|cathedral (back right)|
|Lord Mayor||Marcel Philipp (CDU)|
|Governing parties||CDU / Greens|
|Area||160.83 km2 (62.10 sq mi)|
|Elevation||266 m (873 ft)|
|Population||260,454 (31 December 2011)|
|- Density||1,619 /km2 (4,194 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Area codes||0241 / 02405 / 02407 / 02408|
Aachen (German pronunciation: [ˈʔaːxən] ( listen)), also known as Bad Aachen (Ripuarian: Óche, Limburgish: Aoke, French: Aix-La-Chapelle, Dutch: Aken, Spanish: Aquisgrán, Latin: Aquisgranum) is a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Sometimes in English (especially in old use), the city is referred to as Aix-la-Chapelle (French pronunciation: [ɛkslaʃapɛl]). Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and later the place of coronation of the German emperors. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 61 km (38 mi) west-southwest of Cologne. It is located within a coal-mining region, and this fact was important in its economic history. RWTH Aachen University, one of Germany's Universities of Excellence, is located in the city. Aachen's predominant economic focus is on science, engineering, information technology and related sectors. In 2009, Aachen was ranked 8th among cities in Germany for innovation.
Early history 
Flint quarries on the Lousberg, Schneeberg, and Königshügel, first used during Neolithic times (3,000-2,500 b.c.), attest to the long occupation of the site of Aachen, as do recent finds under the modern city's Elisengarten pointing to a former settlement from the same period. Bronze Age (ca. 1600 b.c.) settlement is evidenced by the remains of barrows (burial mounds) found, for example, on the Klausberg. During the Iron Age, the area was settled by Celtic peoples who were perhaps drawn by the marshy Aachen basin's hot sulphur springs where they worshiped Grannus, god of light and healing.
Later, the 25-hectare Roman spa resort town of Aquae Granni was supposedly founded—according to legend—by Grenus, under Hadrian, in ca. a.d. 124. Instead, the fictitious founder refers to the Celtic god, and it seems it was the Roman 6th Legion at the start of the 1st century that first channelled the hot springs into a spa at Büchel, adding at the end of the same century the Münstertherme spa, two water pipelines, and a likely sanctuary dedicated to Grannus. A kind of forum, surrounded by colonnades, connected the two spa complexes. There was also an extensive residential area. Near Burtscheid were built Roman bathhouses. A temple precinct called Vernenum was built near the modern Kornelimünster. Today, all that remains are two fountains in the Elisenbrunnen and the Burtscheid bathhouse.
Roman civil administration fell apart in Aachen between the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th centuries. Rome withdrew its troops from the area but the town remained populated. By 470, the town came to be ruled by the Ripuarian Franks and subordinated to their capital, Cologne.
The Middle Ages 
After Roman times, Pippin the Younger had a castle residence built in the town, and Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pippin spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa ("Et celebravit natalem Domini in Aquis villa et pascha similiter."), which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as King of Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time. This is in dispute, as some history books state that Charlemagne was in fact born in Aachen in 742. He went on to remain there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting to any significant building activity at Aachen in his time, apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (since 1929, cathedral) and the palatial presentation halls. Charlemagne spent most winters in Aachen between 792 and his death in 814. Aachen became the focus of his court and the political centre of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church which he had built; his original tomb has been lost, while his alleged remains are preserved in the shrine where he was reburied after being declared a saint; his saintliness, however, was never very widely acknowledged outside the bishopric of Liège where he may still be venerated by tradition.
In 936, Otto I was crowned king of the kingdom in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in Aachen. The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531. During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city of regional importance, due to its proximity to Flanders, achieving a modest position in the trade in woollen cloths, favoured by imperial privilege. The city remained a Free Imperial City, subject to the Emperor only, but was politically far too weak to influence the policies of any of its neighbours. The only dominion it had was over Burtscheid, a neighbouring territory ruled by a Benedictine abbess. It was forced to accept that all of its traffic must pass through the "Aachener Reich". Even in the late 18th century the Abbess of Burtscheid was prevented from building a road linking her territory to the neighbouring estates of the duke of Jülich; the city of Aachen even deployed its handful of soldiers to chase away the road-diggers.
