Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the River Weser. It is the capital of the district (Kreis) of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the cultural region of Minden Land. It is widely known as the intersection of the Mittelland Canal and the River Weser. The town is over 1,200 years old and has yet some buildings in the Weser Renaissance style, in addition to its architecturally symbolic 1,000-year-old cathedral.

Old City Hall of Minden

Coat of arms
Location of Minden within Minden-Lübbecke district
Coordinates: 52°17′N 8°55′E
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionDetmold
Subdivisions19 districts
  MayorMichael Jäcke (SPD)
  Total101.08 km2 (39.03 sq mi)
42 m (138 ft)
  Density810/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0571
Vehicle registrationMI



Minden is a town in the northeastern part of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It lies on the River Weser, north of the Porta Westfalica gap between the ridges of the Weser Hills and Wiehen Hills. The Weser leaves the Weser Uplands and flows into the North German Plain. The town centre lies 5 kilometres (3 miles) to the north, on a plateau on the western side of the river. The small Bastau stream flows into the Weser from the west near the town centre. The edge of the plateau marks the transition from the Middle Weser Valley to the Lübbecke Loessland. This marked change in terrain divides the upper town from the lower town, and marks the boundary between two ecological zones.

The formation of the town was strongly influenced by the Prussian fortress of Minden, whose now-demolished fortifications have been turned into a green belt around the town centre.

Minden is 40 kilometres (25 miles) NE of Bielefeld, 60 km (37 miles) W of Hanover, 80 km (50 mi) S of Bremen and 60 km (37 mi) E of Osnabrück. It acted as the historic and political focus for the surrounding countryside.

The Mittelland Canal traverses the town from east to west, while the Weser flows from south to north. These waterways cross in the northern area of the town at the Minden Aqueduct (Wasserstraßenkreuz Minden).

The lowest part of the town is in the district of Leteln, at 40 metres (131 feet), while the highest part is in the district of Haddenhausen at 181 metres (594 feet). The altitude of the town is given officially as 42.2 metres (138.5 feet), based on the elevation of the town hall.

The town covers an area of 101.08 square kilometres (39.03 sq mi). It extends 13.1 km (8.1 miles) from north to south and 14.1 km (9 mi) from east to west.

Neighbouring settlements

Clockwise from north

Town subdivisions

Minden consists of 19 subdistricts:

  • Bärenkämpen
  • Bölhorst
  • Dankersen
  • Dützen
  • Haddenhausen
  • Häverstädt
  • Hahlen
  • Minden (town centre)
  • Königstor
  • Kutenhausen
  • Leteln-Aminghausen
  • Meißen
  • Minderheide
  • Nordstadt
  • Päpinghausen
  • Rechtes Weserufer
  • Rodenbeck
  • Stemmer
  • Todtenhausen


Early history to Middle Ages

Evidence of settlements in various parts of the town suggests that Minden has been settled since the 3rd century A.D. The Minden area shows continuing settlement activity from the 1st to the 4th century. The area then belonged to the Rhine-Weser-Germanic development sphere. This is apparent from the imperial age burial fields at Minden-Römerring and Porta Westfalica-Costedt.

The first mention of Minden is a record in the Franconian Imperial Annals (Reichsannalen) of Charlemagne holding an imperial assembly in 798. Charlemagne founded a bishopric in Minden around the year 800. The rights to hold a market, to mint coins and to collect customs duties were granted in 977. Until the beginning of the 13th century, the bishop appointed the leader and administrator of the town, with the title of Wichgraf. The citizens of Minden and their Council obtained independence from the rule of the bishop around 1230 and received a town charter. They utilised these new rights to begin trading independently from the church. The profits from this led to the further growth of the town. Minden was a member of the Hanseatic League during the Middle Ages. The increased self-confidence of the citizens of Minden was demonstrated by the construction of the town hall, probably adjoining the separately governed cathedral precinct. As a result, Bishop Gottfried von Waldeck moved his official residence from Minden to Petershagen in 1306–07.

