Coordinates: 48°54′7″N 08°43′0″E / 48.90194°N 8.71667°E / 48.90194; 8.71667Coordinates: 48°54′7″N 08°43′0″E / 48.90194°N 8.71667°E / 48.90194; 8.71667
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Karlsruhe
District Stadtkreis
  Lord Mayor Gert Hager (SPD)
  Total 98.03 km2 (37.85 sq mi)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
  Total 122,247
  Density 1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 75172–75181
Dialling codes 07231, 07234, 07041
Vehicle registration PF

Pforzheim (German pronunciation: [ˈpfɔʁtshaɪ̯m]) is a city of nearly 120,000 inhabitants in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, in the southwest of Germany. It is known for its jewelry and watch-making industry, and as such has gained the nickname "Goldstadt" ("Golden City"). It has an area of 97.8 km2 (38 sq mi) and is situated between the cities of Stuttgart and Karlsruhe at the confluence of three rivers (Enz, Nagold and Würm) and marks the frontier between Baden and Württemberg, being located on Baden territory. From 1535 to 1565 it was the home to the Margraves of Baden-Pforzheim.

The City of Pforzheim does not belong to any administrative district (Kreis), although it hosts the administrative offices of the Enz district that surrounds the town.

During World War II, Pforzheim was bombed a number of times. The largest raid, and one of the most devastating area bombardments of World War II, was carried out by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on the evening of 23 February 1945. Nearly a third of the town's population, 17,600 people, were killed in the air raid, and about 83% of the town's buildings were destroyed. The town was thought by the Allies to be producing precision instruments for use in the German war effort and to be a transport centre for the movement of German troops. The story of the bombardment is dramatically recounted in the 2011 history book by Giles Milton, entitled Wolfram: The Boy Who Went To War. In the twenty years following the end of the war, Pforzheim was gradually rebuilt, giving the town a quite modern look and making it home to some landmark buildings of the 1950s.


Pforzheim is located at the northern rim of the eastern part of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) and the rim of the hilly country of the Kraichgau, in an open valley at the confluences of the rivers Würm and Nagold and the rivers Nagold and Enz. Due to its location, this city is also called the "three-valleys town" (Drei-Täler Stadt) or the "Gateway to the Black Forest" (Pforte zum Schwarzwald / Porta Hercynia). The early settlement (in fact much earlier than the current centers Stuttgart and Karlsruhe) by the Romans, who constructed a ford through the river, shortly past the confluence of the three rivers, for their military highway, is also due to this extraordinary geography. Due to this location, Pforzheim later on became a center for the timber-rafting trade which transported timber from the Black Forest via the rivers Wuerm, Nagold, Enz and then the Neckar and Rhine to, among other destinations, the Netherlands for use in shipbuilding and the construction of Amsterdam on poles in a swamp.

Pforzheim and its surrounding area belongs to the "Densely Populated Area Karlsruhe/Pforzheim". Pforzheim has the functions of a regional center (Mittelzentrum) for the towns and municipalities Birkenfeld (Enz), Eisingen, Engelsbrand, Friolzheim, Heimsheim, Ispringen, Kämpfelbach, Keltern, Kieselbronn, Königsbach-Stein, Mönsheim, Neuenbürg, Neuhausen, Neulingen, Niefern-Öschelbronn, Ölbronn-Dürrn, Remchingen, Straubenhardt, Tiefenbronn, Wiernsheim, Wimsheim and Wurmberg.

Neighbouring communities

The following towns and communities share borderlines with the City of Pforzheim. Below they are mentioned in clockwise order, beginning to the north of the city. Except for Unterreichenbach, which belongs to the district of Calw, all of them are included in the Enz district.

Ispringen, Neulingen, Kieselbronn, Niefern-Öschelbronn, Wurmberg, Wimsheim, Friolzheim, Tiefenbronn, Neuhausen (Enz), Unterreichenbach, Engelsbrand, Birkenfeld (Enz), Keltern and Kämpfelbach

City wards

The city of Pforzheim consists of 16 city wards. The communities Büchenbronn, Eutingen an der Enz, Hohenwart, Huchenfeld and Würm, which by way of the latest regional administrative reform during the 1970s were incorporated into Pforzheim's administration, are represented by independent community councils and community administrations according to § 8 and following paragraphs of the main city-ordinance of Pforzheim. In important matters concerning any of these communities the opinions of the respective community councils must be taken into consideration. However, final decisions on the matter will be made by the Pforzheim city council.

Twin towns – Sister cities

Pforzheim is twinned with:

Views of Pforzheim


Since 90: A settlement was established by Roman citizens at the Enz river near the modern Altstädter Brücke (old town bridge). Archeological surveys have unearthed several items from that period which are kept and displayed in the Kappelhof Museum. The settlement was located where the Roman military road connecting the military camp Argentoratum (nowadays Strasbourg in France) and the military camp at Cannstatt (now a suburb of Stuttgart) at the Upper Germanic Limes border line of the Roman Empire crossed the Enz river. This place was known as Portus (river crossing, harbor), which is believed to be the origin of the first part of the city's name "Pforzheim". A Roman milestone (the so-called 'Leugenstein') from the year 245 and later excavated at nowadays Friolzheim shows the exact distance to 'Portus'; it is the first document about the settlement.

259/260: The Roman settlement 'Portus' was destroyed completely, as the Frank and Alemanni tribes overrun the Upper Germanic Limes border line of the Roman Empire and conquered the Roman administrated area west of the Rhine river. From then on, over an extended period of time historical records about the settlement are not available.

6th/7th century: Graves from this period indicate that the settlement had been continued.

