Coat of arms

Coordinates: 49°59′13″N 06°53′23″E / 49.98694°N 6.88972°E / 49.98694; 6.88972Coordinates: 49°59′13″N 06°53′23″E / 49.98694°N 6.88972°E / 49.98694; 6.88972
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Bernkastel-Wittlich
  Mayor Joachim Rodenkirch (2009-) (CDU)
  Total 49.64 km2 (19.17 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 18,762
  Density 380/km2 (980/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 54516
Dialling codes 06571
Vehicle registration WIL
Website www.wittlich.de

The town of Wittlich is the seat of the Bernkastel-Wittlich district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, and thereby the middle centre for a feeder area of 56 municipalities in the Eifel and Moselle area with its population of roughly 64,000. With some 18,000 inhabitants, Wittlich is the biggest town between Trier and Koblenz and the fourth biggest between Mainz and the Belgian border.



The town lies in the South Eifel on the river Lieser in a side valley of the Moselle on the northern edge of the Wittlich Depression. This stretch of country is bounded in the west by the Moselle Eifel and in the east by the Moselle valley.

Constituent communities

Wittlich’s Stadtteile or Ortsbezirke (districts or suburbs), besides the main centre, also called Wittlich, are Bombogen, Dorf, Lüxem, Neuerburg, and Wengerohr,[2] each of which was a self-administering municipality.[3] until 7 June 1969.


The oldest known remnants of human settlement activity come from the third millennium BC.

In Roman times there stood right on the river Lieser, where the Autobahn bridge is now, a stately villa rustica.

In 1065, Wittlich had its first documentary mention. In 1300, Archbishop-Elector Diether von Nassau of Trier granted Wittlich town rights. It had long been assumed, however, that Wittlich had already been granted town rights in 1291, leading to the 700th-anniversary celebrations in 1991.

In 1912, Germany’s first youth prison was built in Wittlich, which also still borders on the Justizvollzugsanstalt Wittlich (“Wittlich Correctional Facility”).

Building projects in town

In 2009, the town of Wittlich was included in the programme Aktive Stadtzentren (“Active Town Centres”) of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Since then, some investors have been interested in the town of Wittlich.


Town council

The council is made up of 32 honorary council members, who were elected at the municipal election held on 7 June 2009, and the full-time mayor as chairman.

The municipal election held on 7 June 2009 yielded the following results:[4]

   SPD   CDU   FDP  GRÜNE Linke  FWG  Total
2009 8 13 3 4 1 3 32 seats
2004 9 14 3 3 3 32 seats
1999 10 16 2 2 2 32 seats

Coat of arms

The German blazon reads: In rotem Feld parallel nebeneinander zwei aufrecht, mit dem Schlüsselbart nach oben voneinander abgekehrte silberne Schlüssel mit übereinandergelegten Griffen, wobei der linke über dem rechten angeordnet ist. Die Mauerkrone ist Zierelement des Wappens: ein Zinnenturm mit offenem Tor in der Mitte zwischen Mauern und Zinnen.

The town’s arms might in English heraldic language be described thus: Gules two keys palewise addorsed, the wards to chief and the bow of the dexter surmounting that of the sinister, argent, ensigning the shield a tower with an open gateway and flanking walls, the whole embattled, of the second.

The German blazon identifies the “left” key as the one that surmounts the other, although the example shown at the town’s own website clearly shows the dexter key surmounting the sinister. This may arise from a common misunderstanding about heraldry, in which left and right – or sinister and dexter – are told from the armsbearer’s point of view, not the viewer’s.[5][6]

The example of the arms shown at the town’s own website shows the crenellated (“embattled”) tower on top of the escutcheon;[7] however, the example at Heraldry of the World shows the arms without this.[8] This same webpage also shows a coat of arms for Wittlich which apparently appeared in the old Coffee Hag albums. It might be described as “Argent two keys per saltire, the wards to chief, the one in bend sinister surmounting the other, azure.” In other words, the field tincture was silver (“argent”) instead of red (“gules”), and the keys were not only blue instead of silver, but also crossed to form an X (“per saltire”).

Whichever way the keys are arranged, they symbolize Saint Peter, who was the patron saint of the Electorate of Trier, to which Wittlich belonged until 1794. The current tinctures were the ones borne by Trier, whereas the ones in the Coffee Hag image were those borne by the House of Wittelsbach.

The town’s first great seal, from the time just after Wittlich had been raised to town, showed a crenellated tower over an open gate between two turrets, each with a roundle high on its wall. The court seal from the early 14th century, on the other hand, showed a two-key charge quite similar to the one in today’s arms, thus providing the model for the coat of arms now borne by the town.

The crenellated tower on top of the escutcheon was only “rediscovered” much later.

Town partnerships

Wittlich fosters partnerships with the following places:

View from the Fintenhügel (hill) over the town of Wittlich

Culture and sightseeing

Bronze sculpture in memory of the Säubrennersage at Wittlich Market
Former synagogue on Himmeroder Straße


Regular events

Wittlich’s Shrovetide festivities – Fastnacht – are outfitted each year by the two Carnival clubs, Schääl Saidt e.V. and Narrenzunft Rot-Weiß e.V. (“Fools’ Guild”). On the third weekend in August, the Säubrennerkirmes (“Sow Burner Fair”) is held; it is one of Rhineland-Palatinate’s biggest folk festivals and was begun in 1951, based on the mediaeval Säubrennersage (a legend that tells of a sow that inadvertently allowed a siege force to enter Wittlich, sack it and burn it down after she ate the carrot that the gatekeeper had used instead of the bolt, which he could not find; all swine in the town were accordingly punished with burning – meaning, in effect, a huge pork barbecue). In October, Wittlich also holds Rhineland-Palatinate’s biggest Oktoberfest.

Offener Kanal Wittlich

Wittlich also has a public access channel, the Offener Kanal Wittlich, which several times weekly reports on local news, events and suchlike.

Economy and infrastructure


Set of houses on the marketplace

In Wittlich, counting only workers on the social welfare contribution rolls, 14,500 people have jobs. This rises to more than 16,000 if officials and the self-employed are counted, making Wittlich’s “job density” about 852 for each thousand inhabitants, and putting Wittlich itself in the very highest group of towns in Rhineland-Palatinate. Wittlich’s importance as an economic centre is favoured by its location on two Autobahnen and by its main railway station on the Koblenz-Trier railway line.

Established businesses

DB-InterCity at the station

Franklin Fueling Systems GmbH manages a major distribution warehouse supplying fueling and service station equipment to all of Europe, Middle East and Africa.


Famous people

Honorary citizens

Sons and daughters of the town

Hans Friderichs in 1975

Further reading


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