Middle Ages to Modern Era

The introduction of the Reformation to Minden in 1529 created much conflict in the town, leading to the formation of a 36-man unit that took over the role of town regiment. Nicholas Krage announced Minden's new church order based on Martin Luther's principles from the pulpit of St. Martin's Church (Martinikirche) on 13 February 1530.

There were 128 prosecutions for witchcraft between 1603 and 1684. As in nearby regions, almost all those sentenced were women.

Imperial troops occupied Minden from 1625 to 1634, during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Protestant Swedish troops laid siege to Minden and captured it in 1634. Queen Christina of Sweden (reigned 1632–1654) granted full sovereignty in internal and external affairs to Minden.

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 gave the possession of Minden to Brandenburg-Prussia, and it remained with Prussia until its break-up in 1947. The rule of Frederick I of Prussia (in office 1688–1713) ended the 400-year self-determination or independence of the citizens of Minden. The 40-man unit (Vierziger) was dissolved by the king and the town council was replaced by a town authority consisting of 16 businessmen, 16 tradesmen and eight representatives of the community who were elected for life.

The Battle of Minden took place in front of the gates of Minden on 1 August 1759 during the Seven Years' War. The allies of Great Britain, led by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, defeated the French and their allies in a decisive battle. The region remained Prussian and the adjacent Kingdom of Hanover remained in the possession of the British king.

The town was capital of the Territory of Minden-Ravensberg from 1719 to 1807 and capital of the District of Minden from 1816 to 1947.

19th century

Until 1806 the area around the cathedral was governed by clerical rulers as territory of its own right in contrast to other town quarters. In course of the War of the Fourth Coalition French troops occupied the town on 13 November 1806. The town then became part of the Kingdom of Westphalia and, later, an actual part of France until 1810. After the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig, French troops abandoned Minden and it returned to Prussia. Minden Fortress was rebuilt in the time of district administrator (Landrat) von Arnim, from 1816 to 1820. This reconstruction of the fortifications had serious negative consequences because it hindered economic development, which almost totally by-passed Minden; other smaller towns like Bielefeld and Dortmund laid the foundation for their greater subsequent growth.

The Prussian era was very influential for the municipal shaping and development of Minden. Many buildings from this era remain. The town remained a Prussian fortress until 1873, when the Reichstag (Germany's Imperial Parliament) passed the law to remove the fortress status of Minden along with Stettin, Erfurt, Wittenber, Kosel, Graudenz, Kolberg and Stralsund. The fortress walls were razed at this time permitting the town to catch up economically. However, it was never able to regain its former political and economic importance.

20th century

The November Revolution of 1918 passed relatively quietly in Minden. Small disturbances occurred in a few barracks of the Minden Garrison on 7 and 8 November 1918. These were calmed down by representatives of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and by union representatives. A council of workers and soldiers took control in the afternoon of 18 November. The situation in Minden was more critical during the Kapp Putsch of March 1920. The representatives of the SPD, German Democratic Party (DDP) and USDP parties on the Minden Town Council declared themselves loyal to President Friedrich Ebert and the Bauer government, and only the Centre Party remained non-committal. The Workers' Council directly intervened in the town's administration for the first time on 15 March 1920. The newspapers Mindener Tageblatt and Mindener Zeitung were placed under pre-censorship and then closed because they had released press releases from the putschists. Such measures were unprecedented for Minden and were not even experienced during the November Revolution of 1918. President Friedrich Ebert and Chancellor Bauer confirmed the authority of the Minden Workers' Council in a telegramme on 16 March: "The highest executive authority will be transferred to the Workers' Council of Minden. It should take and enforce all measures to secure constitutional government. Signed Ebert Reichspräsident, Signed Bauer Reichskanzler". The population and political parties became even more polarized after the failure of the putsch than before. The assassination of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau on 24 June 1922 resulted in serious rioting in Minden. A demonstration of 15,000 people in support of the government was held in the market square on 27 June. Many demonstrators went through the town afterwards and searched apartments, businesses and taverns for signs of "reactionaries" and nationalistically-oriented Minden citizens. Many pictures and statues of the former emperor, as well as black-white-red flags and other such objects were smashed or burned. On 1 July, the Mindener Zeitung described these disturbances as "Russian conditions".

World War II to the local government reorganisation

During World War II, underground factories were built in the Weser Hills and Wiehen Hills near Minden. Slave labourers from a nearby concentration camp were forced to produce weapons and other war materiel. After the war the machinery was removed by American troops and the entrances sealed.

Most of the Jewish citizens of Minden were deported and dispossessed. The Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) were built on Minden's pavements as a memorial to them.

Minden sustained severe damage from bombardment during World War II. These attacks were minor during the early phase of the war. The raid on 26 October 1944 on the canal aqueduct resulted in the breaching of the Mittelland Canal and the drowning of numerous workers in a nearby air raid shelter. The last and most devastating air raid was conducted by United States Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft on 28 March 1945. This almost completely destroyed the town centre, including the town hall and cathedral, and resulted in the death of over 180 people. The advance of Allied troops toward the end of the war caused those Nazis who were running the town, to flee across the Weser to the east. Almost all the bridges over the Weser and Mittelland Canal as well as the aqueduct over the Weser were blown up by the Wehrmacht in a futile attempt to delay the Allied advance. The town was occupied by the 1st Canadian Airborne Battalion of the 3rd Parachute Brigade on 1 April 1945, the units of the American 9th Army having been delayed in their attack from Bad Oeynhausen.

The town administration resumed its work on 9 April 1945 on a provisional basis. The area became part of the British Occupation Zone.

The creation of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia led to Minden losing its position as a regional capital to Detmold in 1947. Urban renewal was carried out in the 1970s, with new structures replacing buildings that were deemed dilapidated. The removal of timbered houses as part of this renewal was later regretted. The new town hall extension blocked the scenic view of the cathedral from the arches of the old town hall. A controversial 2006 resolution by the town council proposed the demolition of the town hall extensions, a new shopping mall and restoration of the view toward the cathedral. However, in a referendum, a 57% majority opposed this plan.

Local government reform to present day

On 1 January 1973, the previously separate communities of Aminghausen, Bölhorst, Dankersen, Dützen, Haddenhausen, Hahlen, Häverstädt, Kutenhausen, Leteln, Meißen, Päpinghausen, Stemmer, Todtenhausen as well as parts of Barkhausen, Hartum and Holzhausen II were incorporated into the town of Minden. At the same time the new district (Kreis) of Minden-Lübbecke was created from the former districts of Minden and Lübbecke. Minden remains the capital. This restructuring was carried out under the "Bielefeld law". A new district administration building is being constructed south of the town centre on the site of an old barracks; the old administrative building is to be used as a community archive.

The shoreline of the Weser was improved in 1976 by extending the promenade from the Fischerstadt (Fishermen's Village). The Glacis, a park-like open space in front of the old fortifications, which was important as a green belt, was altered and made more accessible. The old town wall fronting the Fischerstadt was restored to its former height. The departure of British troops in 1994 allowed the integration of the old engineer troop training site on the Weser into the Glacis. This enhanced this nearby recreation area. The opposite shore area (Kanzlers Weide) has been made accessible by a footbridge. This improves access to a large parking area and festival site.

The development of the town centre was being debated at the beginning of the 21st century. The town developed a master plan for the development of the town centre in 2009 which was passed by the town council in June.

Largest groups of foreign residents[2]
NationalityPopulation (2013)



The Reformation was carried out in Minden between 1521 and 1529. Nicholas Krage authored the new evangelical church rules for the town in 1530. The town council of Minden approved these new rules for all citizens in 1530. The town of Minden contains six evangelical parishes today: St. Mary's, St. Martin's, St. Mark's, St. James' and the parishes of St. Peter's and St. Simeon's Churches. St. Mary's parish encompasses the former villages of Todtenhausen and Kutenhausen.

