|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2014)|
|Parties and voter communities|| %
|CDU||Christian Democratic Union of Germany||36.4||16||43.2||20||43.1||20|
|SPD||Social Democratic Party of Germany||23.8||11||29.5||13||32.7||15|
|FDP||Free Democratic Party||4.0||2||7.1||3||5.3||2|
|GLB||Grüne Liste Bensheim||22.9||10||13.6||6||13.7||6|
|FWG||Freie Wählergemeinschaft Bensheim||5.7||3||6.6||3||5.2||2|
|BFB||Bürger für Bensheim||7.2||3||---||---||---||---|
|Voter turnout in %||47.0||43.0||50.5|
The Magistrat (roughly “town executive”) is made up of nine councillors and the mayor Thorsten Herrmann (CDU). The two full-time councillors are Helmut Sachwitz (CDU) and Adil Oyan (Grüne Liste Bensheim). The other seats are shared among the CDU (3), the SPD (1), the Grüne Liste Bensheim (2) and the FWG (1).
When the Municipal Order of the Grand Duchy of Hesse came into force on 30 June 1821, Bensheim citizens were allowed to choose their mayor.
- 1822–1825: Philipp Meißel
- 1825–1837: Philipp Werle
- 1837–1840: Adam Fertig
- 1840–1857: Johannes Traupel
- 1857–1859: Joseph August Hainz
- 1860–1870: Franz Heinz
- 1871–1902: Aloys van Gries
- 1902–1912: Ignaz Frenay
- 1913–1922: Karl Löslein
- 1922–1933: Rudolf Angermeier
- 1933–1934: Heinrich Nachtigall
- 1934–1938: Georg Brückmann
- 1938–1945: Ernst Missler
- 1945–1945: Theodor Kräge
- 1945–1946: Willy Klapproth
- 1946–1954: Joseph Treffert, CDU
- 1954–1972: Wilhelm Kilian, CDU
- 1972–2002: Georg Stolle, CDU
- since 2002: Thorsten Herrmann, CDU
Mayor Thorsten Herrmann (CDU) was elected on 30 June 2002 with 52.8% of the vote. On 15 June 2008 he was reëlected with 60.5% of the vote.
Coat of arms
The town’s arms might be described thus: Gules a knight with kontos, held in both hands, and armour Or astride a steed salient argent, the whole sinister, below which a dragon statant reguardant sinister vert, the knight’s kontos thrust through it.
The German blazon says that the kontos, or lance, is golden, and that the dragon is green, although the achievement shown here, whose source is the town administration itself, shows different tinctures for these two charges.
The red field refers to the Mainz coat of arms, as the town was owned by the Bishopric of Mainz until 1802. The knight slaying the dragon represents Saint George, who was said in earlier times to have been Bensheim’s patron saint.
- 23x15px Beaune, Côte-d'Or, France, since 1960
- 23x15px Amersham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, since 1977
- 23x15px Mohács, Baranya County, Hungary, since 1987
- 23x15px Riva del Garda, Trentino, Italy, since 1989
- 23x15px Kłodzko, Lower Silesia, Poland, since 1996
- 23x15px Hostinné, Hradec Králové Region, Czech Republic, since 2002
Moreover, some outlying centres have their own separate partnerships.
Culture and sightseeing
The Parktheater was built in 1968 and is a linchpin in offering various cultural activities. Besides the municipal programme of plays, freelance producers, clubs and schools bring a multifaceted programme in the fields of spoken theatre, musical theatre and dance theatre. From October 1998 to December 1999, the Parktheater was optically, technologically and artistically made over from the ground up and now shines in new splendour.
Furthermore, Bensheim also has the PiPaPo Theater (cabaret), the Vornerum Theater, the Varieté Pegasus and the Autorenkollektiv Laufkundschaft.
Besides the Museum der Stadt Bensheim (municipal museum), there is also the old synagogue in Auerbach which nowadays houses a museum.
The Bensheim Music School was founded in 1979. By taking part in various contests, the students at this municipal music school regularly find themselves among the prizewinners at both the state and national level. Many ensembles promote the music school’s community spirit.
