Kempten (Allgäu)

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Coat of arms of the city of Kempten (Allgäu)
Kempten (Allgäu)
Map of Germany, location of the city of Kempten (Allgäu) highlighted

Coordinates: 47 ° 44 '  N , 10 ° 19'  E

Basic data
State : Bavaria
Administrative region : Swabia
Height : 674 m above sea level NHN
Area : 63.28 km 2
Residents: 69,151 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 1093 inhabitants per km 2
Postcodes : 87435, 87437, 87439
Area code : 0831
License plate : KE
Community key : 09 7 63 000
City structure: 155 districts

City administration address :
Rathausplatz 29
87435 Kempten (Allgäu)
Website :
Lord Mayor : Thomas Kiechle ( CSU )
Location of the city of Kempten (Allgäu) in Bavaria
Weiden in der Oberpfalz Straubing Würzburg Schwabach Schweinfurt Regensburg Rosenheim Nürnberg Nürnberg Passau Landshut Memmingen Kaufbeuren Kempten (Allgäu) Ingolstadt Fürth Hof Erlangen Coburg Bayreuth Bamberg Augsburg München Aschaffenburg Amberg Ansbach Landkreis Würzburg Landkreis Wunsiedel im Fichtelgebirge Landkreis Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen Landkreis Weilheim-Schongau Landkreis Unterallgäu Landkreis Traunstein Landkreis Tirschenreuth Landkreis Straubing-Bogen Landkreis Starnberg Landkreis Schweinfurt Landkreis Schwandorf Landkreis Rottal-Inn Landkreis Roth Landkreis Rosenheim Landkreis Rhön-Grabfeld Landkreis Regensburg Landkreis Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm Landkreis Regen Landkreis Passau Landkreis Ostallgäu Landkreis Oberallgäu Landkreis Nürnberger Land Landkreis Neu-Ulm Landkreis Neustadt an der Waldnaab Landkreis Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim Landkreis Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz Landkreis Neuburg-Schrobenhausen Landkreis München Landkreis Mühldorf am Inn Landkreis Miltenberg Landkreis Miesbach Landkreis Main-Spessart Landkreis Lindau (Bodensee) Landkreis Lichtenfels Landkreis Landshut Landkreis Landsberg am Lech Landkreis Kulmbach Landkreis Kronach Landkreis Kitzingen Landkreis Kelheim Landkreis Hof Landkreis Haßberge Landkreis Günzburg Landkreis Garmisch-Partenkirchen Landkreis Fürth Landkreis Fürstenfeldbruck Landkreis Freyung-Grafenau Landkreis Freising Landkreis Forchheim Landkreis Erlangen-Höchstadt Landkreis Erding Landkreis Eichstätt Landkreis Ebersberg Landkreis Donau-Ries Landkreis Dingolfing-Landau Landkreis Dillingen an der Donau Landkreis Deggendorf Landkreis Dachau Landkreis Coburg Landkreis Cham Landkreis Berchtesgadener Land Landkreis Bayreuth Landkreis Bamberg Landkreis Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen Landkreis Bad Kissingen Landkreis Augsburg Landkreis Aschaffenburg Landkreis Ansbach Landkreis Amberg-Sulzbach Landkreis Altötting Landkreis Aichach-Friedberg Bodensee Schweiz Österreich Baden-Württemberg Hessen Tschechien Sachsen Thüringenmap
About this picture
Overview map of the city of Kempten (Allgäu)
View from the tower of St. Mang's Church to the west
View from the tower of the St. Mang Church onto the Rathausplatz with the town hall and the Basilica of St. Lorenz with part of the Residenz in the background
View from the nearby Mariaberg , in the background the Wetterstein Mountains , with the Zugspitze (right)

Kempten (Allgäu) ( Swabian Kempte ) is an independent city with over 70,000 inhabitants in the Allgäu in the Bavarian administrative district of Swabia . It is the top , school and administrative center of the surrounding economic, leisure and planning Allgäu region with around 470,000 inhabitants. Kempten is the second largest city in the administrative district after Augsburg and is considered one of the oldest cities in Germany , as it was mentioned in a written document in ancient times . Since the 1930s, Kempten has been increasingly mentioned as an Allgäu town, but a Swabian than an Allgäu dialect is spoken there, the latter can only be discerned south of Immenstadt in the Allgäu .