Roman Catholic

There are four Roman Catholic parishes in Minden: the papal parish of the cathedral, St. Peter and Gorgonius; as well as the parishes of St. Mauritius, St. Paul and St. Ansgar which are all bound together into a pastoral combination of the Mindener Land. The parishioners of the former districts (Amt) of Dützen and Hartum belong to the cathedral parish.


A Jewish community has existed in Minden since the 13th century. There were up to 400 members in the 19th century. After World War II the Jewish community was reconstituted with 40 members. The Minden synagogue which was destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogrom, was inaugurated at a new site in 1958 and is the centre of the Jewish community.

Culture and sights

Theatre and cabaret revues

Stadttheater Minden (municipal theatre Minden) celebrated its centenary in 2008. The town supports the regular symphony concerts of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie. It was the orchestra, conducted by Frank Beermann, GMD of the Chemnitz Opera, for the project to produce stage works by Richard Wagner, on an initiative of the Richard-Wagner-Verband Minden: Der fliegende Holländer (2002), Tannhäuser (2005), Lohengrin (2009), and Tristan und Isolde.[3] Further theatre and cultural events occur with private sponsorship and are held in such locations as the Bürgerzentrum (civic centre) and the Theater am Weingarten. There are also theatre groups without fixed performance venues.

Minden is the original site and location of the nationally known amateur cabaret, Mindener Stichlinge. Its foundation in 1966 makes it the oldest active cabaret in Germany. The town awards a prize to support literary-political cabarets. The 4,000 euro prize, awarded every two years, is named Kabarett-Förderpreis Mindener Stichling, and is sponsored by the Melitta company as well as the Sparkasse (savings bank) of Minden-Lübbecke.


Minden has a municipal archive and two significant museums. The Preußenmuseum Minden is one of two museums of Prussian history in North–Rhine-Westphalia. It is quartered in old barracks on Simeonsplatz (Simeon Square). The building served the old Minden Fortress which influenced the town until its demolition in 1873.

The second is the Minden Museum of History, Cultural Studies and Folklore (Mindener Museum für Geschichte, Landes- und Volkskunde). The exhibits are in a Weser Renaissance style row of patrician houses. The attached Coffee Museum (Kaffee-Museum) focuses on the 100-year-old coffee producer, Melitta.

The Dolls' Museum (Puppenmuseum) is a private initiative.

The Westphalian Mill Route is the first of its kind and connects the many windmills on the plains of the Minden countryside. These had already been recognized and preserved as technical monuments in the 1960s. Most of these relics of the 19th century have been restored.

The Minden Museum Railway operates with old Prussian rolling stock on the old tracks of the Minden Light Railway. It is famous for harking back to traditional Prussia.

An information centre is located at the Wasserstraßenkreuz Minden. This demonstrates its functioning and explains the need for a new lock to accommodate the increasing size of inland ships.


The 1,200-year-old settlement has a scenic old town surrounding the Cathedral of St. Gorgonius. Many buildings stem from the economically active 16th century. Some of them are built in the regional Weser Renaissance style while other hark back to the time when Minden was a fortified town.

The cathedral's western entrance façade is in Romanesque style while the early Gothic nave and aisles date from the 11th to the 13th Century. The early settlement was on the lower town terrace surrounding the cathedral. The rebuilt town hall from the 13th Century with its picturesque arcade is 150 meters to the west. The view between the two buildings is partly blocked by a town hall addition dating from the post-World War II urban renewal. The town hall's historic arcade survived the major bomb attack of World War II. The market square possesses buildings with impressive façades, including the Schmiedingsche Haus.

The climb to the upper terrace of the old-town is aided by the Martinitreppe (St. Martin's steps). The rise of the upper terrace was used architecturally to enhance the distant view of the churches located there. These include St. Martini built after 1300, St. Marien (St. Marys church) on the steep scenic Hufschmiede (horseshoe-smithy), and high steepled St Simeon's church built after 1305. The Weser sandstone buildings Proviant-Magazin (Granary) and adjacent Heeresbäckerei (army bakery) originally supported the Prussion fortress garrison. The Alte Münze (old mint) is the oldest stone building in Westphalia. Across the street is the Windloch (wind-hole) a trapezoidal half-timbered house that is one of the smallest in Minden. It is named for the wind that church-goers encountered in the adjacent alleyway. Further on are the Weserrenaissance style row of buildings housing the historical museum of the town. The Schwedenschänke (Swedish tavern) is a reminder of the Swedish occupation during the 30 Years War and is now a restaurant-tavern.

