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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Bielefeld
Map of Germany, position of the city of Bielefeld highlighted

Coordinates: 52 ° 1 '  N , 8 ° 32'  E

Basic data
State : North Rhine-Westphalia
Administrative region : Detmold
Height : 118 m above sea level NHN
Area : 258.82 km 2
Residents: 334,195 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 1291 inhabitants per km 2
Postcodes : 33602-33739
Primaries : 0521, 05202, 05203, 05205, 05206, 05208, 05209
License plate : BI
Community key : 05 7 11 000
City structure: 10 boroughs

City administration address :
Niederwall 23
33602 Bielefeld
Website :
Lord Mayor : Pit Clausen ( SPD )
Location of Bielefeld in North Rhine-Westphalia
Niederlande Belgien Niedersachsen Rheinland-Pfalz Hessen Essen Wuppertal Solingen Remscheid Hagen Ennepe-Ruhr-Kreis Bochum Dortmund Herne Gelsenkirchen Bottrop Oberhausen Mülheim an der Ruhr Duisburg Kreis Mettmann Düsseldorf Rhein-Kreis Neuss Kreis Heinsberg Mönchengladbach Krefeld Kreis Viersen Kreis Wesel Kreis Kleve Rhein-Erft-Kreis Kreis Düren Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis Oberbergischer Kreis Kreis Recklinghausen Kreis Borken Kreis Unna Märkischer Kreis Kreis Olpe Hamm Kreis Soest Kreis Coesfeld Kreis Steinfurt Kreis Warendorf Leverkusen Köln Städteregion Aachen Bonn Rhein-Sieg-Kreis Städteregion Aachen Kreis Euskirchen Münster Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein Hochsauerlandkreis Kreis Paderborn Kreis Gütersloh Kreis Höxter Kreis Lippe Kreis Herford Kreis Minden-Lübbecke Bielefeldmap
About this picture
Sparrenburg and view of the city center
Niederwall with a view of the city ​​theater

Bielefeld  [ biːləfɛlt ] ( ostwestfälisch Builefeld , Bielefeld , Axes field or Builefeild ) is a circle-free city in Detmold in the North East North Rhine-Westphalia . With over 334,000 inhabitants, it is the largest city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region and its economic center. Bielefeld is the eighth largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia . In state planning , Bielefeld is classified as a regional center . On the list of major cities in Germany , it ranks 18th in population and 11th in area. Please click to listen!Play

It was first mentioned in the early 9th century, and it was first mentioned as a city in 1214. Located at the northern end of a transverse valley of the Teutoburg Forest , the merchant town was supposed to promote trade in the county of Ravensberg , of which it became the largest town. For a long time Bielefeld was the center of the linen industry . Today the city is primarily the location of the food industry, trading and service companies, the printing and clothing industry and mechanical engineering . Its university , the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel , which Dr. August Oetker KG , the Bielefeld Laboratory School and the Bielefeld Upper School College , the Bielefeld Theater and the Arminia Bielefeld sports club .


Geographical location

The Bielefelder Pass from the Hünenburg
Telecommunication tower Hünenburg

Bielefeld lies on the watershed between the Weser and Ems . The urban area belongs to three different natural areas . The north and northeast including the city center are embedded in the hilly landscape of the Ravensberger Mulde . Immediately to the south is the mountain range of the Teutoburg Forest, which runs through Bielefeld from west-north-west to east-south-east. The Bielefelder Pass has always been an important traffic artery, from which the Gadderbaum district with Bethel extends into the longitudinal valleys of the Kammgebirge. The south belongs to the Münsterländer Bucht , whose edge area to the west of the Bielefeld Pass forms the sandy area of ​​the Senne , in which, in addition to parts of the Brackwede district, the Senne and Sennestadt districts are located.

The Lutterbach flows in the city center . In the literature, Bielefeld is sometimes described as lying on the Lutterbach. This stream was branched off in the 15th century from the Lutter, which rises in the Quelle district and flows towards Gütersloh . In 2004 it was exposed at the Waldhof grammar school . The northern districts of Bielefeld lie in a gently undulating landscape of the Ravensberg hill country with fields, meadows, streams and small rivers. Here is the artificially created Obersee , which is the largest water area in the city and was created to regulate the Johannisbach . The north-eastern part of the city drains via the Bielefelder Aa into the Weser , while the water flows from the south-western part of the Ems . The watershed is formed by the almost completely wooded ridge of the Teutoburg Forest. It serves as a recreational area for the population of the big city. Numerous hiking trails lead through the Teutoburg Forest in the middle of Bielefeld's urban area. The most famous of them is the Hermannsweg , which leads from the Hermannsdenkmal near Detmold via the Sparrenburg to Rheine . The Senne, located south of the Teutoburg Forest, was created from ice-age sand deposits, of which only remnants of the heather in the urban area of ​​Bielefeld have survived. Today this area is characterized by fields, grassland and small forests, but also by dry grassland, swamp forests and wet meadows.

Marking the 52nd parallel north

The highest point in the urban area is on the hilltop Auf dem Polle in the Lämershagen district at 320  m above sea level. NN , the lowest in the Brake district on the Aa on the border to Herford at 71  m above sea level. NN . The town hall stands at a height of 114 meters. Bielefeld, divided according to the elevation profile, has a share in two different landscapes, the higher hill country of the Ravensberger Bergland in the north and the plains of the Westphalian Bay in the south. The 52nd degree of northern latitude runs through the urban area. It is marked by a marker stone on Hermannsweg. The closest major cities are Gütersloh (18 kilometers southwest), Paderborn (40 kilometers southeast), Osnabrück (45 kilometers northwest), Hamm (60 kilometers southwest), Münster (65 kilometers west), Hanover (100 kilometers northeast), Hildesheim (100 kilometers) east), Siegen (140 kilometers south) and Bremen (200 kilometers north). Bielefeld is located in a densely populated area that extends along the Hamm – Minden railway line and the parallel Autobahn 2 from Gütersloh via Bielefeld and Herford to Minden .

Bielefeld is both the easternmost and the northernmost independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia.

City structure

All districts of Bielefeld

The urban area of ​​Bielefeld is divided into ten city districts. Each district has a district council elected by the population , which consists of up to 19 members. The district council is chaired by the district mayor ( district chairman until 2010 ). The city districts are in turn officially divided into 72 statistical districts. In everyday parlance, an informal subdivision into city districts is usually used for location information in Bielefeld. These districts often correspond to the formerly independent municipalities that were incorporated into Bielefeld during the regional reforms of 1930 and 1973 .

Location of the boroughs in the city
district Districts
Brackwede Brackwede, Holtkamp , Quelle , Ummeln
Dornberg Babenhausen , Großdornberg , Hoberge-Uerentrup , Kirchdornberg , Niederdornberg-Deppendorf , Schröttinghausen
Gadderbaum Bethel , Gadderbaum
Heepen Altenhagen , Baumheide , Brake , Brönninghausen , Heepen, Milse , Oldentrup
Jöllenbeck Jöllenbeck, Theesen , Vilsendorf
Shield ash Gellershagen , Schildesche, Sudbrack
Senne Buschkamp , Windelsbleiche , wind flute
Sennestadt Dalbke , Eckardtsheim , Heideblümchen , Sennestadt
Stieghorst Hillegossen , Lämershagen-Graefinghagen , Sieker , Stieghorst, Ubbedissen
View from the Sparrenburg to Bielefeld city center

Expansion and use of the urban area

Bielefeld is classified as a “small city ” and covers an area of ​​257.91 square kilometers. The largest expansion of the urban area is 22 kilometers from north to south and 19 kilometers from west to east. The land use in Bielefeld is shown in the following table. The share of the agricultural area is around five percentage points higher than in comparable cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 7.5% of the urban area is designated as a nature reserve. Of the forest areas, 2256 hectares belong to the Bielefeld city forest .

Area according to type of use Area in km² Share of total area
Agricultural area 95.75 37.13%
Forest area 52.22 20.25%
Building, open and operational space 70.20 27.22%
Settlement and traffic areas 24.89 9.65%
Water surface 1.86 0.72%
Sports and green space 11.79 4.57%
Other use 1.19 0.46%

Neighboring communities

Bielefeld borders the following cities and municipalities ( clockwise , starting in the north): Spenge , Enger and Herford (all Herford district ), Bad Salzuflen , Leopoldshöhe and Oerlinghausen (all Lippe district ) as well as Holte-Stukenbrock Castle , Verl , Gütersloh , Steinhagen , Halle (Westphalia) and Werther (Westphalia) (all district of Gütersloh ).


In geological terms, the urban area is divided into three parts: a southern part, which lies in the Westphalian Bay , the area of ​​the Teutoburg Forest and a northern part, which lies in the Ravensberg hill country .

The hill country essentially consists of layers of clay marl , limestone and sandstone from the Middle Ages ( Triassic , Jurassic and Chalk ), 1000 to 2000 meters thick . The numerous saddles , hollows , clumps and ditches are characteristic of the hill country . In the Teutoburg Forest, these rocks were particularly clearly raised in geomorphological processes and then, as in the Ravensberg hill country, broken down into the numerous saddles, hollows, clumps and ditches already mentioned. The Osning is therefore also characterized as a fault fold mountain range . The rock layers that used to follow one another undisturbed can now be found in the Osning next to one another or even tipped over. Unaffected by these processes, the rocks of ancient times ( Devonian , Karbon and Zechstein ) are stored in the deeper subsurface .

The surface of the entire flat urban area is determined by loose rocks from the Ice Age ( sand , gravel , loess , marl boulder ). However, while in the south (especially in the Senne ), which is rather flat compared to the northern hill country, the sand and gravel dominate and loess can only be found on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest, in the Ravensberg hill country there is an almost continuous cover with a fertile one, especially in the valleys , about 1 meter thick layer of loess. This loess was deposited in the Quaternary and weathered over time to form fertile parabrown soils . Since there are impermeable layers under the loess , the valleys of the hill country in particular are humid. The astonishing pseudogleyen prevailing here , which can often be found in the characteristic Sieken , are often only suitable as grassland .

On the border to the Münsterland , the meltwater sands of the Ice Age have developed Podsole . As in the Ravensberger Hügelland with its Sieken and Plaggeneschen , historical agricultural technology has an influence on the soils in the southern urban area. Due to agricultural use (in some cases also pest management), deep humus soils have partially formed.

A deep ground cover could not hold up on the slopes of the Osning. The solid rock dominates here, predominantly bearing a thin layer of humus and only emerging directly on the surface in a few places. A cover of these rocks is only shallow in the ridge area. In the north-eastern ridge area and in some of the peaks south-west of the ridge, such as the Käseberg and the Bokelberg , there are predominantly shallow, stony, clayey - loamy limestone - weathered soils ( Rendzinen ). In the area of ​​the southwestern ridge there are rather shallow, nutrient-poor, acidic and stony heather soils ( podsoles ), which were created by the weathering of the sandstones of the Mesozoic.