1067: The settlement of Pforzheim was mentioned for the first time in a document by Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor as "Phorzheim". Visits to Pforzheim by Heinrich IV in 1067 and 1074 are documented.

Before 1080: The "old town" of Pforzheim was awarded market rights (Marktrecht). At that time Pforzheim belonged to the estate of Hirsau Monastery, according to monastery documents.

From 1150: Establishment of the "new town" west of the "old town" at the foot of the Schlossberg (palais hill) under Margrave Hermann V.

1200: The town charter of the "new town" was mentioned for the first time in a document. The "old town" continued to exist as a legally independent entity.

1220: The Margraves of Baden selected Pforzheim as their residence. The "new town" became prominent.

1240: A mayor of Pforzheim was mentioned in a document for the first time.

13th/14th century: Pforzheim enjoyed its first period of flourishment. A group of influential patricians emerged. They developed extensive activities on the financial markets of those days. The town drew its income from the wood trade, timber rafting, the tannery trade, textile manufacturing and other crafts. Documents mention mayor, judge, council and citizens. The town walls surrounding the new town were completed at about 1290. During this era three catholic orders established their convents in town (the Franciscan order established their domicile within the town wall at nowadays Barfuesserkirche (the choir of which remains), the Dominican nun order established their domicile outside of the walls of the old town near Auer bridge, and the Prediger cloister was located east of the Schlossberg, probably inside the town walls). Outside of the town wall across the Enz river, the suburb Flösser Quarters (the home of the timber floating trade) was established. Next to the western town wall, the suburb of Brötzingen gradually developed. The Margraves of Baden considered Pforzheim as their most important power base up to the first half of the 14th century. Under Margrave Bernard I (Bernhard I) Pforzheim became one of the administrative centers of the margraviate.

1322: Holy Ghost Hospital was founded at Tränk Street (nowadays Deimling Street).

15th century: Various fraternities among people working in the same trade were established: The fraternity of tailors in 1410, the fraternity of bakers on May 14, 1422, the fraternity of the weavers in 1469, the fraternity of the wine-growers in 1491, the fraternity of the skippers and timber raftsmen in 1501, and the fraternity of the carters in 1512. Members of the same fraternity assisted each other in various ways, for example with funerals and in cases of sickness. In a sense, the fraternities were early forms of health and life insurance.

August 8–9, 1418: Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor visits Margrave Bernard I (Bernhard I) in Pforzheim. On this occasion the mint of the Margraves of Baden in Pforzheim was mentioned. Mint master was Jakob Broeglin between 1414–1431. The emperor appointed the master of the Pforzheim mint, Jakob Bröglin, and Bois von der Winterbach for five years as Royal Mint Masters of the mints of Frankfurt and Nördlingen. The Margrave was appointed as their patron.

1447: The wedding of Margrave Charles I (Karl I) of Baden with Katharina of Austria, the sister of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor (Friedrich III), was celebrated in Pforzheim with great pomp (including tournaments and dances).

Reuchlin-Gymnasium (Reuchlin-Highschool) today near the water tower

1455: Johannes Reuchlin, the great German humanist, was born in Pforzheim on January 29 (he died in Stuttgart on June 30, 1522). He attended the Latin School section of the monastery school run by the Dominican order of Pforzheim in the late 1460s. Later, partly due to Reuchlin's efforts, the Latin School of Pforzheim developed into one of the most prominent schools in southwestern Germany, named Reuchlin-Gymnasium. The school's teachers and pupils played an outstanding role in the dissemination of the ideas of humanism and the protestant reformation movement. The most famous pupils included Reuchlin himself, Reuchlin's nephew Philipp Melanchthon, and Simon Grynaeus.

1460: Margrave Charles I established a kind of monastery (Kollegialstift) at the site of Schlosskirche St. Michael, turning the church into a collegiate church. There were also plans to establish a university in Pforzheim, but this plan had to be abandoned because Margrave Charles I lost the Battle of Seckenheim.

1463: Margrave Charles I was forced to transfer the palace and the town of Pforzheim as a fiefdom to the Elector Palatine after losing the Battle of Seckenheim. He then began to build a new palace in modern Baden-Baden. Margrave Christoph I finally moved the residence of the margraves to Baden-Baden. This gradually ended the first period of Pforzheim's flourishment. The rich merchants gradually left the town, which declined to the status of a country town of mostly small traders.

1486: The Weavers Ordinance (Wollweberordnung) for the towns Pforzheim und Ettlingen was approved by Margrave Christoph I. This was a contract concerning the town privileges of Pforzheim. This regulation of the weaving trade did not allow the formation of a regular guild (Zunft).

1491: A contract between Margrave Christoph I and the citizens of Pforzheim was concluded, granting the town of Pforzheim several privileges concerning taxes and business.

1496: Foundation of the first printer's shop by Thomas Anshelm. During the first half of the 16th century Pforzheim's printers contributed significantly to the establishment of this (in those days) new medium.

1501: Margrave Christoph I of Baden enacted the "Ordinance on the timber rafting profession in Pforzheim". The single timber logs that were floated from the deeper Black Forest areas down the Enz, Nagold and Wuerm rivers were bound together in the Au area to form larger timber rafts. Those rafts were then floated down the lower Enz, Neckar and Rhine rivers. The timber rafting stations of Weissenstein, Dillstein and Pforzheim were well known in the profession.

