2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: European Geography

For the mathematician see Hans Heilbronn.

Coordinates: 49°9′N 9°13′E

Heilbronn (Käthchenstadt)
Coat of arms of Heilbronn Location of Heilbronn in Germany

Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Administrative region Stuttgart
District Independent city
Population 121,416 ( June 30, 2005)
Area 99.88 km²
Population density 1,215 / km²
Elevation 160 m
Coordinates 49°9′ N 9°13′ E
Postal code 74001-74081
Area code 07131, 07066
Licence plate code HN
Mayor Helmut Himmelsbach
Website www.heilbronn.de
View of the Heilbronn centre of town toward the Wartberg.
View of the Heilbronn centre of town toward the Wartberg.

Heilbronn is a city in northern Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is completely surrounded by Heilbronn County and with approximately 120,000 residents it is the 6th largest city in Baden-Württemberg.

The city on the Neckar is a former Imperial Free City and current independent city (i.e., not part of any county) and seat of Heilbronn County. Heilbronn is also the "major economic centre" of the Heilbronn-Franken region that includes almost the entire Northeast of Baden-Württemberg.

Heilbronn is known for its wine industry and is nicknamed Käthchenstadt after Heinrich von Kleist's play Das Käthchen von Heilbronn.


Heilbronn is located in the northern corner of the Neckar basin at the bottom of the Wartberg (308 m). It is spread out on both banks of the Neckar on a fertile terrace and the highest spot inside city limits is the Schweinsberg with a height of 372 m.

Heilbronn and its surroundings are located in the northern part of the larger Stuttgart metropolitan area. The city acts as the economic centre of the Heilbronn-Franken region and is one of 14 cities referred to in the Baden-Württemberg master plan of 2002 as major economic centers. In addition, it serves the cities and towns of Abstatt, Bad Rappenau, Bad Wimpfen, Beilstein, Brackenheim, Cleebronn, Eberstatt, Ellhofen, Eppingen, Flein, Gemmingen, Güglingen, Ilsfeld, Ittlingen, Kirchardt, Lauffen am Neckar, Lehrensteinsfeld, Leingarten, Löwenstein, Massenbachhausen, Neckarwestheim, Nordheim (Württemberg), Obersulm, Pfaffenhofen (Württemberg), Schwaigern, Siegelsbach, Talheim, Untergruppenbach, Weinsberg, Wüstenrot and Zaberfeld as an intermediate economic centre.

Neighbouring communities

Sontheim (Neckar) around 1900.
Sontheim (Neckar) around 1900.

Heilbronn shares a border with the following cities and towns, all part of Heilbronn County and listed here clockwise from the North: Bad Wimpfen, Neckarsulm, Erlenbach, Weinsberg, Lehrensteinsfeld, Untergruppenbach, Flein, Talheim, Lauffen am Neckar, Nordheim, Leingarten, Schwaigern, Massenbachhausen and Bad Rappenau.


Heilbronn is made up of ten boroughs. They are:

  • 001 Inner Heilbronn (proper)
  • 002 Outer Heilbronn (proper)
  • 003 Böckingen
  • 004 Neckargartach
  • 005 Sontheim
  • 006 Klingenberg
  • 007 Frankenbach
  • 008 Kirchhausen
  • 009 Biberach
  • 010 Horkheim


Stone Age through 1200 AD

The oldest traces of humans in and around Heilbronn date back to the Old Stone Age (30000 BC). The fertile Neckar floodplains in the Heilbronn basin aided early settlement by farmers and ranchers. The city limits of present day Heilbronn contain many sites of Bronze Age finds. Later on, but still before AD the Celts already mined here for salt from brine.

Under Emperor Domitian ( 81 - 96 AD) the Romans pushed east away from the Rhine and the outer boundary of the Empire was set at the Neckar-Odenwald-Limes. A castle in today's borough of Böckingen was part of that limes and nearby numerous Roman villas and plantations were built. Around 150 AD the Neckar-Odenwald-Limes became obsolete when the boundary of the Roman Empire was moved approximately 30 km to the East where it was subsequently fortified with the construction of the Upper Germanic Limes complete with parapet and trenches.

Around 260 AD the Romans surrendered the limes and the Alamanni became rulers of the Neckar basin. Between the 4th and 7th centuries the area became part of the Frankish Empire and the first settlement was built in the general vicinity of the present centre of town.

