Imagebooklet 2009, englisch, french, polish

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100 Villages

A common expression in the area states that Hennef is the “City of 100 Villages”. There are indeed some 100 villages and hamlets dotted throughout the scenic countryside surrounding the city (22,000 inhabitants) and the second centre, Uckerath (3,100 inhabitants), from Altglück with one inhabitant and Bödingen with 400 to Weingartsgasse with 200. The town of Blan- kenberg is also counted as one of these villages, along with Geistingen, steeped in tradition, and the formerly independent municipality of Lauthausen. 46,000 people live in all of these districts put together, spread out over 106 square kilometres at the start of the Sieg valley estuary between the Bergisches Land region, Rhenish Bay and the Siebengebirge and Westerwald mountain ranges.

Hennef as it is today was formed from three former municipalities (Uckerath, Lauthausen and Hennef ) in the boundary modification of 1969. Since 1934, Hennef has borne the byname (Sieg) after its own in brackets and has been recognised as a city since 1981. To this day, Hennef is a captivating mix of urban flair and rural charm. Active community life in the city is supported by more than 300 clubs and associations, including at least 50 sports clubs with over 11,000 members put together. The city centre, with its boulevard-style “Frankfurter Strasse” main shopping district, the centres of Uckerath and Geistingen and the commercial zones are all important hubs for the people of Hen- nef and many living in the surrounding hinterland. The historical cultural landscape of the lower Sieg valley and town of Blankenberg-Bödingen which has evolved over the centuries and the many trekking and biking trails and bridle paths are some of the best tourist destinations North Rhine-Westphalia has to offer.


With close motorway links in all directions and quick connections to three international airports (Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt), Hennef boasts an exceptional location in the greater Cologne-Bonn area. The Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions are also easily accessed. Therefore, it’s no wonder that many well-known domestic and international companies have chosen to set up in Hennef in recent years. Precision mechanics, fruit juices, weighing machines, electronics, breakdown triangles, dry goods and sanitary equipment are just some of the many products produced or marketed in Hennef to be found on supermarket shelves and in the workshops of successful companies in Europe.
In recent years, the idea of Hennef as a city of sport has also fired the imagination of local business. Many professional footballers from Amsterdam to Zürich showcase their skills on artificial turf pitches from Hennef ’s western commercial zone. Teams from home and abroad frequently come to try out one of Hennef ’s artificial turf pitches and convince themselves of the quality. Systems for dividing pitches and courts and many sophisticated ideas for sports trends, such as street soccer and beach volleyball, also come from Hennef. Anyone who has watched the Olympics has also seen the prominent lettering of the Hennef company behind these.

All Hennef companies also appreciate the service from the municipal business development agency, which provides assistance on dealing with authorities, short communication channels and unbureaucratic support, all gladly provided by the manager himself also.

City of Sport

50 sports clubs with more than 11,000 members all told, half of them children and young people – that speaks for itself. The city has invested a great deal of money in its sporting infrastructure over recent years. In addition to ongoing improvements to existing sports facilities, artificial turf pitches, small playing fields in Söven and Siegbogen, an outdoor sports facility in the comprehensive school, gymnasiums in Söven and in the Siegtal primary school, a new gymnastics hall and a running track at the Education and Sports Centre have all been built. Further projects have been up-and-running since 2009, including a mini-playing field on Gartenstrasse in Hennef city centre, another artificial turf pitch in Happerschoss, a mini-playing field in Uckerath and a multi-purpose gym at Meiersheide. There are also plans for a mini-playing field in the Education and Sports Centre and another artificial turf pitch in Söven. All planning is conducted in close cooperation with the StadtSportVerband, the umbrella organisation for Hennef sports clubs, which has had a significant say in the planning of sports facilities in the city since the conclusion of the “Pact for Sport” in 2005.

To put it briefly, the “Hennef – City of Sport” expression in use for several years is more than just a slogan. It actually harks back to the founding of the nationally famous Hennef College of Physical Education of the Mittelrhein e.V. football club in 1950 and can be seen today in examples such as the children’s sports festival which has been held on Hennef ’s market square on the first Saturday following the summer holidays since 2005. From early to late, more than 3,000 children try out all there is on offer at the festival from Hennef sports clubs, including all things from vaulting to tennis.