The cityscape is characterized by the centuries-long juxtaposition of two city centers: on the one hand the so-called abbey town of the prince abbey of Kempten , on the other hand the imperial city of Kempten. The contrasting ground and elevation structure that can still be seen today makes Kempten a twin town.

The Kempten University of Applied Sciences has been located in Kempten since 1977 , with almost 6,000 students enrolled. This makes it one of the largest universities of applied sciences in Bavaria.

The medium-sized town lies on the border area with the Austrian federal states of Tyrol and Vorarlberg .



Kempten is 646 m to 915  m above sea level. NHN on the northern edge of the Alps on the banks of the Iller , about 35 km north of Oberstdorf . The Bavarian state capital Munich is about 110 km away from Kempten, the administrative district capital Augsburg about 90 km. Suburbs and nearby villages of Kempten are Durach , Waltenhofen , Buchenberg , Wiggensbach , Lauben , Haldenwang , Wildpoldsried and Betzigau .

Of the German cities with over 50,000 inhabitants, Kempten is 672  m above sea level. NHN (old town) is the second highest after Villingen-Schwenningen (704 m).

The city's local mountain , the Mariaberg , is at 915 m the highest point in the city. Narrow ridges and peaks such as the Haubenschloss (759 m), the Reichelsberg, the Halde (700 m) in a north-south direction and the elevations of the Burghalde (690 m) and the Lenzfrieder Höhenrücken (762 m) in an east-west course set other scenic highlights . In the south, the Alpine chain dominates the panorama.

The main river is the Iller; Erosion channels , brooks and the tributaries are the Rottach, Kollerbach, Bachtelbach, Durach and Leubas, Ursulasrieder Bach and other smaller, often unnamed brooks. Run the water from mountain ridges and slopes in part tobel similar cuts ( calf fear Tobelbach ) to the northeast or northwest direction of flow of the Iller. The total length of the flowing waters in Kempten is more than 176 km, of which the Iller itself is only 13 km. The larger stagnant bodies of water in Kempten are the Bachtelweiher , Herrenwieser Weiher , Schwabelsberger Weiher and Stadtweiher ; smaller ones are the Steufzger pond and the pond in Engelhaldepark. They are all artificially dammed, usually several hundred years ago.


The lower freshwater molasse , a fold molasse, forms the Iller breakthrough in Kempten

In terms of natural space , Kempten belongs to the pre-alpine moorland and hill country - more precisely to the natural space unit Iller-Vorberge , which in older literature was also referred to as Iller-Jungmoränenland .

From a structural geological point of view, the boundary between the folded rocks, which are included in the northern edge of the Allgäu Alps , and the unfolded sediments of the Molasse basin runs underground . The northernmost tectonic unit of the Alps in this area, the folded molasses , occupies the subsoil of the southern part of the urban area, while sediments of the unfolded foreland molasses were deposited in the north of the city , which, however, in the urban area show a curvature of the layers towards the Alps (erect foreland molasses ).

In the Tertiary , about 35 million years ago, the Alps began to rise again sharply in the south, while at the same time a sediment depression formed north of the mountains. This basin was part of a mainland with rivers and freshwater lakes. The rivers coming from the Alps, such as the Iller, transported gravel, gravel, sand and clays into this basin (fresh water molasses) and deposited the material again in the form of large alluvial rubble fans . The basin was temporarily flooded by the sea and marine sediments such as glaconite sandstones (sea molasses) were deposited .

During the Quaternary , a time with strong climatic changes in Central Europe, the area around Kempten from the Allgäu Alps was crossed several times by the so-called Iller Glacier during the cold periods . During the Würm Ice Age , about 20,000 years ago, the ice edge of the Iller Glacier was about 2.5 km southeast of Grönenbach . At that time, the Kempten area was completely covered by ice. Numerous large boulders , such as the Dengelstein near Kempten, testify to the former ice cover. Particularly east of Kempten, further relics of the Ice Age cover have been preserved on the plateaus in the form of drumlins . The longitudinal axes of the drumlins are aligned in the direction of the ice flow. In the warm periods, the glaciers melted far back into the Alps, leaving behind glacier mills .

In the period that followed, the predominantly meandering rivers cut deeply into the tertiary terrace sediments . There is historical evidence of earthquakes in the vicinity of Kempten that are related to the tectonic movements of the Alps. One of the oldest recorded earthquakes in Germany took place on February 24, 1478 with a magnitude of about 5.5 on the Richter scale .