As an imperial city, Aachen held certain political advantages that allowed it to remain independent of the troubles of Europe for many years. It remained a direct vassal of the Holy Roman Empire throughout most of th Middle Ages. It also was the site of many important church councils. These included the Council of 836, and the Council of 1166, a council convened by the antipope Paschal III. From the early 16th century, Aachen started losing its power and influence. It started with the crowning of emperors occurring not in Aachen but in Frankfurt, followed by the religious wars, and the great fire of 1656. It then culminated in 1794, when the French, led by General Charles Dumouriez, occupied Aachen. On Feb. 9, 1801, the Peace of Luneville removed the ownership of Aachen and the entire "left bank" of the Rhine from Germany and granted it to France. In 1815, control of the town was passed to Prussia, by an act that was passed by the Congress of Vienna. The third congress took place in 1818 to decide the fate of occupied Napoleonic France.
Aachen became attractive as a spa by the middle of the 17th century, not so much because of the effects of the hot springs on the health of its visitors but because Aachen was then — and remained well into the 19th century — a place of high-level prostitution in Europe. Traces of this hidden agenda of the city's history is found in the 18th-century guidebooks to Aachen as well as to the other spas; the main indication for visiting patients, ironically, was syphilis; only by the end of the 19th century had rheuma become the most important object of cures at Aachen and Burtscheid. Aachen was chosen as the site of several important congresses and peace treaties: the first congress of Aachen (often referred to as Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in English) in 1668, leading to the First Treaty of Aachen in the same year which ended the War of Devolution. The second congress ended with the second treaty in 1748, finishing the War of the Austrian Succession.
The 19th century 
By the middle of the 19th century, industrialisation swept away most of the city's medieval rules of production and commerce, although the entirely corrupt remains of the city's medieval constitution was kept in place (compare the famous remarks of Georg Forster in his Ansichten vom Niederrhein) until 1801, when Aachen became the "chef-lieu du département de la Roer" in Napoleon's First French Empire. In 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Prussia took over and the city became one of its most socially and politically backward centres until the end of the 19th century. Administered within the Rhine Province, by 1880 the population was 80,000. Starting in 1840, the railway from Cologne to Belgium passed through Aachen. The city suffered extreme overcrowding and deplorable sanitary conditions up to 1875 when the medieval fortifications were finally abandoned as a limit to building operations and new, less miserable quarters were built in the eastern part of the city, where drainage of waste liquids was easiest. In 1880, the Aachen tramway network was opened, and in 1895 it was electrified. In the 19th century and up to the 1930s, the city was important for the production of railway locomotives and carriages, iron, pins, needles, buttons, tobacco, woollen goods, and silk goods.
The 20th century 
After World War I, Aachen was occupied by the Allies until 1930. Aachen was heavily damaged during World War II. The city and its fortified surroundings were encircled 13 September–16 October 1944 by the US 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in conjunction with the US 2nd Armored Division and 30th Infantry Division during the prolonged Battle of Aachen, later reinforced by US 28th Infantry Division elements. Direct assaults through the heavily defended city finally forced the German garrison to surrender on 21 October 1944. Aachen was the first German city to be captured by the Allies, and its residents welcomed the soldiers as liberators. The city was destroyed partially — and in some parts completely — during the fighting, mostly by American artillery fire and demolitions carried out by the Waffen-SS defenders. Damaged buildings included the medieval churches of St. Foillan, St. Paul and St. Nicholas, and the Rathaus (city hall), although Aachen Cathedral was largely unscathed. Only 4,000 inhabitants remained in the city; the rest had followed evacuation orders. Its first Allied-appointed mayor, Franz Oppenhoff, was murdered by an SS commando unit.
While the emperor's palace no longer exists, the church built by Charlemagne is still the main attraction of the city. In addition to holding the remains of its founder, it became the burial place of his successor Otto III. Aachen Cathedral has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Main sights 
|This section requires expansion. (June 2007)|
Aachen Cathedral was erected on the orders of Charlemagne in AD 796 and was, on completion, the largest cathedral north of the Alps. It was modelled after the Basilica of San Vitale, in Ravenna, Italy, and was built by Odo of Metz. On his death, Charlemagne's remains were interred in the cathedral and can be seen there to this day. The cathedral was extended several times in later ages, turning it into a curious and unique mixture of building styles. For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens.
The city hall, dated from 1330, lies between two central places, the Markt (market place) and the Katschhof (between city hall and cathedral). The coronation hall is on the first floor of the building. Inside you can find five frescoes by the Aachen artist Alfred Rethel which show legendary scenes from the life of Charlemagne, as well as Charlemagne's signature. It also contains the hall of the emperors.
The Grashaus, a late medieval house at the Fisch Markt, is one of the oldest non-religious buildings in downtown Aachen. It hosts the city archive. The Grashaus was the former city hall before the present building took over this function.