The town expanded within the fortress walls to the north on the lower terrace. Here is the site of St. John's church. The Wesertor (old bridgehead gate) quarter experienced considerable urban renewal and the construction of two new department stores. These are on the pedestrian shopping street called Bäckerstraße (bakers street). The Fischerstad (fishermens town) lies along the Weser to the north of the old town core. Remnants of the old town fortification wall still exist here. All other fortification walls were demolished and replaced by the green belt of the Glacis. The dissolution of the fortification allowed the slow development of prestigious residential houses in the areas outside the old walls.

The impressive façade of Haus Flamme/Schmieding on the market square obtained a twice daily clock display in 2010. It features the popular legend of last Saxon leader Duke Widukind shaking hands with Charlemagne. They give the oath: "diese Burg soll nun min und din sein" (this fort shall now be mine and thine), thus naming Minden.

Minden contains significant buildings in the Weser Renaissance style, such as the Administration Building of the old Minden Region (neo-renaissance), the Haus Hill on the Bäckerstraße and Haus Hagemeyer on the Scharn main road crossing the centre..

Schloss Haddenhausen (Haddenhausen Castle) is a 17th-century Weserrenaissance style manor house on the outskirts of the town.

The second largest water crossing in Germany is located north of the town centre. The Mittelland Canal passes over the Weser on a double aqueduct. Two systems of locks allow passage of ships from one level to the other. A larger lock is under construction.

The Kampa-Halle is a large gym-complex for sports and other events.


The town of Minden contains several monuments harking back to Prussian history. The monument of the Great Elector (Denkmal des Großen Kurfürsten) stands alongside the Weser bridgehead to commemorate the first Prussian ruler of Minden.

The monument to the Battle of Minden is in the Todtenhausen quarter of the town. It commemorates the decisive victory of the allied forces of Great Britain, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel and Schaumburg-Lippe led by Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick over a French and Electorate of Saxony army led by the marquis de Contades.


The botanical garden is centrally located on the site of the old cemetery and features old tree specimens and thematic gardens. The site for burials was transferred in 1904 to a new site on the Weser north of the town centre. The "Glacis" stems from the Fortress Minden. The present wooded parklike green belt was started after the demolition of the fortress walls. The post Napoleonic fortifications had replaced older walls stemming from the Middle Ages.


The handball club "Handballverein Grün-Weiß Dankersen Minden" is the most famous sport club in Minden. This club has played in the Handballbundesliga (national handball league) with only two interruptions since the league's founding in 1966. It has remained there since 1995. GWD now plays in the Kampa_Halle. It won the German title twice. Many of its players have been on the national team. Its previous venue the Weserstadion is now used for track and field and football (soccer). Minden's football team, Union Minden plays in the Landesliga of Westphalia.

Minden has a reputation as a water sports centre aided by its location on the Weser. "MTV 1860 Minden e.V" is the largest and oldest sport organization with gymnastics, fencing, handball, canoe racing, judo, swimming, volleyball and other popular sports. Its boathouse is at the confluence of the Bastau stream into the Weser. The canoe club KSG Minden e.V. has its clubhouse upstream. It is the local organizer of dragon boat races. TV Jahn Sportclub has a canoe and kayak group below the main Weser bridge. The Bessel-Ruder-Club e.V. is a rowing club stemming from the rowing activities of the Bessel and Herder Gymnasiums (high schools). The yearly Mindener Hafen-Sprint is one of the largest student regattas in Germany. Many organizations participate in the organization of the major water sport festival "Blaues Band der Weser" which is held every other year.