Families, Senior Citizens, Children

“Family-friendly approved” – although somewhat cumbersome, this phrase encompasses the motivation of Hennef urban planners to always keep track of the wishes and needs of children, young people and families in all construction projects. Hennef is home to around 10,000 under-18s and the average age is 40.5. This makes Hennef younger than other municipalities in the region. Hennef boasts 72 playgrounds and football areas, a youth centre, a skater park and a youth park planned by young people with a converted railway carriage as a place for them to meet up. There are lots of ways for single and working parents in Hennef to balance their family and work life. All primary schools offer all-day schools or “OGS”, the comprehensive is an all-day school and the grammar school started all-day operations in summer 2009. Up to 45 hours of care a week are provided by the nursery schools and the youth welfare office has a very well equipped day care. Nursery school and all-day school fees are favourably priced. A sibling need only pay half, while each additional child goes free.

However, Hennef also has a lot to offer senior citizens, such as the senior citizens office with its “Aktiv Café” in the town hall and the advisory service offered by Verein Altenhilfe, an organisation which supports senior citizens. The “Bürgerstiftung Altenhilfe” foundation funds this service so that all can avail of it. In addition to this, there are well-run senior citizens’ residences and nursing homes in the city and building land designated as multigenerational living and supported living areas in Hennef-Mitte and the new “Im Siegbogen” building area, for example.

Nurseries and Schools

With 1,420 nursery school children and more than 6,000 primary and secondary school students, Hennef is the youngest city in the region and has one of the most extensive school systems in the Rhein-Sieg district. Seven primary schools, all with all-day schools, comprehensively cover the city. There is also a community secondary school, the Kopernikus secondary school, the municipal grammar school and, with 1,400 students, the largest school in Hennef, the comprehensive school. The vocational college in Hennef, the Hennef campus of the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences with the Department of Social Security Management and the Rhein-Sieg Academy for Realistic Art and Design complete the learning opportunities.

Since the 1950s, Hennef has also been a place where professional athletes come to train. Featuring names such as Sepp Herberger, Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Wolfgang Overath, Lukas Podolski and most recently Juan Román Riquelme, the guestbook of the Hennef College of Physical Education of the Mittelrhein e.V. football club in Geistingen reads like a “who’s who” of the footballing world. Following extensive upgrades up to the end of 2006, Hennef College of Physical Education is still considered one of the leading colleges of physical education in Europe and is also a federal performance centre for boxing, wrestling and judo. Hennef ’s claims to academic fame don’t end there. It is also the location for the Richard-Schirrmann special school of the RheinSieg district. The school is named after Richard Schirrmann who came up with the idea of “youth hostels” on the school premises in Hennef-Bröl on 26 August 1909 while sheltering there with his class of students following an unexpected outbreak of bad weather.

Experience Culture

A music school, city library and municipal cultural programme – it goes without saying that Hennef has all of these. However, cultural life in the city is decisively shaped by clubs and private initiatives also – with the relevant logistical and financial support from the city. First and foremost, the many choral and music societies and their numerous appearances ensure a packed calendar. Concerts on the Rieger organ built in 2006 in the Sankt Simon und Judas parish church are always a highlight. Hennef ’s “Kur Theater”, a cinema since 1925 and now operated by an association, has established itself for some years as a venue for well-known smaller-scale performing artists and is awarded year after year by the NRW film foundation for its cinema programme. The “Hennef Art Initiative” also holds two exhibitions each year at the Meys factory which attract art lovers from all over the region. The city awards a youth art prize each autumn in conjunction with the initiative.

The students of the city’s music school regularly enjoy good success in the “Jugend musiziert” music competition and are also well worth going to see. In April each year, almost all students take part in a stage musical with their choirs and orchestras. Imaginative and surprising adaptations of well-known fairy tales are presented. The city also has its own programme offering four comedy and music evenings, theatre for children aged four and over and readings in the city library. The “Stadtfest” (city festival) in Hennef, held on the third weekend in September each year, has also won a place for itself in the music scene in the region for some years with its numerous rock and pop concerts.

Historical Cultural Landscape of Town of Blankenberg-Bödingen

Hennef can boast one of the best preserved large castles of the High Middle Ages in the Rhineland – Blankenberg Castle – and one of the most important places of Marian pilgrimage – Bödingen. Both can be seen from high ridges to the left and right of the river Sieg, surrounded by rural countryside which has retained its original structure for centuries. Since 2008, both places and the surrounding countryside have been designated the first monument area across a cultural landscape in NRW: “Cultural Landscape of the Lower Sieg Valley: Town of Blankenberg, Bödingen”. The history of Blankenberg castle and town dates back to the 12th century. Blankenberg received its town charter in 1245, while the castle was an administrative centre of the Berg duchy for several centuries. The castle complex has been in ruins since the Thirty Years’ War. The small half-timbered idyll, with wellpreserved, powerful town gates and a largely intact city wall, is particularly well-visited in summer. The tower museum, a small viniculture museum and a wine trail bring the history of the location to life. The Bödingen pilgrimage site also dates back to the Middle Ages. The hermit Christian von Lauthausen had a picture of the Virgin Mary produced and mounted following a vision in the second half of the 14th century. Giving consideration to the influx of pilgrims, Geistingen-based priest Peter Meisenbach organised the construction of the “Mater Dolorosa” pilgrimage church from 1397 onwards. This still holds the picture of the Virgin Mary to this day. On the fourth Friday after Easter, it is carried through the area as part of the compassion festival. Bödingen is the only parish in Germany where this festival of Marian compassion (“Compassio Mariae”), first started in 1423, continues today.