The climate in Bielefeld is determined by its location in the ocean-continental transition area of Central Europe and by its location on the Teutoburg Forest . The area lies mainly in the sub-Atlantic maritime climate with partly temporary continental influences . The winters are mostly mild under the influence of the Atlantic, the summers are moderately warm and the rainfall is relatively evenly distributed. The mean annual temperature in the middle is around 8.5 ° C and in the south of the city in the Westphalian Bight around 9 ° C. At the high altitude of the Osning it is significantly lower and is around 7.5 to 8 ° C.

The precipitation is significantly influenced by the location in the Teutoburg Forest. Overall, Bielefeld is one of the cities with the highest rainfall in North Rhine-Westphalia, alongside the cities in the Bergisches Land and Siegerland . The annual precipitation is well above the national average in all months. However, depending on the location, the amount of precipitation usually fluctuates annually between around 800 and 1000 millimeters. In the area of ​​the city center, the annual precipitation is around 890 millimeters. Since the prevailing winds mostly blow from the south-west and bring with them moist air from the Atlantic , there is pronounced uphill rain on the windward side of the Teutoburg Forest, which is the first barrier on the edge of the Weser Uplands . Therefore, the annual rainfall in and on the southern edge of the Osning reaches values ​​well over 1000 millimeters. The places further in the Westphalian Bay in the southern urban area are less rainy. Here the annual precipitation is only about 750 millimeters. Annual precipitation is also lower, at around 800 millimeters, in the protected areas in the Aatal in the Ravensberger Hügelland and in the Lee des Osning.

Bielefeld-Deppendorf (105 m)
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Bielefeld-Deppendorf (105 m)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 4.7 5.5 9.8 15.6 18.3 21.4 24.1 23.2 19.4 14.5 9.1 5.1 O 14.3
Min. Temperature (° C) −0.4 −0.6 1.0 3.9 6.8 9.8 11.9 11.9 9.4 6.4 3.7 0.2 O 5.4
Temperature (° C) 2.4 2.5 5.4 10.0 12.9 15.8 18.1 17.4 14.3 10.5 6.5 2.9 O 9.9
Precipitation ( mm ) 104 64 52 30th 83 73 76 97 62 65 77 91 Σ 874
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.0 1.5 3.4 4.9 5.9 6.1 6.2 5.3 3.5 2.7 1.2 0.9 O 3.6
Rainy days ( d ) 21st 17th 15th 12 16 15th 17th 19th 14th 15th 19th 22nd Σ 202
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Bielefeld around 1895

In 2017, the remains of a Roman military camp believed to be 2,000 years old were discovered in a forest area of ​​Bielefeld-Sennestadt.

Furthermore, a ring wall was discovered in 1988, which was based on a Roman construction site around 32/31 BC. Can close.

The place was mentioned as early as the middle of the 9th century when a Mansus in Bylanuelde was transferred to the Corvey monastery . The first mention of the city of Bielefeld comes from the year 1214. Bielefeld was one of the numerous city foundations of the High Middle Ages and was created with the intention of securing the rule of the sovereign, as it was on the southern border of the County of Ravensberg . The sovereign wanted to develop the place as a merchant town and capital of the county.

Due to its location at the crossroads of several old trade routes and on an important pass through the Teutoburg Forest, Bielefeld quickly developed into the economic and financial center of the Ravensberg County. The construction of the Sparrenburg began around 1240 and after its completion it served as the residence of the sovereign and his retinue. In addition, the castle was supposed to protect the city and the pass over the mountains of the Teutoburg Forest. From 1293 the new town was built. The residents, mostly merchants and craftsmen, grew prosperous, not least because they joined the Hanseatic League in the 15th century.

Before and during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), the Sparrenburg was successively occupied by Dutch, Spanish, Swedish and French troops. In the years 1636 and 1637 the plague raged in Bielefeld and claimed around 350 victims. In the 17th century, Bielefeld began to develop into a "linen city", which at that time mainly meant the linen trade . The farmers of the Ravensberger Land prefer to cultivate state-subsidized flax on their arable land instead of grain and process it into linen in their home industry . The linen trade led to a certain prosperity in the city. Around 1830, the Bielefeld linen trade got into a serious crisis, as machine-woven fabrics began to be produced in Ireland , England and Belgium. The economic hardship of many Bielefeld people led to unrest during the revolution of 1848 . In addition, many people left their homes in East Westphalia and emigrated to America.

Tobacco production developed in the Ravensberger Land around 1860 . The tobacco factory Gebr. Crüwell in Bielefeld, one of the most important of its kind in Germany, awarded certain jobs in home production so that the rural population found new sources of income. When the connection to the Cöln-Mindener Railway was completed in 1847 , factories soon developed. With the Ravensberger spinning mill , a company emerged that developed into the largest flax spinning mill in Europe. Bielefeld was the center of the textile industry in Germany as early as 1870.

Old Town Hall
new town hall

In 1867 the Von Bodelschwingh'schen Anstalten Bethel were founded in what is now the Gadderbaum district. In addition to the textile industry, mechanical engineering developed. Today Bielefeld is the fifth largest mechanical engineering location in Germany. At the end of the 19th century, the food industry became important for Bielefeld. With the Oetker Group , the city is home to one of the largest representatives of this branch in Europe.

In 1938 around 900 citizens of the Jewish faith lived in Bielefeld . The Jewish community had a magnificent synagogue on Turnerstrasse, which was inaugurated in 1905 . It was robbed and burned down by the National Socialists on the night of November 9-10, 1938, during the Night of the Reichspogrom . Shortly thereafter, on November 12, 1938, 406 men from Bielefeld and East Westphalia-Lippe were deported to Buchenwald. In autumn 1939 the Jewish people in Bielefeld were denied their right to their own living space and were assigned to so-called Jewish houses . In the courtyard one was a forced labor camp set up. In the period that followed, Jewish people were deprived of more and more rights. The first of eight further deportations followed on December 13, 1941. For most of the deportees, they meant death. So far, 1604 people of Jewish origin have been identified who were abducted from Bielefeld between 1941 and 1945. The total number of Holocaust victims is significantly higher.

The heaviest air raid on the city in World War II took place on September 30, 1944. It killed 649 people and destroyed most of the old town and many historical buildings. On April 4, 1945, the "fortress" Bielefeld was taken by American troops. This was preceded by two days of heavy fighting in the forest areas south of the city. It is thanks to the courage of some Bielefeld citizens that further bloodshed was prevented during the advance of the American troops. The Mayor of Brackwede, Hermann Bitter , opened the anti-tank barriers for the Americans on April 3, 1945 and was then shot by the NSDAP district leader. When the American units were advancing towards the city center on April 4, 1945, the Protestant pastor Karl Pawlowski rode his bicycle along the German defensive positions, which were ready for action, and persuaded the soldiers to withdraw. Thereupon Bielefeld was taken without resistance. When the first American jeeps drove through Bielefeld, a white flag was already waving from the town hall. During the war, more than 1,300 people were killed in bombs in Bielefeld.

Destroyed historical buildings were replaced by modern buildings after the war. The industry was rebuilt within a few years and the economic boom began. However, the textile industry lost its importance as the city developed into a service center.

The planned town of Sennestadt is a special urban development feature of the post-war period .

The University of Bielefeld was founded 1969th


Development of the urban area since the beginning of the 20th century

In 1828 Gut Niedermühlen was incorporated into the Feldmark of the city of Bielefeld. On April 1, 1900, parts of the community of Gadderbaum and the Sparrenburg area were incorporated into Bielefeld. On January 31, 1907, parts of the community of Quelle as well as the Meyer zu Olderdissen and the Schildhof followed. On October 1, 1930, the communities Schildesche Dorf, Sieker and Stieghorst and parts of the communities Gellershagen , Großdornberg , Heepen , Hoberge-Uerentrup , Oldentrup , Schildesche Bauerschaft and Theesen came from the Bielefeld district to the city of Bielefeld. 54 hectares of the Babenhausen community were added on December 31, 1961 and 56 hectares of the Brake community on January 1, 1965.

The most extensive regional reform to date , regulated in the law on the reorganization of the Bielefeld area , came into force on January 1, 1973. From the district of Bielefeld came the cities of Brackwede and Sennestadt as well as the communities of Gadderbaum , Senne I , Babenhausen , Großdornberg, Hoberge-Uerentrup, Kirchdornberg , Niederdornberg-Deppendorf , Altenhagen , Brake , Brönninghausen , Heepen, Hillegossen , Lämershagen-Graefinghagen , Milse , Oldentrup, Ubbedissen , Jöllenbeck , Theesen and Vilsendorf zu Bielefeld; also from the district of Halle (Westphalia) the community Schröttinghausen . The Bielefeld district was dissolved.

Population development

Around 1800 Bielefeld had around 5,500 inhabitants. As a result of industrialization, this number rose steadily in the following decades and in 1900 was over 60,000 inhabitants. In 1930, the population of Bielefeld exceeded the 100,000 mark within the limits of the time, making the city a major city . In the post-war period, the population rose to over 175,000 by 1961, of which around 60,000 came to Bielefeld as refugees and displaced persons after the Second World War. After a slight decrease until 1972, the population grew to more than 320,000 in 1973 due to the incorporation of almost all places belonging to the Bielefeld district, including Brackwede with 39,856, Sennestadt with 20,187 and Senne I with 17,421 inhabitants (population from 1970). With 321,200 inhabitants at the end of 1973, a historic high was reached, which has only been permanently exceeded since 1991. Bielefeld ranks 18th among German cities and eighth in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Local politics

Election of the Bielefeld City Council in 2014
in percent
Gains and losses
compared to 2009
 % p
Allocation of seats in the
Bielefeld City Council in 2014
A total of 66 seats

In 1994 Bielefeld gave up dual leadership in the city administration. Since then there has only been the full-time mayor . This is the highest representative of the city, chairman of the council and head of the city ​​administration . He has been elected directly by eligible voters since 1999. Pit Clausen of the SPD has held office since 2009 . On June 15, 2014 , he was confirmed as Lord Mayor in a runoff election with 55.86 percent of the valid votes; his challenger Andreas Rüther (CDU) received 44.14%. The turnout was 31.24%. In his representative role he is represented by the honorary mayors Andreas Rüther (CDU) and Karin Schrader (SPD). Clausen's representative in his role as head of administration is First Alderman Anja Ritschel.

The council of the city of Bielefeld has 67 members in the new electoral term , including the mayor , who has one vote ex officio. The debts of the city of Bielefeld, its own operations and its investments amounted to 1.639 billion euros at the end of 2012. That is 5004 euros per inhabitant.

In March 2015, the SPD agreed, BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN and the council group Citizenship / PIRATES ( Paprika ) to form a coalition for the current electoral term.

Results of the local elections in Bielefeld since 1975
2014 2009 2004 1999 1994 1989 1984 1979 1975
Political party Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats %
SPD 20th 30.8 20th 30.3 19th 31.43 22nd 31.32 28 41.31 27 38.99 28 41.27 31 45.81 32 46.53
CDU 20th 30.2 22nd 33.2 22nd 36.78 32 45.72 24 36.24 24 34.56 27 39.43 28 41.61 30th 43.90
Green 1 11 15.9 11 17.2 9 15.46 8th 10.60 8th 12.48 6th 10.05 9 13.5 4th 5.6 - -
BfB 6th 8.5 3 5.2 4th 6.36 4th 6.29 5 7.44 6th 9.6 - - - - - -
The left 5 7.3 4th 5.7 2 2.70 2 2.81 - - - - - - - - - -
FDP 2 2.9 4th 5.6 2 4.34 2 3.26 0 2.54 4th 6.54 3 5.43 4th 6.54 5 8.68
Pirates 1 2.2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Closeness to the citizens 1 0.9 2 2.7 2 2.93 - - - - - - - - - - - -
Others - 1.3 - - - - - - - - - 0.2 - 0.4 - 0.5 - 0.89
Total 2 66 100 66 100 60 100 70 100 65 100 67 100 67 100 67 100 67 100
voter turnout 51.0 52.9 53.81 57.93 82.83 66.72 67.68 69.68 86.44
11979 and 1984 Bunte List , local predecessor organization of the Greens
2without taking into account rounding errors

coat of arms

coat of arms

Blazon : The city's coat of arms shows a silver shield with three red rafters in the golden field under a red, crenellated and open wall arch with two wall turrets.

This coat of arms has existed in its basic form since 1263; at that time it was considered the coat of arms of the old town. When the old and new towns were united in 1520, the coat of arms became the official coat of arms of the now united city. This did not change until the 19th century, but then lions within coats of arms became more and more fashionable, so that from then on the coat of arms was carried by two lions. Since 1973 the coat of arms in the form of a shield and without a lion has been the official coat of arms of the city of Bielefeld. The shield with the rafters corresponds to the coat of arms of the County of Ravensberg , whose capital Bielefeld was once. The towers show an outer part of the outer wall.

Town twinning

During a visit by education experts from Rochdale, England, to trade union representatives in Bielefeld, those involved came up with the idea of ​​a town twinning , which was entered into in 1953. Symbols of the partnership are a bridge in Rochdale and the park in front of the Ravensberger Spinnerei in Bielefeld after the respective twin town. There is also an English telephone booth at the Nicolaikirche in Bielefeld.

Brackwede borough has been partnered with Enniskillen in Northern Ireland since 1958 . The starting point for the partnership was the appearance of the Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards at the Brackweder Schützenfest 1957. As a sign of friendship, a street in Brackwede was named after the twin town. Regular student exchanges between Brackweder Gymnasium and Portora Royal School are part of the partnership program.

The folklore group Cercle Celtic from Concarneau , France , made an appearance in 1967 in the then still independent municipality of Senne. In 1973 the friendships that were formed developed into a permanent partnership with what is now the city district. Today streets in cities are named after the twin city.

Gerhard Hoepner from Bielefeld maintained private contact with Andreas Meyer, who had emigrated to Nahariya in Israel . From this a town partnership developed in 1980. Today in Bielefeld there is a window between the two town halls and a street that is named after the twin town. In Nahariya, a church from the 6th century could be restored with donations from Bielefeld. That is why it is now called Bielefeld Church . The school Heepen and Amalschule in Nahariya also maintain a partnership.

As a result of a resolution by the Bundestag on military retrofitting in the winter of 1983/84, Bielefeld contacted the Russian city ​​of Veliky Novgorod . A town twinning developed from the correspondence that was entered into in 1987. A street in the new Bahnhofsviertel and an oak tree at the Sparrenburg were named after the twin town. In the 1990s, many aid shipments were made to the Russian twin town. Even today, social projects in Veliky Novgorod are financially supported. Schools and universities exchange information regularly.

In 1991 the German-Polish Society in Bielefeld initiated a partnership with the Polish city ​​of Rzeszów . Schools and universities in the cities regularly exchange ideas.

Bielefeld has maintained contacts with Estelí in Nicaragua since 1984 , which were expanded into a permanent city partnership in 1995. The city was devastated by a hurricane in 1998 and was able to be rebuilt with the help of donations from Bielefeld and other partner cities. The partnership is supported by the Bielefeld schools, which carry out joint projects with the schools in Estelí. After reports from the Welthaus Bielefeld, according to snipers from the roof of the town hall in Estelí, shot at demonstrators in April 2018, probably with the knowledge of the mayor, the Bielefeld city administration put the partnership with Estelí on hold. The civil society projects are ongoing.

Bielefeld has sponsored the former East German cities of Gumbinnen / East Prussia ( Gussew , Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia), Wansen / Silesia ( Wiązów , Poland) and Münsterberg / Silesia ( Ziębice , Poland). After the Second World War, Bielefeld provided the displaced residents of these cities with assistance with social and economic integration.

Federal politics

Bielefeld is in the Bundestag constituency 132 Bielefeld - Gütersloh II . In the general election in 2017 could Wiebke Esdar (SPD), the direct mandate win. Britta Haßelmann (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen) and Friedrich Straetmanns (DIE LINKE) also entered the Bundestag from Bielefeld via the state lists of their parties .

State politics

In elections to the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia , the districts of Mitte, Schildesche and Gadderbaum form the constituency 92 Bielefeld I and the districts Heepen, Brackwede, Stieghorst, Sennestadt and Senne make up the constituency 93 Bielefeld II . The boroughs of Dornberg and Jöllenbeck belong together with Borgholzhausen , Halle , Steinhagen , Versmold and Werther to constituency 94 Gütersloh I - Bielefeld III . Christina Kampmann (SPD) in constituency 92, Regina Kopp-Herr (SPD) in constituency 93 and Georg Fortmeier (SPD) in constituency 94 won the direct mandates in the 2010 state elections . In addition, Matthias Bolte (Greens) moved from Bielefeld on his party's state list in the state parliament.


Old Town Nicolaikirche
St. Jodokus with adjoining monastery building

Sacred buildings

The old town Nicolaikirche is the oldest of the Bielefeld city churches. It was originally a three-aisled Gothic hall church , which was enlarged at the beginning of the 14th century and turned into a community / merchant's church. Previously it was raised to an independent parish church in 1236 by Bishop Bernard of Paderborn . A carillon sounds four times a day (at 9:58, 12:58, 15:58 and 18:58). The most valuable possession of this church is an Antwerp reredos , which is decorated with nine carved scenes and over 250 carved figures. In its current form, the church is a new building, except for the lower part of the tower, based on the previous church that was destroyed on September 30, 1944. The church has a small museum, in which, among other things, remains from the time before the Second World War and old photographs are shown.

The Neustädter Marienkirche is a high Gothic hall church with two towers from the year 1293. However, the towers were only supplemented and thus completed with Gothic spiers at the beginning of the 16th century. The Gothic spiers were later destroyed in a storm and replaced by baroque domes. From an art-historical point of view, this church is the most valuable architectural monument in Bielefeld and is 52 meters long and 78 meters high. In 1553 it was the starting point for the Reformation in Bielefeld. In the church there is a valuable winged altar with 13 different pictures, the so-called Marienaltar. The pictures were created by an anonymous painter in 1400. Situations like heaven and earth, God and man or Christ and Mary can be seen on them. The church served as the burial place of the Counts of Ravensberg for a while. On the north side of the choir is the tumba of Count Otto III. von Ravensberg and his wife Hedwig zur Lippe, which was probably made shortly after 1320. On the south side is the tumba of Count Wilhelm II († 1428) and his wife Adelheid von Tecklenburg († 1429). Further furnishings include a late Gothic crucifix from the beginning of the 16th century and a carved pulpit, which was created from 1681 to 1683 by the Bielefeld master Bernd Christoph Hattenkerl . The church was badly damaged during World War II. Among other things, the baroque spiers were destroyed in an air raid. After the war, these were rebuilt in a Gothic shape in 1965 and were given their extremely pointed shape.

In the middle of the old town is the Süsterkirche , built in the 16th century . At this point, twelve Augustinian women were allowed to found their own monastery in 1491 . They dedicated themselves to the sick and poor care. In 1616, however, the monastery was abandoned due to a lack of profitability and handed over to the city. Today it is the church of the only Evangelical Reformed parish in Bielefeld. Of the adjoining buildings of the former Marienthal monastery, only the house at Süsterplatz 2 remained . The square two-storey building with a gable roof was built between 1500 and 1600 and now serves as a rectory. In the 18th / 19th In the 19th century, it was extensively rebuilt while changing the floor heights. The front gable facing the Süsterplatz was decorated in neo-Gothic forms.

The Catholic parish church of St. Jodokus was originally the church of a Franciscan monastery and was built in 1511. Initially (from 1498) this monastery was located on Jostberg , but was given up again in 1507 due to difficulties with the water supply and relocated to today's monastery square. Ruins of the old monastery on Jostberg are still preserved. The Franciscan monastery in the old town continued after the Reformation . When the other churches in the city accepted the Reformation, the Franciscans provided pastoral care for the few Catholics who remained in the Ravensberger Land. The monastery was dissolved in 1829, and pastoral care was taken over by diocesan priests. Inside the church, which is still a parish church today, there is the "Black Madonna" from 1220, a wooden sculpture of St. Jodokus from 1480 and the icon wall by Savelyev from 1962.

The Heilig Geist church on Spandauer Allee in the Dornberg district of Bielefeld is considered a jewel among modern churches in East Westphalia. It was built in Bielefeld-Dornberg in the early 1990s as the successor church to the two churches, Heilig Geist im Wellensiek and Heilige Familie , Bielefeld-Uerentrup, which had become too small for the growing community .

Secular buildings

The Crüwellhaus on the Alter Markt

The old market forms the heart of Bielefeld's old town. The theater on the Alter Markt is located on its north side. The outwardly inconspicuous building hardly suggests that there are still extensive remains of the medieval town hall in it. The old town hall was first mentioned in a document in 1424. The first town hall building was probably built here in the 13th century. Parts of it should still be present in the current basement. In 1538 a new or extension building began, which was completed by 1569 at the latest. It was a two-storey quarry stone building above a high basement with two stone gables. The western stepped gable, based on a drawing from the 19th century , was designed in late Gothic form based on the Münster town hall and the nearby Crüwellhaus . An Adam and Eve relief marked in 1562 (now in the foyer of the New Town Hall) was attached above the main portal on Niedernstrasse, which was already showing Renaissance forms.

In 1820–1821 there was a thorough renovation and an increase in the wall box in order to make better use of the interior. The two gables were broken off. Then the exterior was decorated in classical forms and the main entrance with a flight of stairs was moved to the market side. The high gable roof was also replaced by a low, crooked hip roof. After the construction of the new (today "old") town hall on Niedernwall in 1904, it only served as the seat of subordinate authorities and the city ​​library . In 1906 an arcade was built on Niedernstrasse, the so-called wedding arch, for pedestrian traffic. On September 30, 1944, the building was hit by fire bombs several times and burned down completely.

From 1949, the old town hall was rebuilt by Hanns Dustmann using largely the late medieval wall box. Since then, it has been used as the “Theater am Alten Markt” and the “Die Brücke” adult education center. In order to accommodate both facilities, a lower extension was added in the north. During the restoration of the facades, the classicist decor was removed and the exterior was designed in simple forms, so that the building, which largely dates back to the late Middle Ages, now looks like a post-war new building that still shows clear echoes of the so-called homeland security architecture .

