The date and circumstances of the town's foundation are unknown. Tradition maintains that Brunswick was created through the merger of two settlements, one founded by Brun(o), a Saxon count who died in 880, on one side of the River Oker - the legend gives the year 861 for the foundation - and the other the settlement of a legendary Count Dankward, after whom Dankwarderode Castle ("Dankward's clearing"), which was reconstructed in the 19th century, is named. The town's original name of Brunswik is a combination of the name Bruno and Low Germanwik (related to the Latin vicus), a place where merchants rested and stored their goods. The town's name, therefore, indicates an ideal resting place, as it lay by a ford across the Oker River. Another explanation of the city's name is that it comes from Brand, or burning, indicating a place which developed after the landscape was cleared through burning. The city was first mentioned in documents from the St. Magni Church from 1031, which give the city's name as Brunesguik.
Middle Ages and early modern period
Brunswick in the 16th century, from the Civitates orbis terrarum by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.
Brunswick Cathedral, St. Blasius, with lion statue
Up to the 12th century, Brunswick was ruled by the Saxon noble family of the Brunonids, then, through marriage, it fell to the House of Welf. In 1142, Henry the Lion of the House of Welf became duke of Saxony and made Braunschweig the capital of his state (which, from 1156 on, also included the Duchy of Bavaria). He turned Dankwarderode Castle, the residence of the counts of Brunswick, into his own Pfalz and developed the city further to represent his authority. Under Henry's rule, the Cathedral of St. Blasius was built and he also had the statue of a lion, his heraldic animal, erected in front of the castle. The lion subsequently became the city's landmark.
Henry the Lion became so powerful that he dared to refuse military aid to the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, which led to his banishment in 1182. Henry went into exile in England. He had previously established ties to the English crown in 1168, through his marriage to King Henry II of England's daughter Matilda, sister of Richard the Lionheart. However, his son Otto, who could regain influence and was eventually crowned Holy Roman Emperor, continued to foster the city's development.
After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Brunswick was made capital of the re-established independent Duchy of Brunswick, later a constituent state of the German Empire from 1871. In the aftermath of the July Revolution in 1830, in Brunswick duke Charles II was forced to abdicate. His absolutist governing style had previously alienated the nobility and bourgeoisie, while the lower classes were disaffected by the bad economic situation. During the night of 7-8 September 1830, the ducal palace in Brunswick was stormed by an angry mob, set on fire, and destroyed completely. Charles was succeeded by his brother William VIII. During William's reign, liberal reforms were made and Brunswick's parliament was strengthened.
After the Landtag election of 1930, Brunswick became the second state in Germany where the Nazis participated in government, when the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) formed a coalition government with several conservative and right-wing parties. With the support of Dietrich Klagges, Brunswick's minister of the interior, the NSDAP organized a large SA rally in Braunschweig. On 17-18 October 1931, 100,000 SA stormtroopers marched through the city; street fights between Nazis, socialists, and communists left several dead or injured. On 25 February 1932, the state of Brunswick granted Adolf Hitler German citizenship to allow him to run in the 1932 German presidential election. In Braunschweig, Nazis carried out several attacks on political enemies, with the acquiescence of the state government.
In 1944, a subcamp of the concentration camp Neuengamme was established in Braunschweig. Hundreds of prisoners, mostly Jews, lived in brutal conditions and hundreds died from hunger, disease, and overwork. Piera Sonnino, an Italian author, writes of her imprisonment in that camp in her book, This Has Happened, published in English in 2006 by MacMillan Palgrave.
The Allied air raid on October 15, 1944, destroyed most of the city's churches, and the Altstadt (old town), the largest homogeneous ensemble of half-timbered houses in Germany. The city's cathedral, which had been converted to a Nationale Weihestätte (national shrine) by the Nazi government, still stood.
Postwar period to the 21st century
Small sections of the city survived Allied bombing, so remain to represent its distinctive architecture. The cathedral was restored to its function as a Protestant church.
