The city of Fürth [fyrt] is located in northern Bavaria, Germany in the district of Middle Franconia. It is now contiguous with the larger city of Nuremberg, the centres of the two cities being only 7 km apart.
Fürth, Nuremberg and Erlangen, together with some smaller towns, form the "Middle Franconian Conurbation", which is one of 23 "major centres" in Bavaria and one of the 11 German metropolitan regions.
Fürth celebrated its thousandth anniversary in 2007, its first mention being on 1 November, 1007.
The historic centre of the town is to the east and south of the rivers Rednitz and Pegnitz, which join to form the Regnitz to the northwest of the Old Town. To the west of the town, on the far side of the Main-Danube Canal, is the Fürth municipal forest (Fürther Stadtwald). To the east of Fürth, at roughly the same latitude, lies Nuremberg, and to the north is the fertile market-gardening area known as the Knoblauchsland (garlic country), some of which is within the borders of the urban district of Fürth. To the south of the town is an area consisting of wide roads, the canal, and meadows.
The following towns and municipalities share borders with Fürth; they are listed in clockwise order, starting in the north:
Erlangen and Nuremberg, which are independent urban districts; Stein, Oberasbach, Zirndorf, Cadolzburg, Seukendorf, Veitsbronn, and Obermichelbach, which are municipalities within the rural district (Landkreis) of Fürth.
Parts of town
As well as the town proper, the urban district comprises another 20 localities:
- Braunsbach bei Fürth
The first mention of the settlement of Fürth, which had probably already existed for some time, was in a document dated 1 November 1007
, in which the Emperor Heinrich II
donated his property in Fürth to the newly created Bishopric of Bamberg
. The name "Fürth" derives from the German word for "ford", as the first settlements originated around a ford. In the following years, Fürth was granted market privileges
, but these were later lost to the neighbouring Nuremberg, under Heinrich III
. From 1062 onward, Fürth was again permitted to have a market, but by that time Nuremberg was already the more important town.
In the following centuries, the town was under varying authority, involving the Bishopric of Bamberg, the Principality of Ansbach and the City of Nuremberg. For a long time, the character of the settlement remained largely agricultural, and in 1600 the population was probably still only between 1000 and 2000.
In the Thirty Years War, Fürth was almost completely destroyed by fire.
In 1835, the first German railway was opened between Nuremberg and Fürth.
Throughout the Cold War, Fürth had a significant NATO presence, especially the U.S. Army, due to its proximity to both the East German and Czech borders.
In the course of time, a number of municipalities or other administrative divisions were integrated into the urban district of Fürth:
- 1 January, 1899: the western part of the municipality of Höfen, including Weikershof (to the south of the Schwabacher Straße)
- 1 January, 1900: the municipality of Poppenreuth (to the east of the historic centre of the city, on the far side of the river Pegnitz)
- 1 January, 1901: the municipality of Dambach (to the west of the current Südstadt (South Town), as well as Unterfürberg and Oberfürberg
- 1 January, 1918: Atzenhof (to the north-west, on the right bank of the River Zenn between Unterfarrnbach and Vach)
- 1 January, 1918: the municipality of Unterfarrnbach (to the west, on the bank of the river Farrnbach)
- 3 December, 1923: the municipality of Burgfarrnbach (to the north-west, on the far side of the canal, not contiguous with Fürth proper)
- 1 July, 1927: the municipality of Ronhof, and Kronach
- 1 July, 1972: the municipality of Sack, including Bislohe, which is north of the Knoblauchsland and is not separately listed in official documents.
- 1 July, 1927: the municipality of Stadeln
- 1 July, 1927: the municipality of Vach (to the north of Fürth, west of the rivers Regnitz and Zenn
- 1 July, 1927: Herboldshof and Steinach, previously parts of the municipality of Boxdorf
In the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the population of Fürth grew slowly, owing to the numerous wars, epidemics and famines. In the Thirty Years War, the town lost about half its population. When Croatian soldiers set fire to Fürth in 1634, it burned for several days, and was almost completely destroyed. At the end of the war, the population was a mere 800. In 1685, Reformed Christians from France, or Huguenots, settled in Fürth. By 1700 the restoration of the town had been completed, and the population rose to about 6000.