The current building is a two-storey plastered building of seven axes with a high hip roof that is animated by numerous dormers . On the narrow side facing Niedernstrasse there is the wedding arch designed as an arcade and on the market side there is a simple portal with a double flight of stairs. The eastern three bays of the cellar vault were renovated in 1995 and have served as a wine bar ever since. The groin vaults are still partly provided with keystones from 1538, which are no longer in their original location.

Bourgeois residential buildings

House Müller

Only a few of the bourgeois residential buildings of the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, which were still in large numbers at the beginning of the Second World War, have survived, but there are still numerous villas and streets from the Wilhelminian era and the turn of the 19th century in the city, including in the In some parts of the city, the development is older than in the city center.

The currently oldest known town house is Haus Müller in Obernstraße . It was built in 1485 according to dendrochronological dating. In 1592 a comprehensive renovation was carried out, including a new richly carved half-timbered gable. From 1991 to 1993 the building was completely renovated and supplemented by a modern extension. Although historical findings have also been removed, the original division of the interior with the hall , the built-in rooms on the sides and the hall with a basement have remained traceable to this day. The associated rear building Welle 55 , which is connected to the front building by a wooden bridge, was probably built in the 17th century.

The house at Obernstrasse 32 also dates from the late Middle Ages . The exterior of the simple two-storey gabled house with a half -hip roof is largely shaped by a renovation from the middle of the 19th century. The oldest parts were made in the early 16th century.

Battig house from 1680, right

One of the most famous residential buildings is the Crüwell House (Obernstrasse 1) , built from 1530 onwards . The late Gothic stepped gable was modeled on the Münster buildings. Similar, but later examples, there are in Herford ( mayor's house , designated 1538) and Lemgo (Wippermann house 1576). The front was renewed in 1901 and shop fittings were added on the ground floor. Burned out in the Second World War, the house was rebuilt in 1948/49 by Paul Griesser while preserving the historical facade. During the reconstruction, smaller cross-frame windows were used instead of the large shop windows . There are around 7000 historical Delft tiles from the 16th to 18th centuries in the stairwell . It is probably the largest collection of its kind in northwest Germany.

From the Battig-Haus (Alter Markt 3) only the volute gable , marked in 1680, remained after severe war destruction , which was included in the lamp-bank complex built by Paul Griesser . The front is still heavily influenced by the so-called “ Weser Renaissance ”, but the type of staggered panels is already indebted to the Baroque . When it was rebuilt after 1945, the facade was preserved, with the shop windows being replaced by smaller openings.

At Obernstrasse 38 there is a half-timbered building with a classicist facade that was overlaid on the older building in the first half of the 19th century. The ground floor zone has recently been changed to include shop fittings.

Residential area west of the city center

Significantly more residential buildings survived the war outside the inner city. To the west of the Ostwestfalendamm there are a few streets with almost continuous, listed buildings made up of villas and town houses. The main ones to be mentioned here are Große-Kurfürsten-Straße, Goldbach, Werther- and Dornberger-Straße. These are often the homes of former entrepreneurs such as Villa Bozi . There are also numerous buildings of the same type in the so-called musicians' quarter between Detmolder Strasse and Sparrenburg. In the east of the inner city there are ensembles from around 1900, for example on Diesterwegstrasse and Fröbelstrasse. Buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages, can be found in the cores of the Heepen and Schildesche districts.

Noble courts

Some of the 17 noble courts mentioned in 1718 are still preserved:

The Waldhof on the shaft is considered to be the nucleus of the city . It is said to have emerged from one of the courtyards that existed before the city was founded. The core of the elongated building certainly dates back to the Middle Ages and was rebuilt in the 16th century. At that time the Utlucht with volute gable, designated in 1585, was created . The eastern part of the building had a half-timbered upper floor until the Second World War.

Korff-Schmisinger Hof, also known as Woermanns Hof , is located on Klosterplatz . The richly carved half-timbered upper floor with fan rosettes is said to have been built around 1640. When the Klosterplatzschule was built, what was once roughly twice as long was shortened considerably.

The Wendtsche Hof is in the immediate vicinity . The two-storey building was built in the 16th century and was changed several times in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The rear parts were largely renewed in half-timbering. There is a polygonal stair tower in the inner courtyard .

Mirror courtyard

The Spiegelshof , designated in 1540, is a two-storey plastered quarry stone building in the style of the so-called Weser Renaissance . The narrow sides are decorated with crenellated gables. The staircase was added in 1682. The interior has been changed over and over again; In the back of the building, however, a basement hall with a beamed ceiling was retained. Today Spiegel's farm houses the Natural History Museum .

The Grestsche Hof has an even more elaborate facade . It was probably built in the second half of the 16th century, perhaps on the foundations of a city wall tower. The splendid Renaissance building has been the north wing of the Ratsgymnasium since 1870 . At that time the roof area was changed.

Meinders Hof (Obernstrasse 40) presents itself as a two-storey plastered building . The original baroque entrance portal is inscribed with the year 1669. Further changes took place in the 19th century. In the interior of the ground floor, a fireplace dated 1670 and remains of baroque stucco ceilings have been preserved.

Reused remains of destroyed buildings

Alter Markt 5. The simple post-war building is adorned with a volute gable marked in 1593 in the shape of the Weser Renaissance, which originally belonged to Obernstrasse 29 (Brünger). The original building, damaged by the war, was demolished in 1962 while the gable was secured. Initially moved to the municipal building yard, it was installed at its current location in 1976. In individual forms, it is related to Markt 32 in Bad Salzuflen .

Niedernstrasse 3. A medieval cellar with barrel vault was integrated into the simple post-war building .

Obernstrasse 36 (Sparkasse). A triangular gable (marked 1606) from the former house at Obernstrasse 9 was overlaid in front of the building, which was built in 1975 .

The 55 barracks on Hans-Sachs-Straße was built in 1775/77 on the site of the Hatzfeldschen Adelshof. Facing bricks from the fortress walls of the Sparrenburg were used. It is an elongated solid building, the central projection of which is crowned by a coat of arms. During the expansion in 1850, the main wing was raised by a mezzanine floor .

city ​​wall

Remnants of the foundations of the old town's city wall, which was built in the 13th century, can be seen in the so-called Welle-Haus. The remains were uncovered as part of the Archaeo Wave project and made into a museum. In the former Grestschen Hof (see there) parts of a very strong square wall tower are built. In the new town, which has been fortified since the early 14th century, there is also the stump of a medieval shell tower in the garden of a house on Kesselstrasse. With the advent of firearms, a uniform system of fortifications was created around the old and new town with several roundabouts between 1539 and 1545. A section of wall several meters long, which was supposed to secure the confluence of Vossbach and Lutter in the town moat, is behind the Kreuzstraße building 38 (currently the administration building of the Natural History Museum) has been preserved. On the top of the wall are the last two examples of the gas lanterns installed from 1856 .

More buildings

View from Johannisberg to Sparrenburg. Left Neustadt, right from Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel

The Sparrenburg is the most famous architectural monument and landmark of the city. According to the latest findings, it was built around 1200 and has a 37 meter high castle tower and underground passages that can be visited as part of a guided tour. The tower can be climbed from April to October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On September 22nd, 2006 the Sparrenburg took 17th place in a competition organized by ZDF , in which the most popular German places were chosen.

Not far away is the Roman circular moat on the Sparrenberger Egge .

Niemöller's mill in Quelle

In 1535, Niemöllers Mühle, an overshot water mill in Bielefeld's Quelle district, was first mentioned. It has been functional again since the restoration in 1994.

The White Villa is in Ravensberger Park . The building is reminiscent of the numerous tower villas in the Italian country house style in Potsdam , for example the Villa Schöningen . A few steps away is the former director's villa of the Ravensberger Spinnerei, which today houses the Huelsmann Museum.

A small pavilion , which is now used as a café and was built around 1830 and is attributed to a student of the famous master builder Karl Friedrich Schinkel , was moved into the north park .

Artist card from 1910: left the town hall, right the city theater
Town hall, city theater and tram stop today

The old town hall was built in 1904 and is today the representative seat of the mayor of Bielefeld. Most of the administration is located in the New Town Hall , which is right next to it. Various architectural styles can be found on the facade of the Old Town Hall, including elements from the Gothic and Renaissance periods .

The city ​​theater forms a structural unit with the old town hall. It was also inaugurated in 1904 and has a remarkable Art Nouveau facade designed by the architect Bernhard Sehring . It is the largest theater in the city. In 2005–2006 it was completely renovated.

The Leineweberdenkmal , created in 1909 by Hans Perathoner , is located on the old town church square , a fountain that is intended to commemorate Bielefeld's economic beginnings in linen processing.

The architecture of the Ravensberg spinning mill , built from 1855 to 1857, is reminiscent of a castle and was Europe's largest flax mill in the 19th century . Today it houses the adult education center, the Bielefeld Historical Museum, a municipal media center and a discotheque. Upstream are the Rochdale and Ravensberger Park, which serve as an open-air stage.

Former Werkkunstschule , Am Sparrenberg 2. Built in 1913 by City Builder Friedrich Schultz as part of the reform school buildings by Henry van de Velde .

From 1926 to 1927, the outdoor pool designed by Friedrich Schultz was built on Wiesenstrasse. In addition to the large central grandstand and the 100 m track, it has a special axis symmetry. At that time, this also included a casino building as a garden restaurant on Bleichstrasse. The driveway, diving platform and casino are on their own axis of symmetry. Because of these peculiarities, the historical parts of the meadow pool are now protected as a monument.

Haus der Technik (Stadtwerke), Jahnplatz 5. The steel frame building with brick facing was built in 1929 by the Berlin architect Heinrich Tischer as the first “high-rise” in the city in the New Objectivity style. The flat-roofed, tower-like main building was originally crowned by a glass tower. The building was badly damaged in an air raid on February 24, 1945. The upper floors of the tower were blown up a few weeks later because of the risk of collapse. During the reconstruction until 1950, based on the original shape, the glass tower top was dispensed with. The upper end was slightly changed and increased by one floor. In 2012, the light tower that is so characteristic of the building was finally restored.

Gloria-Palast , Niedernstrasse 12. Former movie theater, built 1927–1928 by Wilhelm Kreis in the New Objectivity style. The building was badly damaged in the bombing in 1944. During the restoration in 1948, the large frosted glass window above the entrance was replaced by three French windows with an exposed balcony. The interior was later divided into several cinema halls, and the high-quality interior was lost. In 2000 the cinema was closed and the building was rebuilt again for subsequent use as a shop, with the facade being returned to its original state. The palace is one of the few representatives of the New Objectivity in Bielefeld and also the first cinema building in the city whose purpose is clearly recognizable from the outside.

The art gallery was built from 1966 to 1968 according to the plans of the American architect Philip Johnson . The building itself is a red sandstone cube . The Kunsthalle's own property shows the art of the 20th century, and there are also regular changing exhibitions on a wide variety of topics. In front of the art gallery is a small park with a water feature and various sculptures. There is also a café with an outside terrace.

The listed Ostmann Tower is a remnant of the industrial development in the Ostmann Tower district named after it, which is now used as a student residence .