Politically, after the war, the Free State of Brunswick was dissolved by the Allied occupying authorities, Braunschweig ceased to be a capital, and most of its lands were incorporated in the newly formed state of Lower Saxony.
During the Cold War, Braunschweig, then part of West Germany, suffered economically due to its proximity to the Iron Curtain. The city lost its historically strong economic ties to what was then East Germany; for decades, economic growth remained, on average, below the rest of the country while unemployment was above-average for West Germany.
On 28 February 1974, as part of a district reform in Lower Saxony, the rural district of Braunschweig, which had surrounded the city, was disestablished. The major part of the former district was incorporated into the city of Braunschweig, increasing its population by roughly 52,000 people.
In the 1990s, efforts increased to reconstruct historic buildings that had been destroyed in the air raid. The façade of the Braunschweiger Schloss was rebuilt, and buildings such as the Alte Waage (originally built in 1534) now stand again.
As of 2015[update], the population of Braunschweig was 252,768. Today Braunschweig is among the twenty German cities found to be most attractive to young people between the ages of 25 and 34, leading to an influx of younger residents.
In 2015, 91,785 people or 36.3% of the population were Protestant and 34,604 (13.7%) people were Roman Catholic; 126,379 people (50.0%) either adhered to other denominations or followed no religion.
A total of 64,737 of Braunschweig's residents, including German citizens, had an immigrant background in 2015 (25.6% of the total population). Among those, 25,676 were non-German citizens (10.2%); the following table lists up the largest minority groups:
The Burgplatz (Castle Square), comprising a group of buildings of great historical and cultural significance: the Cathedral (St Blasius, built at the end of the 12th century), the Burg Dankwarderode (Dankwarderode Castle) (a 19th-century reconstruction of the old castle of Henry the Lion), the Neo-Gothic Town Hall (built in 1893-1900), as well as some picturesque half-timbered houses, such as the Gildehaus (Guild House), today the seat of the Craftsman's Association. In the centre of the square stands a copy of the Burglöwe (Brunswick Lion), a Romanesque statue of a lion, cast in bronze in 1166. The original statue can be seen in the museum of Dankwarderode Castle. The lion is today the symbol of Braunschweig.
The Altstadtmarkt ("Old Town market"), surrounded by the Old Town town hall (built between the 13th and the 15th centuries in Gothic style), and the Martinikirche (Church of Saint Martin, from 1195), with important historical houses including the Gewandhaus (the former house of the drapers' guild, built sometime before 1268) and the Stechinelli-Haus (built in 1690) and a fountain from 1408.
The Kohlmarkt ("coal market"), a market with many historical houses and a fountain from 1869.
The Hagenmarkt ("Hagen market"), with the 13th-century Katharinenkirche (Church of Saint Catherine) and the Heinrichsbrunnen ("Henry the Lion's Fountain") from 1874.
The Magniviertel (St Magnus' Quarter), a remainder of ancient Braunschweig, lined with cobblestoned streets, little shops and cafés, centred on the 13th-century Magnikirche (St Magnus' Church). Here is also the Rizzi-Haus, a highly distinctive, cartoonish office building designed by architect James Rizzi for the Expo 2000.
The Romanesque and GothicAndreaskirche (Church of Saint Andrew), built mainly between the 13th and 16th centuries with stained glass by Charles Crodel. Surrounding the church are the Liberei, the oldest surviving freestanding library building in Germany, and the reconstructed Alte Waage.
The Gothic Aegidienkirche (Church of Saint Giles), built in the 13th century, with an adjoining monastery, which is today a museum.
The Staatstheater (State Theatre), newly built in the 19th century, goes back to the first standing public theatre in Germany, founded in 1690 by Duke Anthony Ulrich.
1Formed in 2011 out of the former boroughs of Wabe-Schunter and Bienrode-Waggum-Bevenrode.