1501 was also the year for which an outbreak of the plague (probably the bubonic plague) is recorded in the Swabian chronicle Annalium Suevicorum by Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen professor Martin Grusius, published 1596. It is not known how many of Pforzheim's citizens died in that year, but there are reports of 500 deceased in the close-by city of Calw and about 4000 in Stuttgart, which accounted for approximately one quarter to one half of the populations of those towns. Outbreaks of the disease were reported for many places in southwestern Germany, Bohemia, the Alsace region in nowadays France, Switzerland, and Italy. Common graves with massive numbers of human bones at the cemetery of St. Michael Church and the cemetery on the estate of the Dominican order near nowadays Waisenhausplatz found during the last century may indicate that hundreds of citizens became the victims of the plague. There are indications that a fraternity for taking care of the sick and removing the bodies of the deceased from houses was formed in 1501, whose members later on stayed together and became known as the choral society Singergesellschaft, which is still active today as the Loebliche Singergesellschaft of 1501. (They are probably one of the oldest clubs in Europe).

1520s: The ideas of the protestant religious movement advanced by Martin Luther spread rapidly in Pforzheim. Its most prominent promoters were Johannes Schwebel, a preacher at Holy Ghost church (Heiliggeistkirche), and Johannes Unger, the principal of the Dominican Latin school.

1535–1565: Due to the heritage division of the clan of the Margraves of Baden, Margrave Ernst of Baden made Pforzheim the residential town of his family line. He decided to use the Schlosskirche St. Michael as the entombment site for his family line.

1549: A large fire caused severe damage to the town.

1556: After the conclusion of the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, Margrave Karl II introduced Lutherism (protestantism) as the state religion in the district Baden-Durlach, which included Pforzheim. The (Catholic) monasteries were gradually shut down.

1565: Margrave Karl II chose Durlach as the new residential town. Pforzheim stayed one of the administrative centers of Baden.

1618: At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War, the number of inhabitants of Pforzheim is estimated to have been between 2500 and 3000. This was the largest town among all towns in Baden, even though at that time it had already declined somewhat.

A view of Pforzheim in the early 17th century. It shows all significant landmarks including the city wall, the rivers Enz and Nagold, the three monastery churches and the Margrave's residence on Schlossberg hill.

1645: Toward the end of the Thirty Years' War the "old town" was burned down by Bavarian (i.e. Catholic) troops. It was rebuilt, but without the former fortifications, which gave it the status of a village-like settlement. It soon vanished from historical records. The "new town" had survived.

1688–1697: The "War of the Palatinian Succession" (also called the Nine Years War) caused tremendous destruction in Southwestern Germany. The French "sun king" Louis XIV's efforts to expand the territory of France up to the Upper Rhine river and to put the Elector Palatine under pressure to severe its ties with the League of Augsburg included the Brûlez le Palatinat! tactics of destroying major towns on both sides of the Rhine river. These tactics seem to have been mainly the idea of the French war minister, François Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois.

Pforzheim was occupied by French troops on October 10, 1688. Commanding officer is said to have been Joseph de Montclar. The town was forced to accommodate a large number of soldiers and had to pay a large amount of "contributions" to the French. When the army unit was about to depart early in the morning of January 21, 1689 (obviously because an army of the Holy Roman Empire had been approaching), they set many major buildings on fire, including the palais, the city hall, and vicarages. About 70 houses (i.e. one quarter of all houses) and part of the town's fortifications were reportedly destroyed.

Between August 2 and August 4, the French army under the general command of Marshal Jacques Henri de Durfort de Duras again crossed the Rhine river and began the destruction of major towns in Baden. On August 10, 1689, a French army unit under the command of General Ezéchiel du Mas, Comte de Mélac appeared in front of Pforzheims town gates, but this time the town refused to surrender. In response, the French army began shelling the town with cannons from the Rod hill located southwest of the town, and the several hundred soldiers of the German imperial command, who were defending the town, were forced to surrender. After a short period of looting, the French troops set the inner town area on fire on August 15, which made that area uninhabitable for several weeks. Then the French moved on.

During the following two years, French troops stayed away from Pforzheim, but the economic situation of the town was miserable. In addition to this, the reconstruction of the town and the repairs of the fortifications under the supervision of Johann Matthaeus Faulhaber, the chief construction officer of the Margraviate Baden, required a lot of efforts. The accommodation of an imperial garrison under the command of (then) colonel Count Palfy also was a heavy burden.

In 1691, Louvois instructed his marshals to destroy those towns which were to serve as winter quarters for imperial troops, explicitly including Pforzheim, and then continue to Wuerttemberg for further destructions. After the French troops had crossed the Rhine river under the command of Marshal Guy Aldonce de Durfort de Lorges at Philippsburg on August 3, 1691, they assaulted the Margraves' residential town of Durlach and 1,200 cavalry men, 300 dragoons and 1,200 infantry men advanced toward Pforzheim where they arrived in the morning on August 9 and surrounded the town. When the approximately 200 imperial soldiers under the command of Captain Zickwolf and other men in the town refused to surrender, the siege began. After shelling the town during the day and the following night, the resistance of the town broke down and on August 10 in the morning the French forced the town gates open, occupied and looted it (although with little success, as there was not much left to be taken away). On August 12, the French moved on, this time refraining from setting houses on fire. The fortification had again been damaged, though (the White Tower, the Auer Bridge Gate, the Upper Mill and the Nonnen Mill were burnt down). The French also stole all church bells, except for one minor one.