Green spaces and recreation

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About this picture

Parts of Bielefeld are in the TERRA.vita nature park and in the Teutoburg Forest / Eggegebirge nature park . The ridge extending over the urban area offers many opportunities for local recreation. At the same time, this is where the highest proportion of the nature reserve is located; other significant parts are particularly in the adjacent areas of small streams and in parts of the Senne . In relation to the entire urban area, Bielefeld has the largest proportion of green space among German cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants. If you compare all major German cities, i.e. cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, Bielefeld is in 11th place.

In or on the Teutoburg Forest are the Bielefeld Botanical Garden with alpine gardens, bamboo gardens, a rock garden , a rhododendron and azalea collection , a medicinal and spice garden, a heather garden, beech forest flora and around 200 species on the red list, as well as the Olderdissen animal park founded in 1928 , which is home to over 430 animals from 100 native species.

Bielefeld public park
Japanese garden in Gadderbaum

The Obersee is a reservoir in the Schildesche district in the north of the city. There is an 80 hectare green area around this lake. The Seekrug restaurant, which consists of historical buildings, is a popular destination. A lower lake on the eastern side of the railway viaduct was also planned as a leisure facility. These plans are currently not being pursued further for reasons of cost or nature conservation, among other things.

The larger parks in the city center include the Bürgerpark in the immediate vicinity of the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle, the Ravensberger Park and the Rochdale Park - dedicated to the English twin town - around the Ravensberger Spinnerei and the Nordpark with its old tree population. After the war, today's garden house , which was built by a pupil Schinkel in 1830, was moved to this park from a private garden . The Winzersche Garten on Johannisberg has been accessible again since 2014 .

Since 2003 there has been a Japanese garden in the Gadderbaum district .

The Sennefriedhof , opened in 1912, is one of the largest cemeteries in Germany with an area of ​​almost 100 hectares. Due to its special location in the Senne natural landscape and its extraordinary size, ecological niches have emerged in many areas of the Senne cemetery . 20 of the 98 mapped moss species on the Red List of North Rhine-Westphalia are here. Tombs that were designed by artists such as Käthe Kollwitz , Georg Kolbe , Peter August Böckstiegel and Hans Perathoner indicate the cultural value of the complex. The Johannisfriedhof was laid out in 1874. Important personalities from Bielefeld and the surrounding area such as August Oetker and Carl Bertelsmann are buried here. The old cemetery, opened in 1808, is located in the city center on Jahnplatz.

Among the natural monuments are above all the peace linden tree planted on Papenmarkt in 1648 with a trunk circumference of almost six and a half meters, a cave ( dwarf cave ) in the Senne district and a boulder four meters high and weighing one hundred and seventeen tons on the street Am Wellbach .


Religious communities

Denomination statistics

In Bielefeld in May 2002 a total of 152,092 people were Protestant, 52,965 were Roman Catholic, and 117,556 belonged to another religious community or were non-denominational. The number of Protestants and Catholics has fallen since then and with almost 51%, the people who do not belong to any legally or corporately constituted religious community are a majority of the population. Currently (as of December 31, 2019) of the 339,842 residents in Bielefeld, 115,832 or 34.1% are Protestant, 51,303 or 15.1% Roman Catholic, and the largest group with 172,707 (50.8%) belong to another group Religious community or are non-denominational.


Neustädter Marienkirche

Bielefeld has belonged to the diocese of Paderborn since its foundation and was subordinate to the archdeaconate in Lemgo . The parish church has been the old town Nicolaikirche since the parish church of Peter and Paul in Heepen in 1236 , and since the end of the 13th century another parish has been established in the new town below the Sparrenburg. In the neighborhood there were even older parishes in Dornberg ( St. Peter ) and at the Schildesche collegiate church.


Starting from the Neustädter Marienkirche , Luther's Reformation spread around 1553 in the city and the entire county of Ravensberg. In 1649 the county finally fell to the House of Brandenburg, and according to the current Cuius regio, eius religio law , the subjects had to take over the religion of the sovereign. With the exception of the Franciscan monastery, all parish and collegiate churches became Protestant. The Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm (1620–1688) was a supporter of Calvinism and issued an ordinance that reformed worship was to be held in town and country. In the following years the number of Reformed people increased sharply. After the union of the Lutheran and Reformed congregations was completed in all of Prussia in 1817, both Protestant congregations in Bielefeld also united to form a Protestant congregation. The industrialization of Bielefeld drew many people from the Reformed Lippe to the city, where they were more likely to find work than in their rural homeland.

In the 19th century, the city became the seat of a district synod with a superintendent within the Evangelical Church in Prussia or its Westphalian church province . This is how today's Bielefeld church district emerged . In 1949, the administration of the now than was Evangelical Church of Westphalia designated national church of Münster moved to Bielefeld. Today the Bielefeld church district comprises 33 Protestant parishes within the city. However, some communities in the southern city of Bielefeld (Brackwede, Senne and Sennestadt) belong to the Gütersloh parish . Most of the parishes in the Bielefeld church district see themselves as Evangelical Lutheran, with the exception of the Evangelical Reformed parish in the Süsterkirche .

In addition to the congregations of the Protestant regional church, there is also a congregation of the old confessional independent Evangelical Lutheran Church and congregations of Protestant free churches . There are several Mennonite congregations , one Adventist congregation , several Evangelical Free Churches ( Baptists ) and one Evangelical Methodist Church .

The original parish of Bielefeld: Peter and Paul Church in the Heepen district

As a result of the Reformation, the number of Catholics had dropped to very few, who lived mainly in the noble houses in Tatenhausen and Holtfeld . The Franciscans at St. Jodokus in Bielefeld were now pastors for the entire Ravensberger Land; In 1696 they founded a branch (residence) in Stockkämpen . After the abolition of the Bielefeld monastery in 1829, pastoral care was taken over by world priests .

In the 19th century, as a result of industrialization, members of the Roman Catholic denomination again moved to the city in significant numbers. In 1890 about 4600 of the 40,000 inhabitants of Bielefeld were Catholic. They still belong to the diocese of Paderborn, which was elevated to an archbishopric in 1930 . 1908–1910 the St. Joseph Church was rebuilt, 1933–1934 the Liebfrauenkirche . After the Second World War there was a further increase in the number of Catholics, the majority of whom were war refugees from eastern Germany. Around ten new parish churches were built in the 1950s. Bielefeld became the seat of a deanery , to which all parishes in the city belonged until 2006. On July 1, 2006, the previous dean's offices in Bielefeld and Lippe were merged to form the new dean's offices in Bielefeld-Lippe, based in Bielefeld.

Other denominations

Today there are a variety of other Christian denominations and religious communities in the city. These include several New Apostolic parishes , one Greek Orthodox parish, two Russian Orthodox , one of them in the Sennestadt district and one in Schildesche , two Serbian Orthodox parishes (in Sennestadt and in Dornberg), a Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in the Hillegossen district and the Jehovah's Witnesses .

The former Protestant Martini Church was leased to the Greek Orthodox community for almost 30 years from 1975 and was then converted into a restaurant.


The synagogue Beit Tikwa (House of Hope) on Detmolder Strasse

The first documentary evidence of the settlement of Jews in the city comes from a document from the middle of the 14th century. During the plague epidemic from 1348 to 1350, the Jews in Germany were persecuted for allegedly poisoning the wells and, as in numerous other cities, were expelled from Bielefeld. The Count of Ravensberg, Wilhelm von Jülich , allowed the Jews to return in 1370 and vouched for their safety. In the middle of the 16th century, Jews were again banned from residing in the entire county. Only at the end of the century were Jewish merchants allowed to settle in Bielefeld again for a fee.

When the Hohenzollern rulers in Brandenburg took possession of the County of Ravenberg in 1649, there was no longer any persecution of Jews. By 1720 the city's Jewish community consisted of 30 people, and in 1723 all Jews were required to move from the countryside to the cities. For the right of residence in Bielefeld, the Jews had to pay so-called protection or recruiting money every quarter. If the payment was not made or if a Jew became destitute, he could be expelled from the country under Prussian law. The payments were so important to the sovereigns that they protected the branches of trade permitted to the Jews. Under Napoleon in 1808, the Jews in the Kingdom of Westphalia were given the same civil rights as the Christians, and they should also add an epithet to their name. The freedom of movement associated with civil rights motivated many Jews to move to the Ravensberger Land. The Jewish community grew to 134 people by 1825. After the end of Napoleon's rule, some of the rights of Jews were restricted again. It was not until the establishment of the Reich in 1871 that all restrictions on Jews in the North German Confederation were lifted. There was a Jewish elementary school in Bielefeld since the beginning of the 19th century, and from 1876 Jewish children were allowed to attend the city's public schools.

The first synagogue was built on Klosterplatz in 1847, but it soon turned out to be too small. The parish had around 350 members in 1874 and almost 1,000 people at the turn of the century. In autumn 1905 a new synagogue was completed on Turnerstrasse , which offered space for 450 men and 350 women. During the pogrom night from November 9th to 10th, 1938, it was robbed and burned down by the National Socialists. A total of 460 of the around 900 Jews in Bielefeld fell victim to the Holocaust . A total of 1,849 Jews were deported from Bielefeld Central Station . Since August 1998, their names have been commemorated with a memorial on the square in front of the main train station.

Bielefeld today has a Jewish community again with around 320 members, most of whom immigrated from states of the former USSR (as of 2018). Since September 2008, the Bielefeld Jewish Community has had Kdö.R. about a new synagogue . It was created through the renovation of the former Protestant Paul Gerhardt Church on Detmolder Strasse . The community cemetery is located in Gadderbaum.


The Vatan Mosque (Heimat mosque) in Bielefeld-Brackwede

Most of the Muslims in Bielefeld are of Turkish origin. During the economic boom , workers were urgently needed in Germany. Following recruitment agreements with Italy (1955), Spain and Greece (1960), the Federal Republic of Germany concluded a corresponding agreement with Turkey in 1961 . Since then, many people of Turkish origin have been living here in the third or fourth generation.

In 2004 the Vatan Mosque was completed in the Brackwede district . The community here has around 350 members.


In Bielefeld there is a Yazidi community with a community center in the Baumheide district.


Bielefeld art gallery
Farmhouse museum: construction of the main house in July 1998

The around 20 museums in Bielefeld show not only art and the historical collections, but also industrial culture; they also take up other topics. The Historical Museum shows the history of the city of Bielefeld and the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region , especially industrial history. It is housed in some of the halls of the former Ravensberger spinning mill, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the era of industrialization. It was opened here in 1994, and the collection goes back to previous institutions dating back to 1867. The Kunsthalle Bielefeld was built in 1966–1968 by the American Philip Johnson , as there was no building in Bielefeld for a pure art museum. The Kunsthalle is the only European museum building designed by the famous architect; it mainly shows modern art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Stenner Museum and the Huelsmann Museum can also be found in Bielefeld . It is a museum for arts and crafts, was opened in 1995 and shows, among other things, porcelain and jewelry, right through to scientific devices such as sundials .

