History of the City of Düren
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History of the City of Düren


Düren is mentioned for the fist time as "in villa, quae dicitur." The Frankish Mayor of the Palace (a medieval title and office) Karlmann and the Frankish King Pippin, Charlemagne's father, hold an Imperial Assembly and a Synod in Düren's court estate.


The beginning of construction for the city's fortification is mentioned at the end of the 12th century. However, the promotion to city level has not been transmitted at this time.

1241 - 46

The free city Düren is bonded by Emperor Friedrich II to the Lord Wilhelm IV of Jülich. Düren's land belonged to the territory of the Lord of Jülich. Lords became Dukes in 1356.


The relic of the Bust of Anna are carried over from Saint Stephan Collegiate church to the Martins Church in Düren by chiseler Leonhard. Since then Düren is a place of pilgrimage.


After bitter fights for the Holy Bust, Pope Julius II decides that the relics of Anna will remain in Düren.

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The conquest of the city by the imperial troops of Emperor Karl V. In the course of the feud of Jülich, which was for the Dukedom Geldern, between Emperor Karl V and the Duke Wilhelm V of Jülich, Düren was heavily destroyed by fires.
More than 600 houses burned down, amongst them the town hall with the town archives. Only about 100 houses had not been damaged.

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17th Century

The 17th Century was signified by the big economic crisis of the population, caused by the constant military conflicts like the Thirty Years War or the French Wars that the Rhineland couldn't escape from. At the beginning of the 18th Century, Düren's population of only 1800 inhabitants showed the lowest verifiable population since its founding.

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18th Century

In the 18th Century, Düren's seven craft guilds, united in a so-called "Ambachten", became less important. The seven Crafts were Robe tailors, Tailors, Shoemakers, Builders, Brewers, Bakers, and Smiths.

The manufacturing of goods took the place of the craftsman companies. Foremost was the Metal and Textile producing and manufacturing trade as well as the paper manufacture. The first paper mill in Düren was established in 1576.

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1794 - 1814

With the allocation of the area left of the Rhine River by the French between 1794 and 1814, Düren's area was under French administration. For the population it meant a hard time with oppression through requisition, taxing, and quartering.

The time of allocation was also signified by a constant modification in the organization of the administration. Authorities and administrative structures were erected, broken up and substituted by others. In January 1814 the French regime was finally ended by military success of the allies.

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Due to the reorganization of the European map at the Congress of Vienna, the Rhineland became Prussia. Düren became administrative center of the same named administrative district in the 1816 formed district of Aachen.

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The connection to the railway trunk line Cologne-Aachen in 1841 benefited Düren's development to an industrial location. To this day, Düren's paper industry enjoys an international reputation.

The constant search for new technical developments and products as well as the specialization of Düren's paper industry on so-called "niche" markets verifies the innovation potential of this branch.

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Around 1900, about 27,000 people lived in Düren. The economic upturn in the last quarter of the 19th Century implicated a nearly doubling of the population and the number of residential buildings.

Numerous prestigious mansions of factory owners embossed the cityscape. On the verge of the First World War, Düren was considered a city with the richest citizens of the German Reich, being home to 22 multi-millionaires and 30 millionaires.

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On November 16th, 1944, the entire city center was destroyed by an air strike of the Allies. More than 3,000 people die.

The town's landmark, the Annakirche, with its 100 meter high tower, was razed to the ground.

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1950 - 60

Due to the population's will to rebuild the city an entirely new city center arose. The buildings from the 1950's and the 1960's are distinctive and almost formative for the image of the city. Düren is a favored destination for studies of architecturally interested people.

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On January 1st, 1972, these formerly autonomous offices and communes turned into towns and were incorporated in the city: Arnoldsweiler, Berzbuir, Birgel, Birkesdorf, Derichsweiler, Echtz, Gürzenich, Hoven, Konzenndorf, Krauthausen, Kufferath, Lendersdorf, Mariaweiler and Niederau.

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The Recreational lake in Gürzenich opens.

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The Castle Burgau is rebuilt.
The Water Castle is looking back on an eventful history. The first traceable owner of the castle is the Knight Amilius de Owe. In 1236, he donated a pension for his daughters who joined the monastery Burtscheid. Archeological excavation in the northern part of the building showed that a first construction period started around 1100. The romantic Water Castle shows itself with a new shine. It was destroyed in 1944 and stayed a ruin until 1975. Since 1998, and its restoration, today the castle is Düren's jewel again.

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The groundbreaking ceremony for the opening of the industrial park "Im Großen Tal."

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Opening of the altered Pleußmühle as a socio-cultural Cultural Center. On September 19th 1992, the first show of Düren's local radio station airs for the first time.

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The "Haus der Stadt", a cultural multi-purpose building is opened. The building complex, with the City Library, the youth center "Multi Kulti" (protestant parish), the municipal hall "Düren-Nord", conference rooms and a theater hall generously equipped with modern technology, was built on the largest area for redevelopment in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The architects were Christoph and Brigitte Parade of Düsseldorf.

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Festivities for the town's 1250th anniversary. For the first time Düren was mentioned in 747/748 as "in villa, quae dicitur Duria."

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Year of the anniversary: The Bust of Anna has been in Düren for 500 years. Festivities with the Anna Market and procession. The "Emperor Kaiser Karl V" visits Düren on the occasion of the worship of Anna.

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