Wolfen is a town in the district Anhalt-Bitterfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2007 it is part of the town Bitterfeld-Wolfen. It is situated approximately 6 kilometres northwest of Bitterfeld, and 20 kilometres south of Dessau.
The first documentary mention of Wolfen was as Wulffen in 1400 in a fee (feudal tenure). The place name was named after a founder whose name began with Wolf. In 1846 lignite was found in the region which was mined and the current Silver Lake was developed from this mine. Later the area became a center of the German chemical industry.
In the early 1930s an early photographic plate was produced in Wolfen by Agfa, and by 1936 the same company commercialized the more technically advanced Agfacolor Neu color transparency film, which had been developed by in Wolfen.
During World War II hundreds of women, children, and men from countries under Nazi domination were forced to work in the IG-Farben factories. After the war, the rights to the Agfa brandname were lost to the West German company, and the Wolfen company's products were rebranded ORWO (ORiginal WOlfen). ORWO was the only worldwide trademark of the GDR. During GDR years, Wolfen became a dormitory community for people working at the Bitterfeld and Wolfen industrial plants (Filmfabrik Wolfen, Chemiekombinat Bitterfeld (including the former IG Farben factory, Farbenfabrik, Wolfen)), and the lignite mining company, BKK Bitterfeld (today: MIBRAG).
As of 31 December, unless otherwise noted
- Data since 1995: Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt
After German reunification, the whole area has suffered from disinvestment, deindustrialization, and depopulation. Unemployment became a serious problem. As a result, population decreased by approximately 50%. Since the 1990s industrial employment has rebounded, with investments by Bayer (the headquarters of Viverso is in the town), Hereaus, Q-Cells and Guardian Industries. Significant local concerns include Organica Feinchemie GmbH Wolfen.
Sons and daughters Wolfens
- Roger Pyttel (born 1957), swimmer
- Bernhard Hoff (born 1959), athlete and olympian
- René Tretschok (born 1968), professional football player and coach (Hallescher FC, Borussia Dortmund, Hertha BSC, FC Grün-Weiß Wolfen)
- Christian Gille (born 1976), canoeist
- Yvonne Schuring (born 1978), canoeist
- Oliver Hampel (born 1985), football player
- Franziska Hentke (born 1989), swimmer
- Thomas Konietzco (born 1963), president, German Canoe Federation, Vice President, ICF
- Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Bitterfeld-Wolfen (Hrsg.): Statistische Kurzinformation - Bevölkerungsstand und Bevölkerungsentwicklung im 1. Halbjahr 2007 in der Stadt und der Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 2007.