The Elisenbrunnen is one of the most famous sights of Aachen. It is a neo-classical hall covering one of the city's famous fountains. It is just a minute away from the cathedral. Just a few steps in south-eastern direction lies the 19th-century theatre.
Also well-known and well worth seeing are the two remaining city gates, the Ponttor, one half mile northwest of the cathedral, and the Kleinmarschiertor, close to the central railway station. There are also a few parts of both medieval city walls left, most of them integrated into more recent buildings, but some others still visible. There are even five towers left, some of which are used for housing.
The Jewish synagogue in Aachen which was destroyed at the Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) on November 9, 1938, was reinaugurated on May 18, 1995. One of the contributors for the reconstructions of the synagogue was Jürgen Linden, the Lord Mayor of Aachen from 1989 to 2009. On March 30, 2011, it was reported that a swastika was spray-painted on a wall of the synagogue at Aachen, as an anti-Semitic act.
There are many other places and objects worth seeing, for example a notable number of churches and monasteries, a few remarkable 17th- and 18th-century buildings in the particular Baroque style typical of the region, a Jewish synagogue, a collection of statues and monuments, park areas, cemeteries, among others. Among the museums in the town are the Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, which has a fine sculpture collection and the Aachen Museum of the International Press, which is dedicated to newspapers from the 16th century to the present. The area's industrial history is reflected in dozens of 19th- and early 20th-century manufacturing sites in the city.
Aachen has a large number of spin-offs from the university's IT-technology department and is a major centre of IT development in Germany. Due to the low level of investment in cross-border railway projects, the city has preserved a slot within the Thalys high-speed train network which uses existing tracks on its last 70 km from Belgium to Cologne. The airport that serves Aachen, Maastricht Aachen Airport, is located about 40 km away in Dutch territory, close to the town of Beek. Aachen was the administrative centre for the coal-mining industries in neighbouring places to the northeast; it never played any role in brown coal mining, however, neither in administrative or industrial terms. Products manufactured in or around Aachen include electronics, chemicals, plastics, textiles, glass, cosmetics, rubber products, foodstuffs, and needles and pins. Its most important source of revenue, the textile industries, have been dead for almost half a century now.
Aachen's railway station, the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), was constructed in 1841 at the Cologne-Aachen railway line and replaced in 1905, moving it significantly closer to the city centre. It serves main lines to Cologne, Mönchengladbach and Liège as well as branch lines to Heerlen, Alsdorf, Stolberg and Eschweiler. ICE high speed trains from Brussels via Cologne to Frankfurt am Main and Thalys trains from Paris to Cologne also stop at Aachen Central Station. Four RE lines and two RB lines connect Aachen with the Ruhrgebiet, Mönchengladbach, Liège, Düsseldorf and the Siegerland. The Euregiobahn, a regional railway system, reaches several minor cities in the Aachen region. There are four smaller stations in Aachen: Aachen West, Aachen Schanz, Aachen-Rothe Erde and Eilendorf. Only slower trains stop at these, but Aachen-West has developed enormous importance due to the expanding RWTH Aachenuniversity.
Aachen is connected to the Autobahn A4 (West-East), A44 (North-South) and A544 (a smaller motorway from the A4 to theEuropaplatz near the city centre). Due to the enormous amount of traffic at the Aachen road interchange, there is often serious traffic accumulation, which is why there are plans to expand the interchange in the coming years.
The annual CHIO (short for the French term Concours Hippique International Officiel) is the biggest equestrian meeting of the world and among horsemen considered to be as prestigious for equitation as the tournament of Wimbledon for tennis. Aachen hosted the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games and 2011 CHIO Aachen.
The local football team Alemannia Aachen had a short run-out in Germany's first division, after its promotion in 2006. However, the team could not sustain its status and is now back in the third division. The stadium "Tivoli", opened in 1928, served as the venue for the team's home games and was well known for its incomparable atmosphere throughout the whole of the second division. Before the old stadium's demolition in 2011, it was used by amateurs, whilst the Bundesliga Club held its games in the new stadium "Neuer Tivoli" – meaning New Tivoli- a couple of metres down the road. The building work for the stadium which has a capacity of 32.960, began in May 2008 and was completed by the beginning of 2009.
In the South of the city you can find Aachen's biggest tennis club "TC Grün Weiss", which hosts the famous ATP Tournament once a year.
