Oranienburg is a town in Brandenburg, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Oberhavel.


Coat of arms
Location of Oranienburg within Oberhavel district
Coordinates: 52°45′16″N 13°14′13″E
Subdivisions9 districts
  MayorAlexander Laesicke (partyless)
  Total162.37 km2 (62.69 sq mi)
34 m (112 ft)
  Density270/km2 (710/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes03301
Vehicle registrationOHV


Oranienburg is a town located on the banks of the Havel river, 35 km north of the centre of Berlin.

Division of the town

Oranienburg consists of 9 districts


Originally named Bötzow, the town of Oranienburg dates from the 12th century and was first mentioned in 1216. Margrave Albert the Bear (ruled 1157-1170) allegedly ordered the construction of a castle on the banks of the Havel. Around the castle stood a settlement of traders and craftsmen.

In 1646 Friedrich Wilhelm I of Brandenburg married Louise Henriette of Orange-Nassau (German: Oranien-Nassau). She was so attracted by the town of Bötzow that her husband presented the entire region to her. The princess ordered the construction of a new castle in the Dutch style and called it Oranienburg or Schloss Oranienburg. In 1653 the town of Bötzow was renamed Oranienburg.

Silvio Gesell, the founder of Freiwirtschaft ("free economy"), lived in Oranienburg between 1911 and 1915, publishing his magazine, Der Physiocrat. He returned to the town in 1927 and lived there until his death in 1930. The town remained a center of the "free economy" movement until the Nazi régime outlawed it in 1933, and many of Gesell's followers ended up as prisoners in the town's concentration camp.

The Oranienburg concentration camp (established in March 1933) was one of the first Nazi concentration camps. In 1936 the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of Oranienburg replaced it; there 200,000 people were interned over the 9 years that the Nazis operated it. The Nazis murdered about 22,000 people there before the liberation of the camp by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. Thereafter the site reopened in August 1945 as "Soviet Special Camp 7". A further 12,000 people (mostly Nazis not awaiting trial) died under the Soviets before the Special Camp closed in 1950. Their remains were not discovered until the 1990s.

Oranienburg became the center of Nazi Germany's nuclear-energy project; the town also had an armaments hub, aircraft plant, and railway junction, all of military importance. According to military historian Antony Beevor, Stalin's desire to acquire the nuclear facility motivated him to launch the Battle for Berlin[2] of April-May 1945. It has been claimed that the pre-emptive destruction of these facilities by the USAAF Eighth Air Force on 15 March 1945 aimed to prevent them from falling into Soviet hands.[3]

On 23 April 1945, during the Battle of Berlin, troops of the 1st Belorussian Front of the Red Army captured Oranienburg.

Due to its heavy bombing, Oranienburg is the "most dangerous town in Germany"; it is the only city in Germany which pursues a systematic search for unexploded ordnance (UXO) based on postwar aerial photos and magnetic or radar underground measurements for metal. By 2017 about 200 had been disposed of, and 350 to 400 were estimated to remain.[4] It is estimated that the search and disposal will continue throughout the rest of the century. In one case 12,000 residents had to be evacuated. The federal government does not finance the removal of foreign UXO.[5]

International relations

Oranienburg is twinned with:[6]

Public institutions

The Zehlendorf transmission facility, a large facility for broadcasting in longwave, medium wave and FM-range, is located near Oranienburg, at Zehlendorf.


The city is served by the Berlin Northern Railway and provide a direct connection to Rostock.

See also


Oranienburg: Population development
within the current boundaries (2013)[7]
YearPop.±% p.a.
1875 9,514    
1890 11,568+1.31%
1910 20,179+2.82%
1925 23,656+1.07%
1933 27,043+1.69%
1939 42,982+8.03%
1946 31,893−4.17%
1950 32,781+0.69%
1964 33,379+0.13%
1971 33,426+0.02%
1981 35,433+0.58%
1985 37,234+1.25%
1989 37,544+0.21%
1990 37,113−1.15%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1991 36,909−0.55%
1992 36,777−0.36%
1993 36,885+0.29%
1994 37,138+0.69%
1995 37,577+1.18%
1996 38,151+1.53%
1997 39,001+2.23%
1998 39,541+1.38%
1999 39,949+1.03%
2000 40,148+0.50%
2001 40,403+0.64%
2002 40,378−0.06%
2003 40,593+0.53%
2004 41,055+1.14%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2005 41,115+0.15%
2006 41,267+0.37%
2007 41,488+0.54%
2008 41,577+0.21%
2009 41,590+0.03%
2010 41,810+0.53%
2011 41,370−1.05%
2012 41,621+0.61%
2013 42,028+0.98%
2014 42,894+2.06%
2015 43,526+1.47%
2016 44,079+1.27%
2017 43,982−0.22%
2018 44,512+1.21%

Notable residents


  1. "Bevölkerung im Land Brandenburg nach amtsfreien Gemeinden, Ämtern und Gemeinden 31. Dezember 2018". Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). July 2019.
  2. Antony Beevor Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5 Preface xxxiv
  3. Richard G. Davis,Bombing the European Axis Powers. A Historical Digest of the Combined Bomber Offensive 1939–1945. Alabama: Air University Press, 2006, page 518
  4. "Frankfurt WW2 bomb: Mass evacuation completed". BBC News. 3 September 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  5. Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (10 March 2015). "Bombenjäger". ARD.de. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. "Partnerstädte". oranienburg.de (in German). Oranienburg. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  7. Detailed data sources are to be found in the Wikimedia Commons.Population Projection Brandenburg at Wikimedia Commons

Media related to Oranienburg at Wikimedia Commons

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