Geilenkirchen - History
3 Fotos: Blick auf St. Marien und Ursulinenkloster / Ursulinenkloster / Burg Geilenkirchen
Geilenkirchen (county Heinsberg) is an old settlement area. This is demonstrated by archaeological findings of Stone Age tools in various eras.
The town of Geilenkirchen developed on the left bank of the creek 'Wurm', next to a ford that has been used in Roman times already. The city grew as an early Frankish settlement at the former roman road between Aachen and Roermond.
The area around Geilenkirchen, including the important connection from Heerlen to Xanten, was developed by the Romans. Another road led from Tüddern - Gangelt - Geilenkirchen - Puffendorf and Freialdenhoven to Jülich. In the Middle Age this road remained as an important trade route.
Creek Wurm as a border river
After the roman period in the Rhineland, the country was restructured under the governance of the Merovingians. The small valley of the Wurm now formed a border between the River 'Maas' and 'Roer', which separated the eastern kingdom of the Franks from the salian duchy 'Hasbani', located westward.
This dividing line was taken over by the Church. The land on the east site belonged to the archbishopric of Cologne, while the inhabitants on the west bank were part of the diocese of Liege. This border situation at the vally of the Wurm led to the construction of the many castles and fortresses, mainly surrounded by water. Later they lost their military function and were partially transformed into castles. You will find several in the immediate vicinity of Geilenkirchen.
The settlement Geilenkirchen next to the creek 'Wurm' was protected by a castle of the Counts of Heinsberg. The name 'Geilenkirchen' originally refers to a wooden church, probably built by a Frank named Geilo. Geilenkirchen is first mentioned in 1170, as a city in 1386.
In the Middle Ages, there were not a homogeneous area in the region. Different noble houses claimed possessions in the present Urban area and county.
Map Geilenkirchen 1800
After Napoleon annexed the area of the county, Department and cantons were buid in accordance with the normal administrative structure. From 1794 to 1814 Geilenkirchen was under French authority in the Département de la Roer. On the map of that time corresponding entries in french language can be found.|
Seit der preußischen Zeit bildeten die Ortsteile Geilenkirchen und Hünshofen die Bürgermeisterei Geilenkirchen. 1894: Geilenkirchen hat keine Stadtrechte, ist aber im rheinischen Provinziallandtag als Stadt vertreten.
Map above: mouse-over for change
Visible on the map: 'Geilenkirchen' was separated from 'Hünshoven' by the river worm and the district 'Bauchem' Wasn't 'grown together' at the and of 1800. You see the old course of the worm, with the little worm along today's Haus Basten (former oil mill), which I pointed out in blue (Move the cursor over the map for more info).
Two more mills (French Moulin) are marked on the map: The first at the position of today's restaurant 'Kornmühle' (grain mill), the second north of castle trips.
Geilenkirchen became county seat
Upon the establishment of the district of Aachen in the Kingdom of Prussia in 1816 (after the Congress of Vienna) the districts Heinsberg, Geilenkirchen and Erkelenz were originated. Thus, Geilenkirchen became the district town (until to 1972).
(Info rural district Geilenkirchen)
After World War I, the Rhineland was occupied by Allied troops. In the years 1918 to 1929 Belgian occupation forces had barracks in the metropolitan area of Geilenkirchen.
During World War II Geilenkirchen was incorporated in the West Wall and fought accordingly hard. After the Second World War the British occupation forces set up an military airport in the incorporated village Teveren.
Geilenkirchen World War + Westwall
Development + Populations
1890: 3743 Residents, thereof 90 Protestants, 154 Jewish
Geilenkirchen, district capital of the Prussian administrative district of Aachen, on the Worm (Wurm) and on the railway line Aachen-Neuß of the Prussian State Railways, has a district court, one protestant and two catholic churches, a synagogue, a steam operated sawmill, a pottery and a tannery. Geilenkirchen, forms together with the adjacent Hünshofen, eight villages and other hamlets, a community.
1894: 3881 Residents
County: Geilenkirchen, district court and post office
Station of the railway line Aachen-Neuß of the Prussian State Railways, cooperative bank, Rural District Office, district court, protestant and catholic church, synagogue, higher public school, iron foundry, steam operated sawmill, a pottery, stove factory, a tannery and fruit tree gardens.
Geilenkirchen, forms together with the adjacent Hünshofen, eight villages and other hamlets, a community but had no city rights.
1925: 5217 Residents
1927: District Office, Customs Office
1933: 6224 Residents
1939: 6875 Residents
Development: Community Würm
County: Geilenkirchen, district court and tax office: Geilenkirchen, Post office: Würm
Source: Statistik des Deutschen Reichs, Statistisches Jahrbuch für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Weitere Infos auf meinen Seiten
(Neugliederung, Aachen-Gesetz) und
(Info District Geilenkirchen)
The apparently for a long-time valid slogan "600 years of city of Geilenkirchen - and we continue to sleep" is crumbling finally! The city center is renovated. The "Aktionskreis Geilenkirchen" is working on a better image. If the eternal 'brakeman' instead of braking would push, that would be great.
A few years ago also the city administration changed their behavior from a position similar to a "night watchman function", merely limited to determining and monitoring. The new spirit has taken place and is based now on the keywords "Public responsiveness in daily life" and "innovative forward thinking." Of course it will take some time until we finally speak of "having an ear to the heart of the citizens".