With the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century, the population began to increase rapidly. In 1800 Fürth had a population of 12,000; by 1895 it had multiplied fourfold to 47,000. In 1950 the population of the town exceeded 100,000, making it a Großstadt. At the end of 2005, as recorded by the Bavarian Statistical Office (Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung), the population (based on principal residence) was 113,076, a historical record. This makes Fürth the second largest town in Middle Franconia, after Nuremberg, and the seventh largest town in Bavaria. As of 2005, the proportion of foreign nationals in Fürth is about 15 percent.
The following table shows the population of Fürth over time. Up to 1818 the figures are mainly estimates; after that they are mostly based on census results (¹) or official projections from the appropriate statistical offices or the town administration itself.
| 1 December, 1875 ¹
| 1 December, 1880 ¹
| 1 December, 1885 ¹
| 1 December, 1890 ¹
| 2 December, 1895 ¹
| 1 December, 1900 ¹
| 1 December, 1905 ¹
| 1 December, 1910 ¹
| 1 December, 1916 ¹
| 5 December, 1917 ¹
| 8 October, 1919 ¹
| 16 June, 1925 ¹
| 16 June, 1933 ¹
| 17 May, 1939 ¹
| 31 December, 1945
| 29 October, 1946 ¹
| 13 September, 1950 ¹
| 25 September, 1956 ¹
| 6 June, 1961 ¹
| 31 December, 1965
| 27 May, 1970 ¹
| 31 December, 1975
| 31 December, 1980
| 31 December, 1985
| 25 May, 1987 ¹
| 31 December, 1990
| 31 December, 1995
| 31 December, 2000
| 30 December, 2005
¹ Census result
The population of Fürth was originally under the Bishopric of Würzburg
and from 1007 it belonged to the Bishopric of Bamberg
. In 1524, as part of the Reformation
, it became a Protestant
town like Nuremberg, and it remained so for many years. However, because of the connections with Bamberg, there were always some Catholics
in the town.
After 1792, the Protestant congregations in Fürth were under the authority of the Prussian consistory in Ansbach, and when Ansbach was ceded to Bavaria they became part of the Bavarian Protestant Church, which initially comprised Lutheran and Reformed congregations. The congregations later belonged to the Deanery of Zirndorf. In 1885, Fürth became a deanery (Dekanat), subsidiary to Nuremberg.
From the 18th century or earlier, the number of Catholics rose, and in 1829 the first Catholic church since the Reformation was consecrated: the Church of Our Lady. In 1961, Fürth became a Catholic Deanery within the Archdiocese.
The proportion of Protestants to Catholics in the 20th century was about two to one.
The position enjoyed by Jews in Fürth (compared with other towns) led to the sobriquet "Franconian Jerusalem", though this is based on an older, pejoratively intended reference to Fürth.
Jewish residents are mentioned as early as 1440; in 1528 the Margrave of Ansbach, George the Pious, permitted two Jews, Perman und Uriel, to settle in Fürth (in return for high taxes), and from then on the number of Jewish residents increased.
By the 17th century, there was a local Yeshiva (Talmudic academy) of considerable repute, and in 1617, a synagogue was built. In 1653, the first Jewish hospital in Germany (and Fürth's first hospital) was built.
When Emperor Leopold I deported the Viennese Jews in 1670, many upper-class Jewish families moved to Fürth, and by 1716 there were about 400 Jewish families in the town. In 1807, the proportion of Jews in the overall population was about 19%. Following the Mediatization and the Bavarian Judenedikt (Jewish Edict) of 1813 , there were more restrictions on Jews. In particular, the Matrikelparagraph provisions prevented Jewish immigration. In 1824, the Talmudic academy was closed. The Bavarian Judenedikt of 1813, with its restrictions on Jewish life and Jewish immigration was rescinded by the law of 29 June, 1851, and further laws dated 16 April, 1868, and 22 April, 1871, which led to further emancipation of the Jews, and restrictions on residence were removed. By 1840, there were 2535 Jews living in Fürth, more than half of all Bavarian Jews.
In 1862, a Jewish primary school was founded, followed by a secondary school in 1882. The highest number of Jewish residents was reached in 1880, at about 3,300.
