Mannheim (German pronunciation: [ˈmanhaɪm] (listen); Palatine German: Mannem or Monnem), officially the University City of Mannheim (German: Universitätsstadt Mannheim), is the second-largest city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after the state capital of Stuttgart, and Germany's 21st-largest city, with a 2020 population of approximately 309,119 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region.
Mannheim is located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Neckar in the Kurpfalz (Electoral Palatinate) region of northwestern Baden-Württemberg. The city lies in the Upper Rhine Plain, Germany's warmest region. Together with Hamburg, Mannheim is the only city bordering two other federal states. It forms a continuous conurbation of around 480,000 inhabitants with Ludwigshafen am Rhein in the neighbouring state of Rhineland-Palatinate, on the other side of the Rhine. Some northern suburbs of Mannheim already belong to Hesse. Upstream along the Neckar lies Heidelberg, the third-largest city of the Rhine-Neckar Region.
Mannheim is unusual among German cities in that its streets and avenues are laid out in a grid pattern, leading to its nickname Quadratestadt (Square City). Within a ring of avenues surrounding the city centre, there are squares numbered from A1 to U6 instead of street names. At the southern base of that system sits Mannheim Palace, one of the largest palace complexes in the world, and the second-largest in Baroque style after Versailles. It was the former home of the Prince-elector of the Electoral Palatinate, and now houses the University of Mannheim. The civic symbol of Mannheim is the Romanesque Mannheim Water Tower, completed in 1886 and rising to 60 metres (200 feet) above the highest point of the art nouveau area Friedrichsplatz. Mannheim is the starting and finishing point of the Bertha Benz Memorial Route.
The city is home to major corporations including Daimler, John Deere, Caterpillar, ABB, Fuchs Petrolub, IBM, Roche, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Phoenix Group, Pepperl+Fuchs, Siemens, and several other well-known companies. Mannheim's SAP Arena is home to German ice hockey record champions Adler Mannheim as well as well-known handball team Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Since 2014, Mannheim has been a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and holds the title of "UNESCO City of Music". In 2020, the city was accepted in the Sufficiency level cities of the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC). Mannheim is a smart city; the city's electrical grid is installed with a power-line communication network. The city's tourism slogan is "Leben. Im Quadrat" ("Life. In the Square.")
The name of the city was first recorded as Mannenheim in a legal transaction in 768, surviving in a twelfth-century copy in the Codex Laureshamensis from Lorsch Abbey. The name is interpreted as "the home of Manno", a short form of a Germanic name such as Hartmann or Hermann. Mannheim remained a mere village throughout the Middle Ages.
In 1606, Frederick IV, Elector Palatine started building the fortress of Friedrichsburg and the adjacent city centre with its grid of streets and avenues. On 24 January 1607, Frederick IV gave Mannheim the status of a "city", whether it really was one by then or not.
Mannheim was mostly levelled during the Thirty Years War around 1622 by the forces of Johan Tilly. After being rebuilt, it was again severely damaged by the French Army in 1689 during the Nine Years' War.
After the rebuilding of Mannheim that began in 1698, the capital of the Electorate of the Palatinate was moved from Heidelberg to Mannheim in 1720 when Karl III Philip, Elector Palatine began construction of Mannheim Palace and the Jesuit Church; they were completed in 1760.
During the eighteenth century, Mannheim was the home of the "Mannheim School" of classical music composers. Mannheim was said to have one of the best court orchestras in Europe under the leadership of the conductor Carlo Grua. The royal court of the Palatinate left Mannheim in 1778. Two decades later, in 1802, Mannheim was removed from the Palatinate and given to the Grand Duchy of Baden.
In 1819, Norwich Duff wrote of Mannheim:
In 1819, August von Kotzebue was assassinated in Mannheim.
Infrastructure improvements included the establishment of Rhine Harbour in 1828 and construction of the first Baden railway, which opened from Mannheim to Heidelberg in 1840. Influenced by the economic rise of the middle class, another golden age of Mannheim gradually began. In the March Revolution of 1848, the city was a centre for political and revolutionary activity.
In 1865, Friedrich Engelhorn founded the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory, BASF) in Mannheim, but the factory was constructed across the Rhine in Ludwigshafen because Mannheim residents feared air pollution from its operations. From this dye factory, BASF has developed into the largest chemical company in the world. After opening a workshop in Mannheim in 1871 and patenting engines from 1878, Karl Benz patented the first motor car in 1886. He was born in Mühlburg (now part of Karlsruhe).