The council of the city is made up of the fractions of the different parties (54 seats) and the lord mayor, who is elected directly, with one seat. Since 2014, the lord mayor of Braunschweig is Ulrich Markurth (SPD). Results of the most recent local elections on 11 September 2011 and 11 September 2016 were:
The Braunschweig tramway network is an inexpensive and extensive 35 km (22 mi) long electric tramway system. First opened in 1897, it has been modernized, including a 3.2 km (2.0 mi) extension in 2007. The network has an () gauge, unique for a European railway or tramway network. However, it is being supplemented in stages by a third rail, to allow future joint working with the () main railway network.
Ironically, the city of Braunschweig was not ruled by the Hanoverians while its name was being given to other Brunswicks around the world. Starting in 1269, the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg underwent a series of divisions and mergers, with parts of the territory being transferred between various branches of the family. The city of Braunschweig went to the senior branch of the house, the Wolfenbüttel line, while Lüneburg eventually ended up with the Hanover line. Although the territory had been split, all branches of the family continued to style themselves as the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1884, the senior branch of the House of Welf became extinct. The Hanover line, being the last surviving line of the family, subsequently held the throne of the Duchy of Brunswick from November 1913 until November 1918.
Braunschweig University of Technology (German: Technische Universität Braunschweig) was founded in 1745 and is the oldest member of TU9, an incorporated society of the nine most prestigious, oldest, and largest universities focusing on engineering and technology in Germany. With approximately 18,000 students, Braunschweig University of Technology is the third largest university in Lower Saxony.
Lower Saxony's only university of art, founded in 1963, can be found in Braunschweig, the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig (Braunschweig College of Fine Arts). The HBK is an institution of higher artistic and scientific education and offers the opportunity to study for interdisciplinary artistic and scientific qualifications. Additionally, one of the campuses of the Eastphalia University of Applied Sciences (German: Ostfalia Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften, formerly Fachhochschule Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel) was located in the city until 2010.
In 2015, the German weekly business news magazine Wirtschaftswoche ranked Braunschweig as one of the most dynamic economic spaces in all of Germany.
Braunschweig is the home of two piano companies, both known worldwide for the high quality of their instruments: Schimmel and Grotrian-Steinweg. Both companies were founded in the 19th century. Additionally Sandberg Guitars is based in Braunschweig.
1904 postcard showing typical food of Braunschweig
Braunschweig is famous for Till Eulenspiegel, a medieval jester who played many practical jokes on its citizens.
It also had many breweries, and still a very peculiar kind of beer is made called Mumme, first quoted in 1390, a malt-extract that was shipped all over the world. Two major breweries still produce in Braunschweig, the Hofbrauhaus Wolters [de], founded in 1627, and the former Feldschlößchen [de] brewery, founded in 1871, now operated by Oettinger Beer.
Braunschweig's major local newspaper is the Braunschweiger Zeitung, first published in 1946. Papers formerly published in Braunschweig include the Braunschweigische Anzeigen/Braunschweigische Staatszeitung (1745-1934), the Braunschweigische Landeszeitung (1880-1936) and the Braunschweiger Stadtanzeiger/Braunschweiger Allgemeiner Anzeiger (1886-1941), and the social-democratic Braunschweiger Volksfreund [de] (1871-1933).
Schoduvel, a medieval Northern German form of carnival was celebrated in Braunschweig as early as the 13th century. Since 1979 an annual Rosenmontag parade is held in Braunschweig, the largest in Northern Germany, which is named Schoduvel in honour of the medieval custom.
An annual Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) is held in late November and December on the Burgplatz in the centre of Braunschweig. In 2008 the market had 900,000 visitors.
The State Museum of Brunswick (Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum), founded in 1891, houses a permanent collection documenting the history of the Brunswick area ranging from its early history to the present.
The Municipal Museum of Brunswick (Städtisches Museum Braunschweig), founded in 1861, is a museum for art and cultural history, documenting the history of the city of Braunschweig.
Other museums in the city include the Museum of Photography (Museum für Photographie), the Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum), the Museum for Agricultural Technology Gut Steinhof, and the Gerstäcker-Museum. Frequent exhibitions of contemporary art are also held by the Art Society of Braunschweig (German: Kunstverein Braunschweig), housed in the Villa Salve Hospes, a classicist villa built between 1805 and 1808.
