Minden is part of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most densely populated state in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Minden is a major centre of economy, trade and service for an urban hinterland with a population of 450,000. The close by three-lane motorway A2, the railway line Köln-Berlin with Intercity and Intercity Express train stops as well as the crossing of navigable waterways provide ideal transport connections.
Minden itself has a dense population of 800 per square kilometre. The population structure shows 22% children and adolescents under the age of 21. 60.8 % of the people living in Minden are between 22 and 65 and 17.2 % are older than 65 years old.
History and tradition
Minden was first mentioned in connection to Emperor Charlemagne who in 798 held a realm convention in a geographically favourable place called Minda, and in 799 founded the diocese Minden. Much older settlements of Celtic origin were excavated in Päpinghausen, suburb of Minden.
Minden became the economic centre of the region when market rights, coinage prerogative and the right to issue tariffs were granted. It can look back on a 1,000 year market tradition and more of 700 years of coining money by order of the local sovereign. Minden is one of the founding members of the Hanseatic League (Hanse).
A new era in the history of the city began in 1648 after the end of the Thirty Years War. That period of time was shaped by Brandenburg-Prussian military and civil service. Another important year in the history of Minden was 1873: the fortifications were slighted.
At the beginning of the 20th century an increasing number of industrial enterprises and trade firms settled in Minden. In 1915/16 the construction of the Mittelland Canal was finished and the city at the River Weser got access to the European canal system.
The celebration with the longest tradition is the biannual Mindener Freischießen. This shooting competition is celebrated according to historic rules and regulations and is organised by the Citizens Battalion. The next one will be held from July 31st to August 3rd 2014.
Economy and private Enterprise:
In the past decades Minden developed into a dynamic business location dominated by metal processing, chemical-, paper-, wood- and synthetic fibre industries as well as worldwide operating businesses in the fields of electrical engineering and food products.
About 11,715 enterprises have their place of business in Minden today. Of the 35,000 job positions in the city about 13,000 are in production, 12,000 in trade and 10,000 in all other areas, especially in public services.
Sights and Cultural Attractions:
Dominant in Mindens centre are medieval churches, handsome homes and grand merchant houses. Numerous buildings including the present Prussia Museum (former defence barracks) on Simeon Place as well as the Provisions Magazine on Martini Church Square originate from the era the Prussian builders Schinkel and Gilly gave distinction.
The upper old town with its half-timbered houses, the city centre with a large number of historic buildings including the 1,200 year old cathedral with a treasury, and the gothic alcove of the oldest city hall in Westphalia, originating form the 13th century, are witnesses to an eventful history. In addition there are gorgeous buildings from the Weser-Renaissance era and the Minden Museum, housed in five half-timbered houses in the old town, as well as the historic Fisher Town. One of a kind in the region is the ship mill which was rebuilt true to the original in 1998 and is in working order. The mill is moored at the Weser Promenade.
The crossing of the Mittelland Canal over the river Weser with an 83 metre long shaft lock and the new canal bridge, opened in 1998, are tourist magnets. The new 370 metres long canal bridge can be visited from the canal bank or by ship.
The Weser cycle path, one of the most frequented biking trails in Europe, goes through Minden. Thousands of bicyclists and tourists visit the city each year.
The city is also well known for its cultural activities. Next to the Prussia Museum and the Minden Museum of History, Regional Studies and Folklore, the Minden Theatre is of importance to the area and has a remarkable attendance. Minden is also a mecca of jazz music, features a cultural entre, the Theatre Am Weingarten, several multifunctional halls, an open air stage and a beach at the River Weser.
Sports, Music and Clubs:
Minden is a stronghold of sports. About 26,200 inhabitants (32.03 %) do sports and are organised in 134 clubs, 26 of those are company facilitated sports clubs. More than 40 different sports are offered by the clubs starting with canoe and high class handball (mens team plays in the 1st German League), archery and baseball. One of the largest water sports events in Europe is the biannual Blaue Band der Weser (Blue Ribbon Weser). The next one will be in 2015.