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  • Minden's history

min+din - Minden's foundation legend

The pagan Saxons were fighting against the conquest and the Christianization of the king of the Franks Charlemagne in the 8th century. On the Wiehen Hills the rival chieftain converted to Christianity because of the so called "Quellwunder".
A peace treaty was signed in his castle at the banks of the river Weser and it was then declared "This castle shall from henceforth on be "min" (mine) and "din" (yours)." That's how "Minden" got it's name.

Once upon a time in 798...

... when Charlemagne (Karl der Große) called for an assembly in Minden. Recorded in the Franconian annals, this is the first official mention of Minden and marks the beginning of more than 1200 years of history. In the year 800 Minden got a bishop and its first cathedral.
By 977 Minden enjoyed many privileges including the right to coin money, hold markets, raise customs and to establish a legal court. These laid the foundations for the further development of the town.
The large market place in front of the town hall shows that Minden attracted merchants and craftsmen. In the Middle Ages Minden was part of the Hanseatic League, an extensive federation of trading towns and guilds. These ties to other commercial towns helped Minden to grow and flourish and eventually extensions of the town became necessary.
In Minden an economic boom followed the Reformation. Today you can still find traces of the architecture of that time in the town. There are also quite a few buildings which remind you of the years under Brandenburg-Prussian rule. See the sights and stroll through the centuries!

Minda in the 17th century

The historical map according to a copper engraving by Wenzel Hollar gives an impression of what Minden looked like in the middle of the 17th century. Since then some constructional modifications took place, which did not change the basic structure in a significant way though: Two churches (St. Johannis and St. Paulus) have been abandoned, the estuary of the 'Bastau' has been displaced to the 'Weser', a row of houses between the 'Scharn' and the former Hohn-Street as well as the inner city gardens have vanished.

Minden Wissenswert: Historische Daten

First written mention of Minden in the Franconian Imperial Annals

c. 800
Charlemagne founds the diocese of Minden

Kaiser Otto II awards Bishop Milo of Minden market, coining and tax rights

c. 1230
Minden’s citizens and their council begin trading independently of the bishop, their town and county sovereign

The council decrees a Protestant Church Order

Minden receives the right to free shipping on the River Weser from Kaiser Karl V

Kaiser Ferdinand II awards the town „Stapelrecht” (storage rights): every transport of grain and timber on the Weser has to stop in Minden, where the goods are then offered for sale

During the 30 Years War, Swedish troops occupy Minden and stay until 1650. Prior to this, the town had been occupied by imperial troops since 1625

As part of the Peace of Westphalia, the town and cathedral chapter are awarded to the Elector of Brandenburg

Minden becomes a Prussian administrative centre for the provinces Minden, Ravensberg, Tecklenburg and Lingen

At the Battle of Minden, Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick leads a coalition army (England, Hanover, Brunswick, Schaumburg-Lippe and Prussia) to victory over French and Saxon troops

Minden is occupied by French troops and awarded to the Kingdom of Westphalia

Minden belongs to the French Empire

Minden is recaptured by Prussian troops and receives fortifications

Establishment of the Prussian administrative district of Minden

Opening of the Cologne-Minden railway

The town’s fortified defences are abolished

The Mittelland Canal and its crossing point with the River Weser connect Minden with Germany’s inland navigation system

Minden’s synagogue is destroyed during the so-called Pogrom Night

1943 – 1945
Air raids destroy parts of Minden’s Old Town, including the cathedral and town hall

The district administrative centre is moved from Minden to Detmold

Municipality reform: with the addition of 13 boroughs and 4 communities, Minden’s population swells from 54,000 to 85,000

Celebrations ”1200 Years Minden”

Celebrations ”250th Anniversary Battle of Minden”

Digital Minden

850th anniversary of "Mindener Fürstenhochzeit", the marriage between Henry the Lion and Matilda of Saxony that took place in the cathedral of Minden

Pictures of Minden's history

combined by Hans-Jürgen Amtage