* distance from downtown
|City of Gifhorn (16 km)|
|Municipality Rötgesbüttel (8 km)|
|Municipality Adenbüttel (2 km)||Municipality Meine (4 km)||City of Wolfsburg (22 km)|
|Municipality Schwülper (5 km)||Eickhorst (2 km)||Vordorf (4 km)|
|City of Braunschweig (14 km)|
The next enlargement was triggered by refugees of the World War II. Many of them removed later further to the west. This was mainly because of the nonexistent possibilities of housing space within the village. The latest enlargement started during suburbanization in the 1990s, activated by new preparations of land for building and the vicinity to several larger cities and highways. Model calculations shows a further growth of population figures during the next decades based on the facts named above.
Other abandoned villages around Rethen are: Dudanroth (1000 n.Chr), Bromhorst (1007 n.Chr.) and Arnsbüttel (never documentary mentioned).
In the latest Scientific published papers (1994), Rethen is considered as a frankish founding, related to the founding of Meine. It is believed, that the Franks founded several settlements while they subdued the Saxons in 8th century. In that century, an important road crossed the, in that time existing, Northforest in east-west direction, supposable in the vicinity of Rethen and Meine. A number of examples were already explored, where several Frankish settlements where assigned to one central village. However, this relation continued just short time. Already in 11th century, the border between the Bishopric of Halberstadt and the Bishopric of Hildesheim divided both villages. Several tryouts of the different Bishops of Hildesheim to take over the Rethen area failed. The border existed for around 500 years, up to the Protestant Reformation.
The first documentary mentioning of Rethen was in the year 1301 by the name Rethene. The document evidence a sale of estate in Rethen. Knight Balduin von Wenden sold his estates in Rethen to the Monastery St. Crucis in Braunschweig. In this era, Rethen was an only agricultural village.
Already around the year 1211 „Heinrich Bethman from Chur in the land of Rhetia“ received the feudality about court, jus patronatus about church and the right of hunting. The documentary mentioning of these rights was firstly found in a document from the year 1383/85. Based on his long-standing experience in the war service Bethmann built his house in the kind of a water castle on an small island in the village pond. During the following decades the village was attacked several times by robber barons. In the years 1308,1380,1381 and 1388 they destroyed Rethen nearly completely. At one of these raids(presumably on the 13th July 1381) also the water castle get destroyed.
Consequently the masters of Rethen left the village after about 150 years of presence and relocated in Braunschweig. Also the left Rethen, they kept the patronage right about Rethen. The family extinct presumably in the 18-th century.After the connection of the parishes of Adenbüttel and Rethen in the first half of the 16-th century, the master von Rethen and the Freiherr von Marenholz (patronage right in Adenbüttel) concerted the patronage right in the combined church municipality. Nevertheless, in the course of the time the right went over more and more to the family of Marenholz. This exercised it up to the death of the last patron (baron of Marenholz-Nolte) in 1969.
In the year 1625, during the Danish intervention in the Thirty Years' War, troops of Emperors Ferdinand II troops took there winter camp near Rethen. Houses and Church were looted and the citizens had to work at sconces construction near Wolfenbüttel. Also in the 1640s lootings are reported more than once, mostly by Swedish soldiers.
The village was spared by the Seven Years' War as well as during the French Revolutionary Wars and was charged only by taxes and war loans. Only worth mentioning is the murdering of a shepherd by French Dragoons in 1758. During the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 as well as during the Franco-Prussian War war in 1870/71 people from Rethen were drawn and returned home without worse injuries.
Living in the village was mainly affected by the changes in agriculture during 19th century. These concerned several reorganisations of the local surface as well as the intensification of husbandry linked with strong deforestation. In the second half of the 19-th century an intensive cultivation of sugar beets starts, strongly favoured by the construction of the sugar beet factory in Meine.
The heaviest bomb attack Rethen experienced on 23rd August 1944 at 11:30 o'clock. Four Gravity bombs came down close-by the village. Besides, a larger amount of Incendiary bombs were thrown down directly above the village and caused several conflagrations. The community building, two stables, three wheat stocks and four residential buildings were torched down completely. Fires in other buildings could be extinguished by the inhabitants themselves. Fire brigades from the whole Papenteich and Braunschweig appeared. In spite of the massive attack, no people came to damage.
On 10th April 1945 American soldiers, coming from Peine, occupied Rethen peacefully. The military order to the Volkssturm to defend the village was refused and the weapons were sunk in the village pond. Most American soldiers stayed just a few days and only a small part remained for one quarter.
With the changes of the 20th century the Low Saxon dialect disappeared more and more. After World War II it was displaced completely by standard German.
|Atheism and others||rest||30%|
Since Protestant Reformation people in Rethen were part of the Lutheranism church and highly affected by the ecclesiastical life.
First changes were noted in the early 19th century. Until then 350 people visited the worship in average. This number reduced during the next decades (1938: 100people) to the nowadays level of 70 (1990s). Likewise the percentage of Protestant interest in the whole population decreased from 91% to 61%.
Following voluntary associations and institutions are situated in Rethen:
In 1995, during farming activities, a Megalithic tomb (Dolmen) was found within the Rethen district (near the Maaßel forest). Six (rather small) stones form an arrangement, straightened in east-west direction. Based on investigations of the local archaeological department, the tomb is dated on 3,000 B.C. It is assumed, that the arrangement was a collective grave, build as a kind of cottage. The Neolithic settlement belonging to the grave is supposed in a vicinity of about 3 km.
The grave is probably a disturbed arrangement, which was coverer earlier with wood or stones. Some bigger stones as well as the cover were probably removed in former times and used, e.g., for the building of a house. The arrangement was made accessible and handed over to the public in 1996. The Rethen Dolmen was the first known Megalithic tomb in the district of Gifhorn.
Kindergarten: In the year 1992 a Kindergarten was establishes opposite to the sports field. During the antecedent centuries children from Rethen visited the Kindergartens in the surrounding villages and cities. Operator of the Kindergarten is the “Kindergarten Vordorf e. V.“. The Kindergarten offers places for up to 50 children in two age-mixed groups.
In 1970 Rethen and 14 other municipalities formed the Samtgemeinde Papenteich with the administrative centre in Meine. In this time Rethen was still an independent municipality. The union with Vordorf and Eickhorst followed under the new name “Gemeinde Vordorf” (Municipality Vordorf) with the election of the first municipality council at June 28, 1974.