When World War I broke out in 1914, Mannheim's industrial plants played a key role in Germany's war economy. This contributed to the fact that, on 27 May 1915, Ludwigshafen was the world's first civilian settlement behind the battle lines to be bombed from the air. French aircraft attacked the BASF plants, thereby killing twelve people. The precedent was set for this attack by Germany's repeated air raids against British civilian populations throughout southeastern Britain during the first half of 1915.
When Germany lost the war in 1918, according to the peace terms, the left bank of the Rhine was occupied by French troops. The French occupation lasted until 1930, and some of Ludwigshafen's most elegant houses were erected for the officers of the French garrison.
After the First World War, the Heinrich Lanz Company built the Bulldog, an advanced tractor, powered by heavy oil. As a result of the invention of the pre-combustion chamber by Prosper L'Orange, Benz & Cie. developed the world's first compact diesel-powered car at its motor works in Mannheim in 1923. In 1922, the Grosskraftwerk Mannheim (Mannheim large power station) was opened. By 1930, the city, along with its sister city of Ludwigshafen, which had developed out of the old Mannheim Rheinschanze, had a population of 385,000.
During World War II, air raids on Mannheim completely destroyed the city centre. Mannheim was heavily damaged during aerial bombing by the RAF and the U.S. Air Force. The RAF razed the city center of Mannheim with nighttime area bombing, killing thousands of civilians. 2,262 of Mannheim's Jews were sent to concentration camps. Some sources state that the first deliberate terror bombing of the war occurred at Mannheim on 16 December 1940.
The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Mannheim in late March 1945, which was potentially well-defended by German forces. However, the German forces suddenly abandoned the city and the U.S. 44th Infantry Division entered unopposed on 29 March 1945. There had been a large American military occupation presence in the Mannheim area with up to 10 barracks. The first one shut down in 2007 going on until 2013 when the last one closed. (See United States military installations below).
Rebuilding of the city began laboriously. Mannheim Palace and the water tower (Wasserturm) eventually were rebuilt and the National Theatre was replaced by a new building at a new location. At the old location there is a monument to Friedrich Schiller and the Zum Zwischen-Akt pub. The housing shortage led to the development of many new residential areas.
In 1964, the City Hospital (Städtisches Krankenhaus) became part of the Heidelberg University for Clinical Medicine in Mannheim. In 1967, the University of Mannheim was established in the city.
In 1975, the Bundesgartenschau (Federal horticulture show) was celebrated in Luisen and Herzogenried parks. A number of pieces of infrastructure were developed for the show: the telecommunications tower and a second bridge across the Rhine were built, the pedestrian zone was established, the new Rosengarten conference centre was opened and the Aerobus was installed as a temporary transport system.
A number of major projects were completed in the 1980s and 1990s: a planetarium, an extension to the art gallery, the new Reiß Museum, Stadthaus, a new May Market ground, synagogue, mosque, State Museum for Technology and Work, Carl-Benz stadium and the Fahrlach tunnel were opened.
Mannheim has lost many industrial jobs, although in the recent past the city was economically dominated by manufacturing. The city tried in the past to prevent the establishment of service providers by designating some locations as industrial areas. A prime example of the current trend is the construction of the Victoria Tower (Victoria-Turm) in 2001, one of the tallest buildings in the city, on railway land.
Mannheim celebrated its 400th anniversary with a series of cultural and other events throughout 2007. The 400th anniversary proper was in 2006, since Frederick IV, Elector Palatine laid the foundations of Mannheim citadel on 17 March 1606. In preparation for the anniversary, some urban activities were implemented, beginning in 2000: the building of the SAP Arena with access to the city's new eastern ring road, the rehabilitation of the pedestrian zone in Breite Straße, the arsenal and the palace, the complete transformation of the old fair ground, and the new Schafweide tram line. The concept of the anniversary of the city aimed at a diverse range of events without a dominant central event. In 2001, the City hospital was officially and legally awarded with the title University Hospital Mannheim.
The following list shows significant groups of foreigners in the city of Mannheim by nationalities.In total 44,7% of all Mannheim inhabitants are from foreign descent. With 68,9% in the Neckarstadt-West district the population is the most foreign, in the Wallstadt district with 23,1% it is the least. A large part of the immigrants are from the Balkans and European countries.
