The history of Ahlen is documented in the local museum, based on a first settlement called “villa alna” in 700, there was sacred a church. The heraldic animal is unique; the eel stands for the name and the abundance of water.
The further history is typical “westfälisch”: Ahlen has practiced the municipal law since 1224, it has been a member of the “Hanse” constitution since 14th century and the thirty-years-war led the city near to the bankruptcy.
From the 19th century Ahlen became a strong industrialized city. Different types of industries became more and more important, especially the Emaille-factories. The mining began in the 20th century and ended in the year 2000. Until today there are a lot of infrastructural conditions. For example, there is the heritage protected pit settlement and the “Zeche Westfalen”.
The city is in the process of developing into an economic influential location with strong medium-sized companies, leaving behind its traditional mining past.
The long pedestrian shopping zone is appealing and enjoyable with many shops and food outlets. People in Ahlen appreciate the various cultural attractive propositions. The art museum, the museum “Im Goldschmiedehaus Fischer”, the city gallery, the “Fritz-Winter-Haus” and the local museum have a trans-regional reputation. Due to the “Stadthalle”, the cinema, the music school, the “Bürgerzentrum Schuhfabrik” and some other institutions Ahlen offers lots of different cultural opportunities for different interests. The legendary “Ahlener Stadtfest” will take place for the 27th time this year and attracts people from all around the region.
A well-diversified sport and free time program will leave nothing to be desired. The historic district is the vital point of the city. Around to the city there are housing complexes and green spaces featuring attractive buildings and contemporary architecture.