The synagogue was destroyed in the Reichskristallnacht, during the pogroms of November 1938. Of the Jews that remained in Fürth after the pogroms, many were later deported.
After the end of the Second World War, a Displaced persons camp for Jewish "displaced persons" was established in Fürth (Finkenschlag), and in 1945 it housed 850 inhabitants; it was dissolved in July 1950.
There is a memorial to the Jewish community in the Geleitsgasse square, just off Königstrasse. Archaeologists discovered a Mikvah (ritual bath) in a house in the centre of Fürth, and this building now houses the Jewish Museum of Franconia, which opened in 1998.
The old Jewish cemetery (Weiherstraße), which was created in 1607, is one of the oldest in Germany. It suffered considerable destruction and desecration during the Nazi regime and the Second World War but was restored in 1949 and is now one of the best preserved Jewish cemeteries in Germany. A new Jewish cemetery was created in 1880, and this has been in use from 1906 to the present day.
The "Nature Trail for Urban Ecology" was established in 1999 (3 km, 10 stops) and expanded in 2003 to include a second route (7 km, 10 stops). Both tours begin at the Stadthalle underground railway station
. Along the nature trail, different habitats and their importance for the flora and fauna of the area are explained (e.g. the churchyard of St. Michael's Church, the municipal cemetery, Scherbsgraben stream). The trail references the designation of some areas as protected areas
, and explains problems of measures that affect the environment, such as river regulation.
Average sunshine duration is 1766 hours per year.
The Gustav-Adolph natural spring, near Weikershof, by the River Rednitz was restored in 2000 and a pavilion was erected. Until the 1980s, the spring water, which comes out of the ground at 19°C, was used for a swimming pool.
Coat of arms
The Fürth coat of arms
depicts a green trefoil
) on a white (argent) background. The town colours are green and white. The trefoil first appeared on a seal of the governor of the city for the Bamberg Diocese, which depicted a trefoil held by a hand and between two crescents. Its origin is unclear, but the trefoil probably represents the three powers responsible for Fürth during the Middle Ages
as well as being a symbol of the Trinity. From 1792 onward, there were three trefoils on a triple hill. In 1818, the town acquired a new coat of arms depicting a green trefoil surrounded by an oak branch (acorned). This coat of arms was retained for over 100 years. However, in 1939, the oak branch was removed. At that time, a new flag was introduced; it had two green stripes on a green background and the coat of arms on a green background on the upper part. Later, however, the flag was simplified to the colours white (below) and green (above).
Until the end of the 18th century, the administration of Fürth was in the hands of a representative of the Diocese of Bamberg. Fürth was transferred to Bavaria in 1806; in 1808 it was made a "class II" city and was under the direct authority of the state. From 1818 Fürth became a "class I" city; this meant that it was responsible for its own administration.
Since 2002 Thomas Jung, (SPD), has been the First Mayor.
Fürth is twinned with the following towns or districts:
Economy and infrastructure
As of October 2006, unemployment in Fürth was 10.1 percent.
The toy industry is a major factor in the economy of Fürth, housing a variety of toy-makers from small crafts to large industrial enterprises.
Brewing was once important in Fürth. The five large breweries were Humbser, Geismann, Grüner, Evora & Meyer, and Berg Bräu. Around the turn of the last century, Fürth was more important than Munich as a "beer town".
Quelle, the largest mail-order company in Europe, is based in Fürth.
Fürth is also a centre of solar energy technology. The non-profit organization Solid, a centre for information on and demonstration of solar technology, is based there. Since the end of 2004, during the day when the sun shines, an average of two Megawatts of electricity are fed into the grid by Infra Fürth, the local energy utility, using photovoltaic technology. The plant in Atzenhof, on a former landfill, produces 1 MW, the largest share. In 2004, an additional 31 units were added to the existing 103 units.
In 2003, a new pumping station was built by the River Regnitz, near the confluence of the Pegnitz and the Rednitz. It provides artificial irrigation to the Knoblauchsland market garden area to the north-east of the city.