The Bielefeld Natural History Museum (namu) is housed in the Spiegelshof and shows the structure of the earth's crust, local minerals, fossils and much more. The farmhouse museum in the Teutoburg Forest west of the city center (near the Olderdissen Zoo) is the oldest open-air museum in Westphalia and shows some well-preserved farm buildings from the East Westphalia-Lippe region and a post mill . The main building of the museum burned down completely in 1995 and was replaced in 1998 by the historic Möllering farm . The Waldhof Museum shows contemporary art in the form of painting, sculpture, photography and drawings. The German Fan Museum shows subjects and corresponding accessories and houses a specialist library.

The laundry factory museum is located in an original laundry factory. The Juhl & Helmke linen factory was established in 1913 and sold to the Winkel brothers from Dresden in 1938 under pressure from the persecution of the Jews . Until 1980, dowry linen (table linen, underwear, shirts, blouses) was produced here by the Winkel Gebr . The factory, with all the interior fittings and the company apartment, was placed under monument protection in 1987 . In 1997 the building was reopened as a museum.

The Museumshof Senne consists of five half-timbered houses, which together form an old Westphalian courtyard. The oldest building dates from 1607, the youngest from 1903.

The Pedagogical Museum is housed in the university . It contains, among other things, a lot of historical school furniture, teacher and student work equipment and display objects. There is also a historical textbook collection in it. The Osthusschule Museum is housed in a former school from 1895 in the Senne district. It has a complete historical classroom from around 1900.

The historical collection belongs to the von Bodelschwingh institutions and illustrates the history of the building and development of Bethel. There is also a hospital museum in Bielefeld.

The exhibition Archäo Welle shows a ground monument with remains of the city wall, wells and houses. It is a permanently open exhibition space in a new building on the shaft .


Theater on the Old Market (TAM)

The city theater Bielefeld offers music theater, dance theater and drama. The venues are the city ​​theater by the architect Bernhard Sehring , which was inaugurated in 1904, with a remarkable Art Nouveau facade and the Theater am Alten Markt (TAM). TAM two and TAM three , which opened in February 2011, are located on the first and second floors of the TAM , where mainly plays by contemporary authors are performed. The comedy Bielefeld is located on Ritterstraße.

The alarm theater , the theater on Feilenstrasse and the Bielefelder Puppet Play Center are aimed primarily at children and young people . The alarm theater in the western part of the center has been playing plays for children and young people since 1993; however, other pieces are also presented. The alarm theater has become known nationwide through its sensational productions with large groups of young people on the topics of addiction and violence prevention and migration. The theater house on Feilenstrasse offers challenging plays for children and young people, but also plays for adults. In addition to guest appearances, it is performed by two theater groups, the Mobile Theater and the Despite All Theater. In the center of Bielefeld puppet shows there are performances for children. The stage is played by two theater groups. In addition, there is another puppet theater with the chamber puppet shows in Kamp.

The Tor 6 theater center in the former Dürkopp factory has been home to the theater laboratory since 2000 , which has been designing plays independently since 1983.



Music and art school

There are three symphonic orchestras: the Bielefelder Philharmoniker, founded in 1901 and based in the Bielefeld Theater , the independent and self-governing Free Symphony Orchestra Bielefeld , founded in early 2003, and the Young Symphony Orchestra , the youth symphony orchestra of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region . The Cooperative New Music , founded in 1989, organizes concerts with the music of the 20th century.

The fire brigade music train of the city of Bielefeld , which was founded in 1956 and plays as one of the musically most versatile orchestras from modern entertainment to traditional brass music, is one of the two traditional brass orchestras alongside the Brackwede City Orchestra.

The Bielefeld Children's Choir is well known beyond the region . The choir, founded in 1932, is particularly known for its Christmas concerts and recordings. The Christmas album of the Mannheim Steamroller, Christmas In The Aire , which was created with the participation of the choir, reached number 3 on the US Billboard charts.

The music and art school of the city of Bielefeld (MuKu) is one of the largest of its kind in Germany with 6,000 students. It was founded in 1956 and is now located in an Art Nouveau building (1913) at the foot of the Sparrenburg, which was built for the state-municipal craft and arts and crafts school founded in 1906.

The music association of the city of Bielefeld was founded in 1820. He performs three times a season with European oratorios in the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle . The oratorio choir of the city of Bielefeld, founded in 1890 (until 1978 Volkschor Bielefeld ), performs concerts in the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle about twice a year. In addition to the great standard works of ecclesiastical and secular choral music , pieces that are a bit different from what is usual in today's concert halls are also performed. Founded in 1977 by Werner Hümmeke University Choir Bielefeld the University of Bielefeld staged mostly choral and solo pieces with orchestral accompaniment. For some years now, concerts have been held in the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle about twice a year. The Bielefeld Concert Choir was founded in 2006 by former members of the University Choir . Another Bielefeld choir are the Young Voices Bielefeld with an age range between 6 and 34 years. The repertoire includes sacred and secular songs, rock and pop songs.


Seidensticker hall

Bielefeld has several modern event halls. These are used in a variety of ways, for example for concerts, trade fairs, exhibitions or operas. The largest is the Seidensticker Hall with a capacity of 7500 spectators. It was opened in 1993 as a modern large sports hall and, in addition to various sporting events (indoor soccer, handball etc.), also offers space for larger concerts.

One of the most modern halls of its kind is the Bielefeld City Hall with space for up to 4,500 spectators. Its multifunctionality makes it ideal for events of all kinds. From conferences to trade fairs and cabaret events to concerts, almost every type of event takes place here.

The Rudolf-Oetker-Halle is located in the west of Bielefeld . This event and concert hall was built between 1929 and 1930 according to plans by the Düsseldorf architects Hans Tietmann and Karl Haake and was inaugurated on October 31, 1930. The hall has 1561 seats in the Great Hall and 300 in the Small Hall.

The roundhouse is still quite new in its current form of use. It was opened in 2003 as a hall for concerts and many other events. On weekends it functions as a disco . The building, erected in 1905, originally served as a maintenance shed for steam and later diesel locomotives. This is precisely what defines the hall's flair, because it combines old with modern architecture. The audience capacity is 2500.

The Ulmenwall bunker is located at the intersection of Detmolder Straße and Niederwall ; it was set up as a medical bunker in 1939. In the post-war period, the youth welfare office ran a cultural center there until 1996, which increasingly turned into a jazz cellar. Since 1996 the venue has been sponsored by the association founded especially for this purpose. In this unique intimate atmosphere, where the audience comes right up close to the artists, many internationally famous musicians have given concerts in front of a small audience, for example Archie Shepp , John Surman , Gunter Hampel , Albert Mangelsdorff , but unknown and local artists will also find one here ideal platform. In addition, the Ulmenwall bunker has been the venue for lectures by the data protection association Digitalcourage (formerly FoeBuD) on social and technical issues since 1987 .

The youth and culture center in Niedermühlenkamp, ​​or KAMP for short, was a popular venue for concerts, parties and similar events. In 2004 the music magazine Intro named it the seventh best music club in Germany. The usage contract with the Kulturkombinat Kamp eV was not extended in 2013 by the house owner, the Falken Bielefeld, which meant the end of the cultural work. Since then, the Kulturkombinat has been organizing concerts and parties at different Bielefeld venues, especially in the Bielefeld Forum and the Ulmenwall bunker . When the end of the cultural work at KAMP was in sight, the Bielefelder Subculture initiative, or IBS for short, was founded and demanded spaces for non-commercial culture from the city. The IBS was actually intended to support the maintenance of the KAMP, but quickly developed into a tenant of its own premises. The number to place operated by IBS (no. Z. P.) is located in a parking garage in the premises of the old vehicle registration office. The operation of the facility is only guaranteed by volunteers. Since 2013, the Bielefeld subculture has had a place for concerts, parties and similar events again after the KAMP was closed.

The rooms of the city ​​library are also used for readings, exhibitions and the Bielefeld Literature Days.

New station district, on the left the Cinemaxx


In addition to the two multiplex cinemas CinemaxX , the largest cinema in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region with 2,648 seats , and Cinestar with 2,315 seats, Bielefeld has only a few smaller cinemas. The "traditional" movie theaters have all closed in the meantime. B. the movie in the Leineweberhaus on the station forecourt, which now houses a discotheque with the same name. The camera , which in 1950 by Carl Aul in the House of Technology was founded in 1957 and moved to the filing Street, has three rooms and is one of the most decorated cinemas of the Republic. Another arthouse cinema is the Lichtwerk in Ravensberger Park with three halls and open-air cinema events in summer. In the auditorium of the Brackwede secondary school, film screenings by the Melodie-Filmtheater take place two days a week . The smallest cinema is the cinema from the former group of workers Youth Center emerged Offkino in the former premises of the light plant in the movie house .

Culture Prize of the City of Bielefeld

The city of Bielefeld's awards include the city of Bielefeld's culture prize : “The culture prize honors personalities who have made outstanding contributions to the city of Bielefeld through their cultural commitment or who enrich the cultural offerings in Bielefeld through their innovative activities to have. [...] The award of the culture prize is carried out by the council on the proposal of the culture committee. "

Award winners since 2009:


SchücoArena (traditionally called Alm )
Grass track race on the Leineweberring in Bielefeld
The Ishara Leisure Pool

The sporting figurehead of the city is the DSC Arminia Bielefeld . The footballers of the club, founded in 1905, rose to the Bundesliga for the first time in 1970 and, after several relegations and promotions, belonged to the top German division again between the 2004/05 and 2008/09 seasons . Arminia has been back in the second Bundesliga since the 2015/16 season , and thanks to a promotion, the club will play in the Bundesliga again in the 2020/21 season . The DSC plays its home games in the SchücoArena . Officially known as the Alm until 2004 and still popularly known as the Alm , the football stadium on the western edge of the city center has 26,515 seats. Another traditional soccer club is VfB Fichte Bielefeld , whose parent club VfB 03 was an equal local rival of DSC Arminia until the 1950s. VfB Fichte plays in the Westphalia League and plays its home games in the Rußheide stadium . This multi-functional stadium with 12,000 seats is also used for athletics and by the Bielefeld Bulldogs , an American football GFL2 club ( German Football League 2 ). With Arminia Bielefeld and VfL Theesen, the city has two football clubs in the U-19 Bundesliga (West Season).

Every year in January, TuS Jöllenbeck organizes the international women's indoor soccer tournament under the motto “World class in Jöllenbeck ” , one of the best-staffed indoor soccer tournaments in Europe, in which national and international top women's soccer clubs take part. The VfL Theesen in Bielefeld North makes the biggest youth football department in the county for the next generation. Noteworthy is the regular international Whitsun youth tournament, to which youth teams from Bundesliga clubs and even youth national teams from all over the world travel.

See also: Football in Bielefeld

The cycling in Bielefeld has a long tradition. This shows, among other things, the frequent role as stage (eleven times), start (once) or destination (ten times) of the Germany Tour . Standing races , among other things, are regularly held on the Bielefelder Radrennbahn , located on Heeper Strasse in the Mitte district .