Landscape protection areas, natural monuments and geotopes

The Schwabelsberger Weiher, the Rottachtobel, the Betzigauer Moos and the Iller are listed as landscape protection areas . In the urban area of ​​Kempten around 70 trees are designated as natural monuments and the Lenzfrieder ridge as a large natural monument.

The geotopes listed are the Iller breakthrough at Oberkottern , the gorge at Mariaberg near Thingers , the Drumlinfeld east of Kempten near Wettmannsberg , the former quarry south of Tannen and the Iller slopes north of Kempten .

City structure

The urban area consists of the districts of Kempten (Allgäu), Sankt Lorenz and Sankt Mang .

The city includes the districts Adelharz , Ajen , Aschen , Atzenried , Bachen , Bachtelmühle , Bachtelsteig , Bahnholz , Batzen , Bezachmühle , Binzenried , Birken , Bockarten , Borstadels , Breiten , Bremberg , Bucharts , Bühl , Bühls , Burkarts , Dolders , Dorns , Dottenried , Trinity , harrows , calibration , Ellatsberg , Ellharten , Elmatried , Eppenried , figs , Felben , Greinats , Grub , port Thal , Halden , Härtnagel , Härtnagel on Mariaberg , Hasenbühl , Haslach , Haßberg , hood riser , Holy cross , Hinterbach , Hinteregg , rear timber , rear Rottach , Hirschdorf , Hochstraß , Höflings , Hohenrad , Hub , Jägers , Johannisried , Kargen , Kaurus , Kempten (Allgäu), Kindo , Klingen , Kniebos (see Kniebos Castle ), Kollerbach , Kornangers , Lämmlings , Lauben odBruck , Lauben udBruck , Leinschwenden , Lenzfried , Letten , Leubas , Leupolz , Leupratsried , Lochbruck , Lotterberg , Lugemanns , Mariaberg , Mayrhof , Mollenmühle , Moos , Moosers , Motzen , Mühlbach , Neuhausen , Ober bühl , upper Grünenberg , Oberheggers , upper Ried , upper forging , Oberwang , Oberwies , Oberwittstadt conductor , Ohnholz , Öschberg , Prestlings , rapping scaring , roughening , Reichselsberg , Reinhart , Reisachmühle , Reiter , Ried , Riederau , Ringlers , Rockhöflings , Rößlings , Rothkreuz , Rottach , Rottach mill , Sankt Mang , Schatten , Schlatt , Schnattern , Schwabelsberg , Schwarzen , Seeangers , Segger , Seibäumen (see also Franzosenbauer ), Sommers , Stadtallmey , Stadtweiher , Staudach , Staudach near Mariaberg , Steig , Steinberg , Sterklings , Steufzgen , Stiftallmey , Stiftbleiche , sticks , Stockers , Stoffels , Stölzlings , Stürmers , Tannach , Tannen , Thingers (I u. II), Unterbühl , Untergrünenberg , Unterheggers , Unterried , Unterschmieden , Unterwang , Unterwies , Unterwittleiters , Ursulasried , Voglsang , Vorderhalden , Vorderwaldmanns , Wegflecken , Weidach , Weidachsmühle , Weihers , Wettmannsberg , Wies , Zollhaus , Zur Rottach

There are a total of 155 districts. Many of the places mentioned above have grown together with Kempten, others have a more rural structure.

View from the Keckwiese over Kempten to the Allgäu Alps (2012)


Kempten has mean annual average temperatures and the amount of precipitation in Germany, but the amount of precipitation is in the upper range. With an average precipitation of 1272 millimeters and an average temperature of 6.9 degrees Celsius per year (from 1961 to 1990), the city does not fall outside the scope of the temperate climate zone .

As in the entire foothills of the Alps, there is a hair dryer more often in the year and heavy rainfall in the form of rain or snow due to the cloud jam in front of the Alps. Due to flooding of the Iller, the flood protection wall was extended on the left bank of the Iller after the Whitsun floods in 1999 . The measure first proved its worth during the Alpine floods in 2005 .