In 741 Heilbronn is first mentioned in an official document of the Diocese of Würzburg as villa Helibrunna together with a Michaelsbasilica and in 841 King Louis the German set up court here for a period of time. The name Heilbrunna (healing well) hints to a well that is located not far from the basilica. In 1050 a significant settlement of Jews is noted in official documents and the Codex of the monastery in Hirsau documented Heilbronn's right to hold market days and mint coins, mentioning its harbour and vineyards as well.

1200 through 1500

The Deutschhof.
The Deutschhof.

In 1225 Heilbronn was incorporated into the Hohenstaufen Empire as oppidum Heilecbrunnen. Oppidum signified a city fortified by parapet and trenches. Later during the 13th century the Deutsche Orden obtained ownership of a large area south of Heilbronn which would remain owned by that order until Secularization in 1805. Starting in 1268 the order built the Deutschhof there as one of its residences. The church building of the order that was located on the premises was modified and expanded several times: First in 1350 it was expanded ( gothic), then it was remodeled in 1719 (baroque), and in 1977 it was consecrated as a cathedral.

After the demise of the Staufers King Rudolf I returned city status to Heilbronn in 1281 and installed a regal advocate to rule the city. In addition to the advocate he put a council in place that was headed up by a mayor. Around 1300 the first city hall was erected in the market place and the Kilianskirche (built on the foundation of the Michaelsbasilica) was expanded. The Neckar privilege gave the city the right to modify the flow of the river in 1333 which meant it now had the right to construct dams, harbours and mills. Because of the infrastructure thus created, Heilbronn became increasingly attractive to merchants and craftspeople during the 14th century whose influence had been growing and who were now demanding the right to determine their own fate.

In 1371 Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor issued a new charter to the city. Now Heilbronn needed to answer only to the Emperor and as such was an Imperial Free City. Craftspeople and merchants were now represented in its council and the villages of Böckingen, Flein, Frankenbach and Neckargartach became part of Heilbronn's territory.

As an Imperial Free City Heilbronn kept seeing itself threatened by the ambitious house of Wirtemberg (later, Württemberg). A very close relationship with the Holy Roman Emperor and a treaty with the Palatinate that was in effect from 1417 through 1622 strenghthened Heilbronn's position and kept the Württembergs at bay. The political stability enjoyed by the city during the 15th century caused it to bloom and many of its historic structures trace their roots back to that time as, for instance, the expansion of the Kilianskirche from 1455 through 1460.

1500 through 1700


Götz von Berlichingen spent three years in "knightly custody" in Heilbronn starting in 1519 and even spent a night in the tower of the bastion. That same year people first took note of the pub owner Jäcklein Rohrbach who with accomplices would later kill the executor of Böckingen. After he had spent some time in the Hohenlohe Plains and collected similarly minded characters around him, he returned to Heilbronn in April 1525 just as the Peasants' War was getting into full swing. On April 16 the peasants killed many of the nobles in Weinsberg and on April 18 the Heilbronn cloister of the Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was attacked and ransacked. The city opened its gates in response to demands of the peasants and consequently more churches and municipal institutions were robbed the next day. For about a month Heilbronn remained under the control of revolting peasants. And even though Johann Lachmann, later a church reformer, had attempted to mediate, the peasants didn't leave the city until one of their armies was defeated on May 12, 1525 in Böblingen. Their leader Rohrbach was executed on May 21, 1525 in Neckargartach and his home town of Böckingen was partially burnt to the ground in punishment.

In 1528 the replacement of the mayor by Hans Riesser, a Protestant, brought on the previously delayed Reformation and through the efforts of Reformer Lachmann schools and healthcare were also reorganized. In 1529 the Kiliansturm (church tower of the Kilianskirche) was completed. It was the first important religious building of the Renaissance in Germany. 1528 brought about the acceptance of the Augsburg Confession by city council and residents and the Heilbronn Catechism of 1536 is the second oldest catechism in the Protestant Church. In 1538 Heilbronn joined the Schmalkaldic League but by 1564 squabbles between troops of the Schmalkaldic League and those of the Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire escalated into battles that were won by the Emperor. As a result, Charles V spent Christmas 1546 in Heilbronn to attend the ensuing criminal proceedings. It is also Charles V who in 1522 changed the charter of the city and this charter survived almost unscathed until 1803.