The top-class handball teams in Bielefeld are the men's and women's teams from TuS 97 Bielefeld-Jöllenbeck and the men from TSG Altenhagen-Heepen (previously relegated from the 3rd league in 2014 ), who each compete in the Oberliga Westfalen. TSG plays the home games in the sports hall at the Heepen high school or in the Seidensticker hall and TuS 97 in the sports hall at the Jöllenbeck secondary school.

The women of TSVE Dolphins Bielefeld play in the 2nd basketball league in the 2008/09 season . The TSVE men play basketball in the Regionalliga West. Both teams play their home games in Sports Hall I of the Carl Severing Schools on Heeper Straße.

The men of Telekom Post SV Bielefeld play in the regional volleyball league in the 2008/09 season. The home games take place in the Almhalle on Melanchthonstraße.

The city's most important chess club is Bielefelder SK , which was part of the German Chess League in the 1990s . In the 2008/09 season the club plays in the NRW class.

The SV Brackwede ice hockey women play in the 2nd division north and play their home games on the Oetker ice rink on Duisburger Strasse in Brackwede. The figure skating department of the DSC Arminia also trains there .

The Leineweberring is located on Eckendorfer Strasse in the Heepen district , where the DMSC Bielefeld organizes international grass- fed motorcycle races .

Bielefeld has several swimming facilities, so u. a. the Jöllenbeck outdoor pool, the Schröttinghausen outdoor pool, the Ishara, the AquaWede, the Hillegossen outdoor pool, the Brackwede outdoor pool, the Dornberg outdoor pool, the Senner Waldbad and the Wiesenbad.

The 1st Snooker & Billard Club Bielefeld e. V., founded in 1989, has its clubhouse in Bielefeld-Stieghorst. With a play area of ​​450 m² and currently 12 professional snooker tables, the clubhouse is the largest private clubhouse in Europe.

Regular events

Folk and street festivals, markets

  • In May, the Leinewebermarkt takes place in the old town , a large folk festival lasting several days with an extensive cultural program on several stages.
  • At the Bielefeld Carnival of Cultures (beginning of June, since 1997), many domestic and foreign artist groups study choreographies and roam the streets of the city.
  • The Christopher Street Day will be held August since 1994 to varying dates from late June to mid.
  • Every year in July, the Sparrenburg is the scene of the medieval Sparrenburg Festival .
  • From the first week of Advent until December 30th, a Christmas market takes place in the downtown shopping areas . Other retail events in the old town include a La Strada motor show in May and a wine market in September.
  • In addition, regular events take place in the individual districts, for example the Christmas market at Siegfriedplatz , the Stiftsmarkt in Schildesche or the pig market in Brackwede.

Art, music, film, literature

  • The night views are the night of museums, churches and galleries. On that one night at the end of April, various museums, galleries and churches were open. There is also an extensive supporting program.
  • Every year in summer (for the 25th time in 2015) the Bielefeld Dance Festival is held, offering dance courses with public presentations of results and professional dance events over two weeks.
  • On the second weekend after the summer vacation, the Bielefeld Open Studios take place every year , when the artists open their studios to visitors.
  • The night of sounds since 2004, offers a variety of different sound experiences to some extraordinary places of the building of the University of Bielefeld .
  • In the City Library Bielefeld since 1996. For Bielefeld Literaturtage instead.
  • Since 1989 the local Murnau Society has organized the film and music festival , during which silent films and live music are shown at various venues for a week.
  • The pub cult takes place at different times during the year , with a week-long series of concerts by local bands in several Bielefeld restaurants.
  • Since 2005 there has been an irregular Honky Tonk Festival in Bielefeld .

Society and science

The German Big Brother Awards , negative prizes on the topics of surveillance, civil liberties and data protection, have been presented annually in Bielefeld by the Digital Courage Association since 2000 . Since the association has also been based in the city since its foundation in 1987, at that time still under the acronym FoeBuD , and has carried out many other campaigns here, Bielefeld has often been associated with the topic of data protection in the media . The first freedom instead of fear demonstration also took place here in 2006.

Since 2008, the science festival has been transporting brilliant academic questions and research fields from Bielefeld universities to streets and squares of the city every several years .

Games and children's events

The Wackelpeter children's cultural festival in Ravensberger Park has been part of the range of events during the summer holidays since 2002 .

Since 1995, the Spielewelt in Bielefeld , one of the largest German trade fairs for board and parlor games to participate and try out, has taken place every November .

Sporting events

The Hermannslauf is a traditional fun run from the Hermannsdenkmal in Detmold over the heights of the Teutoburg Forest to the Sparrenburg in Bielefeld.

Another annual and even more recent event in late summer is Stadtwerke Run & Roll Day , a running event for runners and roller skaters on the Ostwestfalendamm city ​​motorway .

The Sparkasse Grand Prix (cycling race) usually takes place in May in the Brackwede district .

Regional specialities

In Bielefeld there are traditional Westphalian specialties. This includes, for example, pumpernickel , a rye bread that is not baked but cooked in steam. Other typical Westphalian specialties are Westphalian Pickert , Westphalian ham and wheat grain . A Bielefelder specialty is Bielefelder Luft , a schnapps made from grain and peppermint.

Bielefeld conspiracy

The computer scientist Achim Held published a satirical article on Usenet in 1994 with the title The Bielefeld Conspiracy , in which he questioned the existence of Bielefeld and described its pretense as a conspiracy . In the Internet , this joke continues today in the form of formulated to answer by Joerg Pechau "Bielefeld does not exist". The city referred to it on the occasion of its 800th anniversary in 2014 by putting the celebrations under the motto: "800 years Bielefeld - that doesn't exist!" On the occasion of the 25th "anniversary" of the Bielefeld conspiracy shouted the city of Bielefeld as part of a competition to provide irrefutable proof of the non-existence of Bielefeld. The prize money was 1 million euros. On September 17th the competition was declared over: no participant could have proven the non-existence of the city and the money remains untouched.

Economy and Infrastructure


Ravensberger spinning mill

The basis of the economic development in Bielefeld is the linen weaving that has been documented here since the 9th century . In 1309 the merchants of wool weavers and cloth merchants formed the "Johannisbrüderschaft". The industrialization of Bielefeld began with the railway connection in 1847. The main reason was the now possible inexpensive delivery of coal from the Ruhr area, which was needed for the operation of the steam engines. The first factory was founded by the Bozi brothers in 1851 with the Vorwärts spinning mill directly on the Cologne-Mindener railway line. In 1854, the Ravensberger spinning mill was founded by Hermann Delius , which for a time rose to become the largest machine spinning mill in Europe. The company later withdrew from the market, the building that characterizes the cityscape is now a listed building. In 1862 the mechanical weaving mill was established , in which the yarns produced were processed into high-quality fabrics. In 1870 around 11 percent of all spindles and looms in Germany ran in Bielefeld.

The next step around 1900 was the industrial production of tablecloths and bed linen, shirts and blouses. In the meantime, metalworking companies had emerged in which the necessary machines were developed and manufactured, including the Dürkopp works and the Kochs Adler sewing machines works . At Dürkopp, sewing machines and later bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks and buses were manufactured.

At the end of the 19th century, the pharmacist August Oetker had the idea of ​​producing packaged baking powder on an industrial scale. His concept was so successful that over time his pharmacy became a world-renowned company. In 1900 Oetker built the first factory and in 1906 it was already selling 50 million parcels of Backin .

Today the city's economy is determined by the manufacturing industry with the sectors of food and beverages, metal processing, mechanical engineering, chemicals and clothing. The most important companies are August Oetker , Böllhoff , Dürkopp Adler , Dürkopp Fördertechnik , DMG Mori , Möller Group , Thyssenkrupp , Droop & Rein (Starrag Group) , Schüco , Goldbeck and Seidensticker . The trade is represented by Marktkauf Holding , JAB Anstoetz and EK / servicegroup , among others , and Kuehne + Nagel , Piening Personalservice , TNS Emnid , TNS Infratest , Itelligence and ruf are to be mentioned in the service sector . Important employers are also the areas of education and training, the university, technical colleges and schools, as well as health and social services, especially the Von Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel with 18,449 jobs in Bielefeld, the largest employer in the city.

In 2016, Bielefeld achieved a gross domestic product (GDP) of € 12.860 billion within the city limits , making it 28th in the ranking of German cities by economic output . In the same year, GDP per capita was € 38,588 per capita (North Rhine-Westphalia: € 37,416 / Germany € 38,180) and thus slightly above the regional and national average. In 2017 there were around 202,300 people in employment in the city. The unemployment rate in December 2018 was 6.7% and thus slightly above the average for North Rhine-Westphalia of 6.4%.

Around 40 percent of the approximately 126,000 socially insured employees in the city commute to Bielefeld from the surrounding area.

In the 2016 future atlas, the urban district of Bielefeld was ranked 163rd out of 402 districts, municipal associations and urban districts in Germany, making it one of the places with a "balanced risk-opportunity mix".

Bielefeld has been recognized as a fair trade city since 2013 . Fair trade products can be purchased in almost 200 Bielefeld retail stores, cafes, parishes, schools, clubs and other organizations.

The traffic junction Jahnplatz , meeting point for all trams and some bus lines
Tram stop Rudolf-Oetker-Halle


Rail and bus transport

Line network of the Bielefeld Stadtbahn

Bielefeld is located on the electrified main line Cologne - Dortmund - Hanover ( four-track railway line Hamm – Minden ) of the former Cologne-Mindener Railway Company . In the Schildesche district, the route crosses the Johannisbach valley on Germany's northernmost viaduct ( Schildescher Viadukt ). In Löhne , the line meets the international railway line towards Amsterdam (Löhne – Rheine railway line, siding from Herford). At the main station , a branch line branches off to Lemgo or Altenbeken (former Bielefeld – Hameln “Begatalbahn” line). At Brackwede station, single-track branch lines branch off in the direction of Osnabrück ( Osnabrück – Brackwede “Haller Willem” line) and Paderborn (“ Senne-Bahn ” via Hövelhof ). There are eleven train stations or stops in the city: Bielefeld Hbf, Bielefeld-Brackwede, Bielefeld-Senne, Bielefeld-Sennestadt, Bielefeld-Windelsbleiche, Bielefeld Ost, Bielefeld-Ubbedissen, Bielefeld-Oldentrup, Bielefeld-Quelle, Bielefeld-Quelle / Kupferheide, Bielefeld -Brake. Disused train stations in the city are Bielefeld-Ummeln, Bielefeld-Brackwede Süd and Bielefeld-Hillegossen.

To the east of the city center on the railway line to Lemgo is the disused Bielefeld Ost container station .

At the station Brackwede there is an international bus station for long-distance bus . From here there are numerous long-distance bus connections with destinations within Germany and Europe.

Local public transport is served by four light rail lines , regional trains and buses. The Bielefeld Stadtbahn runs underground in the city center. All trams stop at the Hauptbahnhof and Jahnplatz underground stations and at the town hall. On the weekend (Friday / Saturday, Saturday / Sunday) and before public holidays, night buses run on a special night and early morning network (Sundays until 8:30 a.m.). The Westphalian tariff in the TeutoOWL network applies to all light rail vehicles, regional trains and buses (except night buses).