Economy and infrastructure


Rail and bus

Minden station is on the Hanover–Minden and the Hamm-Minden lines, which are part of the main lines connecting Cologne-Ruhr area with Berlin and Amsterdam with Berlin, as well as the secondary Weser-Aller line between Minden and Nienburg. The railway station is a stop for local and express trains such as Intercity-Express and InterCity.

Regional lines:

  • RE 6 (Rhein-Weser-Express) Düsseldorf–Essen–Hamm–Bielefeld–Minden,
  • RE 60 (Ems-Leine-Express)/RE 70 (Weser-Leine-Express) Bielefeld/Rheine–Osnabrück–Minden–Hannover–Braunschweig (Brunswick)
  • RE 78 (Porta-Express) Bielefeld–Bad Oeynhausen–Minden–Nienburg (Monday to Friday)
  • RB 76 (Weser-Aller-Bahn) Minden–Verden–Rotenburg (with connection to Bremen and Hamburg, only on weekends and holidays).

Minden is the end station of line S 1 of the Hanover S-Bahn to Hanover.

All passenger platforms are accessible to the handicapped. There is bicycle parking and a ticket automat.

Bus connection with the railway station occurs every half-hour though the "Verkehrsbetriebe Minden-Ravensberg GmbH (VMR)" bus line. The central bus depot is called "ZOB" and is located in the town centre. The 13 bus lines rendezvous here every half hour. The local buses are coordinated with the regional buses to places such as Bad Oeynhausen, Lübbecke, Espelkamp and Petershagen. Some of these bus lines operate only on an hourly basis and only until 8 PM.

The "Museumseisenbahn Minden (MEM)" operates restored locomotives and rolling stock on the rail lines of the Mindener Kreisbahnen, a small regional railroad. These run from its upper town railway yard to Hille in the west and the visitors' mine in Kleinenbremen to the east. Several rail line sections of the former narrow gauge track (now converted to normal gauge) serve the freight trains of the Mindener Kreisbahnen.


The town is close to the Autobahn A 2 from Berlin to the Ruhr and the A 30 to Amsterdam. The federal roads 61 and 65 cross in the town. The divided highway south of the town travels through a tunnel to Porta Wesfalica and on to Bad Oeynhausen. The Federal road 482 runs east of the town and connects the A 2 to the south, and goes toward Nienburg to the north. Two semicircle ring roads go around the town itself, the inner route 61 provides a town by-pass. This inner ring is almost completely four-lane. The town centre has pay car parks and an automated guide to empty spaces.

Waterways and harbours

Minden is an important junction for inland waterways. It is the crossing of the navigable Weser and the Mittellandkanal (middle land canal). A lock connects the River with the canal to overcome a difference in height of 13 m. It will be replaced by a larger new lock that is presently under construction. The harbours on both Weser and Mittellankanal are experiencing increasing volume. The traffic volume for containers in the industrial harbour has developed because of the good waterway connections to the seaports of Bremen and Hamburg. A new container port is being planned to the east of the present Mittellandkanal harbour.

Weser bridges

There are seven overpasses over the Weser in Minden, three road bridges, a railroad bridge, one pedestrian bridge and a double aqueduct for the canal. The first permanent bridge over the Weser was built in the 13th Century. The present bridge at the same site connects the town centre with the eastern suburbs and the railway station. This four lane bridge carries Federal Road 65, the highway between Osnabrück and Hanover. Two traffic relief bridges were built in the 70s. The Gustav Heinemann Bridge to the north and the Theodor Heuss Bridge to the south are four lane and are intended to lead traffic away from town centre. Plans for the southern bridge to accommodate the A 30 Autobahan were not realized.

The railway bridge was the second one built and carries the Mindener Kreisbahnen tracks over the Weser toward the main rail yard.

The development of the Mittellandkanal required a crossing of the Weser. This occurred north of the old town. This water crossing was the largest in Germany until the construction of the one in Magdeburg over the Elbe. The aqueduct was supplemented by a second span in 1998 to accommodate the new class of larger motor barges.

The latest bridge, the Glacisbrücke, is a pedestrian suspension bridge that provides access to "Kanzlers Weide" large parking area from the town centre.