Heilbronn in 1643. Engraving by Matthäus Merian
Heilbronn in 1643. Engraving by Matthäus Merian

During the Thirty Years' War the city and sourrounding villages suffered badly. After the battle of Wimpfen in 1622 Neckargartach was burnt to the ground. In 1631 Heilbronn was occupied by imperial troops but the same year the Swedes succeeded in conquering the city. From 1644 through 1647 Heilbronn was again part of the Holy Roman Empire, but then French troops moved in and later those of the Palatinate. The city wasn't free of occupying forces until four years after the Peace of Westphalia of 1648. But already in the 1670s the city again became the stage for armed manoeuvres, until it was occupied by French troops in 1688. But while that occupation of the city only lasted several months, the French were only persuaded to leave the surrounding areas in 1693 after a large defensive army had been put into the field and fortifications had been erected.

1700 through 1900


During the 18th century the citizens of Heilbronn witnessed a boom. The archives tell that during that time almost all members of the city council had enjoyed some sort of formal education, Schiller and Goethe came to visit the city, and gorgeous buildings were being constructed in Rococo style.

On September 9, 1802 the city of Heilbronn lost its status as Imperial Free City when the troops of the Duke of Württemberg marched into town. The Duke had lost his holdings on the left bank of the Rhine to France during the French Revolutionary Wars but had been compensated with areas on the right bank. This is how Heilbronn together with other formerly Imperial Free Cities became part of Württemberg in 1803. Heilbronn became the seat of an Oberamt (district), and the four Imperial Free villages became separate communities within the district.

In 1815 Heilbronn is again staging area for major armies ahead of the campaign against Napoleon and 10,000 troops paraded in front of Kaiser Franz of Austria and 126 German princes and generals in the Theresienwiese. Tsar Alexander I of Russia met in Heilbronn with the Baltic Baroness Juliane von Krüdener who talked him into founding the " Holy Alliance".

Industrialization arrived in 1820. When the first train lines were placed in service in Württemberg, Heilbronn was at the end of the line of the northern branch that connected Heilbronn with Stuttgart and further fueled industrialization.

For a while Heilbronn suffered from the upheavals of the Baden Revolution that its civil guard participated in. During that time the 8th infantry regiment switched sides and joined the revolutionaries until it was subsequently disarmed and force-transferred out of the area.

In the 1860s the train tracks were extended from Heilbronn to Heidelberg via Bad Wimpfen, to Würzburg via Osterburken, and to Crailsheim (and later on to Nürnberg) via Schwäbisch Hall. In 1880 the Kraichgau line was completed and created an important connection towards the Karlsruhe area and by the end of the 19th century Heilbronn had become an important hub and second only to Stuttgart as one of Württemberg's largest industrial cities.

1892 brought electricity via a connection to the power plant in Lauffen and thus Heilbronn became the first city in the world to enjoy long distance supply of power.

1900 through 1945

Heilbronn, 1945.
Heilbronn, 1945.

After almost a century of economic boom and growth of the local industry Heilbronn's citizenry included a lot of labourers. The city came to be known as a "red hot spot" and numerous worker and sports clubs were founded. Already prior to World War I the SPD cornered the majority of the vote and stayed that course during the period of the Weimar Republic. At his visit to the city on May 15, 1926 Hitler was clearly not welcome by everyone and several people were injured when a man was mistaken for Hitler and attacked. Hitler himself was able to give his speech in the city's community centre Harmonie but the SPD had the majority in Heilbronn over the NSDAP as late as the elections on March 5, 1933.

Heilbronn district leader of the NSDAP had been Richard Drauz since 1932 who had been born into a respected Heilbronn family. He was also elected to the Reichstag from 1933 on and pushed hard for the Gleichschaltung of the Heilbronn clubs and press.

On July 28, 1935 the port was opened in a canal off the Neckar and 1936 saw the Autobahn between Heilbronn and Stuttgart completed. Economy and infrastructure were booming in Württemberg and Heilbronn was at the logistic centre of it all. As the result of a district reform on October 1, 1938 Heilbronn became seat of the newly created Heilbronn County and regained independent city status. At the same time the previously independent communities of Böckingen, Sontheim and Neckargartach were annexed and with 72,000 residents Heilbronn now was the second largest city in Württemberg. The port turned into an important transfer station on the Neckar and one of the ten largest interior ports in the country.

On November 10, 1938 the Heilbronn synagogue was destroyed and during 1939 the Jewish community was all but eliminated.

