|• Mayor (2016–24)||Julian Osswald (CDU)|
|• Total||87.58 km2 (33.81 sq mi)|
|Elevation||732 m (2,402 ft)|
|• Density||270/km2 (700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Dialling codes||07441, 07442, 07443|
|Vehicle registration||FDS, HCH, HOR, WOL|
Freudenstadt (Swabian: Fraidestadt) is a town in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. It is capital of the district Freudenstadt. The closest population centres are Offenburg to the west (approx. 36 km away) and Tübingen to the east (approx. 47 km away).
The city lies on a high plateau at the east edge of the north Black Forest, and is well known for its fresh air. Its city centre is famous as the largest market place in Germany. After Horb, it is the second largest city of the Freudenstadt district. The city has an administration partnership with the communities Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach and Seewald.
Freudenstadt is a climatic health resort of international renown. In the 19th and 20th centuries, visitors of note included George V of the United Kingdom, the Queen of Sweden, John D. Rockefeller, and even the American writer Mark Twain. With its many hotels and guest houses, and its high-class cuisine, Freudenstadt remains a popular vacation spot for Germans from every part of the country. Among the many Germans of note who considered Freudenstadt a second home was the justice inspector Friedrich Kellner whose WWII diary is the subject of a Canadian documentary.
Since 1535 a monastery church existed in Kniebis. The building of Freudenstadt was ordered by duke Frederick of Württemberg in 1599 with the initial population largely being made up of many of the 11,000 Protestants who left the Inner Austrian provinces by force or through self-exile beginning in 1598. The designer was architect Heinrich Schickhardt. In 1799 the monastery in Kniebis was burned down by the French. Because of the Württemberg foundation Freudenstadt was almost entirely Protestant for a long time. The young church belonged to the dean's office respectively church district Herrenberg within the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg.
In World War II, on the nearly 1,000 meter high Kniebis, not far from the Alexanderschanze, a Command Center of the Armed Forces was built to defend the Western Front: the Führer's headquarter Tannenberg. Heavy Anti-aircraft warfare positions with the associated supply and accommodation buildings were built in the area as part of the LVZ West (Western Air Defense Zone), especially on the Schliffkopf and the Hornisgrinde. In the Freudenstadt hospital many wounded were treated. Hitler's one-week visit to Tannenberg and Freudenstadt in 1940 (after the French campaign) at the inauguration of the headquarter was propaganda, which was reported in news reels. Thus, Freudenstadt including the nearby region in France has become a symbol of the Nazi regime and the French defeat, which in 1945 was to play an important role.
On 16 April 1945, three weeks before the war ended, the city was unexpectedly attacked by the troops of the 1st French army under General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. There was a large-scale destruction caused by bombing and shelling. Freudenstadt fell, with interruptions, for about 16 hours under artillery fire. No residents dared to go to meet the French troops to surrender the city, conversely the French troops expected considerable military resistance.
Since the water main line was destroyed by US air strikes and the fire engines had been destroyed by shelling, fire spread easily. A handover took place only when French troops reached the town hall. There were several dozen civilian casualties; about 600 buildings, 95 percent of the town, were destroyed directly or indirectly during the night from 16 to 17 April and 1,400 families were made homeless. Over the next three days, during the occupation by French troops, there were many violent attacks by soldiers of the Moroccan units. According to doctor, Renate Lutz, she alone treated over 600 raped women. According to witnesses, when the townsfolk complained, they were told it was war and that Freudenstadt had to burn for three days.
Many of the remaining buildings were then occupied by French troops. Many families lived in makeshift roofed cellars. Overall, the average living space per inhabitant was reduced to less than eight square metres. The need was great, and the cleanup of the debris was initially slow.
The borough of Freudenstadt is divided into the town of Freudenstadt with Christophstal and Zwieselberg (together 16,159 inhabitants) and the outlying districts of Dietersweiler and Lauterbad (2,256), Grüntal and Frutenhof (1,027), Igelsberg (254), Kniebis (947), Musbach (761) and Wittlensweiler (2,186). These are further divided into villages, hamlets, farms and individual houses.