On September 20, 1692, again crossed the Rhine river under the general command of Marshal Guy Aldonce de Durfort de Lorges, and advanced toward Durlach and Pforzheim. On September 24, 2,000 cavalry soldiers and 1,200 infantry and artillery troops under the command of Marshal Noël Bouton de Chamilly, moved to Pforzheim, where the town and 600 soldiers of the imperial German army in town surrendered without any military engagements. The rest of the French army arrived on September 27 under the command of Marshal de Lorges. On the same day, the French army moved on to Oetisheim near Mühlacker and attacked an imperial army unit of 4,000 cavalry men under the command of Duke Frederick Charles of Württemberg-Winnental in their camp. As they were taken by surprise, they withdrew hastily and lost several hundred men, either killed or captured by the French. (The Duke himself was among the French prisoners.) On September 28, the French army returned to Pforzheim and established a camp. It was reported that the entire Enz valley between the village of Eutingen east of Pforzheim and the village of Birkenfeld west of Pforzheim was occupied by the 30,000 French soldiers' camps. From their base in Pforzheim, French army units obviously under the leadership of Marshal de Chamilly advanced along the river valleys of Nagold and Wuerm and looted and destroyed the villages and towns of Huchenfeld, Calw, Hirsau, Liebenzell and Zavelstein. They also destroyed Liebeneck castle about 10 kilometers from Pforzheim towering above the Wuerm valley, where part of the Pforzheim town archives were hidden. The archive was burned. Another part of the town archive as well as documents of Baden administrative office had been brought to Calw, where they went up in flames, too.

When the French troops left after about one week of occupation, they again looted Pforzheim and put it on fire. This time, all houses which had survived the two previous fires, were destroyed. In the Au suburb, only three houses survived. The Au bridge was heavily damaged. Only four houses survived in the Broetzingen suburb. The town church St. Stephan and a large part of the Dominican monastery complex were also destroyed. The Castle Church (Schlosskirche) St. Michael was heavily damaged, and the family tombs of the Baden Margraves in the church were ravaged by the soldiers. The last remaining church bell and the churches' clockworks were stolen as well. The town wall was damaged again, including the town gates. After the one-week presence of 30,000 soldiers in a town of only a few thousand citizens, all food was gone, including the seeds saved for next spring's sowing season. Every tree and grapevine on the valley slopes had been used up as firewood. The French army reached their camp in Philippsburg on October 5, 1692.


1718: Inauguration of the "institution for orphans, the mad, the sick, for discipline and work" in a building of the former Dominican order Convent by the Enz river. Fifty years later this institution was to become the incubator of Pforzheim's jewellery and watchmaking industries.

1715–1730: During this period, there was a prolonged dispute between Pforzheim's citizens and the Margrave of Baden concerning the privileges granted to the town in 1491, which the Margrave considered obsolete and therefore demanded significantly higher tax payments from Pforzheim citizens. The issue was taken all the way to the Imperial Court of Justice, where the town's motion was defeated.

1767: Establishment of a watch and jewellery factory in the orphanage. This led to Pforzheim's jewellery industries. Watchmaking was given up later on.


1805–06: Typhus epidemic in Pforzheim.

1809: The Administrative District Pforzheim of Baden was split into a Municipal District Administration Pforzheim and two Rural Districts.

1813: The two Rural Districts were combined to form the Rural District Administration Pforzheim.

1819: Municipal District Pforzheim and Rural District Pforzheim are merged to form the Higher District Administration Pforzheim.

1836: Ferdinand Öchsle in Pforzheim invented a device for measuring the sugar content in freshly pressed grape juice for assessing the future quality of wine (Mostwaage). It is still in use in the winery business.

1861–62: Pforzheim was connected to the German railway network with the completion of a section of the Karlsruhe–Mühlacker line between Wilferdingen and Pforzheim.

1863: The railway section between Pforzheim and Mühlacker was completed, thus establishing railway traffic between the capital of Baden, Karlsruhe, and the capital of Württemberg, Stuttgart.

1864: The Higher District Administration Pforzheim was made the Regional Administration Pforzheim.

1868: The Enz Valley Railway between Pforzheim and Wildbad was completed.

1869: Establishment of the first workers' union in Pforzheim, the "Pforzheim Gold(-metal) Craftsmen's Union".

1874: The section of the Nagold Valley Railway between Pforzheim and Calw was completed.

1877: Inauguration of the Arts and Crafts School (Kunstgewerbeschule; now incorporated into Hochschule (University) Pforzheim).

1888: Bertha Benz and her two sons arrived in Pforzheim on the first "long-distance" drive in the history of the automobile in a car manufactured by her husband Carl Benz in order to visit relatives. She had started her drive in Mannheim, which is located about 106 kilometres (66 miles) from Pforzheim. The very first gasoline-powered automobile with an internal combustion engine of the inventor had hit the roads only two years earlier after a patent for this new technology had been granted to Karl Benz on January 29, 1886. She bought the gasoline necessary for her trip back home in a "pharmacy" in Pforzheim. During the trip, Bertha Benz had to make repairs with a hairpin to open a blocked fuel line, and after returning home, suggested to her husband that another gear be provided in his automobile for climbing hills. To commemorate this first long-distance journey by automobile, the Bertha Benz Memorial Route was officially approved as a route of industrial heritage of mankind in 2008. Now everybody can follow the 194 km (121 miles) of signposted route from Mannheim via Heidelberg to Pforzheim and back.

1893: Inauguration of the Pforzheim Synagogue.

The company Wellendorff, a family-owned jewellery producing until now, is founded by Ernst Alexander Wellendorff. The enterprise sells many kinds of jewelry at the highest level worldwide.[2]


From 1900: Revival of the Pforzheim watchmaking industry.

1905: The western borough Brötzingen was incorporated into the administration Pforzheim

1906: The 1st FC Pforzheim Football (soccer) Club was defeated by VfB Leipzig with a score of 1:2 in the final game of the German soccer championship.

1914–1918: Pforzheim was not a battlefield in World War I, but 1600 men from Pforzheim lost their lives as soldiers on the battlefields.

