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mehr Infos The City of Solingen
Die Verordnung
Das Markengesetz
Markenpiraterie
Solingen - die Stadt

Solingen 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

History yesterday and today

In 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.

The 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.

Solingen's 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 of blades".

Along 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.

That 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.

Apart 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.

Thus 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.

Whatever 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.