Nordhausen, city (1994 pop. 44,744), Thuringia, central Germany, at the southern foot of the Harz Mts. It is an industrial center and rail junction. Manufactures include clothing, beer and liquor, chewing tobacco, wood products, heavy machinery, and shaft-sinking processes. Nearby are potash mines. Known in the early 10th cent., Nordhausen was chartered in the 12th cent. and was a free imperial city from 1253 to 1803. In 1815 it passed to Prussia. The city was severely damaged in World War II. Noteworthy buildings include the cathedral (12th-13th cent.) and the late Gothic city hall.

Nordhausen is a city at the southern edge of the Harz mountains, in the state of Thuringia, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Nordhausen. It was once known for its tobacco industry, and is still known for its distilled spirit, Nordhäuser Doppelkorn.


The city is first mentioned in a 13 May 927 document of King Henry the Fowler, but an earlier settlement on the site dates back to around 785. In 1220, Emperor Frederick II made it an Imperial Free City, and in 1430 Nordhausen joined the Hanseatic League. In 1500 it became part of the Lower Saxon Circle, and from around the same year the city began producing fermented grain liquor, which became famous under the name Nordhäuser Doppelkorn. In 1523, a year in which Thomas Müntzer spent some time in the city, the Protestant Reformation came to Nordhausen.

After the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, much of Nordhausen's surroundings became part of Brandenburg-Prussia, although the city itself remained independent. During the Napoleonic Wars, Prussian troops occupied Nordhausen on 2 August 1802; the city lost its status as an Imperial Free City during the German Mediatisation. It became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia created in 1807. Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, Nordhausen was included in the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of Saxony created in 1816. Nordhausen was an urban district from 1882-1950.

In 1866 Nordhausen became connected by railway to Halle.

The Mittelbau-Dora Nazi concentration camp was located on the outskirts of town during World War II to provide labor for the Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory in the Kohnstein. On April 3 and 4 April 1945 three-quarters of the town was destroyed by bombing raids of the Royal Air Force, in which around 8,800 people died. Earlier on August 24, 1944, 11 B-17 Flying Fortresses of Mission 568 bombed the airfield at Nordhausen as a target of opportunity. On 11 April 1945, the Americans occupied the city, and on 2 July the Red Army took over.

Nordhausen was part of East Germany from 1949-1990 and was administered within Bezirk Erfurt. After the German reunification of 1990, Nordhausen was made part of the recreated state of Thuringia. Its medieval city center has since been rebuilt. On 1 December 2007, the former municipalities Petersdorf, Rodishain and Stempeda were incorporated by Nordhausen.


Nordhausen has recently made international news due to a major labor dispute. Since 10 July, 2007, 135 employees of the Biria bicycle factory (a subsidiary Bike Systems GmbH) have been occupying the factory and have resumed production, selling the cycles directly to consumers and retailers.

Main sights

  • A 17th-century Statue of Roland, at the outer wall of the Town Hall. It is considered a symbol of the town.
  • The Cathedral of the Holy Cross (Dom „Zum Heiligen Kreuz“). It dates back to a church built in the mid-10th century. In 1220 the church was converted to a cathedral. The building has a late Gothic nave, while the towers, crypt and cloisters are in Romanesque style.
  • The Frauenberger Kirche („St. Maria auf dem Berg“), a Romanesque church.
  • The Petriturm (St Peter's Tower), the remaining tower of a 14th-century church destroyed in 1945.
  • The Kunsthaus Meyenburg, an early 20th-century Jugendstil villa that houses a small museum of contemporary art.
  • The Theater, built in 1917.

Twin cities

The city is twinned with


External links

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