Starting in 1942 the salt mines in and around Heilbronn were used to store art and artifacts from Germany, France and Italy. Similarly, important producers of the war industry were moved into the mine shafts. The expansion of the shafts was undertaken by labour brigades of the concentration camp branches in Kochendorf and Neckargartach. From Heilbronn all the way to Neckarelz numerous subterraneous complexes, some of them gigantic, were constructed and as of November 20, 1942 the Heilbronn Bureau of Labour had 8,000 forced labourers registered in its district.

In 1940 allied air raids started and the city and its surrounding area were hit about 20 times with minor damage. On September 10, 1944 a raid by the allies targeted the city and, specifically, the Böckingen train transfer station. 281 residents died as a result of 1,168 bombs dropped that day. The city was carpet-bombed from the southern quarter all the way to the Kilianskirche in the centre of town. The church burnt out.

The catastrophe for Heilbronn was the bombing raid on December 4, 1944. During that raid the centre of town was completely destroyed and the surrounding boroughs were heavily damaged. Within one half hour 6,500 residents perished. Of those, 5,000 were later buried in mass graves in the Ehrenfriedhof (cemetery of honour) in the valley of the Köpfer creek close to the city. To this day, a memorial is held annually in memory of those that died that day. As a result of the war Heilbronn's population shrank to 46,350.

After a ten-day battle with the advancing allies over the strategically important Neckar crossings World War II ended for the destroyed city on April 12, 1945 with occupation by US troops. Local NSDAP leader Drauz took time for numerous court-martials while on the run from the allies and was hanged on December 4, 1946 in Landsberg because of executions of American prisoners of war he had ordered in March of 1945.

1945 through present

Stadttheater Heilbronn.
Stadttheater Heilbronn.

After the war Emil Beutinger, mayor until 1933, returned to office and began the formidable task of reconstruction that was subsequently continued by his successors Paul Metz and Paul Meyle. Milestones were the rededication of historic city hall in 1953 and the reopening of the community centre Harmonie.

From 1951 on US troops were permanently stationed in Heilbronn. They used barracks built prior to World War II and also added some structures of their own.

The opening of the Autobahn A 6 from Heilbronn to Mannheim in 1968 was an important economic event for Heilbronn. When the A 81 to Würzburg was completed in 1974 (extended to ( Nürnberg in 1979), Heilbronn became an important logistical centre in southern Germany. As a result, many of the larger companies opened locations in Heilbronn.

When Klingenberg became part of Heilbronn on January 1, 1970, the city's population passed the 100,000 mark and thus attained "major city" (Großstadt) status. During the last district reform in the 1970s, Kirchhausen, Biberach, Frankenbach and Horkheim were incorporated into Heilbronn and the city was reconfirmed as independent city and seat of Heilbronn County. It was also declared seat of the newly formed region Franken, now Heilbronn-Franken.

Also during the 1970s, the centre of the city was transformed into a pedestrian zone and the rededication of the city theatre in 1982 closed one of the largest holes left in the inner city from World War II.

Pursuant to the NATO Double-Track Decision of 1979, Pershing II intermediate-range nuclear missiles were stationed just uphill of the city in the Waldheide. This made Heilbronn the only major city in Germany with atomic missiles stationed inside its city limits - a fact which became front-page news during the missile accident on January 11, 1985. After the INF Treaty was signed in 1987 the missiles were removed.

In the 1980s Heilbronn hosted two major events ( Heimatttage and Landesgartenschau) staged by the State of Baden-Württemberg. In 1998 Heilbronn was connected to the S-Bahn net with Karlsruhe. This caused another transformation of the city centre and the extension of the S-Bahn towards Öhringen was opened on December 10, 2005. It marked the completion of the East-West axis of the regional transportation system. The North-South axis is still in the planning stages (as of February 2006).

Heilbronn won the European competition "Entente Florale 2000" on September 9, 2000 in Broughshane, Northern Ireland and in 2005/06 the city became the first UNICEF children's city in Germany.

Late in 2005 Heilbronn got the nod to host the Bundesgartenschau in 2019. If plans are realized this could create an entire new borough along the S-Bahn line Böckingen-Theresienwiese-Neckargartach.


Kilianskirche as seen from the Kiliansplatz.
Kilianskirche as seen from the Kiliansplatz.

Ever since the Franks under Chlodwig settled in the Neckar region around 500 the area has been predominantly Christian and when Heilbronn was first mentioned in an official document in 741 Christian Michaelsbasilica, present day's Kilianskirche, was mentioned along with the city. The Deutsche Orden constructed its church from the 13th century and both churches were continually expanded. They were joined later by other churches and cloisters in the city.