Bensheim, along with all its outlying centres has all together 557 cultural monuments. The following is a selection of the town’s most important buildings:
- Alte Faktorei, Mainz cathedral chapter’s former factory (in the sense of “commercial outpost”)
- Alte Gerberei (Old Tannery), from 1873
- Bismarckturm (tower), from 1902, on the Hemsberg (262 m)
- Dalberger Hof, former noble estate
- “Luginsland” (Blaues Türmchen or Eckturm [tower]) on the Höhenweg above Baßmannpark, built in 1910
- Hohenecker Hof, former noble estate from 1756
- Kirchberghäuschen (220 m), built in 1849, dedicated in 1857
- Metzendorf-Villen (villas)
- Rinnentorturm (tower), from the 13th or 14th century
- Rodensteiner Hof, stately home with park
- Roter Turm, watchtower from the old town wall, from the 13th century
- Walderdorffer Hof, southern Hesse’s oldest timber-frame house, built in 1395
- Wambolter Hof, former noble estate from about 1732/33
The Landgraves of Hesse once used the Fürstenlager near Bensheim-Auerbach as a spa. It is an artistic combination of simple buildings clustered like a village around the Good Well in the middle of a picturesque landscaped park. Like many territorial overlords of their day, its owners sought the peace of a rural idyll far removed from the pomp and circumstance of court.
- Saint George’s Parish Church (Pfarrkirche St. Georg), from 1830
- Saint Joseph’s Hospital Church (Hospitalkirche St. Joseph), from the 14th century
- Saint Crescentius’s Graveyard Church (Friedhofskirche St. Crescens), from 1618
- Saint Michael’s Church (Michaelskirche), from 1863
- Saint Lawrence’s Catholic Parish Church (Katholische Pfarrkirche St. Laurentius), from 1965
All the above churches are Catholic, except Saint Michael’s, which is Evangelical.
All 557 cultural monuments are listed in the Liste der Kulturdenkmäler in Bensheim.
- Dalberger Hof 02.jpg
- St-Georg Bensheim Tuerme.jpg
Saint George’s Parish Church
- Walderdorffer Hof Bensheim.jpg
- Wambolter Hof.jpg
- Metzendorf Villa Ernst 1905.jpg
Villa Ernst (Ludwigstraße) by Heinrich Metzendorf, 1905
- Haus Fleck Bensheim.jpg
- Roter Turm Bensheim2.jpg
Rote Turm from about 1300
- Kirchberghaeuschen bensheim.jpg
- Fürstenlager Bensheim.jpg
Fürstenlager near Bensheim
- Schloss Auerbach.jpg
Nationally known is the HSG Bensheim/Auerbach women’s handball team, which plays in the 2. Handball-Bundesliga (Frauen).
Bensheim and its outlying centres are also home to many other sport clubs.
Since 1947, Bensheim has been home to the Evangelical Federation’s Konfessionskundliches Institut (“Denominational Institute”), Europe’s biggest ecumenical institute. It was housed at Wolfgang-Sucker-Haus from 1947 to 1967 and also has been once again since November 2007.
Bensheim has many offerings for children up to 14 years old, with, for example, a new youth centre, opened on 26 January 2006 offering ample possibilities, busying itself with this. The old, bigger youth centre on Wilhelmstraße was then closed. For youths, there is relatively little on offer. However, work has begun on the new Skate/BMX-park, on the same site where the old one was. The park was promoted and planned by youths themselves.
Bandsheim (“Band Home”) has afforded the youth music scene an outlet that regularly hosts “newcomer” concerts in Bensheim. Besides Bandsheim there is also an outlet in Party-Bensheim, which offers a venue for youths to get to know each other, have discussions and make arrangements. Both these outlets were founded by youths themselves.
Bensheim does host an “unofficial” youth club. Since the early 1980s there has been “McSlobos”, an inn that had its beginnings in the “Germania-Hof”, which has now been torn down. With many live concerts by famous local bands and the guests’ active engagement in political issues, this inn has grown into an attraction for many youths.
