St Lamberti Church in the city centre
|Coordinates: / 53.14389; 8.21389 / 53.14389; 8.21389|
|• Lord Mayor||Jürgen Krogmann (since 2014) (SPD)|
|• Total||102.96 km (39.75 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4 m (13 ft)|
|• Density||1,600/km (4,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Oldenburg (Oldb) or simply Oldenburg (German pronunciation: [ˈɔldn̩bʊʁk] ( listen); Low German: Ollnborg; Saterland Frisian: Ooldenbuurich) is an independent city in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany. During the French annexation (1811–1813) in the wake of the Napoleonic war against Britain, it was also known as Le Vieux-Bourg in French. The city is situated at the Rivers Hunte and Haaren, in the northwestern region between the cities of Bremen in the east and Groningen (Netherlands) in the west. It has a population of 160,907 (December 2014).
The city is the place of origin of the House of Oldenburg. Before the end of the German Empire (1918), it was the administrative centre and residence of the monarchs of Oldenburg.
Archaeological finds point to a settlement dating back to the 8th century. The place was first mentioned in 1108 as Aldenburg in connection with Elimar I (also known as Egilmar I) who is now commonly seen as the first count of Oldenburg. The town gained importance due to its location at a ford of the navigable Hunte river. Oldenburg became the capital of the County of Oldenburg (later Duchy, Grand Duchy, and Free State), a small state in the shadow of the much more powerful Hanseatic city of Bremen.
In the 17th century, Oldenburg was a wealthy town in a time of war and turmoil and its population and power grew considerably. In 1667, the town was struck by a disastrous plague epidemic and, shortly after, a fire destroyed Oldenburg. The Danish kings, who were also counts of Oldenburg at the time, were not much interested in the condition of the town and it lost most of its former importance. In 1773, Danish rule ended. It was only then that the destroyed buildings in the city were rebuilt in a neoclassicist style. (In German, the "neoclassicist style" of that period would usually be called klassizistisch, while neoklassizistisch specifically refers to the classicist style of the early 20th century.)
After German Emperor Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate following the exhaustion and defeat of the German Empire in World War I, monarchic rule ended in Oldenburg as well with the abdication of Grand Duke Frederick Augustus II of Oldenburg (Friedrich August II von Oldenburg) on 11 November 1918. The Grand Duchy now became the Free State of Oldenburg (Freistaat Oldenburg), with the city remaining the capital.
In the 1928 city elections, the Nazi Party received 9.8% of the vote, enough for a seat on the Oldenburg city council. In the September 1930 Oldenburg state elections, the Nazi Party's share of the vote rose to 27.3%, and on May 29, 1932, the Nazi Party received 48.4% of the state election, enough to put the Nazi party in charge of forming a state government and, significantly, making Oldenburg the first state in the country to put the Nazis in power based on electoral turnout. By that autumn, a campaign of Aryanization began, forcing the sale of formerly Jewish-owed properties at steep discounts.
In 1945, after World War II, the State of Oldenburg was part of the British zone of occupation. The British military government of the Oldenburg region resided in the city. Several displaced persons camps were set up in the city that had suffered only 1.4% destruction during the bombing campaigns of World War II. About 42,000 refugees migrated into Oldenburg, which raised the number of residents to over 100,000. In 1946, the Free State of Oldenburg was dissolved, and the area became the 'Administrative District' of Oldenburg (Verwaltungsbezirk Oldenburg) as part of the newly formed federal German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). The city was now capital of the district. In 1978, the district was dissolved and succeeded by the newly formed Weser-Ems administrative region (Regierungsbezirk Weser-Ems), again with the city as administrative capital. The State of Lower Saxony dissolved all of the Regierungsbezirke by the end of 2004 in the course of administrative reforms.
|Population||~ 2,300||~ 4,300||~ 5,000||6,959||6,278||6,800||9,280||11,370||13,928|
Local elections take place every five years. The city council (Stadtrat) has 50 seats. The lord mayor (Oberbürgermeister) is elected directly by the citizens.
|CDU||Die Linke||Freie Wähler/
The city is surrounded by large agricultural areas, about 80% of which is grassland. There are farms near and even a few within city limits. Predominant agricultural activities of the region are the cultivation of livestock, especially dairy cows and other grazing animals, crops such as grains for food and animal feed, as well as asparagus, corn, and kale.
Oldenburg is the seat of administration and bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oldenburg, whose preaching venue is the St Lamberti Church.
The history of the Jewish community of Oldenburg dates back to the 14th century. Towards and during the 19th century, the Jews in Oldenburg were always around 1% of the total population, and by that time had acquired their own synagogue, cemetery and school. Most of them were merchants and businessmen. On 1938 Kristallnacht, the town men were led to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, among them Leo Trepp, the community Rabbi who survived and later became an honorary citizen of Oldenburg and honored by a street named after him. Since 1981 an annual commemoration walk (Erinnerungsgang) has been held by Oldenburg citizens in memory of the deportation of the Oldenburg Jews on November 10, 1938. Those who remained after 1938 immigrated to Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Holland or Palestine.
After World War II, a group of survivors returned to the city and maintained a small community until it was dissolved during the 1970s. Nevertheless, due to Jewish emigration from the former USSR to Germany in the 1990s, a community of about 340 people is now maintaining its own synagogue, cemetery and other facilities. The old Jewish cemetery, which is no longer active after the opening of a new one, was desecrated twice in 2011 and 2013.
There are two public universities in Oldenburg:
Privately managed institutions of higher education:
Oldenburg hosted the 2007 Fistball World Championship.
Oldenburg is twin towns with following cities and districts:
See in particular the Oldenburg (Land) | Dukes and Grand Dukes of Oldenburg for the Counts and Dukes, who were not born in Oldenburg.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oldenburg (Oldenburg).|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Oldenburg.|
Cities in Germany by population