1920s: The Pforzheim watchmaking industry thrived due to the new popularity of wrist-watches.

1927: Pforzheim-born (1877) Professor of Munich University Heinrich Otto Wieland received the Nobel prize in chemistry.

From 1933: Along with the installation of the Nazi government in Germany the local subsidiaries of all political parties, groups and organizations other than the NSDAP were gradually disbanded in town. Public life as well as individual affairs were increasingly affected by Nazi influences. Persecution of Jewish fellow citizens occurred in Pforzheim, too, with boycotts of Jewish shops and companies.

1938: Establishment of the municipal Jewellery Museum.

1938: On November 9, the so-called Kristallnacht, the Pforzheim Synagogue (see WWW-site) of the Jewish community was so badly damaged by Nazi activists that it had to be demolished later on.

1939: Regional Administration Pforzheim (Bezirksamt) was converted to the Rural District Pforzheim (Landkreis) with Pforzheim city as its administrative site. However, the town itself became a district-less administrative body.

1940: Deportation of Jewish citizens of Pforzheim to the concentration camp in Gurs (France). Only 55 of the 195 deported persons escaped from the holocaust.

World War II

1944: Many factories were converted to produce weaponry such as anti-aircraft shells, fuzes for bombs, and allegedly even parts for the V1 and V2 rockets.

1945: On 23 February, Pforzheim was bombed in one of the most devastating area bombardments of World War II. It was carried out by the Royal Air Force (RAF) on the evening of February 23, 1945. About one quarter of the town's population, over 17,000 people, was killed in the air raid, and about 83% of the town's buildings were destroyed. The mission order to bomb Pforzheim issued by RAF Bomber Command states as the intention of the raid on Pforzheim "to destroy built up area and associated industries and rail facilities". The bombardment was carried out as part of the British carpet bombing campaign. The town was put on the target list for bombardments in November 1944 because it was thought by the Allies to be producing precision instruments for use in the German war effort and as transport centre for the movement of German troops.

There were also several minor raids in 1944 and 1945.

After the main attack, about 30,000 people had to be fed by makeshift public kitchens because their housing had been destroyed. Almost 90% of the buildings in the core city area had been destroyed. Many Pforzheim citizens were buried in mass graves at Pforzheim's main cemetery because they could not be identified. There are also many graves of complete families. Among the dead were several hundred foreigners who had been in Pforzheim as forced labor workers. The inner-city districts were severely depopulated. According to the State Statistics Bureau (Statistisches Landesamt), in the Market Square area (Marktplatzviertel) in 1939 there were 4,112 registered inhabitants, in 1945 none (0). In the Old Town area (Altstadtviertel) in 1939 there were 5,109 inhabitants, in 1945 only 2 persons were still living there. In the Leopold Square area, in 1939 there were 4,416 inhabitants, in 1945 only 13.

The German Army Report of February 24, 1945 devoted only two lines to reporting the bombardment: "In the early evening hours of February 23, a forceful British attack was directed at Pforzheim." RAF Bomber Command later assessed the bombing raid as the one with "probably the greatest proportion (of destroyed built-up area) (of any target) in one raid during the war".

In early April as the Allied forces and notably the French Army advanced toward Pforzheim, the local German military commander gave orders to destroy the electric power generating plant and those gas and water supply lines that were still working, but citizens succeeded in persuading the staff sergeant in charge of the operation to refrain from this absurd endeavor in the face of the imminent and inevitable surrender of the German military. Likewise, orders were issued for the destruction of those bridges that had remained unscathed (some of the bridges had been destroyed by air strikes even before and after February 23), and this could not be prevented. Only the Iron (Railway) Bridge in Weißenstein ward was saved by stout-hearted citizens who, during an unguarded moment, pulled off the fuze wiring from the explosive devices, which had already been installed, and dropped it into Nagold river. Soon after that on April 8, French troops (an armored vehicle unit) moved into Pforzheim from the northwest and were able to occupy the area north of Enz river, but the area south of the Enz river was defended by a German infantry unit using artillery. Fighting was especially fierce in Broetzingen. The French army units (including an Algerian and Moroccan unit) suffered heavy losses; among the dead was the commander of the army unit, Capitaine Dorance. The advance of the French army came to a halt temporarily, but with the support of fighterbomber aircraft and due to the bad condition of the defenders (which included many old men and young boys who had been drafted into the Volkssturm) the French troops finally succeeded and on April 18 took possession of the vast rubble field which once was the proud residential town of the Baden Margraves.

The three months of French occupation were reportedly marked by hostile attitudes on both the French army side and the Pforzheim population side; incidents of rape and looting, mainly by Moroccan soldiers, were also reported. Au Bridge (Auerbruecke) and Wuerm Bridge received makeshift repairs by the French military. The US Army, which replaced the French troops on July 8, 1945, helped repair Goethe Bridge, Benckiser Bridge, Old Town Bridge (Altstädterbrücke) and Horse Bridge (Roßbrücke) in 1945 and the following year. The relationship between the population and the US military was reportedly more relaxed than had been the case with the French army.

Post-World War II

1945–1965: Pforzheim was gradually rebuilt, giving Pforzheim a quite modern look. In September 1951 the Northern Town Bridge (Nordstadtbrücke) was inaugurated (the ceremony was attended by then Federal President Prof. Dr. Theodor Heuss). Jahn Bridge followed in December 1951, Werder Bridge in May 1952, the rebuilt Goethe Bridge in October 1952, and the rebuilt Old Town Bridge was inaugurated in 1954.

1955: On the occasion of the 500th birthday anniversary of Johannes Reuchlin, the city of Pforzheim established the Reuchlin Prize and awarded it for the first time in the presence of then President of the Federal Republic of Germany (West-Germany), Prof. Dr. Theodor Heuss.

