30 and 40 per cent of the population is Protestant today.


There are four mosques in Witten, Annen and Herbede today, founded by immigrants from Turkey who arrived in the 1970s and 1980s. Between five and eight per cent of the population is Muslim.


Memorial at the place of the former synagogue

In 1815 the first Jewish community was mentioned in Witten. In 1938 the synagogue was destroyed during the so-called "Reichspogromnacht" (also known as Kristallnacht) of 9–10 November 1938. Today, only about a dozen Jews live in Witten. They belong to the Jewish community in Dortmund.

Since 1994 the place of the former synagogue is marked with a memorial.

Population 1739–2005

Year Inhabitants
1739 566
1787 690
1808 1,587
1830 2,210
1 December 1840 2,987
1 December 1855 5,112
3 December 1858 6,908
3 December 1864 10,500
3 December 1867 12,200
1 December 1871 15,161
1 December 1875 18,100
1 December 1880 21,600
1 December 1885 23,879
Year Inhabitants
1 December 1890 26,310
2 December 1895 28,769
1 December 1900 33,517
1 December 1905 35,841
1 December 1910 37,450
1 December 1916 34,864
5 December 1917 35,033
8 October 1919 37,441
16 June 1925 45,519
16 June 1933 72,580
17 May 1939 73,365
31 December 1945 70,276
29 October 1946 69,384
Year Inhabitants
13 September 1950 76,312
25 September 1956 91,706
6 June 1961 96,462
31 December 1965 98,506
27 May 1970 97,379
31 December 1975 108,771
31 December 1980 105,876
31 December 1985 102,259
25 May 1987 102,902
31 December 1990 105,403
31 December 1995 104,754
31 December 2000 103,196
30 June 2005 101,019


The Roburit Explosion in 1906

Witten was first mentioned in historic sources in 1214, however the borough Herbede (which was incorporated into the city in 1975) dates back to 851. The city was a mining town from 1578. In 1946, it was included in North-Rhine Westphalia on its establishment. In 1975 Witten was included in the administrative district Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis and it is now its biggest city. 1975 was also the year Witten was first counted to have more than 100,000 inhabitants, the threshold to be considered a large city ("Großstadt") in Germany.

Roburit Explosion

In the late 19th century Witten was known for the Roburit dynamite. This dynamite was once used by coal mines around the world. In 1906 an explosion occurred, resulting in the deaths of 41 people.


Townhall and Johannis-Church

The Council of Witten

The local council of Witten has 64 seats. In the local elections of 2004 the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, gained 24 seats and form the largest party represented on the council. It is followed by the Christian Democratic Party, CDU with 18 and the Greens with 7 seats. They are followed by the WBG (a conservative list) with 4, FDP 4, FLW (also a conservative list) 3, NPD 2, PDS/WAL (socialists) 1 and AUF Witten (a left wing list) also 1. Since 2004 for the first time in its history the council is led by a female mayor: Sonja Leidemann, SPD.

Members of Parliament


German Bundestag


Tram in Witten-Heven

Witten is connected to the Autobahn network by the A 43 and A 44 motorways. It has a central station, connecting the city to the regional-train-network of Deutsche Bahn. Local service is carried out by the BOGESTRA, a joint venture between the cities of Bochum and Gelsenkirchen, to which most of the bus lines in Witten belong. There is a tram line connecting to Bochum. Public transport in the city is carried out according to the fare system of the VRR transport association.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Witten with its two lions once belong to the Everhards von Witten-Steinhausen and was first mentioned in 1283. The family of Witten-Steinhausen belongs to the founders of the town of Witten. Their slogan was: "Sigillum Hermanni de Wittene". Because of its long history this Coat of arms was the only one in the Ruhr area, that was not forbidden by the Allies in May 1945, after the End of the Second World War.


Twin towns – sister cities

Witten is twinned with:[2]


  1. "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen". Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW (in German). 18 July 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "List of Twin Towns in the Ruhr District". Twins2010.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-28. External link in |publisher= (help)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Witten.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.