Since 1950, a committee of Aachen citizens annually awards the Karlspreis (German for ‘Charlemagne Award’) to personalities of outstanding service to the unification of Europe. The International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen was awarded in the year 2000 to the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, for his special personal contribution to cooperation with the states of Europe, for the preservation of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights in Europe, and for his support of the enlargement of the European Union. In 2003 the medal was awarded to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. In 2004, Pope John Paul II's efforts to unite Europe were honoured with an ‘Extraordinary Charlemagne Medal’, which was awarded for the first time ever. Most recently in 2011, the Charlemagne Award was conferred on Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank. He was acknowledged for his critical role in the stability of the euro despite the economic crises that prevailed in many economic powers.
Aachen is at the western end of the Benrath line that divides High German to the south from the rest of the West Germanic speech area to the north. Aachen has the hottest springs of Central Europe with water temperatures of 76 °C (169 °F). The water contains a considerable percentage of common salt and other sodium salts and sulphur. As a spa city, Aachen could use the title Bad Aachen, but as the town then would not appear in first place on alphabetically ordered lists, it declined to do so.
As being the westernmost city in Germany (and close to the Low Countries), winters in Aachen are milder than almost any inland area in Germany, while still retaining warm summers. The January average is 3.0 °C (37 °F), while the July average is 18.5 °C (65 °F). Precipitation is almost evenly spread throughout the year.
|Climate data for Aachen, Germany for 1981–2010 (Source: DWD)|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.2
|Average high °C (°F)||5.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.0
|Average low °C (°F)||0.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−16.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||68.1
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||63.5||83.0||119.3||163.4||195.6||196.6||208.5||195.7||149.3||120.4||71.0||50.2||1,616.5|
|Source: Data derived from Deutscher Wetterdienst|
The local specialty of Aachen is an originally stonehard type of sweet bread, baked in large flat loaves, called Aachener Printen. Unlike gingerbread (German: Lebkuchen), which is sweetened with honey, Printen are sweetened with sugar. Today, a soft version is sold under the same name which follows an entirely different recipe.
Notable residents 
King Ethelwulf of Wessex, father of Alfred the Great was born in Aachen. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the founders of modern architecture and the last director of the Bauhaus during its period in Dessau and Berlin was born in Aachen as well. In 1850 Paul Julius Reuter founded the Reuters News Agency in Aachen which transferred messages between Brussels and Aachen using carrier pigeons. Anne Frank's mother, Edith Frank was born here as well. The city is also the home of the German band, Unheilig.
RWTH Aachen University, established as Polytechnicum in 1870, is one of the Germany's Universities of Excellence with strong emphasis on technological research, especially for electrical and mechanical engineering, computer sciences, physics, and chemistry. The university clinics attached to the RWTH, the Klinikum Aachen, is the biggest single-building hospital in Europe. Over time, a host of software and computer industries have developed around the university. It also maintains a botanical garden (the Botanischer Garten Aachen).
FH Aachen, Aachen University of Applied Sciences (AcUAS) was founded in 1971. The AcUAS offers a classic engineering education in professions like Mechatronics, Construction Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering. German and international students are educated in more than 20 international or foreign-oriented programs and can acquire German as well as international degrees (Bachelor/Master) or Doppeldiplome (double degrees). Foreign students account for more than 21% of the student body.
The German Army's Technical School (Technische Schule des Heeres und Fachschule des Heeres für Technik) is in Aachen.
International relations 
Twin towns and sister cities 
- Liège, Belgium; since 1955.
- Reims, France; since 1967.
- Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom; since 1979.
- Toledo, Castile–La Mancha, Spain; since 1985.
- Ningbo, China; since 1986.
- Naumburg (Saale), Germany; since 1988.
- Arlington County, Virginia, United States; since 1993.
- Cape Town, South Africa; since 1999.
- Kostroma, Russia; since 2005.
- Rosh HaAyin, Israel; since 2007.
- Baltimore, County Cork, Ireland; since 2010.
- Sariyer, Turkey; since 2013.
See also 
- Aachen (district)
- Aachen Prison
- Aachen tram
- Aachener Bachverein
- List of mayors of Aachen
- Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (disambiguation)
- "Amtliche Bevölkerungszahlen". Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW (in German). 31 December 2011.
- Bridgwater, W. & Beatrice Aldrich. (1966) The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopædia. Columbia University. p11.
- Bayer, Patricia, ed. (2000). "A". Encyclopedia Americana. I A-Anjou (First ed.). Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated. p. 1. ISBN 0-7172-0133-3.
