Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 (June 2006).
Dessau is situated on a floodplain where the Mulde flows into the Elbe. This causes yearly floods. The worst flood took place in the year 2002, when the Waldersee district was nearly completely flooded. The south of Dessau touches a well-wooded area called Mosigkauer Heide. The highest elevation is a 110m high former rubbish dump called Scherbelberg in the southwest of Dessau. Dessau is surrounded by numerous parks and palaces that ranks Dessau as one of the greenest towns in Germany.
Dessau was first mentioned in 1213. It became an important centre in 1570, when the principality of Anhalt
was founded. Dessau became the capital of this state within the Holy Roman Empire
. Anhalt was dissolved in 1603, but Dessau remained a prosperous town, and became the capital of the mini-state of Anhalt-Dessau
. When Anhalt was reunified in 1863 as the duchy of Anhalt-Dessau, Dessau became the capital again and remained so until 1918.
Dessau is famous for its college of architecture Bauhaus. It moved here in 1925 after it had been forced to close in Weimar. Many famous artists were lecturers in Dessau in the following years, among them Walter Gropius, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. The Nazis forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1931, and it was not reopened until 1986.
The city was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids in World War II on March 7th, 1945 - just a few days before American troops occupied the town. Afterwards it was rebuilt with typical GDR concrete slab architecture and became a major industrial centre of East Germany. Since German reunification in 1990 many historic buildings have been restored.
The composer Kurt Weill was born in Dessau. Since 1993 the city has hosted an annual Kurt Weill Festival. Dessau was also the birthplace of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (in 1729), and Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (der alte Dessauer), a lauded field marshal for the Kingdom of Prussia.
Castles and gardens
There are several examples of Bauhaus
architecture in Dessau, some of them included in the UNESCO World Heritage
. The Bauhaus
College itself was constructed after drafts by Walter Gropius
- Bauhaus Dessau Museum, with audiovisual guidance
- Masters' Houses
- Dessau-Törten Estate with co-op Building and House of Steel, Laubenganghouses and Fieger House
- Grain House, constructed by Carl Fieger in 1930 as a restaurant, still in operation
- Employment Office
- St. Mary's Church
- St. John's Church
- Propsteikirche St. Peter and Paul
- St. Josef
- Townhall, built in 1901
- The Palaces of Waldersee and Dietrich, today they are used as libraries
- General Post Office
- New Water Tower
- Umweltbundesamt (formerly Wörlitzer Bahnhof)
- Footbridge crossing the river Mulde
Theatres and museums
- Anhalt Theatre including Gregor Seyffert & Compagnie
- City History Museum
- Anhalt Art Gallery at Georgium Palace with Park
- Mosigkau Palace Museum
- Luisium Castle Museum with Park
- Oranienbaum Palace Museum with Park
- Museum of Natural- and Prehistory
- Moses Mendelssohn - Zentre
- Hugo Junkers Technical Museum
- UCI Cinema Complex
- Kiez-Cinema (one of the smallest Cinemas in Germany)
- Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (daily newspaper, Monday-Saturday)
- Wochenspiegel (free newspapper on Wednesday) and Supersonntag (free newspaper on Sunday)
- REGJO (quarterly Economy Journal for the Region of Leipzig/Halle)
- leo (monthly, regional Event- and Culture Magazine)
- local Studios of the MDR and SAW (Radiostations)
- local TV Stations: RAN 1 and Offener Kanal Dessau
Dessau owns a tramway
system with three lines and several buses with numerous lines. The public transport is organized by a company named “DVG”, every year they transport around 6 million people.
Dessau has a main train station with connections to Magdeburg
and Lutherstadt Wittenberg
. Dessau was connected to the railroad in 1840. The Dessau-Bitterfeld line, opened in the year 1911, was the first fully electrified railroad. Dessau was part of the InterCity
long distance network until the year 2002. Regional trains also stop at the stations Dessau-Süd, Dessau-Alten, Dessau-Mosigkau and Rodleben. The Dessau-Wörlitzer-Eisenbahn (railroad) connects Dessau to Wörlitz
, a town situated 15km to the east, and the Wörlitzer Park
. Starting point of this railroad is the main train station. This train also stops at the stations Dessau-Waldersee and Dessau-Adria.
In 1938 the autobahn A9 (Munich-Berlin) was built southeast of the town area. The two exits to Dessau on the A9 are called "Dessau-Ost" and "Dessau-Süd". Dessau is also crossed by the "Bundesstrassen" (federal roads) B 184 and B 185.
of Dessau is situated northwest of the town between the districts Kleinkühnau, Alten and Siedlung. A destination with a charter airplane is possible. The runway has a length of 1000m. The Hugo Junkers
Technical Museum is situated in the neighbourhood (directly east) of the airfield, which has the eastern end of the modern runway almost directly abutting the historical World War II Junkers factory airstrip's western end.
