City history

City history

Welcome to the town on the Itter River, which is more than a thousand years old. A medieval document shows that a court of the archbishop of Cologne already existed in Hilden in 985. Soil finds provide information about an earlier settlement in the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. The farm developed into a village. At the beginning of the 13th century, one of the most important architectural monuments in the Lower Rhine region was built, the present-day Reformation Church, which was originally dedicated to St. Jacob. Hilden's most famous buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition to the two reformed theologians Anton and Wilhelm Hüls, the wound surgeon Wilhelm Fabry (1560-1634) deserves special mention. Because of the development of new instruments and surgical methods, he is considered the founder of modern surgery in Germany.

After the brief French rule at the beginning of the 19th century, Hilden took a rapid rise since the incorporation of the Rhineland into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1815.

Important stations on the way from the village to the town were the first pharmacy, a post office, lanterns for street lighting and a savings bank. With the onset of industrialization, the textile industry first came to Hilden, followed shortly by metal processing companies and finally leather manufacturing. After the town was elevated to the status of a city in 1861, the connection to the railroad network in 1874 was a milestone for the development of the young town.

Hilden received its own town coat of arms in 1900, the same year as the first town hall. The period after the First World War was marked by unemployment, inflation and strikes.

This was followed by the years of National Socialism with persecution of political opponents, oppression and forced labor. One of the darker sides of the city's history was the murder of Jewish citizens on Reichspogromnacht.

Due to refugees and displaced persons, the population of Hilden grew rapidly after the Second World War. The building boom and economic miracle turned the city into a large construction site. But soon the economic structure changed. Leather and textiles said goodbye, and the large companies from the metal sector abandoned Hilden as a location around 1980. The city accepted the challenge and managed the structural change. The settlement of businesses in the following years was characterized by a mix of industries. Today, the vast majority of companies in Hilden are service providers. Conveniently located with good connections to the surrounding major cities and a major airport, Hilden presents itself today with its historic city center around the Old Market and the Reformation Church with a wide range of goods in the pedestrian zone as a lively city; in which it is worth living.

("Hilden" ed. Wolfgang Ruland 2006)

  • Honorary citizen of the city of Hilden

    • Otto von Bismarck (Imperial Chancellor) since March 11, 1895
    • Ferdinand Wilhelm Lieven (landowner and 1st alderman) since September 17, 1900
    • Fritz Gressard (factory owner and 1st alderman) since May 26, 1914
    • Walter Wiederhold (factory owner) since May 9, 1952
    • Dr. Ellen Wiederhold (factory owner and mayor) since November 4, 1994
  • Full time mayor

    • 1808 - 1809 Georg Eberhard Clamor Friedrich von dem Bussche-Ippenburg gen. Kessel, Lord of Hackhausen
    • 1809 - 1814 Albert Asbeck, Hilden
    • 1814 - 1818 Nicolas von Pigage, Benrath
    • 1819 - 1822 Hermann Leven, Benrath
    • 1822 - 1842 Franz Albert Schieß, Benrath
    • 1842 - 1843 Interregnum: Alderman August Reyscher, Hilden
    • 1843 - 1845 Eduard Eugen Freiherr von Wittenhorst-Sonsfeld, Hilden
    • 1846 - 1851 Hermann Clemens, Hilden
    • 1851 - 1865 Albert Koennecke, Hilden
    • 1865 - 1877 Joseph Johann Pabst, Hilden
    • 1877 - 1894 Karl Julius Wachtel, Hilden
    • 1894 - 1896 Interregnum: Alderman Wilhelm Ferdinand Lieven, Hilden
    • 1896 - 1920 Karl Wilhelm Heitland, Hilden
    • 1920 - 1933 Dr. Erich Lerch, Hilden
    • 1933 - 1945 Walter Schomburg, Hilden
  • Honorary mayor

    • 1945 - 1946 Hermann Sayn
    • 1946 - 1948 Otto Goldhorn
    • 1948 Franz Klems
    • 1948 - 1952 Otto Köster
    • 1952 - 1969 Robert Gies
    • 1969 - 1994 Dr. Ellen Wiederhold
    • 1994 - 1999 Günter Scheib
  • Full-time mayor

    • 1999 - 2009 Günter Scheib
    • 2009 - 2014 Horst Thiele
    • 2014 - 2020 Birgit Alkenings
    • since 2020 Dr. Claus Pommer
  • City Managers

    • 1946 - 1958 Hans Beaujean
    • 1958 - 1965 Hans Knop
    • 1965 - 1974 Heinz Brieden
    • 1974 - 1999 Dr. Karl-Detlev Göbel