- "RWTH" is the abbreviation of "Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule", which translates into "Rhine-Westphalian Technical University". The institution is commonly referred to as "RWTH Aachen" or simply "RWTH", with the abbreviation remaining untranslated in other languages to avoid the use of the "Hochschule" term, which is sometimes mistakenly translated as highschool. Sometimes, RWTH Aachen is also referred to as "TH Aachen" or "Aachen University".
Note: The term "FH Aachen" does not refer to the RWTH but to the Fachhochschule Aachen, a university of applied sciences, which is also located in Aachen.
- 2007 statistics of RWTH Aachen University(German; retrieved 2009-04-09)
- Innovation Cities Index 2009
- Wolfgang Schumacher, Keltisches Glas und eine römische Villa im Elisengarten, last modified 23 January 2009: , retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Andreas Schaub explains the archaeological record in court in Archäologie am Hof. City of Aachen, , retrieved 3 July 2009.
- 3D reconstruction of the Münstertherme. Münstertherme. City of Aachen, , retrieved on 17 September 2012.
- Spa districts in Aachen (German)
- Held, Colbert C. (1997). "Aachen". In Johnston, Bernard. Collier's Encyclopedia. I A to Ameland (First ed.). New York, NY: P.F. Collier. p. 2.
- Pépin le Bref, Annales d'Éginhard
- Merkl, Peter H. (2007). "Aachen". In Kobasa, Paul A. World Book I A (first ed.). Chicago, IL: World Book Inc. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7166-0107-4.
- Ranson, K. Anne, ed. (1998). "A". Academic American Encyclopedia. I A-Ang (First ed.). Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated. p. 45. ISBN 0-7172-2068-0.
- "Aachen". (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 December 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
- Stanton, Shelby, World War II Order of Battle: An Encyclopedic Reference to U.S. Army Ground Forces from Battalion through Division, 1939-1946, Stackpole Books (Revised Edition 2006), p. 50, 51, 76, 105
- Baker, Anni P. (2004). American Soldiers Overseas: The Global Military Presence. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. p. 37. ISBN 0-275-97354-9.
- "Cathedral of Aachen". Aachen.de. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
- "Aachen". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- "Synagogue in Aachen Destroyed on Kristallnacht". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Aachen". Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Desecration of a synagogue". CFCA. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "Ausgabe der Klimadaten: Monatswerte".
- "About Aachen". Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES) at RWTH Aachen University. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- Calderdale Council (2013 [last update]). "Aachen: Twin towns: Calderdale Council". calderdale.gov.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
- en-db (2013 [last update]). "Aachen, Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany - City, Town and Village of the world". en.db-city.com. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
Further reading 
- Published in the 19th century
- "Aix-la-Chapelle", A hand-book for travellers on the continent: being a guide through Holland, Belgium, Prussia and Northern Germany (2nd ed.), London: John Murray, 1838, OCLC 2030550
- Frederick Knight Hunt (1845), "Aix-la-Chapelle", The Rhine: its scenery & historical & legendary associations, London: Jeremiah How
- C.B. Black (1876), "Aix-la-Chapelle", Guide to the north of France, ... Belgium and Holland, Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black
- "Aix-la-Chapelle", The Rhine from Rotterdam to Constance (8th ed.), Leipsic: Karl Baedeker, 1882, OCLC 7416969
- W. Pembroke Fetridge (1885), "Aix-la-Chapelle", Harper's hand-book for travellers in Europe and the east, New York: Harper & Brothers
- Norddeutscher Lloyd (1896), "Aachen", Guide through Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland and England, Berlin: J. Reichmann & Cantor, OCLC 8395555
- Published in the 20th century
- "Aix-la-Chapelle", The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.), New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910, OCLC 14782424
- "Aix-la-Chapelle", The Rhine, including the Black Forest & the Vosges, Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1911, OCLC 21888483
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Aachen|
- City of Aachen (partly available in English)
- Aachen-emotion.com – photos, interviews, stories, audio files and video clips featuring Aachen – presented by Aachen City Council. (in German and English)
- ASEAG (public bus transport) (in German)
- RWTH Aachen University (in German and English)
- Fachhochschule Aachen (Aachen University of Applied Sciences)
- Google Earth placemark with official image overlays
- Panorama pictures of landmarks and places of interest
- The Spirit of Aachen – documentary film by SportsQuest International
- Einhard's Annals: first mention of Aquis villa, 765
- (English) Aachen Zoo at Zoo-Infos.de
- Article on Aachen's historic buildings
- Map of the Aachen Area in 1789