In 1914, an aerodrome was built at Atzenhof for the Third Bavarian Army Corps, which was extended in the following years. After the First World War, it became "Fürth–Nuremberg" international airport, which saved it from being completely dismantled. Fürth-Nuremberg Airport was the eighth largest of the 88 German airports. The importance of the airport increased further when Junkers transferred first its central repair workshop, and then the final assembly line for its aircraft from Dessau to Fürth.
In 1928, the town of Nuremberg took over the main share of the airport's operations. Until civil aviation operations ended in 1933, the airport was called "Nuremberg-Fürth". It was later replaced by a larger airport in the Marienberg district of Nuremberg.
Under the Nazis, the airport at Atzenhof was expanded and used as a flying school. After Fürth was occupied by Allied troops, the US Army used the site as a barracks, until 1993. The US Army built the "Monteith Barracks" golf course on the site and maintained the historic buildings.
The first railway line
with steam trains in Germany was between Fürth and Nuremberg, and opened on December 7 1835
. The locomotive, named Adler
(Eagle) was built in Newcastle
, the builder of the famous Rocket
Nuremberg and Fürth are joined by an underground railway (subway)
See also: Fürth Hauptbahnhof, Nuremberg U-Bahn
A canal between Bamberg and Nuremberg started operation in 1843. There was a port at Poppenreuth. A new canal with a port in Fürth, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal
, was completed in 1992, creating a navigable connection from the Rhine delta in Rotterdam to the Danube Delta on the Black Sea.
Local public transport
Public transport is managed by Infra Fürth
The Fürther Nachrichten
is published daily
. It was first published in 1946 as a local page in Nürnberger Nachrichten
; today it is a separate newspaper but is in fact the same newspaper as Nürnberger Nachrichten
with some additional sections for the town and the rural district of Fürth, respectively.
Another publishing company in Fürth is Computec Media AG, which has a number of publications in the field of electronic entertainment.
Companies in Fürth
The mail-order business Quelle, now merged with Karstadt to form KarstadtQuelle
, was founded by Gustav Schickedanz
on 26 October
. KarstadtQuelle Versicherungen, an insurance arm, was created in 1984.
Grundig had its headquarters and a number of manufacturing plants in Fürth, from the time the company was founded until the middle of 2000. The former headquarters on Kurgartenstraße was converted into a technology park ("Uferstadt Fürth"), and it now accommodates Technikum Neue Materialien (an institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft that conducts research into new materials), Sellbytel (a call centre operation), Computec Media AG, and the Radio Museum.
Siemens AG, based in Munich has several locations in Fürth.
Uvex headquarters and a manufacturing unit are in Fürth.
The toy manufacturers Simba-Dickie-Group (Simba, Dickie, BIG) and Bruder are based in Fürth.
Faurecia, the largest automotive components supplier in France, has a research and development centre for exhaust technology in the Stadeln area of Fürth.
In Fürth, there are a total of 22 elementary schools
. There are also 3 high schools (gymnasia
), in order of foundation: Hardenberg-Gymnasium (1833), Heinrich-Schliemann-Gymnasium (1896), and Helene-Lange-Gymnasium (1907). There are two "commercial" schools (Wirtschaftsschule/Realschule): the Hans Böckler School and the Leopold Ullstein School; there are also a number of vocational schools.
The siting of Erlangen-Nuremberg University's Central Institute for New Materials and Process Technology in Fürth in 2004 makes Fürth a university town.
At Scherbsgraben, there was an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, a diving pool with a 10-metre tower, a large pool for non-swimmers and a sauna. The 50-year old facilities are currently being completely renovated. When finished, as well as the open-air pool, which was opened in June 2006 with restricted operation, there will also be a new thermal spa (called Fürthermare), which is to open at the end of 2007. When finished, the complex will no longer be run by the municipal authorities but will be completely privatized.
Fürth has a municipal library, with a number of branches; since 2003 it has been possible to access the catalogue via the Internet. There is a town archive in Burgfarrnbach.
Culture and sights
The municipal theatre (Stadttheater Fürth
) was built by the Viennese theatre architects Fellner & Helmer in the Italian Renaissance and Baroque styles. It is very similar to the municipal theatre of the Ukrainian town of Chernivtsi
, which was designed by the same architects.