Today the “Leopoldshafen” (harbour) is used for the annual international motorboat racings. The “Wallwitzhafen” is used as a private sportboat harbour and the “Elbehafen” near the Grain House is used for cruisers. The next harbour for goods is situated in Rosslau
Dessau is perfectly appropriated for biking
. The bike roads have a length of about 146 km and guide you to all the parks and sights.
Sports like Soccer, Cycling, Handball, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Table-Tennis and Tennis have a long tradition and are very popular in Dessau. The former soccer team "SG Waggonbau Dessau" won the GDR
soccer cup in 1949. The handball team played in the GDR
"Oberliga" and since 1990 they are playing in the 1st and 2nd "Bundesliga". Actually Dessau has around 80 sport clubs with over 13.500 members.
Next to the traditional sports Dessau has active sport clubs in the following disciplines: Aikido, Badminton, Basketball, Canoeing, Chess, Climbing, Cross-Buttock, Cycling, Dancing, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Karate, Judo, Ju-Jutsu, Motorboat, Rowing, Speedskating, Sailing, Skittles, Skydiving, Squash, Swimming, Water Polo and a few more.
- Numerous Sports Fields (more than 10)
- Skittle Alleys (6)
- Tennis Courts (3)
- Boathouses (3)
- Indoor Swimming Pools (2)
- Paul-Greifzu-Stadion (for 22.000 viewers)
- Speedskating Course
- Climbing Tower Zuckerturm
- Anhalt Arena Dessau (for 3.600 viewers)
- Airfield Dessau
- Rifle Range
Events in 2007
- June 1 - 9th International Athletics Meeting "ANHALT 2007" (Official EAA-Outdoor-Permit-Meeting)
- June 17th - Volleyball "European League", Germany vs. Spain
- July 7th and 8th - 44th International Motorboat Race
- July 23th - Friendly Soccer Game "FC Energie Cottbus vs. Leeds United"
- August 19th - Handball-Champions-Cup
- September 1st - 10th Colour Festival
- September 2nd - 7th Dessauer Cycling Race
- September 23th - 9th International City-Run of Dessau
The borough of Dessau is mentioned first in 1372. The Head of the Town called "Schultheiss" was constituted by the Earl. Together with a few assessors the "Schultheiss" formed the Town Council. As of 1372 the Town Council was divided in 2 agencies. As of 1600 in three agencies and as of 1785 again in two agencies. The "Schultheiss" of Dessau changed nearly every year until the Town Council Constitution was cancelled in 1832. Afterwards Dessau became a Town Council and a Town Delegation Constitution. Since 1852 the Head of the Town is called Mayor. During the National Socialism the Mayor was constituted by the party (NSDAP). After the 2nd World War the Soviets formed an Executiv Council with a Mayor. The Town Council Constitution was elected by the people. Since the German reunification this committee is elected free. And since 1994 it's called "Stadtrat" (Town Council). The Mayor is directly elected by the people since 1994.
The Town Council (Stadtrat)
Consists of the following parties: (Local Elections from April 22nd 2007)
- Lord Mayor: 1 Seat
- CDU: 13 Seats
- Die Linke: 10 Seats
- SPD: 8 Seats
- FDP: 4 Seats
- Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: 2 Seats
- Bürgerliste: 3 Seats
- Freie Wähler: 1 Seats
- DVU: 1 Seat
- Neues Forum: 3 Seats
- WG Pro Dessau-Rosslau: 5 Seats
- Argenteuil, France, since 1959
- Klagenfurt, Austria, since 1971
- Ludwigshafen, Rhineland-Palatinate, since 1988
- Gliwice, Poland, since 1992
- Ibbenbüren, North Rhine-Westphalia
- Roudnice nad Labem, Czech Republic
- Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (Architecture, Facility Management, Design and Geoinformatics)
- Learning Centre from the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Halle/ Dessau)
- Anhalt Vocational School Centre Hugo Junkers I, II and III (Chapon-School)
- Grammar School "Walter Gropius"
- Grammar School "Liborius"
- Grammar School "Philantropinum"
Dessau is part of the EU-URBAN programme. This programme is based on the integrated approach that is used for tackling the environmental, economical and social problems, affecting the deprived urban areas. There are several projects
in Dessau sponsored via this subsidy.
- Thomas Kretschmann, Hollywood actor
- Dieter Hallervorden, famous comedian and singer, honorary citizen of Dessau
- Hugo Junkers, first airplane totally made from metal - founded the Junkers & Co-airplane-factory which was europes biggest airplane-factory during World War II (e g Junkers Ju 52, Junkers G.38, Ju87 Stuka)
- Johannes Winkler, launched the first liquid-fuelled rocket in Europe at Dessau airfield
- Pedigrees of Dessauer, such as Josef Dessauer
- Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau
- Heinrich Schwabe, astronomer remembered for his work on sunspots
- Moses Mendelssohn, philosopher, father of Haskalah
- Wilhelm Müller, famous for the Lieder of Franz Schubert
- Kurt Weill, composer