1961: Inauguration of the culture center "Reuchlinhaus", which from then on housed the Jewellery Museum, the Arts and Crafts Association, the City Library, the Homeland Museum (Heimatmuseum), and the City Archives.

1968: On July 10 shortly before 22:00, Pforzheim and its surrounding areas were hit by a rare tornado. It had strength F4 on the Fujita scale. Two persons died and more than 200 were injured, and 1750 buildings were damaged. Across the town between Buechenbronn ward and the village of Wurmberg the storm caused severe damage to forest areas (i.e. most trees fell to the ground). During the first night and the following days the soldiers of the French 3rd Husar Regiment and the US Army Unit, which were still stationed at the Buckenberg Barracks, helped clear the streets of a lot of fallen trees (especially in the Buckenberg/Haidach area). It took about four weeks to carry out the most necessary repairs on buildings. The overhead electric contact wires for the electric trolley buses then still operating in town and the streetcar transport system to the village of Ittersbach were never repaired; those transport systems were retired.

1971–1975: The townships of Würm, Hohenwart, Buechenbronn, Huchenfeld and Eutingen were incorporated into the city administration.

1973: Inauguration of the new Pforzheim City Hall.

1973 As part of the reform of administrative districts, the rural district of Pforzheim was incorporated into the newly established Enz rural district, which has its administration in Pforzheim. But the city of Pforzheim itself remains a district-less city. In addition, Pforzheim became the administrative center of the newly formed Northern Black Forest Region.

1975 On January 1, the population exceeded 100.000 and Pforzheim gained the status of a "large city" (Grossstadt).

1979: Inauguration of the Pforzheim City Museum.

1983: Inauguration of the "Technical Museum of the Jewellery and Watchmaking Industry" and the "Citizens Museum".

1987: Inauguration of the City Convention Center.

1987/1990: Inauguration of the City Theater at the Waisenhausplatz.

1989: Sister City agreement with the City of Gernika, Spain.

1990: Sister City agreement with the City of Saint-Maur-des-Fosses, France.

1991: Sister City agreement with the City of Vicenza, Italy.

1992: State Gardening Expo in Pforzheim. Enzauenpark was created and part of the Enz river was re-naturalized.

1994: Inauguration of the cultural institution "Kulturhaus Osterfeld".

1994: Merger of the Pforzheim Business School and the Pforzheim School of Design to form the Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences in Design, Technology and Business.

1995: Inauguration of the Archeological Site Kappelhof.


2000: Inauguration of the Pforzheim Gallery.

2002: In November, during excavation works for a new shopping center right in the center of the city, a power shovel hit a 250 kg (551 lb) bomb which had not gone off during the bombardment of 1945. On a Sunday, about 5000 citizens had to temporarily leave their homes as a precautionary measure while specialists were defusing and disposing of the (so far) last of a large number of unexploded explosive devices found in Pforzheim's grounds since 1945.

2006; The Timex Group introduced a line of high-end watches engineered in Pforzheim over a five-year period, to six sigma standards.[3] The technology used miniaturization with digital sensors and microprocessors driving independent motors and dial hands to enable a range of specialized complications atypical to non-digital, analog watches[4] an array of functions that would either be impossible or highly impractical in a mechanical movement.[5]

See also History of Baden.

Administrative unions

Formerly independent communities and districts which were incorporated into the City of Pforzheim.

Year Community Increase in km²
January 1, 1905 Broetzingen 13.01
January 1, 1913 Dillweissenstein 4.612
April 1, 1924 Parts of Haidach district 0.76
October 1, 1929 Parts of Hagenschiess district 16.23
September 1, 1971 Würm 8.22
April 1, 1972 Hohenwart 4.92
January 1, 1974 Büchenbronn 11.14
January 1, 1975 Huchenfeld 9.47
September 20, 1975 Eutingen an der Enz 8.45

Population growth

The table below shows the number of inhabitants for the past 500 years. Until 1789 the numbers represent estimates, after that they represent census results (¹) or official recordings by the Statistics Offices or the city administration.

Year Population figures
1500 c. 800
1689 c. 1,000
1789 4,311
1810 5,572
1830 6,284
1855 10,711
1849 12,377
December 1, 1871¹ 19,803
December 1, 1890¹ 29,988
December 1, 1900¹ 43,373
December 1, 1910¹ 69,082
June 16, 1925¹ 78,859
June 16, 1933¹ 79,816
May 17, 1939¹ 79,011
1946 46,752
September 13, 1950¹ 54,143
June 6, 1961¹ 82,524
May 27, 1970¹ 90,338
June 30, 1975 108,635
June 30, 1980 106,500
June 30, 1985 104,100
May 27, 1987¹ 106,530
December 31, 1990 112,944
June 30, 1997 118,300
December 31, 2000 117,156
June 30, 2003 115,777

¹ Result of census

Pforzheim's population growth 1500–2003.
Pforzheim's population growth 1500–1810.

The population growth diagrams show that the largest growth rates were recorded between about 1830 and 1925, which was the period following the political reorganisation of Europe agreed upon at the Vienna Congress of 1815 after the violent period that was so much dominated by Napoleon Bonaparte of France. This high population growth period coincided with the period of intensive industrialisation of Germany. Population growth weakened due to the effects of World War I and World War II. The population declined sharply due to the destruction on February 23, 1945, and increased sharply in the post-World War II era due to high economic growth levels in West-Germany and the rapid rebuilding efforts in Pforzheim. Earlier setbacks were recorded during the Thirty Years' War period in the 17th century.