Chronos Weighing Instrument

Hennef was a small, unimposing place when one man came up with a plan which revolutionised industry and trade and heralded a new era – that of automatic weighing. Carl Reuther and the Chronos weighing instrument. Until 1883, humankind had manually weighed goods for many centuries. The Chronos weighing instrument made it possible for bulk goods to be automatically and precisely weighed for the first time. The weighing machine was built in the “C. Reuther & Reisert Machine Factory Hennef ”, the subsequent Chronos factory which enjoyed a global monopoly on automatic weighing instrument until the middle of the 20th century.

The Chronos weighing instrument invented by Carl Reuther and Eduard Reisert triggered the development of modern industrial and computer-based weighing technologies, now common all over the world. Entrepreneur Carl Reuther also laid the foundation for Hennef ’s industrialisation. His first company, the “C. Reuther and Co. Agricultural Machine Factory Hennef ”, was the nucleus for all subsequent Hennef companies, including those of the locksmith Johann Steimel, the master foundryman Johann Friedrich Jacobi and the “Joseph Meys & Comp., G.m.b.H., Agricultural Machine Factory and Iron Foundry”. Today’s vocational college in Hennef also has its roots in the continuation school founded by Carl Reuther in 1897.

A Weighing-Instrument-Trail through Hennef centre with 22 information plaques at historic locations and a permanent exhibition at the Meys factory on the history of weighing serve as reminders of the Chronos weighing machine and its inventors.

More english information about the Chronos Weighing Instrument and the Weighing-Instrument-Trail.

Hennef in Europe

“Hennef in Europe” – this is not only the motto of Hennef Europe Week (held since 2005) and a correct geographical statement given Hennef ’s location, it also reflects the lived reality. Hennef has built up particularly strong ties of friendship with three cities. It has been twinned with the English town of Banbury since 1981. Banbury is located in north Oxfordshire, half-way between London and Birmingham. Hennef ’s French “ville jumelée” is Le Pecq sur Seine, near Paris. This partnership has been in place since 1997. And finally, a close friendship has developed with “miasta partnerskie” Nowy Dwór Gdanski at the Vistula estuary, close to Gdansk and the Baltic Sea, since 2001.

The primary driver for all partnerships is Hennef ’s European twinning association – the “Verein für Europäische Städte-Partnerschaft Hennef ”. There is also lots of contact between the schools and clubs of all cities and many personal friendships have developed through mutual visits and exchange programmes. In 2007, Hennef Europe Week and the partnerships were even awarded a “Twinning Gold Star” by the European Commission. Europe Week, held in early summer each year, has become a kind of fixed date in the calendar for all four partners. The spirit of Europe is brought to live through music and dance on the stage in the market square, with all kinds of culinary treats, workshops and promotions on offer. Children and young people particularly benefit from this. And sport in Hennef also features here – the “Europe Week Run” with some 1500 entrants year on year has become one of the most important events in the region’s sporting calendar.

D.H. Lawrence: "Bei Hennef"

The little river twittering in the twilight,
The wan, wondering look of the pale sky,
This is almost bliss.

And everything shut up and gone to sleep,
All the troubles and anxieties and pain
Gone under the twilight.

Only the twilight now, and the soft ‚Sh!‘ of the river
That will last for ever.
And at last I know my love for you is here;
I can see it all, it is whole like the twilight,
It is large, so large, I could not see it before,
Because of the little lights and flickers and interruptions,
Troubles, anxieties and pains.

You are the call and I am the answer,
You are the wish, and I the fulfilment,
You are the night, and I the day.
What else? it is perfect enough.

It is perfectly complete,
You and I,
What more-?
Strange, how we suffer in spite of this!


David Herbert Lawrence, * 1885 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, † 1930 in Vence, France, English author. In May 1912, he visited his cousin Hannah Krenkow in Waldbröl and was inspired to write this poem by the romantic river Sieg in Hennef. The original poem in English actually bears the German-language title “Bei Hennef ” also.


© Stadt Hennef