|• Mayor (2018–24)||Peter Traub (Ind.)|
|• Total||62.67 km2 (24.20 sq mi)|
|Elevation||250 m (820 ft)|
|• Density||220/km2 (580/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
Erbach (German pronunciation: [ˈɛʁbax] (listen)) is a town and the district seat of the Odenwaldkreis (district) in Hesse, Germany. It has a population of around 13,000.
The town lies in the Mittelgebirge Odenwald at elevations between 200 and 560 m in the valley of the Mümling.
One geological peculiarity is the creek Erdbach's complete disappearance within Dorf-Erbach's community area. The Erdbach reappears near Stockheim. There are several places where the Erdbach disappears into the ground.
Erbach borders in the north on the town of Michelstadt, in the east on the market town of Kirchzell (in Miltenberg district in Bavaria), in the south on the community of Hesseneck and the town of Beerfelden and in the west on the community of Mossautal (all three in the Odenwaldkreis). A planned merger with the neighbouring town of Michelstadt was blocked in November 2007 by a referendum (Bürgerentscheid). For the time being, ways are being sought to deepen the two towns' cooperation, and possibly consider a merger once again in a few years' time.
Since the amalgamations within the framework of municipal reform in 1972, the district seat of Erbach has been made up of twelve Stadtteile:
|Bullau||9.98 km2||410||with the hamlet of Eutergund|
|Dorf-Erbach||4.08 km2||1,610||with the hamlet of Habermannskreuz|
|Erbach||10.89 km2||8,410||with the hamlet of Roßbach|
|Haisterbach||5.88 km2||420||with the hamlet of Marbach|
Erbach has long been the residence of the Counts of Erbach, who trace their descent back to the 12th century, and who held the office of cup-bearer to the Electors Palatine of the Rhine until 1806. In 1532 the emperor Charles V made the county a direct fief of the Holy Roman Empire, on account of the services rendered by Count Eberhard during the Palatine Peasants' War.
In 1717 the family was divided into the three lines of Erbach-Fürstenau, Erbach-Erbach and Erbach-Schönberg, who rank for precedence, not according to the age of their descent, but according to the age of the chief of their line. In 1818 the counts of Erbach-Erbach inherited the county of Wartenberg-Roth, and in 1903 the count of Erbach-Schönberg was granted the title of prince. The county was incorporated with the duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in the 19th century.
The municipal election held on 26 March 2006 yielded the following results:
|Parties and voter communities||%
|CDU||Christian Democratic Union of Germany||36.7||11||24.3||8|
|SPD||Social Democratic Party of Germany||37.9||12||31.6||10|
|GREENS||Bündnis 90/Die Grünen||7.9||3||9.7||3|
|FDP||Free Democratic Party||4.0||1||7.2||2|
|ÜWG||Überparteiliche Wählergemeinschaft der Kreisstadt Erbach e.V.||13.5||4||27.2||8|
|Voter turnout in %||52.4||55.4|
Buschmann was re-elected in 2012 with 52.7% of the votes.
|Term of office||Name||Party|
|1919–1933||Wilhelm Dengler (1889–1951)||SPD|
|1945||Wilhelm Dengler (introduced)||SPD|
|since 2018||Peter Traub|
The town's arms might heraldically be described thus: Gules a bend wavy azure, thereon three mullets of six gules.
The wavy bend is taken to be a brook, and the mullets of six (six-pointed stars) were inspired by the arms formerly borne by the princely Counts of Erbach, who were lords of the Odenwald until 1806.
Erbach has partnerships with four towns in Europe:
Harness racing track
Odenwaldkreis district council office
Timber-frame houses on the Mümling
Memorial to Count Franz I before the castle
Erbach Palace, the castle of the princely Counts of Erbach, was built into a residence in the style of the times in the 18th century. Since the noble house did not have the needed materials on hand, only the middle wing of the planned three-winged building was ever built. The façade is to a great extent built out of not sandstone, but rather sheeting or wood coloured to look like it.
The antique collections at the castle have remained almost unchanged since Count Franz I's time (1754–1823).
In 2005, the state of Hesse bought the castle for €13,000,000.
Within the castle complex is the likewise Late Baroque orangery with the castle garden.
In the area of the orangery and the castle garden, a citizens' initiative in the 1970s managed to thwart plans to tear down the orangery and build a highrise hotel on the site
The memorial on the castle square to Count Franz I – the last ruling count – that was knocked off its pedestal and thereby broken was repaired and set back in place with support from two Darmstadt artists and some Erbach citizens. The work was financed through grants from the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege ("State Office for Care of Monuments") as well as donations.
The Erbacher Wiesenmarkt ("meadow market") was originally called the Eulbacher Markt or Eulbacher Wiesen(Vieh-)markt. Eulbach is an outlying centre of the neighbouring town of Michelstadt. It was once a regionally very important livestock, horse and farm market.
The livestock and farm market was only moved to Erbach sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century by the Counts of Eulbach. Until about 1960, the livestock and horse market with its associated horseracing and other horse sports was the main part of the Eulbacher Markt. The Schützenhaus ("Marksmen's House") standing on the way into the Wiesenmarkt, however, suggests that the Eulbacher Markt, at least in part, must already have been held in Erbach as early as the mid 19th century: it was here that the Democratic Revolutionaries met in 1848 and on what is now the market grounds beside the Schützenhaus that the Odenwald "Moot" (Volksversammlung) was held under the Michelstadt revolutionary and lawyer Ludwig Bogen's leadership.
The Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach ("Erbach German Ivory Museum") has been in existence since 1966 and is unique in Europe. Its exhibits are almost exclusively ivory. Visitors can also watch the resident carvers as they go about their artistic work.
Franz I, the last ruling count (1754–1823), introduced ivory carving in 1783, thus giving the town the nickname Elfenbeinstadt ("Ivory Town"). Many artists made their homes here and today their works and activities can still be admired at the town's Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach. Owing to widespread bans since 1989, aimed at protecting animals, on dealing in ivory, nowadays comparable materials such as animal horns are used. Very popular as a material is prehistoric mammoth tusk, which is still found from time to time in Siberia. Besides the slightly different colour, this is comparable to elephant tusk ivory.
Erbach lies on Bundesstraßen 45 and 47, and also on the Odenwald Railway (RMV Line 65; Frankfurt–Darmstadt/Hanau–Erbach–Eberbach). A planned Bundesstraße 45 bypass proposed since the 1970s has once again been included in Hesse state planning.