The market place, flanked by arcaded houses, is the largest market place in Germany. The Rathaus (Town Hall), at the market place, houses the museum of local history.
On the south side of the market place is the Evangelical Lutheran Church, with its green tower roofs. It was built between 1601 and 1608, and is considered the most significant building of Freudenstadt. It was built in the Gothic/Renaissance style.
The Friedrichsturm (Frederick's Tower) is a 25m high tower which is built 799m above sea level on the Kienberg. It was built of red sandstone from the northern Black Forest in 1899 for the 300 year anniversary of Freudenstadt. On days with a clear sky it offers a view over the whole Murg valley, a view over Dornstetten and Schopfloch.
The value added comes in 2006 from the service sector (54,2%), the manufacturing industry (45,0%) and from agriculture (0,8%). 2007 were in the urban area 2,832 guest beds available. The number of overnight stays was 339,292.
The manufacturing sector is located mainly in the industrial areas. Particularly significant are the Gebrüder Schmid (photovoltaic, printed circuit boards, flat panel displays), the Robert Bürkle (equipment for surface finishing), the company Georg Oest mineral (mineral oil, gas stations, mechanical engineering).
Due to the central location in the Black Forest, four federal roads lead through Freudenstadt. At the market place the B 28 (Kehl-Ulm) meets the B 462 (Rastatt-Rottweil). Here ends also the B 500 (Baden-Baden-Freudenstadt). Since 1985, the B 294 from Bretten to Gundelfingen bypasses Freudenstadt in a north–south direction.
Freudenstadt is the starting point of three railway lines. In 1879 construction of the Eutingen im Gäu–Freudenstadt railway connected the city to the railway network. It runs from Stuttgart over Herrenberg and Eutingen im Gäu to Freudenstadt. Because continuation into the Kinzig valley was already planned (and as part of the Kinzig Valley Railway was carried out in 1886), the main station was built southeast of the city, relatively far from the center. In 1901 the Württemberg part of the Murg Valley Railway to Klosterreichenbach was built. The 60-meter higher Stadtbahnhof north of the center is a Standardized railway station. In 1928, a direct connection to Rastatt (Baden) was established.
Eutingen and Stuttgart are connected with the Gäubahn. There is a rail service every hour with consolidations in school transport. Since 2006, coming from Karlsruhe, S41 goes every two hours about Freudenstadt up to Eutingen where is connection to the Regional Express (RE) Stuttgart-Singen.
The connection to Offenburg is via the Kinzig Valley Railway. The trains of the Ortenau-S-Bahn (OSB), connect Freudenstadt hourly over Alpirsbach, Schiltach and Hausach to Offenburg. The central bus station (ZOB) with more than 40 bus lines is a main transport hub in the Black Forest. City buses run to destinations in the urban core. Public transport to towns in neighboring districts, such as to Oberndorf, Wolfach, Altensteig or Dornhahn. On the nights of Saturdays, Sundays and holidays an overnight bus service completes the night rail service.
Freudenstadt is home of the Amtsgericht, which belongs to the court Rottweil and the superior court Stuttgart. It is the seat of the district office of the homonymous district and home to the majority of its administrative authorities. There is also a notary and a tax office. It is the seat of the church district Freudenstadt of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg.
The schools sponsored by the city are on the one hand the Kepler-Gymnasium and the Kepler secondary school. Southeast towards the central station is the Falken-Realschule, not far away from the Hartranft Elementary School. The Theodor-Gerhard-primary school with integrated Werkrealschule as a second primary school of the main town is located opposite to the Kepler schools. Among the schools sponsored by the district are the Eduard-Spranger-School, a business school with an economic high school, the Heinrich-Schickhardt school as industrial and technical school with a technical high school and Luise Büchner School as domestic school with a nutritional scientific school. The Christopher's School, a special school, is found north the building yard.
Freudenstadt is twinned with: