Explore the Hanseatic city Wipperfürth

The town of Wipperfürth, which was first mentioned in records in 1131, can look back on a long and changeful history. The town’s name stems from a ford through the river Wupper, which was still called Wipper at that point. The area around this ford quickly became a hub for trading and doing business since important trade routes from Cologne to Westphalia as well as from the Siegerland to the lower Wupper valley intersected there.

Soon after trading had started the production of cloth and metal goods emerged because the Wupper was also an ideal source of energy. Cloth from Wipperfürth was considered a hallmark of the city in previous centuries.

A boom period and prosperity were the reasons for the granting of the city rights in the year 1217 which makes Wipperfürth the oldest town in the region Bergisches Land. The Earl Engelbert von Berg who was also the archbishop of Cologne is considered to be the founder of the town of Wipperfürth.

Wipperfürth later became a hanseatic town, particularly due to the presence of the hanseatic merchant family de Wolde. Together with merchants from Cologne, Dortmund and Attendorn, they can be found on several lists of the 14th century that recorded customs payouts, customs seizures, staple duties and loans. The significance of Wipperfürth at that time was further underlined by the fact that the Counts von Berg had coins minted there from 1275 onwards for approximately 100 years. Until 1450, the success of cloth production in medieval trade as well as the foundation of their own trading station in Nowgorod was testimony to the economic power of the hanseatic town of Wipperfürth.

Wipperürth’s long tradition requires a cautious handling of its historic heritage that has been preserved with care:the parish church, the fountain on the market square whose origin dates back to the year 1331 and the remains of the ancient town wall are the most remarkable witnesses of stone in Wipperfürth’s long history.

Over the centuries the city was destroyed - sometimes in whole, sometimes in part and last in 1795 - several times by fires, plunderings and repressive measures as a result of warlike events. Despite all the blows of fate and hardship the citizens of Wipperfürth would not allow themselves to be beaten down and always succeeded in making a fresh start.

Wipperfürth’s significance in the past becomes evident when one considers that the town had been a district town from 1816 onwards. In 1932 the district Wipperfürth was cancelled out and - together with the district of Mülheim - made the “Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis”. In the wake of a communal restructuring in 1975 Wipperfürth was joined together with the rural communities Klüppelberg and Wipperfeld and made a new city. It became part of the “Oberbergischer Kreis” with Gummersbach as the main town of the district. Today half of the 23, 500 inhabitants (on 118, 16 km²) live in the city centre and the surrounding residential areas. The other half resides in small villages and hamlets which are sometimes quite remotely located all around the city.

Wipperfürth today

Wipperfürth is a mid-sized town that facilitates important functions for a much larger area with about 50,000 inhabitants. Although it has been a member of the administrative district of Oberberg since 1991, Wipperfürth has its own local construction authority and youth welfare office. Providing administration, services and schooling for such a large area Wipperfürth fulfils functions that radiate far beyond the town boundaries. Thus the town accommodates the county court, the police station, an employment exchange, a notary’s office, a testing unit of the Technical Inspection Agency and a hospital for 190 patients.

In addition to seven elementary schools there is a secondary school, an intermediate school, two grammar schools and the vocational school centre of the administrative district into which the technical school and two special schools are integrated.

Serving the purpose of vocational and further training one can find a family education centre, the local department of the adult education centre, a public library, five libraries of the Catholic church and a music school that offers a broad range of courses. All in all, 13 kindergartens prepare the youngest children for the serious side of life.

With more than 7.500 jobs Wipperfürth is also a strong business location in the region with mainly medium-sized companies and craftman’s enterprises. However, the trade and the service sector play a role as well and the highly productive agricultural sector is still an economic factor in the region, too. The city centre is popular for its shopping opportunities and offers a wide variety of shops, retailers and a hardware store. Each Friday the weekly town market attracts customers from the surrounding towns and cities.

Wipperfürth is well connected to the German Autobahn network by the A1, A3 and A45 and thus an important connecting link to the major cities on the Rhine and Ruhr. These cities are easy to reach from Wipperfürth. Wipperfürth has its own landing strip for smaller aircrafts. International airports like Cologne/Bonn or Dusseldorf are only 50 or 60 kilometers away.

Free time and relaxation

Life in Wipperfürth is marked by a high value of local recreation due to its attractive landscape of low mountain range. Therefore it offers a very high quality of life. Several famous artificial lakes attract the tourists as a local holiday spot. More than one quarter of the area is covered by forests. Widely-distributed trails for hiking and biking as well as parking facilities invite the tourists to spend their free time actively, e.g. swimming pools, saunas, sports centres, clubs for horse riding, tennis and golf are available. Afterwards one can pass the time in one of the cosy restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours; many of them equipped with beer gardens. Just like larger cities like Düsseldorf, Wipperfürth is famous for its pubs which can be found in great numbers in the city centre. People know how to celebrate throughout the year, e.g. the Rhineland carnival, the marksmen’s festival and the Christmas market.

Each year, there are three fairs in the town centre, organized by the municipal retail trade´s association: the “Hanse- und Frühlingsfest” (mid-May), the “Stadtfest” (3rd weekend of September) and the medieval market (in November). During these days Wipperfürth invites its visitors to numerous exhibitons, performances and concerts, especially in the municipal cultural centre, called “Alte Drahzieherei”. These fairs full of celebration and events have become a central part of Wipperfürth´s cultural life.

Further information about Wipperfürth can be found on the town’s homepage www.wipperfuerth.de. Just take a look and see what this nice mid-sized town offers.

Pictures of the Hanseatic City of Wipperfürth


Stadt Wipperfürth
Marktplatz 1
51688 Wipperfürth