Nevertheless, many youths feel left out, as they must pay for all leisure activities. Hence there has also been for some time the will to create a self-administering youth centre. To this end, various action groups and campaigns have been started, such as, for example SKJuz, a “promotional club for a self-administering culture and youth centre in Bensheim”, and the action group BürgerMaiStar.
In 2010 about 50 young people from the region occupied a derelict army complex in order to establish a self-organised youth centre. However, the occupation was broken up by police several hours after it had begun.
As a follow-up to the SKJuz club the JUKUZ Bensheim e.V. was formed, which is still actively promoting the idea of a self-administered, self-organised youth centre.
The nationally known Bergsträßer Winzerfest (“Bergstraße Vintners’ Festival”) is held every first week in September throughout the inner town. The festival, which begins on the Saturday, lasts nine days. On the first Sunday there is a great festive parade, and on the second Saturday, fireworks are lit on the Kirchberg. The first Bergsträßer Winzerfest was held from 19 to 22 October 1929. Even at this first festival there were a festive parade and fireworks on the Kirchberg. Bensheim is in an area where wine grapes are grown extensively.
The Bürgerfest (“Citizens’ Festival”), which was introduced on the occasion of the opening of the pedestrian precinct in 1975, has been regularly celebrated in early summer since 1977. Great popularity is enjoyed by the Auerbacher Bachgassenfest, an outdoor gastronomical event put on by those who live on the Bachgasse (“Brook Lane”) in Auerbach, first held in 1987. Since 1986, in memory of Gertrud Eysoldt, a German actress and director, the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring, one of Germany’s most important theatrical prizes, has been awarded yearly.
Since 2003, the Maiway has been held every year. This is a gastronomical festival at which many pubs in Bensheim have musical groups perform.
Bensheim has Zwewwelkuche à la Fraa vun Bensem (“onion cake à la woman from Bensheim”). The first word is a local form of the German Zwiebelkuchen, and the woman is the one mentioned under History (see above).
Economy and infrastructure
Bensheim is part of the economically strong Rhine Neckar Area and is together with various neighbouring towns and communities (among others, Heppenheim, Lorsch and Lautertal) identified as a middle centre in South Hesse regional planning.
The town has in its favour good economic data – even in relation to the Rhine Neckar Area’s as a whole – above-average employment figures and an especially high proportion of graduates in the resident population’s above-average buying power.
Sirona Dental Systems GmbH has its head office in Bensheim. The enterprise is the district’s biggest employer and produces goods and services for dentists. Kern GmbH manufactures enveloping systems for banks, insurance companies, telecommunications businesses and information technology service providers and is also headquartered in Bensheim. Offering services to pharmaceutical businesses is Cegedim Deutschland GmbH, which also has its head office in Bensheim. Furthermore, there are the electronics firm Tyco Electronics AMP GmbH, SAP AG, which is active in the information technology field, the Institut für Organisationskommunikation (IFOK) and HTV GmbH, which tests and programs semiconductors for manufacturers from almost all fields of electronics. Also, the auto manufacturer Suzuki International Europe GmbH is headquartered in Bensheim. The cars in the company’s national television advertising bear registrations beginning with “HP” (Heppenheim/Kreis Bergstraße) for this reason, which is seldom otherwise seen in this context. Deutsche Papier Vertriebs GmbH, which belongs to PaperlinX, runs, as a nationally active paper wholesaler, one of Germany’s most modern high-bay warehouses. GGEW, a service-providing business for electricity, natural gas and drinking water, has its head office in Bensheim.
Local happenings are reported in Bensheim and the surrounding area are reported by the Bergsträßer Anzeiger, a newspaper belonging to the Mannheimer Morgen publishing group. The paper’s address is Rodensteinstraße 6 and it is published from Monday to Saturday.
Bensheim lies at the crossroads of federal highways B 3 and B 47. Through the town’s west end runs Autobahn A 5, from which Bensheim can be reached by two exits: in the north the Zwingenberg – Bensheim-Auerbach exit, and in the south the Bensheim exit. A few kilometres farther west, running parallel to the A 5, is the A 67, when Bensheim can be reached through the Lorsch exit.