Around 1050 an important Jewish community was mentioned that had settled in the Judengasse (Lohtorstraße). In 1298 143 Jews were killed during the Rintfleisch-Pogrom and in 1350 Jews suffered attacks again during a European epidemic of the Bubonic plague. The city's constitution required the council to include Jews, but already in the middle of the 15th century Jews were the target of vigilantes again until they were evicted from the city in 1490 with the blessings of Emperor Frederick III.

It is worth noting that the common Jewish name Halpern, and many variants such as Alpert, derive from the name of this city Heilbronn, and the early Jewish community there.

While Heilbronn was part of the Diocese of Würzburg, the independent villages of Böckingen, Neckargartach and Frankenbach were attached to the Diocese of Worms. From 1514 on the Heilbronn native Johann Lachmann was caretaker of the parish in St. Kilian, in 1521 he became its preacher, in 1524 he converted to Lutheranism and proceeded to teach and lead the Reformation in Heilbronn against the wishes of both dioceses. After the Reformation of Heilbronn was complete the city remained Lutheran for centuries and the council and citizens accepted the Augsburg Confession without dissent. Catholics were no longer welcome, Jews were prohibited from settling in Heilbronn, and the city took part in the Protestation at Speyer on April 19, 1529 (the Protestation was the origin of the terms Protestant and Protestantism).

The Age of Enlightenment brought Heilbronn freedom of religion. As of 1803 Jews were again permitted to settle in the city, Catholics also began to move back in and by the 1860s Jews were granted equal rights as Heilbronn citizens.

After the city became part of Württemberg in 1803 it also became seat of a deacony and the Prelate or regional bishop of the Protestant State Church in Württemberg. To this day Protestants are in the majority in Heilbronn. The Catholic parishes belong to the Deacony Heilbronn and are part of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.

Around 1920 first groups of "Serious Bible Students" (now: Jehovah's Witnesses) formed. Their small community suffered from oppression during the Third Reich and many of its members died in concentration camps. Similarly, the Jewish community had to watch as its colossal synagogue went up in flames and its 350 members were subsequently all but extinguished. Jehovah's Witnesses built a first meeting room in Heilbronn in 1953 and many more have been added since then.

Astronomical clock at City Hall.
Astronomical clock at City Hall.

Since the 1970s, after guest workers and immigrants from Islamic or Russian-Orthodox countries settled here, these faiths are practiced to by a growing part of the population and numerous mosques have been created since the 1990s in the city and county of Heilbronn.

District reform

Over the years, the following, formerly independent towns or communities, have been annexed to Heilbronn:

Year Town Area (km²)
June 1, 1933 Böckingen 11.35
October 1, 1938 Neckargartach 11.25
October 1, 1938 Sontheim 7.40
January 1, 1970 Klingenberg 2.72
July 1, 1972 Kirchhausen 11.47
January 1, 1974 Biberach 10.58
April 1, 1974 Frankenbach 8.89
April 1, 1974 Horkheim 4.86


Figures reflect city limits at the time and are estimates (until 1870) or Census data (¹), or official extensions thereof, counting only primary residences.

Population statistics of Heilbronn.
Population statistics of Heilbronn.
Year Population
1399 approx. 5,500
1501 6,168
1618 approx. 6,000
1769 6,077
1803 5,692
1830 10,703
1849 12,377
December 1, 1871 18,955
1880 24,446
December 1, 1890 29,941
December 1, 1900 37,891
December 1, 1910 42,688
June 16, 1925 45,520
Year Population
June 16, 1933 ¹ 68,953
May 17, 1939 ¹ 77,569
1944 ¹ 46,350
September 13, 1950 ¹ 64,643
June 6, 1961 ¹ 89,100
May 27, 1970 ¹ 101,646
June 30, 1975 114,999
June 30, 1980 111,509
June 30, 1985 111,188
May 27, 1987 ¹ 110,970
June 30, 1990 ¹ 115,055
June 30, 1997 121,500
December 31, 2003 120,705
Rathaus Heilbronn.
Rathaus Heilbronn.

¹ Census data


In connection with the district reform in the 1970s, municipal laws of Baden-Württemberg were amended to introduce borough councils for certain boroughs. Residents of such boroughs elect their borough council at each municipal election and the borough council must be consulted on all matters of significance to the respective borough. The Borough President also presides over the Borough Council. In Heilbronn the boroughs of Biberach, Frankenbach, Horkheim, Kirchhausen and Klingenberg have borough councils.