Another playhouse, the Comödie Fürth, is now housed in the Jugendstil building known as the Berolzheimerianum. Regular appearances are made by the Franconian cult comedians Volker Heißmann and Martin Rassau, better known by their alter egos Waltraud and Mariechen. The playhouse hosts other appearances by German stars of comedy theatre.
Pubs, restaurants, shopping etc.
Fürth's main district for eating out and drinking is around the Gustavstraße, which is in the Old Town, near the Rathaus. There are many small pubs, cafés and cocktail bars, as well as restaurants serving Franconian cuisine.
Shopping facilities in Fürth include the City Center mall as well as many retail shops and an open market.
Fürth survived the Second World War with less damage than most German cities, and many historic buildings remain. Fürth has a very high density of historic buildings and monuments per head of population (17 per 1000 inhabitants).
The city centre is typified by the streets with intact architecture from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the old town, around the Church of St. Michael, there are ensembles of buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Of particular note is the Hornschuch Promenade with Gründerzeit and Jugendstil apartment houses. The Südstadt, the southern part of the town, also has many historic buildings, but these tend to be former workers' tenements, so the house fronts are less grand.
The Rathaus, built in the Italian style by Friedrich Bürklein between 1840 and 1850, is modelled on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
- The Jewish Museum in Franconia' (Königstraße 89), which also has a branch in Schnaittach, was opened in 1999. The main part of the house goes back to the 17th century; Jewish families lived here until the late 19th century. The stucco ceilings, a historic Sukkah and a Mikvah in the basement have remained intact. The museum is also meant to be a meeting place, and has a bookshop and a cafeteria.
- Fürth Radio museum (Kurgartenstraße 37)
- Stadtmuseum (Municipal/Town Museum), now at Schloss in Burgfarrnbach, but soon to move to the old Leopold-Ullstein schoolhouse
- The kunst galerie fürth (Königsplatz 1), which was opened at the end of 2002, is a place for modern art, with varying exhibitions.
- The Jakob-Henle-Haus houses a collection of dialysis technology.
Church of St. Michael is the oldest building in Fürth. Its beginnings go back to around 1100, the 45-metre (150 ft) tower was added around 1400 at the beginning of the Late Gothic period, and most of the building work was carried out in the 15th century. The interior of the church is mainly Neo-Gothic in character, with most of the Late Gothic ornaments having been replaced in the 19th century. The only remaining late Gothic ornament is the tabernacle
on the North wall; it is 6.8 metres (22 ft 4 in) high and was probably created around 1500-1510 by artists near to Adam Kraft
. It is the church's most valuable work of art.
The Catholic Church of Our Lady (1824-1828) is a Classical building, as is the Protestant "Church of the Resurrection" (1825/26), originally belonging to the cemetery and therefore aligned in a north-south direction. In the Südstadt area are the Neo-Gothic Church of St. Paul and the Neo-Baroque Church of St. Henry and Kunigunde. Other churches include the Catholic Church of Christ the King (Christkönig), which was built in the 1970s.
The renovated Liershof
was built in 1621 as a two-story stone-block building with high house ends and a two-story timber-framed spire.
The Lochnersche Gartenhaus (Theaterstraße 33) was built about 1700; the polygonal staircase tower was probably added about 1750.
Fürth Rathaus (Town Hall), with its 55 m high tower in the Italian style, was built in 1840-50 by Georg Friedrich Christian Bürklein with the help of Eduard Bürklein, both students of Friedrich von Gärtner. The tower is modelled on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and is now the main landmark of Fürth. The Rathaus was built after Fürth was granted the right to self-administration.
The station building of the historic main rail station was designed by Eduard Rüber and built in 1863/1864.
The former abattoir, now a "cultural" centre is to be found below the Stadthalle near the River Rednitz.
On the Schwabacher Straße is a brewery with buildings from the beginning of the 20th century.
The Gauklerbrunnen, (2004), created by Harro Frey at the Grüner Markt is the most recent fountain in Fürth; it comprises 3 independent groups of figures, two of which are connected by water elements.
(municipal park) is by the Pegnitz and there is a gradual transition to the water meadows further down the river. As well as paths and park benches, the park offers duck ponds, a children's playground, a minigolf course, a rose garden, a grassland orchard laid out in 2001, a few statues, and a botanical educational (school project) garden.
