Wetzlar, Hesse, Germany

🇩🇪 Wetzlar is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany. It is the twelfth largest city in Hesse. As an important cultural, industrial and commercial centre, the university town is one of the ten regional centres in the state of Hesse. A former free imperial city, it gained much of its fame as the seat of the Imperial Supreme Court (Reichskammergericht) of the Holy Roman Empire. Located 51 km north of Frankfurt, Wetzlar straddles the river Lahn and is on the German Timber-Frame Road, which passes mile upon mile of half-timbered houses. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis on the north edge of the Taunus. Tourists know the city for its ancient town and its medieval Catholic/Protestant shared cathedral of St. Mary. Notable architectural features include the Eisenmarkt and the steep gradients and tightly packed street layout of a medieval town. The building of the sandstone cathedral commenced in the 12th century in Romanesque style. In the later Middle Ages the construction continued under a master plan in Gothic style. The church was never finished—one steeple still remains uncompleted. The cathedral suffered heavy damage in the Second World War from aerial bombing, but restoration took place in the 1950s. On the outskirts of town along the river stand the ruins of several stone towers. In 1975 the town hosted the 15th Hessentag state festival, and in 2012 the 52nd.

Retailing According to the figures of the Society for Consumer Research Wetzlar is one of the most attractive commercial locations in Germany. The city has a high centrality coefficient and a retail turnover of around EUR 10,000 per inhabitant. In Germany it takes third place among all cities with over 50,000 inhabitants.

Wetzlar has two large shopping centres, of those the FORUM Wetzlar is the largest in central Hesse (Mittelhessen). It has around 110 shops and accommodates a large multi-storey car park of 1700 places. Retail trade is located mainly in the areas Bahnhofsstraße, Karl-Kellner-Ring and the historic old town. In the Bahnhofstraße, the Karl-Kellner-Ring and in the two shopping centres where almost all goods are available.

Enterprises The city is home to some internationally active and well known enterprises. The Buderus company was created in the year 1731 and is one of the oldest remaining enterprises. As BBT Thermotechnik, now part of the Bosch group, Buderus was for many decades one of the largest employers in the central Hesse area with more than 10,000 persons employed in Wetzlar alone, working in the areas of cement casting, high-grade steel and heating technologies. Economic changes have strongly changed the company, however, it still ranks among the largest enterprises in Hesse. Wetzlar is apart from Jena and Oberkochen a German centre for optics as well as the most important German location for the precision engineering industry. The manufactured products have gained worldwide reputation. One of the most important companies in the area of microscopy is Leica Microsystems (formerly known as Ernst Leitz), which in its peak times employed over 7,000 people in the city. Small format (35 mm) photography was invented in Wetzlar, and Leica cameras are well known for their excellent quality. In addition there are cameras of the companies Leidolf and Minox, binoculars and telescopes made by the company Hensoldt AG (now Carl Zeiss), part of the Zeiss group (over 2,000 people employed in peak times). Other well-known firms are Philips (with about 1,200 employed at times) or Siemens AG and Siemens VDO, since 2007 Continental AG or the Sancura BKK, a supraregional health insurance company, which is combined with the Taunus BKK. The Business park Spilburg, former barracks, became home to a number of innovative enterprises, particularly in the area of optics/precision mechanics, information technology and services. Additionally, areas in the Westend as well as the Hörnsheimer Eck and the Dillfeld are available for new businesses to set up.

Image: Adobe Stock thosti57 #178568023

Wetzlar has a population of over 55,371 people. Wetzlar also forms the centre of the wider Lahn-Dill-Kreis (district) which has a population of over 253,373 people.

Twin Towns – Sister Cities Wetzlar is twinned with: 🇫🇷 Avignon, France; 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Colchester, England, UK 🇩🇪 Ilmenau, Germany; 🇩🇪 Neukölln, Germany; 🇨🇿 Písek, Czech Republic; 🇦🇹 Reith bei Kitzbühel, Austria; 🇦🇹 Schladming, Austria; 🇮🇹 Siena, Italy.

Sponsorships Wetzlar also sponsors: 🇧🇫 Dori, Burkina Faso.

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