There are further nearby road bridges, 10 km (6 mi) south at Porta wesfalica and 20 km (12 mi) north at Petershagen.

The traffic over the main town bridge is limited because a continuation bridge over the flood pain has been determined to have structural problems. It is limited to medium loads on one lane in each direction. A completely new replacement is in progress of being built.


The town is on the bicycle routes "Mühlenroute" (mill route) and "Weserradweg" (water bicycle path). It is the departure point for the "Wellness-Radroute" There is a bike station at the railroad station complete with servicing. The town belongs to working cooperative "Fahrradfreundliche Stadte und Gemeinden in NRW" (bicycle friendly communities in North Rhine-Westphalia). The goal is to increase bicycle traffic to over 20 percent of the total. "Fahrradförderung Minden", is a volunteer group that develops recommendations to government. It is involved in working on an overall bicycle traffic concept, whose implementation is delayed by budget problems.


The economic development of Minden was retarded by the strangling of the fortress walls, beyond which no development could take place in order to preserve fields of fire. Minden could finally develop beyond the old boundaries once its status as a fortress was abolished in 1873. Minden is now considered a business, trade and service industry hub. It is part of the business area that extends along the A 2 Autobahn from Minden through Herford, Bielefeld, Gütersloh and on to the Ruhr area.

There is a multitude of manufacturing besides the agriculture of the outlying town areas. This includes the chemical, metalworking, electronic, paper, ceramic and woodworking spheres. The town administration counts 4,700 businesses within the town limits. The economic development of Minden was influenced by two factors. First is its location on a river. It had the historical right to store goods and could force passing ships to unload their cargo. Secondly was its success in grain trading since the Middle Ages. Minden was a founding member of the Hanse. Agriculture continues to occupy 50% of the total area of Minden. That is slightly more than the average for North Rhine-Westphalia, but considerably more than in the denser parts of NRW. A large new port is planned for the area of the Weser-Mittelandkanal crossing, the so-called "RegioPort Weser".


Minden contains many middle-sized companies, the best known by consumers is Melitta for its coffee products. It has been located in Minden since 1929 and controls the Melitta-Group from here.

The Chemische Werke Minden (enterprise of the Knoll Company) was founded 1935 to produce chemicals for the pharmaceutical use. It is now part of BASF Pharmachemikalien (pharmacy chemicals).

The Drabert firm has produced metal office furniture since 1898, and has grown to a larger holding company.

Harting Technologiegruppe is an electronics company with headquarters in Minden but main location of production in the nearby town of Espelkamp. WAGO Kontakttechnik has its main location in the north of the town centre and produces connector products for the electric and electronic industry. Schoppe und Faeser was a producer of electronics that has been taken over by the ABB Group. Endler and Kumpf is involved with automation technology.

The fruit juice producer Löffler is located in an industrial park on the south side of town. The German retail food company Edeka has a regional office and distribution centre (Edeka Minden-Hannover) situated in Minden. The office is responsible for a large area from the North Sea to the Eastern German border. The well known Strothmann corn brandy of rye distilled liquor is produced here by the Wilhelm Strothmann Brennereien that is now part of the Lucas Bols group.

Parts of the Bundesbahn Central Offices (Bundesbahn-Zentralämter) were moved to Minden after World War II, now reorganized as DB Systemtechnik (system technology) and DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung (vehicle maintenance). Major tasks are the development of rail vehicles and railway system equipment.

Kampa Haus was a producer of prefabricted houses that went into bankruptcy in 2009. Ornamin Kunststoffwerke is a designer and producer of innovative plastic utensils. Although it was founded in 1955 it had its origins with the 1883 founded Brücker und Zschetzsche, a producer of fuses for explosives. The over 100 year old Altendorf GmbH firm produces machine tools including the word leading circular trim saws.


Today there is only one local daily newspaper, the Mindener Tageblatt. The regional public radio station is WDR (West German Broadcast) studio in Bielefeld, supporting the East Westfalia-Lippe area. It produces and transmits both radio and television programs from there. The TV transmission became digital in 2006 and has its regional antenna on the Jakobsberg near Minden. Non-public radio station Radio Westfalica is part of the Radio-NRW-Gruppe (group) and transmits a local program from Minden focused on the Kreis Minden-Lübbecke.