After margrave Karl II of Baden in 1556 installed the Protestant Reformation in the Margraviate of Baden, of which Pforzheim was the capital in those days, Pforzheim continued to be a Protestant town for several centuries. The congregations in Pforzheim were affiliated with the deanery (Dekanat) of Pforzheim of the Protestant National Church of Baden, unless they were members of one of the independent churches (Freikirche).

Since the 19th century at the latest Catholics settled in Pforzheim again. They are affiliated with the deanery of Pforzheim which belongs to Archdiocese of Freiburg.

Other denominations and religious sects in Pforzheim are:


City council

The city council of Pforzheim consists of the Lord Mayor as its president and 40 elected (part-time) councillors. It is democratically elected by the citizens for a period of five years. The last election was on 25 May 2014. The city council is the main representative body of the city and determines the goals and frameworks for all local political activities. It makes decisions about all important issues regarding the public life and administration of the city and directs and monitors the work of the city administration. It forms expert committees in order to deal with specialized issues.

City administration

The city administration is led by the Lord Mayor (presently Gert Hager) and three Mayors (presently Alexander Uhlig, Roger Heidt and Monika Mueller).[6] The administration consists of four departments (Dezernat) which are in charge of the following areas:

Department I: Personnel, finances, business development, general administration. (Managed by Gerd Hager.)

Department II: Construction and planning, environment. (Managed by Alexander Uhlig.)

Department III: Education, culture, social affairs, sports. (Managed by Monika Mueller.)

Department IV: Security and public order, health, energy and water supply, local transportation and traffic. (Managed by Roger Heidt.)

(Lord) Mayors

At an early stage, the town administration was led by the mayor (Schultheiss) who used to be appointed by the lord (owner) of the town. Later on, there was a council with a mayor leading it, who since 1849 holds the title "Lord Mayor". The terms of office of the mayors until 1750 are unknown. Only the names of the mayors are mentioned in historical documents.

The coat of arms

The coat of arms of Pforzheim city shows in the left-hand half of a shield an inclined bar in red color on a golden background, and the right-hand half is divided into four fields in the colors red, silver, blue and gold. The city flag is white-blue.

The inclined bar can be traced back to the 13th century as the symbol of the lords (owners) of Pforzheim, which later on also became the National Coat of Arms of Baden, but its meaning is unknown. Since 1489 the coat of arms in its entire form can be verified, but its meaning is not known, either. Current coloring has been used only since 1853; in earlier times the coloring was different.

Economy and infrastructure

Pforzheim is one of the regional centers (Oberzentrum) in Baden-Württemberg and has one of the highest densities of industrial activity in the state.

Pforzheim is historically an important jewelry and watch-making centre in Germany. Due to this reason, Pforzheim is nicknamed as Golden City. Jewelry and watch-making industry is first set up by Jean François Autran after receiving an edict from then overlord Margrave Karl Friedrich von Baden.[7] This enterprise is later joined by other commercial enterprises and helped Pforzheim to become an important manufacturing city. Pforzheim accounts for just under 70 percent of the total sales of the German jewelry and silverware industry and around 80 percent of all the pieces of jewelry exported by Germany come from Pforzheim.

However, a smaller fraction of the economy nowadays is dedicated to producing the traditional products of watches and jewellery. Only 11,000 people are employed in the jewelry and watch-making industries.[7] Two thirds of all employment positions are made available in the areas of metal processing, dental industry electronics and electro-technology. The mail order companies (Bader, Klingel, Wenz) with their sales volumes in the order of millions of Euros occupies a leading position in Germany. Tourism is gaining importance. In this respect the city benefits from its favorable Three-Valleys location at the gateway to the Black Forest, and related to this, from the starting points of a large number of hiking, cycling and waterway routes. The European long-distance trail E1 passes through Pforzheim. It is also the starting point of the Black Forest Hiking Routes Westweg, Mittelweg and Ostweg.


The Federal Freeway A8 (PerlBad Reichenhall) runs by just to the north of the city. The city can be accessed via four freeway exits. The Interstate Road B10 (LebachAugsburg) and B294 (GundelfingenBretten) run through the city. The B463 Interstate Road running toward Nagold has its starting point here.

Pforzheim Hauptbahnhof (central station) is located on the Karlsruhe–Mühlacker line, connecting to Stuttgart. In addition there are two railway lines into the Black Forest: the Enz Valley Railway to Bad Wildbad and the Nagold Valley Railway to Nagold. Pforzheim is connected to the Karlsruhe Light Rail network. Other public transportation services in the city area are provided by buses of the Pforzheim Municipal Transport, subsidiary of Veolia Transport Company (SVP) and several other transportation companies. They all offer unified fares within the framework of the Pforzheim-Enzkreis Verkehrsverbund.

Between 1931 and 1968 a light rail connection existed between Ittersbach and Pforzheim, operated by Pforzheim Municipal Transportation Company (SVP). Before that (since 1899) the railroad belonged to the BLEAG (Baden Local Railway Inc., Badische-Lokaleisenbahn-Aktiengesellschaft). The only remaining light rail service "S 5" connecting Pforzheim to Bietigheim-Bissingen, Karlsruhe and Wörth am Rhein is operated by Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (Albtal Transportation Company), which since 2002 also operates the Enz Valley Light Rail route to Bad Wildbad.

Major local enterprises


The daily newspapers Pforzheimer Zeitung, (independent) and the Pforzheimer Kurier, which is a regional edition of Badische Neueste Nachrichten (BNN) with main editorial offices in Karlsruhe, are published in Pforzheim.