According to Forbes magazine, Mannheim is known for its exceptional inventive power and was ranked 11th among the Top 15 of the most inventive cities worldwide.
Many significant inventions were made in Mannheim:
Official sign of Bertha Benz Memorial Route, commemorating the world's first long-distance journey by automobile from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888 104 km (65 mi)
The council has 48 seats and is elected by direct suffrage for five years. In the local elections in Baden-Württemberg, voters are allowed to take advantage of cumulative voting and vote splitting. Since the Second World War the SPD, except in the elections of 1999 and 2004, has received more votes than the CDU. At the 2019 election the Greens received most votes for the first time. The next municipal election will take place in 2024.
The outcome of the local elections of 25 May 2019 and the current members of the council is as follows:
The mayor is the head of the city council and chairman of the council, being selected by direct suffrage for a term of eight years. The current mayor is Peter Kurz from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), who was elected during 2007 with 50.53 percent on a turnout of 36.64 percent in the first round. Kurz was reelected in 2015 with 52 percent in the second round.
The city leaders since 1810 are:
A number of U.S. Army Europe installations were located in and near Mannheim during the Cold War. The following locations provided services to and housed the "U.S. Army Garrison Mannheim" and other units of the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army Garrison Mannheim was formally deactivated on 31 May 2011.
The following locations were part of the "U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg" but were within the area of the city of Mannheim; They were vacated in 2010 and 2011:
All personnel of the U.S. Army military community left Mannheim by 2015, some of them moving to Wiesbaden. With the exception of four barracks, all other barracks formerly occupied by the U.S. military had been returned to the German state for conversion to civilian use in 2011.
Recently, more smaller stages have opened, such as the Oststadt-Theater, the TIG7 (Theater im Quadrat G7), the Theater Oliv, the Freilichtbühne, the Theater31, the Theater ImPuls, the Theater Felina-Areal, the Mannheimer Puppenspiele, the Kleinkunstbühne Klapsmühl', Schatzkistl, and zeitraumexit.
The University of Mannheim is one of Germany's younger universities. Although founded in 1967, it has its origins in the 1763-established Palatine Academy of Sciences and the former Handelshochschule (commercial college). Situated in Mannheim Palace, it is Germany's leading university in business and economics and attracts students from around the world. Described by "Die Zeit" magazine as the 'Harvard of Germany' it is seen as the alma mater of German businessmen and women.
The university town also houses one of the medical schools of Heidelberg University (at the University Hospital Mannheim), the Hochschule Mannheim, a branch of the Duale Hochschule of the State of Baden-Württemberg and several musical and theatrical academies, including the Pop Academy Mannheim, the Musikhochschule and the Theaterakademie. These institutions draw a large and diverse student body.
Dependents of U.S. military personnel attended Mannheim Elementary School until it closed in June 2012.In the 1980s the school had 2,200 students.
Mannheim is located in Germany's warmest summer region, the "Rhine shift". In summer, temperatures sometimes rise up to 35 °C (95 °F) and higher. The highest recorded temperature was 39.8 °C (104 °F) on 7 August 2015. The daily lows during heat waves can be very high by north European standards (around 25 °C / 77 °F). In comparison to other regions of Germany, Mannheim has a higher humidity in summer which causes a higher heat index. Snow is rare, even in the cold months. Precipitation occurs mostly during afternoon thunderstorms during the warmer period (average days of thunderstorms in a year is 40–50). Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
Mannheim is among the most attractive business locations in Germany thanks to its competitive business environment and growth opportunities and is considered the economic centre of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, which is one of Germany’s most important business locations.
The New Economy Magazine elected Mannheim under the 20 cities that best represent the world of tomorrow emphasizing Mannheim's positive economic and innovative environment.
The successor to the Karl Benz automobile manufacturing companies begun in Mannheim, Daimler AG, has had a large presence in Mannheim. Today, diesel engines and buses are assembled there. The Swiss Hoffmann–La Roche Diagnostic group (formerly known as Boehringer Mannheim) has its division headquarters in Mannheim. Additionally, the city also hosts large factories and offices of ABB, Alstom, BASF (Ludwigshafen), Bilfinger Berger, Bombardier, Fuchs Petrolub AG, John Deere, Siemens, SCA, Südzucker, and other companies. University Hospital Mannheim provides health care to the inhabitants of Mannheim and the metropolitan region rhine-neckar.