Climate diagram of Kempten

Average monthly temperatures and precipitation for Kempten
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 2.0 3.7 7.3 11.3 16.1 19.3 21.5 21.0 18.4 13.7 7.0 2.8 O 12
Min. Temperature (° C) −6.2 −5.0 −1.9 1.4 5.2 8.8 10.9 10.6 7.8 3.7 −1.2 −5.1 O 2.5
Precipitation ( mm ) 83 78 79 96 115 163 141 156 103 76 94 90 Σ 1,274
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 2.6 3.1 4.3 5.0 5.9 6.2 7.2 6.7 5.7 4.7 2.8 2.3 O 4.7
Rainy days ( d ) 13 11 12 13 14th 15th 14th 14th 10 9 11 12 Σ 148
Humidity ( % ) 84 82 78 76 75 75 75 78 81 83 84 84 O 79.6
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Place name

Kempten is sometimes referred to in the media as the capital of the Allgäu , Allgäu metropolis or Illerstadt .

Name development

In a writing, the geographer Strabon mentioned a place Καμβοδουνον (Kambódounon) or Kandodounon as a city (polis) of the Celtic estions around the birth of Christ . The name Camboduno is handed down on a Budapest tombstone from the 2nd century ; the name is found in the same form on the Peutinger tablet . Campoduno is documented in the Itinerarium Antonini . The late Roman Cambidano is mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum . In the 8th to 9th centuries, today's Kempten was called Campidona . Examples are Campidonensis cenobium (733) or the monasterium quod dicitur Campidona (889). The German form appeared for the first time as Kemptun in 1263, Kemtun 1287, Kemptůn 1293, Kempton 1295. The form Kemptun appeared in the 14th century, Kempten for the first time in 1338. Under Otto Merkt , the city of Kempten was elevated to a district (urban district), In the course of this, numerous neighboring hamlets and wastelands of the municipality of Sankt Lorenz zu Kempten, which existed until 1972, were added and the addition (Allgäu) was introduced.

Name interpretation

The older derivation of the place name from the male name Cambo is considered refuted. Camb (o) means either "curvature", "bay" or "peninsula". The Celtic ending dun (to) is too loud justice do , th develops and means "castle" or "Solid". The original form of the name describes a "castle on the bend or on a peninsula".

View from the Parkhotel to the old town with pedestrian zone (2010)


Heating system of the small thermal baths of Cambodunum

Antiquity: Cambodunum

Along with Speyer , Worms , Trier , Cologne and Augsburg, Kempten is one of the oldest cities in Germany. The history of Kempten extends at least to the time of the Roman conquest of the Alpine foothills around 15 BC. BC back. In the fourth book by the geographer Strabo , written before 18 AD , the Celtic polis of Cambodounon is documented for the first time in writing. However, reliable archaeological evidence of a larger settlement from pre-Roman times is still lacking. On the other hand, the existence of the Roman city of Cambodunum is considered certain since around the time of the aforementioned Roman conquest of the Alpine foothills by Drusus and Tiberius . Cambodunum was probably the first and second centuries the capital of the province of Raetia before the newly established Augsburg took over this function from the late second century.

The city's heyday was in the 1st and 2nd centuries. In the 3rd century, Kempten became a Roman border town with the relocation of the Danube-Iller-Rhein-Limes . A walled late Roman fort settlement was built on and near the hill in the river valley, now known as Burghalde ; it was named Cambidanum and extended from the castle dump to the north to the hilltop on which St. Mang's Church now stands. A division of the 3rd Italian Legion was permanently stationed there.

Middle Ages: two cities

Situation before the Thirty Years War: The Marienmünster of the Princely Monastery of Kempten in front of the gates of the imperial city of Kempten

The medieval settlement history of Kempten is complex; urban history literature offers several contradicting versions. Intensive archaeological research since the city archeology was founded in 1982 has cleared up many errors.

Since the middle of the 8th century there has been a monastery in Kempten on the left Illerhchterrasse, the abbot and first founder of which Audogar is named for the year 752 . A St. Mary's Church, which was built a few years earlier and consecrated by Bishop Wikterp from Augsburg, probably served as the monastery church . Its builder was the St. Gallen monk Theodor, who came to the Allgäu together with St. Magnus . The early medieval monastery stood in the area of ​​the east wing of today's residence and not on St.-Mang-Platz or on the Burghalde, as was assumed in older literature.

The two old parish churches of Kempten, St. Mang and St. Lorenz, have an early medieval predecessor: under and next to both churches remains of the previous buildings as well as extensive burial fields were archaeologically examined, which in both churches go back to the late 7th century. This proves the existence of an early medieval settlement before the monastery was founded.

