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Location of the Ambergau in the Innerstebergland

The Ambergau is a historical landscape and a natural spatial unit in the Innerstebergland in southern Lower Saxony . Today there are 18 villages ( 31 in the Middle Ages ) in the approximately 10 × 10 km large basin , the center and main town of which has been the town of Bockenem since the 13th century . The basin with its fertile soil is surrounded by the wooded ridges of the Hebers , the Harplage , the Weinberg and Hainbergs . The Gau is a cultural landscape that was formed as early as the 8th century.


The name Ambergau is made up of the words "Amber" and "Gau". Amber has its origin in the Indo-European vocabulary and has the root word mb (h), which means something like moisture. That probably related to the wetlands that existed at the time, such as the Nette . Gau is a word for the closed settlement area of Teutons . The term Ambergo was also used.

Location and use

Morning fog in the Ambergau

The Ambergau lies between the northwestern edge of the Harz and the Hildesheimer Börde . The mountain ranges surrounding it are predominantly made of beech forest. The basin-like valley is now a largely forest-free arable area that has probably always been used as arable land by the people who settled here. Agriculture was the dominant industry until the 20th century. Modest industrialization began in Bornum in 1727 with a blast furnace operation . Duke August Wilhelm (Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) had iron produced in the Wilhelmshütte .

The Ambergau is crossed from south to north by the course of the Nette. The larger traffic routes also lead through the area in a north-south direction. These are the Güterbahn Derneburg- Bornum, the B 243 and the BAB 7 .


Wohldenberg Castle in the north of the Ambergau

In earlier centuries, Ambergau was a much larger area than it is today. It covered the entire drainage area of ​​the Nette. At times around the year 1000, the neighboring Lutter basin with Lutter am Barenberge was also part of the Gau. The then Ambergau reached in the north from Derneburg and Holle to Seesen and Rhüden in the south. This resulted in the subdivision into the Upper Gau (near Rhüden) for the southern area, the middle Gau (near Bockenem) and the lower Gau in the northern area in the estuary of the Nette (near Holle). In the 13th century the Ambergau was divided between the Diocese of Hildesheim and the part of the Guelph Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg , from which the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel later emerged. The northern and western areas, including the city of Bockenem, were part of the duchy of Hildesheim until 1803 (with an interruption between 1523 and 1643), which has had an impact to this day through membership of the Hildesheim district government , which has been in Hanover since 1978 . The eastern part belonged to the Duchy of Braunschweig from 1814 , later to the Free State of Braunschweig and since 1946 to the administrative district of Braunschweig, which has also been dissolved in the meantime . This division of the Gau had the consequence that the town of Rhüden in the south was divided into a Brunswick (Gandersheim district) Kleinrhüden and a Hildesheim ( Hildesheim-Marienburg ) Großrhüden until the district reform in 1976 . Today the northern and central Ambergau are part of the Hildesheim district , while the southern part belongs to the Goslar district.

Center Bockenem

Bockenem emerged as the center of the Ambergau due to its geographically central location. It became a trading center. Upgraded by the Counts of Wohldenberg, it later also became the political center of the area. Bockenem had city privileges early on. It held the market rights and was the central market place. The right to fortification manifested itself through the construction of a city wall and a Landwehr , including five waiting towers , including the Königsturm, Hochstedter Turm and Dahlumer Turm. The military fortification was promoted by the fact that the Diocese of Hildesheim secured its border against the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. The place flourished in the 13th and 14th centuries.


The Ambergau ( Ambergo ) on a map of the district division of the Hildesheim Monastery around the year 1000
Nice at Henneckenrode
Wohlenstein Castle secured the Ambergau in the south

The Ambergau was next to the Gauen Astfala , Flenithi and Derlingau the tribal area of ​​the Cherusci . In Ambergau there were probably groups of farmsteads from which villages developed as early as the 8th century. The residents farmed on fertile and easy-to-work arable land in the basin interior. As in the rest of Germany, settlement development began in the 10th century, with forests being cleared and cultivated areas expanded. Parts of the arable land obtained in this way fell into the desolation period of the 14./15. Century back under forest, which today Wölbacker systems in the forests on the edge of the Ambergau testify.