From Bensheim station, the town is linked to the German InterCity network by the Frankfurt am Main–Heidelberg line. The station is also the end of the Nibelungen Railway from Worms to Bensheim. The outlying centre of Auerbach has its own station, Bensheim-Auerbach, on the Frankfurt-Heidelberg line, but only Regionalbahn trains stop there.
Frankfurt Airport lies just under Script error: No such module "convert". away by road, north of Bensheim. There is a gliderport at Bensheim for gliders, motor gliders and other, smaller aircraft, managed by a nonprofit gliding club (SFG Bensheim).
Bensheim is a school town, with five Gymnasien: the Altes Kurfürstliches Gymnasium, the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule (coöperative comprehensive school with Gymnasium upper level), the Goethe-Gymnasium Bensheim (Gymnasium from class 5 with Gymnasium upper level), the Karl-Kübel-Schule (commercial schools with Gymnasium for economics, technology and health) and the Liebfrauenschule (private Catholic Gymnasium for girls). The town also has the Schillerschule, which is a primary school, Hauptschule and Realschule.
- Primary schools
- Grundschule Kappesgärten
- Joseph-Heckler Schule
- Primary school/Hauptschule/Realschule
- Coperative comprehensive school
- Geschwister Scholl Schule
- Vocational schools
- Advisory and advocacy centres
- Schule für Lernhilfe (school for help with learning)
- Seebergschule für praktisch Bildbare (practically educable)
- Behindertenhilfe Bergstraße GmbH (help for the handicapped)
- Jakob Adam (1568–1618), reformed preacher and minister (in Bensheim 1598 to 1603)
- Gerhard Beetz (1918–2005), General secretary of the Evangelical Federation
- Hermann von Beisler (1790–1859), Bavarian military officer and politician
- Moritz Edelmann (1891–1973), National Socialist historical didactic
- Friedrich von Eichheimer (1764–1854), Bavarian military physician and Surgeon General of the Bavarian army
- Wilhelm Euler (1847–1934), paper manufacturer, member of the Landtag, patron and member of the city council of Bensheim
- Friedrich Wilhelm Euler (1908–1995), archivist, genealogist and endowment founder
- Steffen Gebhardt (1981– ), German pentathlete
- Leo Grewenig (1898–1991), painter, student of Kandinsky and Klee
- Willi Harwerth (1894–982), Grafic artist and illustrator
- Eduard Haßloch (1887–1944), businessman, journalist and Bensheim local poet
- Joseph Heckler (1786–1857), Grand Duchy of Hesse collector, “homeland researcher” (Heimatforscher)
- Heinz Jost (1904–1964), SS-Brigadeführer, major general of the police, Amtschef in the SD-Hauptamt Amt III (Abwehr), Chief of RSHA-Amt VI
- Karl Ernst Knodt (1856–1917), German poet
- Paul Kleinschmidt (1883–1949), German painter
- Michael Klemm (1953– ), German author, director and actor
- Karl Kunkel (1913–2012), Catholic theologian
- Klaus Kübler (1936–2007) Member of the Bundestag (SPD)
- Father Dirk Kranz (1969-), Catholic Priest
- Hugo Lindemann (1867–1949), German college teacher and social democratic politician
- Michael Meister (1961), Member of the Bundestag (CDU)
- Georg Metzendorf (1874–1934), architect
- FranzHeinrich Metzendorf (1866–1923), architect, “Building Master of the Bergstraße”
- Marcus Morlinghaus (1965– ), German actor, author and director
- Norbert Müller-Everling (1953– ), sculptor
- Arthur von Oettingen (1836–1920), German-Baltich physicist, musical theorist and biographer
- Wilhelm Ringelband (1921–1981), theatre critic, endower of the Gertrud-Eysoldt-Ring
- Joseph Stoll (1879–1956), local poet, “homeland researcher”, cofounder of the Bensheimer Winzerfest, NSDAP local politician
- Bernhard Trares (1965– ), former German football player in the Bundesliga and football trainer
- Otto-Werner Mueller (1926– ), conductor and musical educator
- Wilhelm Weyrauch (1914–2003), regional historical researcher and municipal politician
- "Die Bevölkerung der hessischen Gemeinden". Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt (in German). September 2014.
- Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Hessen, as at 23 April 2008
- Party-Bensheim, a forum for youth in Bensheim and the surrounding area.
- Webseite der Bürgermaistars, a citizen initiative for Bensheim youth.
- Jukuz Maraldo
- JUKUz Bensheim e.V.
- Leo Grewenig (1898–1991) – Leben und Werk : mit einem kritischen Katalog sämtlicher Arbeite, accessed 27 August 2007
- Joseph Stoll: Bensheimer Idiotikon, Eine Sammlung von Wörtern und Ausdrücken der Bensheimer Mundart mit Nachweisungen ihres Ursprungs und lokalgeschichtlichen Anmerkungen. Museumsverein Bensheim 1984, ISBN 3-931960-04-8.
- Diether Blüm: Bensheimer Schulhäuser im Wandel der Jahrhunderte. Verlag Bergsträßer Anzeiger, Bensheim 1992.
- Diether Blüm: Adelsfamilien im alten Bensheim. K+G Verlag GmbH, Bensheim 1995.
- Rudolf Köster und Wilhelm Weyrauch: Ältere Flurnamen von Bensheim und seinen Stadtteilen bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Hrsg. v. Museumsverein Bensheim in Verbindung mit der Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Geschichts- und Heimatvereine im Kreis Bergstraße, Sonderband 17 in der Reihe der Geschichtsblätter Kreis Bergstraße, Verlag Laurissa Lorsch , ISBN 3-922781-82-9
- Rudolf Köster: Die Namen der Bensheimer Straßen, Wege, Plätze und Passagen von A–Z erläutert. Museumsverein Bensheim, 1996, ISBN 3-931960-05-6.
- Manfred Berg: Bensheim – Die Reihe Archivbilder. Sutton-Verlag GmbH, Erfurt 1998, ISBN 3-89702-090-4.
- Dorothea Schües: Der korrupte Kommerzienrat [Johann Maria Schlinck, Bürger und Stadtrat in Bensheim] Ein Zeitbild um 1800. R. G. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-8301-0390-5.
- Manfred Berg: Bensheim erleben – Ein Führer zu den historischen Sehenswürdigkeiten. Edition Diesbach, Weinheim 2002, ISBN 3-936468-02-8.
- Wilhelm Weyrauch: Das frühe Bensheim - Vorträge und Aufsätze zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Stadt - mit zahlreichen historischen Abbildungen. VVB Laufersweiler Verlag, Gießen 2004.
- Rudolf Köster: Bensheimer Familiennamen. Hrsg. v. Museumsverein Bensheim in Verbindung mit der Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Geschichts- und Heimatvereine im Kreis Bergstraße, Sonderband 23 in der Reihe der Geschichtsblätter Kreis Bergstraße, Verlag Laurissa Lorsch 2004, ISBN 3-922781-25-X.
- Manfred Berg: Bensheim entdecken - Ein Malbuch für Schulkinder. Eigenverlag Berg, Bensheim 2005, ISBN 3-00-017780-9.
- Geschichtswerkstatt Geschwister Scholl (Hrsg.) unter Leitung v. Schäfer, Franz Josef und Lotz, Peter: Jakob Kindinger - Ein politisches Leben. Druckhaus Diesbach GmbH, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-00-018379-5.
- Reiner Maaß und Manfred Berg (Hrsg.): Bensheim – Spuren der Geschichte. EditionDiesbach, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-936468-31-1, ISBN 978-3-936468-31-1
- Diether Blüm: Wenn Steine erzählen könnten... Verlag der Wochenzeitung "Der Bensemer"
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bensheim.|
|40x40px||Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bensheim.|
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- Hesse state castles and gardens Invalid language code.
- Fürstenlager Auerbach
- Displaced persons camp in Bensheim after the Second World War Invalid language code.
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