From 773, it is said that Queen Hildegard , the wife of Charlemagne , sponsored the Kempten monastery. Since then she has been venerated as the (second) founder and benefactor. Allegedly, Karl confirmed the rights and ownership of the monastery in 774. Pope Hadrian I is said to have consecrated the monastery in Kempten in 777 , but there is no evidence of this Pope staying north of the Alps.

With the support of the Carolingians , after Hildegard and Karl also by their son Ludwig the Pious , the Kempten Monastery rose to become the largest and most important ruler in the Allgäu in terms of area. The prince abbot (title used since the 12th century) succeeded in developing a town from the settlement at the river crossing. Until the second half of the 13th century, the monastery and town were separated by the river Iller, which was only moved to its current bed shortly before 1300. The Iller was also the border between the dioceses of Constance and Augsburg ; the old border line was retained until 1827 after the river was relocated.

The walled imperial city of Kempten with the prince monastery in front of the imperial city walls in a woodcut from 1569

In 1213, the Hohenstaufen king Friedrich II enfeoffed the abbot of the prince monastery with the county of Kempten . A privilege of King Rudolf von Habsburg in 1289 was the first step on the long journey of the imperial city out of the abbot's sovereignty. The privileges of the 14th century cemented Kempen's status as an imperial city .

But it was not until the so-called “Great Purchase” of 1525 that the prince abbot gave up his still extensive rights of ownership and use within the imperial city. The economic basis of Kempten was formed by the long-distance trade in salt, protected by the Reich, as well as the trade in locally manufactured linen and forged products.

The status of Kempten as an imperial city ​​in the middle of the sovereign territory of the prince monastery led to constant disputes between the citizens of the imperial city and the prince abbot of the prince monastery Kempten . In 1363, citizens of Kempten took advantage of the abbot's annual invitation to Martin's dinner to conquer the town castle on the Burghalde , which belonged to the abbot and was manned by a bailiff. The construction of its own school (1358) and the foundation of a church library for the city preachers (1437) underlined the independence of the city.

A new branch of industry emerged on the Iller in 1477 with the first two paper mills .

By Emperor Friedrich III. In 1488 the imperial city of Kempten received the right to use the imperial eagle with the imperial crown in its city arms. A contingent of troops from Kempten had particularly distinguished itself in the liberation of the young King Maximilian, who was captured in Bruges . The imperial eagle still adorns the right half of the city coat of arms from the wearer.

Reformation and Wars of Religion

At the gates of the imperial city stood the Catholic monastery with its own settlement, consisting of servants, guilds and farmers. The Reformation and the peasant wars connected with it brought the monastery into a difficult situation. After all, the imperial city achieved the greatest possible independence from the monastery by taking advantage of an unfortunate situation of the prince abbot. The way to a religious reformation in the imperial city was paved. After the development into a Protestant imperial city, the situation between the imperial city and the monastery was more tense than ever before.

“Big Buy” and new religious trends

The Imperial City Mayor Gordian Seuter, who was also the Imperial Councilor and Federal Councilor in the Swabian Federation, negotiated with the Prince Abbot about the “Great Purchase”: the Imperial City freed itself from the Prince Abbey.

The imperial city acquired complete independence from the prince monastery in 1525 in the "Great Purchase". During the Peasants' War , the monastery was plundered by Abbey farmers. The prince abbot Sebastian von Breitenstein , fleeing from the rebellious peasants, requested asylum in the imperial city, which the mayor Gordian Seuter granted him. But he took advantage of the situation to persuade the abbot to cede his remaining rights over the imperial city: The abbot was not released from the imperial city until he had sold his rights. Sebastian von Breitenstein, who was dependent on cash, sold his remaining manorial rights in the city to the citizens on May 6, 1525 for 30,000 guilders . In order to be able to spend this immense amount of money, the citizens of the imperial city were taxed with an additional levy and sold church treasures that were regarded as expendable. This includes reliquaries , goblets and monstrances .

This paved the way for the change of the imperial city to the Reformation . In 1529, the imperial city was one of the representatives of the Protestant minority ( Protestation ) at the Reichstag in Speyer for Martin Luther's teaching. In 1530 the imperial city of Kempten signed the Confessio Augustana (Augsburg Confession). Their citizenship demanded the unhindered spread of the evangelical faith.