Mannheim Hauptbahnhof (central station) is at the end of the Mannheim-Stuttgart high-speed rail line and is the most important railway junction in the southwest of Germany, served by ICE high-speed train system with connections to Frankfurt am Main–Berlin, Karlsruhe–Basel, and Stuttgart–Munich. A new high speed line to Frankfurt also is planned to relieve the existing Mannheim–Frankfurt railway.
Although Frankfurt International Airport is only 65 km (40 mi) to the north, at various times over the years there were daily passenger flights from Mannheim City Airport (IATA code MHG) to London, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Saarbrücken. Currently, scheduled commercial passenger flights serve Berlin and Hamburg.
The RheinNeckar S-Bahn, established in 2003, connects most of the Rhine-Neckar area including lines into the Palatinate, Odenwald, and southern Hesse. All S-Bahn lines run through Mannheim Hauptbahnhof, except S5. Further S-Bahn stations are at present Mannheim-Rangierbahnhof, Mannheim-Seckenheim, and Mannheim-Friedrichsfeld-Süd.
The 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+3⁄8 in) metre gauge integrated Mannheim/Ludwigshafen tramway network also extends to Heidelberg. It is operated by RNV, a company wholly owned by the three cities mentioned and a couple of municipalities in the Palatinate. RNV is the result of a merger on 1 October 2009 between the region's five former municipal transportation companies. Interurban trams are operated by RNV on a triangular route between Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Weinheim that was originally established by the Upper Rhine Railway Company (Oberrheinische Eisenbahn, OEG), and the company also operates interurban trams between Bad Dürkheim, Ludwigshafen, and Mannheim. In the 1970s a proposal to build a U-Bahn out of the Mannheim and Ludwigshafen tramways was begun, but only small sections were built due to lack of funds. The only underground station in Mannheim is the Haltestelle Dalbergstraße. U-Bahn planning now has stopped. All public transport is offered at uniform prices set by the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar (Rhine-Neckar transport union, VRN).
There are two nationally renowned football clubs in Mannheim, SV Waldhof Mannheim, who currently are playing in the third tier 3. Liga, but who have played in the top tier, the Bundesliga; and VfR Mannheim, winner of the German championship in 1949, now playing in the sixth tier Verbandsliga Baden.
The Adler Mannheim (formerly MERC, Mannheimer Eis- und Rollsport-Club) is an ice hockey team playing in the professional Deutsche Eishockey Liga, having won the German championship a total of eight times (7 times Deutsche Eishockey Liga and one time the former highest German ice hockey league known as Bundesliga).
The city is home to the Mannheim Tornados, the oldest operational baseball and softball club in Germany. The Tornados play in the first division of the Baseball Bundesliga and have won the championship 11 times, more than any other club.
In 2003, the American football club MTG Rhein-Neckar Bandits was founded. The Bandits are playing in the first German Football League which is called GFL1. In the summer about 500 people watch each game.
In 2002, Hobby Horse Polo was invented in Mannheim, evoking the classical rivalry towards "polite society" in Heidelberg.
The center of the city uses an addressing system unique within Germany. Rather than street names and numbers, each block is given a code and a number is given to each building, i.e. C3, 17 is block C3, building 17. This practice dates back centuries, and is a result of the original use of the city center as a fort, with the fort's internal system being adopted when it became public streets. The street themselves are unnamed. The codes are laid out in a simple progressive pattern, i.e. C3 is between C2 and C4 in one direction and B3 and D3 in the other, but those unused to the system will often become lost. A street named Breite Straße goes through the middle of the blocks from south to north, with blocks A-K on the west side of the street and L-U on the east, with each row going 1 to at most 7 based on distance from this road. House numbers begin on the south corner nearest Breite Straße and go counterclockwise for A-K and Clockwise for L-U.
This causes major issues with most mapping software, as the databases they use are based on the standard street-number system, and thus aren't able to accommodate a completely different system for a small area. A variety of fixes have been tried, none with a high level of success. In particular, these systems have issues because an address on a block can be on any of up to 4 roads, so attempts to fix the issue by giving the roads false names within the database have often failed to give accurate addressing, though such can still be seen on some platforms, like Google Maps. Finding an address in this area thus generally requires resorting to asking directions or using one of the many posted public maps.
Mannheim is twinned with:
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