In the latter half of 2004 the Südstadtpark, on a former barracks, was opened to the public.
- May: Burgfarrnbach fair (Bürgerfest)
- Spring and Autumn: Grafflmarkt flea market
- Summer: Fürth Festival (in town centre)
- Summer: Hardhöhe festival
- Summer: saints' day fairs in various locations (fairs to celebrate the consecration of the local church)
- September/October: Michaeliskirchweih fair. This is one of the largest of such events in Bavaria, and also the largest and most important festivals in Fürth, it has been going on for more than 800 years. It starts on September 29 (Michaelmas), if it is a Saturday, or on the first Saturday following September 29). It usually lasts 12 days. In 2007 it will last 16 days in celebration of Fürth's 1000th anniversary.
- December: Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt) at Fürther Freiheit
- December: Old Town Christmas (Altstadtweihnacht) organized by the Old Town Association ( Altstadtverein) at Waagplatz.
Prizes awarded by the town of Fürth
Every two years, since 1996, Fürth has awarded the Jakob-Wassermann prize, a prize for literature in honour of Fürth's famous author Jakob Wassermann
Sport and leisure
In the sporting world, Fürth came to fame through its football club SpVgg Fürth
, which was German football
champion three times. Since merging with the football section of TSV Vestenbergsgreuth the club is now called SpVgg Greuther Fürth
. The club is currently (2006/2007) playing in the Second National League (2. Bundesliga).
The football stadium is in Ronhof.
The baseball team Fürth Pirates was promoted to the premier national baseball league in 2002 and became vice-champion in the 2004 season.
The largest public barbecue area within Fürth is on the Rednitz, near the railway line to Würzburg
and the swimming pool. It is shaded by trees and has barbecue facilities and fixed seating.
There are minigolf courses in the Stadtpark, by the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, near Burgfarrnbach, and by the Pegnitz, a little upstream from the confluence with the Rednitz and near the municipal cemetery.
Notable people associated with Fürth
- Sandra Bullock (1964- ; lived in Fürth), actress
- Ludwig Erhard (1897–1977; born in Fürth), former German chancellor
- Henry Kissinger (1923- ; born in Fürth), former Secretary of State of the United States
- Julius Ochs (1826-1888; born in Fürth), father of Adolph Ochs, publisher of New York Times
- Jakob Wassermann (1873-1934; born in Fürth), writer and novelist
- Kraft-Alexander zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen (1925-2006; died in Fürth), actor and artistic director
- Georg Dehio: Handbuch der deutschen Kunstdenkmäler. Bayern. Bd I. Franken. Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1999, P.363ff. ISBN 3422030514
- Adolf Schwammberger: Fürth von A bis Z. Ein Geschichts-Lexikon. Fürth 1968.
- Gerd Walther (Hrsg.): ''Fürth - Die Kleeblattstadt - Rundgänge durch Geschichte und Gegenwart". Städtebilder-Verlag, Fürth 1991. ISBN 3-927347-22-1
- Gerd Walther: Die Fürther Altstadt rund um Sankt Michael. Fürth 1990. ISBN 3-927347-21-3
- Andrea Sommer: Die Fürther Südstadt. 4 parts. in: Fürther Heimatblätter. Published by the Verein für Heimatforschung Alt-Fürth. NF 39.1989, P.1, NF 40.1990, P.1, NF 40.1990, P.81 und NF 41.1991, P.10.
- Ralf Nestmeyer: Nürnberg, Fürth, Erlangen. Reisehandbuch. Michael Müller, Erlangen 2006. ISBN 3-89953-318-6.
- Deutsches Städtebuch. Handbuch städtischer Geschichte. vol. 5. Bayerisches Städtebuch. T 1. part volume Unter-, Mittel- und Oberfranken. Commissioned by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der historischen Kommissionen and with the support of the Deutscher Städtetag, the Deutscher Städtebund and the Deutscher Gemeindetag, edited by Erich Keyser. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1971.
- Katrin Bielefeldt: Geschichte der Juden in Fürth. Jahrhundertelang eine Heimat. Historische Spaziergänge. Vol. 3. Edited by Geschichte Für Alle e. V. Sandberg-Verlag, Nuremberg 2005. ISBN 3-930699-44-3.