Courts of Justice

Pforzheim is the site of a Local Court of Justice which belongs to the District Court and Higher District Court Precinct of Karlsruhe. It is also the domicile of a Local Labor Court.


Pforzheim is the domicile of the following public authorities and public incorporated bodies:

Educational institutions

Culture and places of interest




Cultural institutions

Notable examples of architecture

Other sites of interest

Regularly scheduled events


Honorary citizens

(a small selection)

Famous citizens born in Pforzheim

Up to 1850

Bertha Benz (1872-1873)



1951 - present

Miscellaneous topics


  1. "Gemeinden in Deutschland nach Fläche, Bevölkerung und Postleitzahl am 30.09.2016". Statistisches Bundesamt (in German). 2016.
  2. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: „Ein zehnmal gespaltenes Haar in Gold“ (german, A ten times split hair in gold) (accessed last 19th February 2012)
  3. Paul Hubbard (April 7, 2007). "Timex TX Watches". The Watch Report.
  4. "Timex: Start in ein neues Zeitalter".
  5. Arial Adams (August 9, 2009). "TX 400 Series Perpetual Weekly Calendar Ref. T3C301 Watch Review". ABTW.
  6. "Stadt Pforzheim | Dezernate". 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  7. 1 2 Baden-Württemberg. Where ideas work. (2006-06-17). "Baden-Württemberg. Where ideas work. - Pforzheim, Goldstadt Deutschlands". Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  8. "Die Synagoge in Pforzheim (Stadtkreis Pforzheim)". Retrieved 2009-05-06.



  1. ^ References Brief history on the official Web site of the City of Pforzheim.
  2. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, p. 41.
  3. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, chapters "Pforzheim im Mittelalter", pp. 39–62, and "Commercium et Connubium", pp. 63–76.
  4. ^ References In: Die Pest: Das grosse Sterben um 1500.
  5. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, chapter "Pforzheim in muenzgeschichtlicher Sicht". p. 172.
  6. ^ References Klaus Kortuem: PORTUS – Pforzheim.
  7. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, p. 223.
  8. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim in der fruehen Neuzeit, chapter "Melanchthons Pforzheimer Schulzeit", pp. 9–50.
  9. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, chapter "St. Michael in Pforzheim", pp. 107–50.
  10. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, p. 117.
  11. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim in der fruehen Neuzeit, chapter "Der Pforzheimer Privilegienstreit (1716–1730)", pp. 117, 118.
  12. ^ References Christian Groh: Pforzheim und Baden zur Zeit Johannes Reuchlin.
  13. ^ References Thomas Frei: Pforzheim im 16. Jahrhindert.
  14. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, p. 45.
  15. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim in der fruehen Neuzeit, chapter "Pforzheim im Pfaelzischen Krieg 1688–1697", pp. 81–116.
  16. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim in der fruehen Neuzeit, chapter "Der Pforzheimer Privilegienstreit (1716–1730)", pp. 117–160.
  17. ^ References Pforzheimer Zeitung, 26 June 2004, No.145, p. 26, headline "Ein lokales Geschichtswerk".
  18. ^ The number of dead 17,600 is taken from References Groh.
  19. ^ References 83% from RAF Web Site: Campaign Diary February 1945,
  20. ^ The 30,000 people fed by makeshift kitchens is reported in References Pforzheimer Zeitung of February 25, 2005.
  21. ^ The number of foreign workers killed in the bombings is reported in References Pforzheimer Zeitung of February 10, 2005.
  22. ^ These figures are similar to References Groh, but must be from another source which is not recorded.
  23. ^ References The German army report is taken from References Pforzheimer Zeitung of February 23, 2005, under headline "Sofortmeldung nach dem Angriff". Its original in German reads: "In den fruehen Abendstunden richtete sich ein schwerer britischer Angriff gegen Pforzheim".
  24. ^ References Pforzheimer Zeitung of March 31, 2005.
  25. ^ References Pforzheimer Zeitung of April 8, 2005.
  26. ^ References Pforzheimer Zeitung of March 4, 2005.
  27. ^ A more detailed discussion on the reasons for the main air raid is given in the discussion section of this page. (Talk:Pforzheim Draft of text: On the reason for the Pforzheim bombardment.)
  28. ^ Pforzheim is situated in a valley and also spread out across the adjacent hill slopes. On the northern slope there is a level, narrow plateau that is about 100 meters wide and about 2 kilometers in length. The railway facilities, including the main station and what used to be the freight loading facilities, are located on this plateau. This is the only level space that can possibly be used for railway facilities there. If the RAF would have been only aiming at destroying the railway facilities, a few aircraft would have sufficed to finish this job in a short time. There was no need to bomb an area that was wider than one kilometer (0.6 miles) and had a length of more than three kilometers (1.9 miles) using more than 360 Lancasters, as was the case in the big raid on February 23. The existence and size of the plateau on the northern slope can be verified by examining any topographic map featuring the Pforzheim city area, and the map showing the destroyed city area. (refer to References Map of destroyed town area). And besides that, the area bombardment obviously was not even effective in destroying the railway facilities, because less than one month after the big raid in mid-March the railway facilities were bombed again several times by the USAF, this time focussing mainly on the suspected military target, not civilian estates (refer to References Pforzheimer Zeitung of March 4, 2005).
  29. ^ References Web page of the City of Pforzheim: City Council; in German.
  30. ^ References Web page of the City of Pforzheim: City Administration; in German.
  31. ^ References Hans-Peter Becht: Pforzheim im Mittelalter, chapter "Wappen und Siegel der Stadt Pforzheim". pp. 221–238.
  32. ^ The core of this section was translated from the corresponding section of the article about Pforzheim in the References German language Wikipedia, as of May 2005.
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