City council

After the municipal elections of June 13, 2004 the city council of Heilbronn was made up of 40 seats. The members belong to political parties as follows:

Party Seats
CDU 16
SPD 12
Bündnis 90/Green Party 3
Independents 2


At first Heilbronn was governed by a regal advocate and an executor. Later, the city had two mayors but ever since the city was made part of Württemberg it has had just one mayor at a time.

Mayors since 1803

Year Mayor
1803 - 1819 Georg Christian Franz Kübel
1819 - 1822 Lebrecht Landauer
1822 - 1835 Johann Clemens Bruckmann
1835 - 1848 Heinrich Titot
1848 - 1869 Christian August Klett
1869 Josef Baur
Year Mayor
1869 - 1884 Karl Wüst
1884 - 1904 Paul Hegelmaier
1904 - 1921 Adolf Göbel
1921 - 1933 Emil Beutinger
1933 - 1945 Heinrich Gültig
1945 - 1946 Emil Beutinger
Year Mayor
1946 - 1948 Paul Metz
1948 - 1967 Paul Meyle
1967 - 1983 Hans Hoffmann
1983 - 1999 Manfred Weinmann
1999 - present Helmut Himmelsbach

Representatives from Heilbronn

The city of Heilbronn together with the northern municipalities of Heilbronn County makes up the electoral District 268 for national elections of representatives to the Bundestag.

Museum of Natural History.
Museum of Natural History.

For State elections to the Landtag of Baden-Württemberg Heilbronn makes up an electoral district (District 18) together with Erlenbach. Before the 2006 elections, it was an electoral district all by itself.

Coat of arms

Heilbronn's coat of arms features a black eagle with red tongue and claws on golden background. The eagle is protected by a red, silver and blue shield. The city flag is red, white and blue.

The oldest seal of the city dates back to 1265. The eagle is the symbol for the imperial freedom enjoyed by Heilbronn until it was annexed by the Grand Duchy (and later Kingdom) of Württemberg. While it is established that it appeared for the first time with shield in 1556 to distinguish it from other versions of eagles, the origin of the colors of the shield has yet to be determined. The colors also appeared in reverse order in 1556, 1581 and 1681 and there have been other variations of colour as well, such as white rather than golden background.

Interesting is the fact that Heilbronn sports three colours in its flag. Newly dedicated municipal flags in Baden-Württemberg only use two colours. According to State municipal laws, Heilbronn's flag was grandfathered as it had been in use prior to 1935.

People, culture & architecture

Heilbronn is located near the border between the Swabian- Alemannic and the Franconian dialects of the German language.

Theatre and music

  • Stadttheater Heilbronn, built in 1982, mixed repertoire
  • Theaterschiff Heilbronn, mixed repertoire
  • Württembergisches Kammerorchester e.V. Heilbronn - the chamber orchestra, founded in 1961, plays mostly baroque and classical music.
  • In a shut-down part of the Steam power plant Block-E has put on events since 1998.


  • Museum of Natural History
  • Neckarschifffahrtsmuseum (closed indefinitely)
  • City Galery Deutschhof
  • Museum of archeology
  • Kleist-Archiv Sembdner
  • South-German Train Museum Heilbronn


Historic manual crane.
Historic manual crane.
  • Alter Handkran
  • Bollwerksturm
  • Deutschhof
  • Steam power plant
  • Community centre "Harmonie"
  • Court and Fleischhaus
  • Götzenturm
  • Harbour market tower
  • Haus Zehender at the market place
  • Käthchenhaus at the market place
  • City Hall with historic astronomic clock
  • Schießhaus
  • Trappenseeschlösschen
  • Weinvilla
  • Churches:
    • Kilianskirche (Protestant): The tower from the early Renaissance is the logo of the city. The high altar by Hans Seyfer was completed in 1498.
    • Deutschordensmünster St.-Peter-und-Paul (Catholic)
    • Nikolaikirche (Protestant)

Other sights

  • Old cemetery (created in 1530, a park since 1882)
  • Outlook tower on the Wartberg
  • Ehrenfriedhof for the victims of the air raid on December 4, 1944
  • Fleinertorbrunnen
  • Robert Mayer Memorial in the market place
  • Bismarck Memorial
  • Siebenröhrenbrunnen


In February the citizens of Heilbronn and the surrounding area have an opportunity to enjoy themselves at the Pferdemarkt. In May the Trollinger marathon takes place. July brings the Gaffenberg Festival and the Unterländer Volksfest takes the city from July into August. It is the largest festival of its kind in Heilbronn and takes place on the Theresienwiese. Each year it begins on the last Friday in July and ends on the second Monday in August. In September, patrons enjoy themselves at the Heilbronner Weindorf, in October at the Hafenmarkt and in November and December at the Weihnachtsmarkt by the Kilianskirche. Every other year the Neckarfest and Traubenblütenfest are added to this already full schedule.