Braunschweig's major local football team is Eintracht Braunschweig. Founded in 1895, Eintracht Braunschweig can look back on a long and chequered history. Eintracht Braunschweig won the German football championship in 1967, and currently plays in the 2. Bundesliga, the second tier of German football, and attracts a large number of supporters. Braunschweig was also arguably the city in which the first ever game of football in Germany took place. The game had been brought to Germany by the local school teacher Konrad Koch, also the first to write down a German version of the rules of football,[nb 1] who organized the first match between pupils from his school Martino-Katharineum in 1874. The 2011 German drama film Lessons of a Dream is based on Koch.
Eintracht Braunschweig also fields a successful women's field hockey team that claimed nine national championship titles between 1965 and 1978. In the past, the club also had first or second tier teams in the sports of ice hockey, field handball, and water polo.
^However, Koch's original German version of the rules of football, published in 1875, still resembled Rugby football--the unmodified rules of The Football Association were not commonly used in Germany before the 1900s.
^H. Mack (1925): "Überblick über die Geschichte der Stadt Braunschweig", in: F. Fuhse (ed.), Vaterländische Geschichten und Denkwürdigkeiten der Lande Braunschweig und Hannover, Band 1: Braunschweig, 3rd edition, Braunschweig: Appelhans Verlag, p. 34.
^ abHorst-Rüdiger Jarck; Günter Scheel, eds. (1996). Braunschweigisches Biographisches Lexikon - 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (in German). Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung. p. 92. ISBN3-7752-5838-8.
^Gerhard Schildt (2000): Von der Restauration zur Reichsgründungszeit, in Horst-Rüdiger Jarck / Gerhard Schildt (eds.), Die Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Jahrtausendrückblick einer Region, Braunschweig: Appelhans Verlag, pp. 753-766. ISBN3-930292-28-9.
^Hans-Ulrich Ludewig (2000): Der Erste Weltkrieg und die Revolution (1914-1918/19), in: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck / Gerhard Schildt (eds.), Die Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Jahrtausendrückblick einer Region, Braunschweig: Appelhans Verlag, pp. 935-943. ISBN3-930292-28-9.
^Jörg Leuschner (2008): Die Wirtschaft des Braunschweigischen Landes im Dritten Reich (1933-1939), in: Jörg Leuschner / Karl Heinrich Kaufhold / Claudia Märtl (eds.), Die Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte des Braunschweigischen Landes vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, pp. 468-522. ISBN978-3-487-13599-1.
^Dieter Lent (2000): Kriegsgeschehen und Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg, in: Horst-Rüdiger Jarck / Gerhard Schildt (eds.), Die Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Jahrtausendrückblick einer Region, Braunschweig: Appelhans Verlag, p. 1026. ISBN3-930292-28-9.
^Fiedler, Gudrun; Ludewig, Hans-Ulrich, eds. (2003). Zwangsarbeit und Kriegswirtschaft im Lande Braunschweig 1939-1945 (in German). Braunschweig: Appelhans Verlag. ISBN3-930292-78-5.
^Gudrun Fiedler / Norman-Mathias Pingel (2008): Vom Nachkriegsboom in den Strukturwandel. Die Wirtschaft der Landes-Region Braunschweig nach 1945, in: Jörg Leuschner / Karl Heinrich Kaufhold / Claudia Märtl (eds.), Die Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte des Braunschweigischen Landes vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3, Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, pp. 586-588. ISBN978-3-487-13599-1.
^ ab"Royal Arms of Britain". Heraldica. Retrieved 2016. The House of Brunswick Luneburg being one of the most illustrious and most ancient in Europe, the Hanoverian branch having filled for more than a century one of the most distinguished thrones, its possessions being among the most considerable in Germany;
^Riedesel, Friedrich Adolf (1868). von Eelking, Max (ed.). Memoirs, and Letters and Journals, of Major General Riedesel During His Residence in America. 1. Translated by Stone, William L. Albany: J. Munsell. p. 29. I remain ever, Your affectionate Charles, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg. Brunswick, February 14, 1776. To Colonel Riedesel.
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