is known internationally as the "city of blades", and
the city's name is also a protected trade mark for quality knives
and strong scissors.
Solingen - an administrative district in its own right - has around
165,000 inhabitants and is situated in the hill country called Bergisches
Land (so it is by no means in the Ruhr area). Culturally, the city
comes just within the Rhineland; politically, it belongs to the
Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
further information at: www.solingen.de
yesterday and today
the late Middle Ages and the early part of the modern era, the reputation
of this city on the River Wupper was already founded on its swords
and rapier blades with the mark of origin "Me fecit Solingen".
Ornamental rapiers from the workshop of a Clemens Horn or Peter
Wirsberg were among the gifts of state which were treasured by European
princes in the 16th century.
present time is less martial, and knives and forks have taken over
from swords and sabres. Among the other articles which come from
our city today are car wheel rims, motor vehicle accessories, mechanical
engineering products, coffee machines, high-quality menswear, umbrellas,
jelly babies and plant seeds.
economic structure has changed in recent decades and the cutlery
industry is no longer as important as it still was in the fifties.
However, over 90 per cent of the companies in the cutlery industry
are still located here. Now as ever, Solingen is Germany's "city
with Remscheid and Wuppertal, Solingen is situated in a traditional
craft and industry region of "workshops in green spaces"
which comprises almost 700,000 inhabitants: Wuppertal with 380,000,
Solingen 165,000 and Remscheid 135,000. The business structure is
predominantly small- and medium-sized enterprises, the level of
training and education of the employees is high. The central location
of the three cities in Germany and Europe is economically advantageous:
between the Ruhr area and the cities on the Rhine and, on a European
scale, at the point where the axes of growth intersect between north
and south, east and west.
Solingen is an old industrial town is hardly noticeable from its
urban features: it is a green city and an attractive place to live.
However, the visitor will also search in vain for a historical city
centre. Solingen is rather a kaleidoscope made up of the nuclei
of many small-town settlements and rural farmsteads on a few ranges
of hills; these settlements grew in towards each other along the
arterial roads and were unified only in 1929 in the course of a
municipal reform by the Prussian state. In between are brooks whose
valleys were never fully cultivated - lungs of greenery which now
divide up the city area. To the east and south, the city is framed
by the rugged, afforested hills along the Wupper.
from the town which gave Solingen its name (with municipal rights
since 1374, the old town destroyed in war), the other towns of Wald,
Gräfrath, Ohligs and Höhscheid which had been independent
in the olden days were absorbed into the new city - in 1976, Burg
an der Wupper was added too. But even three generations after the
towns were unified, many inhabitants of Solingen still think of
themselves as "Waulers", "Grewerters" or "Hühscheders".
Thus Solingen has remained an "intimate city" - perhaps
one reason why it is constantly mentioned in the traffic and crime
statistics as one of the safest cities in Germany.
in Solingen, tradition competes with the modern age. While large
companies produce high-tech blades in computer-controlled facilities,
the last of the Solingen grinders are still going strong in a 200-year-old
half-timbered house on the Wupper, where they use water power to
drive the grindstones - and this in one and the same city.
path you take, to wander through the city area is to come across
variety and different eras again and again: city and country (355
km of trails around and through the city), industry and residential
areas, business and green spaces, high tech and half-timbered houses.
It is these contrasts which give the city its charm.