Solingen is home to about 160.000 inhabitants. The city is located in the federate state of North Rhine- Westphalia (NRW) in the western part of Germany, about 35 km northeast of Cologne and about 30 km southeast of Düsseldorf, the capital of NRW. The airports Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf are just a 30 minute drive away. Furthermore, Solingen is easily accessible by motorways and by high-speed and long-distance trains. Together with the neighbouring cities of Wuppertal and Remscheid, Solingen forms the “Bergische Städtedreieck”, the smallest region in NRW.
Solingen is one of the oldest industrial and commercial cities in Germany. It is known world-wide as the “Klingenstadt” (= city of blades). It is unique in that the name “Solingen” is protected by law as a registered trademark for high quality cutlery and scissors. The world’s largest exhibition of edged weapons, cutlery and scissors can be seen in the “Deutsche Klingenmuseum” (German Museum of Blades).
When you walk through the city you would never believe that Solingen is an old industrial city: so much of the city area is mainly green, and from any point within the city the countryside is no more than ten minutes distant.
“Schloss Burg” and the “Müngstener Brücke” are two major attractions in Solingen that are located quite close to each other. With more than 160.000 visitors a year the stately castle of “Schloss Burg” is a magnet for tourists. Not far from the castle and embedded in the park of Müngsten you can see the “Müngstener Brücke”. It was opened to the traffic in 1897, and to this day the highest railway bridge in Germany is considered a technical masterpiece. Rising 107 metres above the Wupper river, the 500 metres long steel viaduct connects the cities of Solingen and Remscheid. Another feature in local public transport: Solingen has the largest trolley-bus network in Germany with nearly 60 km under wire.
Unique in Germany is the “Zentrum für verfolgte Künste” (Centre of Persecuted Arts), located in the Art Museum. In its exhibition the centre presents an often neglected part of German history, namely the persecution of artists and writers by authoritarian regimes in Nazi Germany, but also in communist East Germany (GDR).
Other unique features are:
- the Central Agency for German Choirs in the world, which is in contact with nearly 600 choirs on all continents
- the “Plagiarius Museum” of product piracy, featuring a collection of items that won the “Plagiarius.” Since 1977 this negative award has been given to makers and distributors of particularly bold product imitations.
Diversity is a part of every day life in Solingen. People from more than 130 different nations live in Solingen, one out of five was not born in Germany. Solingen is committed to a spirit of cooperation of all residents, and with the “Intercultural Master Plan”, which was adopted by the city council in 2001, Solingen was one of the first cities to create a plan with palpable objectives in all fields of integration.
In NRW Solingen is called “the Capital of Integration”, and an annual integration congress is held here by NRW’s Ministry of Integration. A vibrant civil society, a comprehensive cooperation with social welfare associations and with migrant organisations ensure the high quality of cooperation, which is also strengthened by several twinnings between cities and schools. In addition to the further efforts in integration work social inclusion, (E-)mobility, education, employment, climate protection and climate adaptation, prevention and the fight against poverty, civic participation and education for sustainable development are current challenges we have to face.
Around the middle of the twelfth century the Counts of Berg moved to the newly erected castle of “Schloss Burg”. The “Bergische Land” was named after them. Solingen has city rights since 1374. In 1929 it was consolidated with other towns and villages into the City of Solingen. Since the Late Middle Ages and the early modern age Solingen owes its global reputation to swords with the designation of origin “Me fecit Solingen” (lat: Solingen made me). In those days a sword made in Solingen was a suitable present for European aristocracy. This blade making tradition still lives on today, and it is symbolized by two crossed swords in the city arms.
Solingen offers a wide range of learning opportunities, from general schools to vocational colleges, from adult education to the Bergische Universität. The “Zentralfachschule der Deutschen Süßwarenwirtschaft e. V.” (ZDS – Academy of Sweets) is the world’s most prestigious training and development centre for all aspects of the confectionery industry, a fact that is confirmed by the variety of participants from more than 30 nations.
The number of jobs has fallen significantly throughout the last two decades, mainly caused by a decrease in the manufacturing industry and a relatively weak private and public services sector. But even today, Solingen’s metal working industry is highly regarded and the city is an important location of the galvanic industry. To this day, 90 % of all cutlery companies in Germany are located in Solingen. Apart from the metal industry, automotive supply industry and engineering are important sectors, too. The three neighbouring cities, the Bergische Universität and the regional Chamber of Industry and Commerce have established a special development agency to promote tourism and the economy in the region.
Solingen today is marked by tradition and modernity. While big companies are using computerized machines to manufacture high quality blades, a few grinders are holding up traditional craftsmanship in a 200 year old half-timbered workshop, using water power to turn their grindstones. Anyone walking through the urban area, no matter which path they follow, will repeatedly come across these contrasts: city and country (355 km of hiking trails through and around the City), industry and housing, industrial areas and nature, big shopping malls and small retail stores, high-tech and old-school. That’s what makes our city so charming.
Contact person for Eurotowns
Martin Hückeler, Funding Manager
ph. +49 212 290-2195