Bielefeld is now the largest city in Germany that is not part of any S-Bahn network.

Road traffic

The federal highways A 2 and A 33 as well as the federal highways B 61 and B 66 run through the urban area of ​​Bielefeld .

In the 1950s , efficient roads were planned for the main connections in the direction of Gütersloh , Herford , Lippe and Werther , some of which were to use existing streets and some of which were to run on new routes. The new sections were largely intended to be free of cultivation.

About a decade later, the planned streets were designated as a motorway. So far, only the Ostwestfalendamm has been realized in the course of the B 61 between the districts of Brackwede and Mitte (B 61n), which serves as a motorway feeder to the A 33. The expressways on the B 66 in the east and the Ostwestfalenstrasse (L 712) in the northeast of the city are still planned, but quite controversial . Further plans were discarded and are to be deleted from the zoning plan in the near future.

Air traffic

Aerial view of Bielefeld airfield

The closest international airport is Paderborn / Lippstadt Airport , which is 45 km southwest of Bielefeld and can be reached via the A 33.

Bielefeld Airport is located in the south of the city in the Buschkamp district near the A 2 . It has a 1256 m long, paved take-off and landing runway and a take-off run for gliding . The airport is used for business aviation as well as by several aviation clubs.

Bicycle traffic

The city is a member of the cycle -friendly cities and communities in North Rhine-Westphalia and has a bicycle officer . At the main train station there is a bicycle station with a car park, a bicycle center with a workshop and sales. The General German Bicycle Club and the Verkehrsclub Deutschland each have an office in the city. The Critical Mass campaign takes place regularly on the last Friday of the month and starts at 7 p.m. on the central Kesselbrink square .

Public facilities

Deaconess house Sarepta (Bethel), neo-Gothic 1872–1875

The Ostwestfalen-Lippe Chamber of Crafts and the East Westphalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry are located in Bielefeld.

The eleven hospitals in the city include the Städtische Kliniken Mitte including the associated clinics on Rosenhöhe and the Evangelical Bethel Clinic , which consists of the Johanneskrankenhaus and the Gilead and Mara clinics. Other evangelical institutions are the Von Bodelschwingh Foundation with its headquarters in the Bethel district and the Evangelical Johanneswerk . The Franziskus Hospital Bielefeld continues to be a Catholic institution . In addition, Bielefeld is the headquarters of the Down Syndrome Working Group. V., which has been offering nationwide advice and information on trisomy 21 for more than 30 years .

Several supra-local authorities have a branch in Bielefeld:

The Bielefeld District Court , the Bielefeld Labor Court and the Bielefeld Regional Court are located in a court center in Bielefeld .

The local branch of the Deutsche Bundesbank is on Kavalleriestraße. The Federal Agency for Technical Relief is represented on Friedrich-Hagemann-Straße in Heepen with the regional office in Bielefeld.


WDR studio Bielefeld

The Studio Bielefeld is one of eleven regional studios of the West German Radio in North Rhine-Westphalia. This is where the regional radio and television programs for Ostwestfalen-Lippe are produced and broadcast. Changing art exhibitions are also held in the building. It was founded in 1962 as one of the first regional studios to serve the Ostwestfalen-Lippe region .

The Neue Westfälische and the Westfalen-Blatt appear as daily newspapers in Bielefeld . Since June 2, 1991, the local radio radio Bielefeld can be received throughout the city on 98.3 MHz and 97.6 MHz. The campus radio Hertz 87.9 also broadcasts 50 watts to large parts of the city and the non-commercial radio antenna Bethel can be heard in the Gadderbaum district on weekdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 94.3 MHz. On November 17, 2005, the local television broadcaster Kanal 21 started , which has been broadcasting its program since July 2009 on the national television learning channel nRWision . nrwision bundles these and many other television programs from Bielefeld or from television producers from Bielefeld in its media library.

The Bielefeld media archive is located in the Brackwede district , with the aim of preserving feature films, documentaries and audio files for future generations. In 2015, the archive's holdings comprised around 9100 films on around 45,000 reels and several thousand magnetic tapes.

Various advertising papers appear regularly in Bielefeld , including the Panorama-Verlag des Westfalen-Blatt OWL on Wednesday and OWL on Sunday . Their total print run - together with sister papers in the East Westphalia area - is just under a million copies. The city illustrated ULTIMO has been published every 14 days since 1989, and since 1996 in the form of an Internet edition . Since 1998 the editorial office of the weekly newspaper Sixth Sense of the British Armed Forces in Germany has been based in Bielefeld. The approximately 80-page newspaper has a circulation of 9,000 to 12,000 copies. In 2000, the Internet service WebWecker was launched , which also deals with topics related to city life in Bielefeld. Some blogs also deal with events in Bielefeld, such as blog5 , which mainly specializes in topics related to the Arminia Bielefeld football club .


Main building of Bielefeld University
The Hans Ehrenberg School , one of ten high schools in Bielefeld

Around 22,000 students are enrolled at Bielefeld University, which was founded in 1969 . The main building, completed in 1972, is the second largest building in Europe after the Parliament Palace in Bucharest. Several replacement and extension buildings are currently under construction. A thorough renovation of the main university building is planned for the next 10 years.

The Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences has departments in Bielefeld, Minden and Gütersloh . Numerous courses in engineering, design, social / care / health and business are offered at the Bielefeld location. Around 6600 students are enrolled at the University of Applied Sciences, which was founded in 1971. The University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia has had a department in Bielefeld since 1976 for the courses in municipal administration, state administration and police enforcement.

In the city there are 47 elementary schools, eleven secondary schools, 16 special schools, ten secondary schools, four comprehensive schools, ten grammar schools, one Waldorf school, a curative Waldorf school, seven vocational schools, nine private schools, a music school, an art school, two state experimental schools ( upper level college and laboratory school ), the state-owned Westfalen-Kolleg Bielefeld as an institute for obtaining the university entrance qualification and two technical schools (diet training institute, technical school for geriatric care).

The Bielefeld location of the Wuppertal / Bethel Church University, founded in 2007, was closed on February 13, 2009. The Protestant theology course was offered there. The Wuppertal location was retained. The previous institution was the Bethel Church University , founded in 1905 , which was based on the ideas of Friedrich von Bodelschwingh . The Fachhochschule der Diakonie was founded in 2006 by the v. Bodelschwinghschen Anstalten Bethel, the Johanneswerk and other diaconal organizations founded. It offers courses in the social and health sector as well as training to become a deacon.

The Fachhochschule des Mittelstands Bielefeld was founded privately in 2000 and offers state-recognized courses in the fields of media, journalism, marketing, IT and business that are specially geared towards medium-sized businesses. The private and state-recognized University of Applied Sciences has had a location with the business department in Bielefeld since 2001.

Water supply

The drinking water in Bielefeld is extracted exclusively from groundwater . The first waterworks was put into operation in 1890 in the Sprungbachtal in the Senne . A second waterworks followed in 1906. The third waterworks with twelve wells was built in 1929 at what would later become the Windelsbleiche airfield . Ten years later the construction of waterworks 4 in Lipperzeile followed . Further measures followed. The water supply and supply is taken over by the Stadtwerke Bielefeld . They currently pump almost 20 million cubic meters of water per year in 15 waterworks and 154 wells . Of the water works, the water in water tower on the crest of the Teutoburg Forest pumped .

Open Innovation City

Open Innovation City is a project funded by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia and its Minister of Economic Affairs, Andreas Pinkwart , which is intended to implement the open innovation approach in the city of Bielefeld. The project started in 2019 is funded with 5.4 million euros. Bielefeld is the first “Open Innovation” city in Germany. The projects implemented so far include the BIE City Hackathon .

The initiators of the project are the medium- sized technical college , the Founders Foundation, Maschinenbau OWL and the Pioneers Club.


Honorary citizen

Hermann Delius - honorary citizen of the city of Bielefeld

The city of Bielefeld has given ten people honorary citizenship since 1856 . It was awarded to the entrepreneur Rudolf-August Oetker , the head of the Oetker Group and founder of the Bielefeld City Art Gallery . Hermann Delius , who was a pioneer in the technological development of the linen weaving industry and who introduced the mechanized loom and other processing machines, also became an honorary citizen. For many years it was Bielefeld's largest employer and established its reputation as a linen weaver town. Gerhard Bunnemann , who as mayor shaped the city through numerous new buildings and an economic upswing, also received the status of honorary citizen. Alexander Funke , the long-time director of the Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel, is also one of the ten honorary citizens.

sons and daughters of the town

Well-known Bielefeld residents are (sorted by year of birth):

Other personalities

Other personalities were not born in the city, but are closely connected to Bielefeld through their life, work and work:

See also

Portal: Bielefeld  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Bielefeld


  • Andreas Beaugrand (ed.): City book Bielefeld, tradition and progress in the East Westphalian metropolis . Westfalen Verlag, Bielefeld 1996, ISBN 3-88918-093-0
  • Doris Bergs, Philipp Sondermann: Bielefeld. The new city guide from A to Z . Bremen / Boston 2000, ISBN 3-927155-72-1
  • Friedrich W. Bratvogel: Urban development and housing conditions in Bielefeld under the influence of industrialization in the 19th century . Ardey-Verlag, Dortmund 1989, ISBN 3-925227-29-6
  • Jörg Koch: Bielefeld 100 years ago , Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2013, ISBN 978-3-95400-287-0
  • Hans-Jörg Kühne: Bielefeld from A to Z. Interesting facts in 1,500 key words about history, art and culture . Aschendorff, Münster 2007, ISBN 978-3-402-00233-9
  • Roland Siekmann: City Guide Bielefeld - A guide to squares and parks, through history, culture and landscape . tpk-Regionalverlag, Bielefeld 2008, ISBN 978-3-936359-09-1
  • Susanne Tatje: Our future - my city . KunstSinn-Verlag, A book about demographic change for young people from 10 to 100. KunstSinn-Verlag, Bielefeld 2012, ISBN 978-3-939264-07-1
  • Magistrate of the City of Bielefeld (Ed.): Bielefeld - The book of the city . Unchanged reprint of the 1926 edition. Weidlich, Frankfurt 1978, ISBN 3-8128-0016-0 .
  • Heinz Stoob : Westphalian city atlas . Volume: I, 3 part volume. On behalf of the Historical Commission for Westphalia and with the support of the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe, ed. by Heinz Stoob and Wilfried Ehbrecht. City folder Bielefeld, Dortmund-Altenbeken 1975, ISBN 3-89115-330-9
  • Arne Thomsen: Bielefeld as it was . Droste Verlag, Düsseldorf 2014, ISBN 978-3-7700-1516-0
  • Roland Linde, Lutz Volmer (Ed. Agricultural District Association Bielefeld): incredibly down-to-earth. Rural Bielefeld and its history . Publishing house for regional history Bielefeld 2014, ISBN 978-3-89534-898-3

Web links

Commons : Bielefeld  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Bielefeld  - Sources and full texts
Wikivoyage: Bielefeld  - travel guide
Wiktionary: Bielefeld  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. As a result, Bielefeld is known today by the synonym "Pudding City"

Individual evidence

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on December 27, 2008 in this version .