Public services and establishments

The administration offices of the district of Minden-Lübbecke are located in Minden, as well as a battalion (pioneer unit) of the Bundeswehr (Federal Defence).

The 864 bed hospital Johannes-Wesling-Klinikum is one of four sites of the "Mühlenkreiskliniken" hospital-complex serving the Kreis Minden-Lübbecke. The new hospital building was completed in 2008 and is located in the southern town-quarter of Minden-Häverstädt.

The Landeszentralbank (central state bank) of North Rhine-Westphalia has had a branch in Minden since 2005. The administrative offices of the former Minden Region were relocated to Detmold for political reasons after World War II. But Minden has one of the seven administrative courts for NRW, the district court and the labour court.

After World War II the Federal Railways Central Office (Bundesbahnzentralamt) was established in Minden, later reformed to DB Systemtechnik (system technology) offices.


Minden is a site of a branch of the University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule) Bielefeld specializing in architecture, construction engineering, technology, engineering and mathematics, social studies, business and health. The University Hagen (Distance Learning University) has a study centre in the "Lehramt für die Primarstufe" (primary grade teaching profession). There is also a campus of the UK RUB in Minden.

The town keeps three schools of higher secondary education: the Herdergymnasium, Besselgymnasium and Ratsgymnasium; three other secondary schools, the Freiherr-von-Vincke-Realschule, Käthe-Kollwitz-Realschule and the main school (Hauptschule Todtenhausen); a comprehensive school, the Kurt-Tucholsky-Gesamtschule and various elementary schools, special schools and occupational training schools. The Weser-Kolleg provides the opportunity to complete education by the so-called alternative route up to the university entrance exam (Abitur). The Freie-Evangelische Schule (elementary and comprehensive) and Freie Waldorfschule are private schools.

Minden offers a public high school (Volkshochschule) and musical education in a municipal music school.

Notable people

Honorary citizens

Baron Ludwig von Vincke, who was born in Minden, was awarded honorary citizenship on 23 December 1841. He was worked toward the unification of Westphalia as well as Prussian administrative reforms. Other honorary citizens are the Presidents of the Minden District Karl Gottlieb Richter (1777–1847) und Franz von Borries (1785–1858). In recent times the long-serving mayor (1977–1991) Heinz Röthemeier was named to honorary citizenship.

Daughters and sons

Well known people born in Minden include the physician Johann Vesling (1598–1649), after whom the new town hospital was named, as well as the publisher Franz Cornelsen, founder of the Cornelsen publishing house. Franz Boas (1858 – 1942), frequently referred to as "The Father of American Anthropology", and astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784 – 1846).

Prominent People in recent times are the politician Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and the long serving leader of Adolf-Grimme-Institut, Lutz Hachmeister.

Other sons and daughters include:


People not born in Minden but who had a strong association to the town


  • The text of the "Star Spangled Banner", the United States national anthem, was composed by Francis Scott Key while he was a prisoner on board of HMS Minden during the attack on Baltimore. The first draft was titled the "Defense of Ft. McHenry" before its expanded text became the "Star Spangled Banner". HMS Minden was named after the town of Minden and in honor of the Battle of Minden that the British, Hanoverian, Kurhessen, Brunswick and Schaumburg-Lippe troops won over the French on 1 August 1759. The ship was transferred eventually to Hong Kong where it served as a hospital ship. In its honor two Hong Kong streets were named Minden Row and Minden Avenue.



Town Colours

The town colours of Minden are white and red.

International relations

Minden is twinned with:

Minden took on the patronage for the inhabitants of the former pomeranian town Köslin (now Koszalin (Poland)).


  1. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2018" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  2. "Stadt Minden Einwohnerstatistik 2013". Stadt Minden. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  3. "Richard Wagner in Minden / Hier weht Bayreuths Fahne auf dem Dach" (in German). FAZ. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
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