Heilbronn is located adjacent to the Schwäbisch-Fränkischer Wald State Park and is famous for the vineyards that surround it.

Economy and infrastructure

Vineyards east of Heilbronn.
Vineyards east of Heilbronn.

Viticulture has a long tradition in Heilbronn and is an important part of its economy to this day. Its 514 ha, two thirds of it growing red grapes, is the third largest vineyard in Württemberg's vine growing region after Brackenheim and Lauffen am Neckar. In 1888 the vintners of the Heilbronn area combined and formed the Weingärtnergesellschaft Heilbronn , a cooperative. In 1933 that cooperative then combined with the competing cooperative Winzergenossenschaft Heilbronn that had formed in 1919 and that cooperative again merged with the Vintner cooperatives of Erlenbach and Weinsberg to form the Genossenschaftskellerei Heilbronn-Erlenbach-Weinsberg with seat just outside the city limits in Erlenbach. In addition to the cooperative, numerous independent vintners are also located here.

South of the steam power plant is located the conveyor tower of the Südwestdeutsche Salzwerke AG (SWS). The SWS runs a salt mine in the Heilbronn area. That mine was connected through an underground tunnel with the now shut-down (since 1994) salt mine Kochendorf in Bad Friedrichshall. Extraction had extended the Heilbronn mine far to the west so that in 2004 a new shaft, Konradsberg, was added - probably the last mining shaft that was constructed in all of Germany.


S-Bahn pulling into the station outside of Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof.
S-Bahn pulling into the station outside of Heilbronn Hauptbahnhof.

The city of Heilbronn is readily accessible by car or truck courtesy of the Weinsberg Intersection just to the northeast of the city, the intersection of the Autobahn A 81 from Würzburg to Gottmadingen and the A 6 from Saarbrücken to Waidhaus. In addition to the Autobahns the city is connected via the Bundesstraßen B 27 from Blankenburg to Schaffhausen, B 39 from Frankenstein (Palatine) to Mainhardt and B 293 from Karlsruhe to Heilbronn that both run through the city itself.

Heilbronn is also a forerunner of right-turn-on-red in Germany and 65 "Green arrow" signs have been installed at appropriate intersections since 1996.

Although Heilbronn does not benefit from the Deutsche Bahn long-distance service the city is well connected by train. The Frankenbahn connects Stuttgart and Würzburg, the Neckarbahn and Elsenztalbahn run from Heilbronn to Heidelberg and Mannheim, and the Hohenlohebahn accommodates travel to Schwäbisch Hall via Öhringen.

The S-Bahn provides a connection all the way to Karlsruhe on the Kraichgaubahn's tracks. At this time the S 4 takes travelers from Karlsruhe through the central train station past the centre of town all the way to the Öhringen borough of Cappel (since December 11, 2005). Because of massive delays in the construction of the S-Bahn tracks through Heilbronn's city limits and with the modernization

The Heilbronn canal port
The Heilbronn canal port

and electrification of the existing tracks from Heilbronn to Öhringen meant that the new section's official opening needed to be moved several times. For the future, additional S-Bahn lines are planned to Neckarsulm, Lauffen am Neckar and Zaberfeld. As well a these new lines, additional stops will also be built in the inner city of Heilbronn.

While the original Straßenbahn of Heilbronn, nicknamed the Spatzenschaukel (German for "sparrows' swing"), was discontinued on April 1, 1955, the city used electrically powered trolley buses until 1960. Today, public transportation is provided by the S-Bahn that runs through Heilbronn similar to the Karlsruhe model and this is complemented by buses run by the Stadtwerke Heilbronn (Verkehrsbetriebe) and several other enterprises. All now belong to the Heilbronner Verkehrsverbund.

Steam power plant.
Steam power plant.

The canal port on the Neckar is one of the ten largest German interior ports.

