Kierspe is a town in the district Märkischer Kreis, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located at the western edge of the Sauerland on Volme River.
In 1003 the small castle 'Haus Rhade', today belonging to Kierspe, was first mentioned in a manuscript. On this basis Kierspe celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 2003. Around 1490 Kierspe became the seat of the Heilige Feme
, an independent jury of commoners with the right to mete out the death penalty. Such Feme
juries were common in Westphalia
at the time.
In 1968, as part of the reorganization of the former district Altena the city of Kierspe was formed by merging the Amt of Kierspe with the municipality of Rönsahl. On January 1, 1969 Kierspe officially obtained city rights.
Coat of arms
The city's coat of arms
was derived from the former coat of arms of the Amt
. It combines symbols for both of the member municipalities - Kierspe and Rönsahl - separated by the red-white checkered bar of the counts of the Mark
. On the bottom of the coat of arms is a red lion with blue claws and tongue, the symbol of the counts of Berg
and taken from the coat of arms of Rönsahl. On the top is a Rauk
, a raven
. It refers to the nickname given to young recruits, who imitated the sound of the raven when first wearing their blue uniform during mustering. The coat of arms was granted to the Amt
on August 20 1936
, and to the city on July 29 1969
. It was designed by Otto Hupp
The coat of arms of the municipality Kierspe was similar to the one of the Amt, except the bottom was a blank yellow field. It was granted on October 17 1935. The coat of arms of the municipality Rönsahl had Saint Servatius in the top, the patron saint of the church in Rönsahl.
Kierspe has been twinned
with the French town Montigny-le-Bretonneux
since 1988. The partnership developed from a long-lasting student exchange of the Gesamtschule Kierspe
with a high school in Montigny-le-Bretonneux.
Connections with Britain
For a number of years the Gesamtschule Kierspe had an English Partnerschule
in the form of St. Aidan's C of E High School in Harrogate, and exchanges would take place between British Year 10 pupils studying German and pupils at the Gesamtschule
of a similar age. This came to an end in the last few years as St. Aidan's changed its system for teaching modern languages and eschewed the exchange link for a trip to the Rhineland for the Year 9 pupils. However, Year 12s from the school still go to Kierspe for two-week long work experiences.