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Panorama of Hamelin
Panorama of Hamelin
Coat of arms of Hamelin
Location of Hamelin within Hamelin-Pyrmont district
Bad Münder am DeisterSalzhemmendorfCoppenbrüggeHessisch OldendorfHamelinEmmerthalBad PyrmontAerzenNorth Rhine-WestphaliaHolzminden (district)Hildesheim (district)Hanover (district)SchaumburgHamelin-PyrmontLower SaxonyHameln in HM.svg
About this image
Hamelin is located in Germany
Hamelin is located in Lower Saxony
Coordinates: 52°6′N 9°22′E / 52.100°N 9.367°E / 52.100; 9.367
StateLower Saxony
 • Lord mayorClaudio Griese (CDU)
 • Total102.30 km2 (39.50 sq mi)
68 m (223 ft)
 • Total57,276
 • Density560/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
31785–89, 3250
Dialling codes05151
Vehicle registrationHM

Hamelin (/ˈhæməlɪn/ HAM-(ə-)lin; German: Hameln [ˈhaːml̩n] (About this soundlisten)) is a town on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Hamelin-Pyrmont and has a population of roughly 56,000. Hamelin is best known for the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.


Hamelin started with a monastery, which was founded as early as 851 AD. A village grew in the neighbourhood and had become a town by the 12th century. The incident with the "Pied Piper" (see below) is said to have happened in 1284 and may be based on a true event, although somewhat different from the tale. In the 15th and 16th centuries Hamelin was a minor member of the Hanseatic League.

In June 1634, during the Thirty Years' War, Lothar Dietrich, Freiherr of Bönninghausen, a General with the Imperial Army, lost the Battle of Oldendorf to the Swedish General Kniphausen, after Hamelin had been besieged by the Swedish army.

The era of the town's greatest prosperity began in 1664, when Hamelin became a fortified border town of the Principality of Calenberg. In 1705, it became part of the newly created Electorate of Hanover when George Louis, Prince of Calenberg, later King George I of Great Britain, inherited the Principality of Lüneburg.

Hamelin was surrounded by four fortresses, which gave it the nickname "Gibraltar of the North". It was the most heavily fortified town in the Electorate of Hanover. The first fort (Fort George) was built between 1760 and 1763, the second (Fort Wilhelm) in 1774, a third in 1784, and the last (called Fort Luise) was built in 1806.

In 1808, Hamelin surrendered without fighting to Napoleon, after his victory at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. Napoleon's forces subsequently pulled down the town's historic walls, guard towers and the three fortresses at the other side of the river Weser. In 1843, the people of Hamelin built a sightseeing tower on the Klüt Hill, out of the ruins of Fort George. This tower is called the Klütturm and is a popular sight for tourists.

In 1867 Hamelin became part of the Kingdom of Prussia, which annexed Hanover in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.

Between 1933 and 1937, the Nazi regime held the Reich Harvest Thanksgiving Festival at the nearby Bückeberg hill, to celebrate the achievements of Germany's farmers.

During the Second World War, Hamelin prison [de] was used for the detention of Social Democrats, Communists, and other political prisoners. Around 200 died here; more died in April 1945, when the Nazis sent the prisoners on long marches, fearing the Allied advance. Just after the war, Hamelin prison was used by British Occupation Forces for the detention of Germans accused of war crimes. Following conviction, around 200 of them were hanged there, including Irma Grese, Josef Kramer, and over a dozen of the perpetrators of the Stalag Luft III murders. The prison has since been turned into a hotel.[2] Executed war criminals were interred in the prison yard until it became full; further burials took place at the Am Wehl Cemetery in Hameln. In March 1954, the German authorities began exhuming the 91 bodies from the prison yard; they were reburied in individual graves in consecrated ground in Am Wehl Cemetery.[2]

The coat of arms (German: Wappen) of Hamelin depicts the St. Boniface Minster, the oldest church in the city.[3]



Watershed of the river Weser.
Watershed of the river Weser.
  • Afferde
  • Hastenbeck
  • Halvestorf
  • Haverbeck
  • Hilligsfeld (including Groß and Klein Hilligsfeld)
  • Sünteltal (including Holtensen, Welliehausen and Unsen)
  • Klein Berkel
  • Tündern (pop. around 2,700),[4]
  • Wehrbergen
  • Rohrsen
  • Welliehausen


Year Inhabitants
1689 2,398
1825 5,326
1905 21,385
1939 32,000
1968 48,787
2005 58,872
2018 72,655


1592 painting of Pied Piper copied from the glass window of Marktkirche in Hamelin
1592 painting of Pied Piper copied from the glass window of Marktkirche in Hamelin
The Pied Piper leads the children out of Hamelin. Illustration by Kate Greenaway.
The Pied Piper leads the children out of Hamelin. Illustration by Kate Greenaway.
Christmas market in Hamelin.
Christmas market in Hamelin.

Tale of the Pied Piper

The town is famous for the folk tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (German: Der Rattenfänger von Hameln), a medieval story that tells of a tragedy that befell the town in the 13th century. The version written by the Brothers Grimm made it popular throughout the world; it is also the subject of well-known poems by Johan van Goethe and Robert Browning. In the summer every Sunday, the tale is performed by actors in the town centre.

Twin towns – sister cities

Hamelin is twinned with:[5]


The Deister- und Weserzeitung [de], known as DeWeZet, publishes out of Hameln.

British army presence

Hamelin was home to several Royal Engineer units, including 35 Engineer Regiment and 28 Amphibious Engineer Regiment until summer 2014, with many of the British families housed at Hastenbeck (Schlehenbusch) and Afferde. It was also home to the Royal Corps of Transport unit of 26 Bridging Regiment RCT, comprising 35 Sqn RCT and 40 Sqn RCT, until 1971.[6]

Notable people

See also



  1. ^ Landesamt für Statistik Niedersachsen, LSN-Online Regionaldatenbank, Tabelle A100001G: Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes, Stand 31. Dezember 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Post World War II hangings under British jurisdiction at Hameln Prison in Germany".
  3. ^ Start page at
  4. ^ Official site Archived 2007-04-21 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Freundschaft über Hunderte Kilometer hinweg". (in German). Hameln. Retrieved 2021-02-12.
  6. ^ "Briten ziehen früher aus Hameln ab". Archived from the original on 2012-12-30. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  7. ^ Vicelinus at the Catholic Encyclopedia

External links

This page was last edited on 16 September 2021, at 08:38
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