Steam power plant

In the industrial part of Heilbronn the EnBW AG runs a large powerplant that is powered with coal. Its two chimneys (250 m tall) and cooling tower (140 m tall) are visible from afar, see Heilbronn Power Station

Public service

As major economic centre most major branches of government operate offices in Heilbronn. Examples are the Department of Labour, the Department of Finance and German Customs. It also is the seat of the regional chamber of commerce and several regional professional boards.

Several courts are located in Heilbronn, two belonging to the Stuttgart court district, a specialty court hearing labour issues, and a family court who's district includes the city of Heilbronn and the counties of Heilbronn, Ludwigsburg, Schwäbisch Hall, Hohenlohe and Main-Tauber.

The City is also the seat of the Prelature of Heilbronn and of the church district of Heilbronn (of the Protestant State Church as well as of the Heilbronn Deacony of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart).


Heilbronn is the seat of the main campus of the Hochschule Heilbronn, founded in 1962 as a public engineering school. Since 1972 the school was known as the Fachhochschule Heilbronn (an engineering college) and has operated a secondary campus in Künzelsau since 1988. Starting with the fall semester on September 1, 2005 the college was awarded the status of a Hochschule.


The private Heilbronn Business School opened at the Neckarturm in January of 2005.

As far as general education is concerned, Heilbronn operates five college-track highschools or gymnasiums (Elly-Heuss-Knapp-Gymnasium, Justinus-Kerner-Gymnasium, Mönchsee-Gymnasium, Robert-Mayer-Gymnasium and Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium), four non-college-track highschools or Realschulen (Dammrealschule, Helene-Lange-Realschule, Heinrich-von-Kleist-Realschule in Böckingen and Mörike-Realschule). There are also six special-education schools run by the city (Wilhelm-Hofmann-Förderschule, Pestalozzi-Förderschule, and Paul-Meyle-Schule for the mentally and physically impaired, two special-education schools run by Heilbronn County (Gebrüder-Grimm-Schule for the speech impaired and Hermann-Herzog-Schule for the seeing impaired), and the Lindenparkschule, which is run by the state of Baden-Württemberg for the hearing and speech impaired. The latter also includes a boarding school and consultation centre.

City grammar schools are the Damm-Grundschule, Deutschorden-Grundschule Kirchhausen, Grundschule Horkheim, Grundschule Klingenberg, Grünewaldschule Grundschule Böckingen, Reinöhlschule Grundschule Böckingen, Silcherschule Grundschule and Uhlandschule Grundschule Sontheim. Grammar and middle schools (some include vocational training programs) are Albrecht-Dürer-Schule Neckargartach, Elly-Heuss-Knapp-Schule Böckingen, Fritz-Ulrich-Schule Böckingen, Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule, Grund- und Hauptschule mit Werkrealschule Biberach, Grund- und Hauptschule mit Werkrealschule Frankenbach, Ludwig-Pfau-Schule, Rosenauschule, Staufenbergschule Sontheim, Wartbergschule and Wilhelm-Hauff-Schule.

The Gustav-von-Schmoller-Schule and the Technische Schulzentrum Heilbronn consisting of the Johann-Jakob-Widmann-Schule and the Wilhelm-Maybach-Schule are professional training schools run by the city. The county runs the Andreas-Schneider-Schule and Christiane-Herzog-Schule, and in the fall of 2005 the Peter-Bruckmann-Schule was added to the already operating professional training schools.

Finally, the following private schools round out the education options offered in Heilbronn:

  • The Abendrealschule Heilbronn e.V. allows students with middle school diplomas to achieve the first in a series of steps to gain college entrance prerequisites on a part-time basis after work. It is part of a structured program commonly referred to as the Alternate Path to Higher Education.
  • Alice-Salomon-Schule
  • Berufskolleg für Grafik Heilbronn
  • Altenpflegeschule Heilbronn
  • Freie Waldorfschule Heilbronn
  • Internationaler Bund e. V. Bildungszentrum Heilbronn
  • Catholische Freie Schule Heilbronn with grammar, middle, and college-track as well as non-college-track highschools)
  • Kolping-Bildungszentrum Heilbronn
  • Academy for Communication sciences

Famous people

A list of Honorary citizens of Heilbronn, Sons and daughters and other notable individuals with connection to the city are listed at List of Heilbronn Notable People.

150°-Panorama of Heilbronn's city centre.
150°- Panorama of Heilbronn's city centre.

Sister cities

Heilbronn is sister city to the following six cities in five countries:

  • Stockport (United Kingdom) since 1982
  • Frankfurt (Oder) ( Brandenburg) since 1988
  • Słubice (Poland) since 1998

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