In the 10th century, the Palatinate Dahlum in Königsdahlum emerged as the political center of the area . It was connected to the Königsweg , which cut the Ambergau in an east-west direction. In the northwestern Harz foreland, the path connected the Palatinate Brüggen on the Leine with Königsdahlum and the Palatinate Werla .

In the 12th century, the Hildesheim Monastery appointed the von Werder family to manage the Ambergau. The noble family resided on a moated castle on the Nette in the village of Werder. A representative of the family is mentioned for the first time in 1105 as Burchadus de Insula . In 1292 the moated castle was destroyed in a feud and ownership passed to the Count of Wohldenberg, who was settled in Wohldenberg Castle in the north of Ambergau . But the property soon reverted to the Hildesheim Monastery.

In the Middle Ages , Wohlenstein Castle south of the Ambergau secured the entry of the Heerstrasse Frankfurt am Main - Braunschweig into the area. The northern half of the Ambergau and the exit of the Heerstraße was dominated by Wohldenberg Castle. A value obtained from this period Wartturm is the King's Tower , which at today's federal highway 243 between Bockenem and Bornum am Harz is. This tower as part of the Bockenemer Landwehr had the task of securing the border between the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and the Diocese of Hildesheim and collecting customs on an important traffic route.

The Hildesheim collegiate feud brought severe devastation over the Ambergau. When the Guelph Duke Erich I of Calenberg-Göttingen marched in in 1519, Wohlenstein Castle and several villages fell victim to him . He also besieged Bockenem with 800 horsemen and 9000 soldiers and bombarded the place with artillery. In autumn 1519, Duke Heinrich the Younger marched into the Ambergau with 500 riders and committed devastation. As a result of the collegiate feud, the Hildesheim Monastery had to surrender its part of the Ambergau to the Principality of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and thus to the Guelphs, who operated the Reformation there .

During the Thirty Years' War, the Ambergau suffered from the passage of various troops, whereby it was taken alternately and was also exposed to looting. At the end of the war, the entire area only had a population of 3,500 people. With the restoration of the so-called Great Monastery in 1643, the northern and western Ambergau again became part of the duchy of Hildesheim , but the population remained predominantly Protestant. In the year 1836 the company JF Weule was founded in Bockenem , which had a worldwide reputation as a tower clock factory and bell foundry until its end of 1966.



Today's 18 villages in Ambergau, all parts of the city of Bockenem , are:

middle Ages

In addition, there were 13 other settlements in the Ambergau during the Middle Ages, which were abandoned during the desert period of the 14th and 15th centuries and fell in desolation :

  • Bakenrode
  • Copstedt
  • Dalenhausen
  • Hachum
  • Hochstedt
  • Little Schlewecke
  • Oledorp
  • Nienhagen
  • Pockenhausen
  • Steeme
  • Disgraceful
  • Teckenrode
  • Tellhausen


  • Friedrich Günther: The Ambergau. Meyer, Hanover 1887 (unchanged reprint). Sendet, Walluf near Wiesbaden 1974, ISBN 3-500-29430-8 .
  • Manfred Klaube: The Ambergau. Economic, social and political history. Paper plane, Clausthal-Zellerfeld 2001, ISBN 3-89720-530-0 .
  • Manfred Klaube: War and post-war years in the provinces. Bockenem and the Ambergau 1939 to 1949. Self-published, Bockenem 2008.
  • Manfred Klaube, Dieter Rüdiger: Along the Nice - Forays through the historic Ambergau. Self-published, Alfeld 2013

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hermann Adolf Lüntzel : The older diocese of Hildesheim . Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 1837, p. 495 ( digitized version ).

Coordinates: 51 ° 58 '  N , 10 ° 8'  E