In Kempten, the situation developed differently than planned. The citizens moved further and further away from Martin Luther and approached Huldrych Zwingli . In 1527 Jakob Haystung became the first Protestant preacher of the St. Mang Church ; he was a follower of Zwingli and preached his teachings offensively. On Epiphany , the council let the citizens vote on the question of pictures, 500 demanded the destruction of all church decorations - 174 campaigned for its preservation. This led to an iconoclasm in the Reformed St. Mang Church. The canvas makers wanted to cover the frescoes with cloths, but could not prevail against Zwingli's supporters. The frescoes were painted over, the furnishings destroyed. The organ donated by a wealthy patrician family in 1480 was preserved, but was not used for 40 years.

The dominance of Zwingli's teaching lasted only a short period of time. In 1553 the Slovenian reformer and follower of Martin Luther Primož Trubar came to the St. Mang Church as a preacher. He succeeded in alleviating denominational tensions and laid down the Augsburg Confession as the basis for the church order. During his time in Kempten, he translated the New Testament into Slovenian . Lutheran teaching dominated again.

The Protestant pastor Ottmar Stab signed the Lutheran concord formula in August 1577, the mayor Paulus Röhr followed in 1579 with his signature on behalf of the city council. Other important people during the Reformation were Matthias Waibel and Pastor Sixtus Rummel von St. Mang. Nothing changed in the religious position of the monastery.

Thirty Years War, Enlightenment and the last witch trial on German soil

Princely residence (former Benedictine monastery) with the collegiate church (2011)

In the Thirty Years' War the Catholic prince abbey and the Protestant imperial city belonged to the two hostile denominational parties and supported their respective allies in fighting their neighbors. The monastery was destroyed by the Swedes in 1632 at the instigation of the imperial city. In addition, there were two plague trains , so that the population of the imperial city collapsed from 6,000 before the war to 900 in 1635.

Shortly before the end of the Thirty Years' War, Prince Abbot Roman Giel von Gielsberg began planning the new construction of the destroyed monastery. The monastery church and the abbot's residence were planned as the center , to which a planned town was to be attached. The early baroque church and monastery complex was built between 1651 and 1674. Prince Abbot Rupert von Bodman obtained the elevation of the urban settlement near the monastery in 1728. Under Prince Abbot Anselm Reichlin von Meldegg , the residence was furnished with monumental, lavish Rococo furnishings . In 1773, the attempt to eximate the abbey as a separate diocese of Constance and Augsburg failed.

From 1421 to 1775 19 people got into witch trials in Kempten . In 1775, Kempten was the scene of one of the last witch trials in Germany. Anna Maria Schwegelin was sentenced to death by the sword as a witch , but was not executed, but pardoned. She died in 1781 in the Stockhaus, the abbey-kemptic prison. On the southeast side of the former princely residence a fountain was built in 2002 in her memory. Since December 2018, an on-site stele has been providing information about the life of Anna Maria Schwegelin and the course of the process.

New Bavarian rule

The 19th century marked a complete upheaval in the historical structure of two cities in Kempten. Modern Kempten emerged in a lengthy process of merging a free imperial city and a princely Benedictine monastery with its own city. Basically traditionally Swabian, Kempten has only been Bavarian since the 19th century. Cultural losses were also connected with the connection to Bavaria. Numerous properties of the monastery were confiscated and sold by Bavaria, and the magnificent residence became an administrative seat of Bavarian rule.

Occupation by Bavaria and unification of the twin cities

Kempten 1809
"Capital of the Illerkreis"

In 1802 electoral Bavarian troops marched into the Allgäu and carried out the mediatization of the imperial city and the secularization of the prince abbey; both were attached to the Bavarian state territory. The previous self-administration rights of the monastery and imperial city with their own forms of rule and constitution could not be integrated into the schematic administrative structure of Bavaria as “sub-state” existences.

The Bavarian administration decided to unite the imperial city and the collegiate city. The administrative acts for this took a few years; the subsequent cultural and social problems were still felt in the 20th century. In 1806, Kempten became the capital of the newly created Illerkreis , which initially extended to Dornbirn . In 1809 the Vorarlberg population made repeated attempts to occupy nearby Bavarian cities in order to break away from the new ruler of Bavaria. This also included Kempten, where there were several attempts at occupation. All uprisings by Vorarlbergers were suppressed, with the former Austrian side suffering heavy losses. The Vorarlberg graves in the southwest of Kempten are testimony to this . In 1817 the Illerkreis was dissolved and incorporated into the Oberdonaukreis . On May 17, 1818, the unification of the imperial city and the monastery city was officially completed, with the rural areas of the surrounding area being separated and merged into the two rural communities of Sankt Mang and St. Lorenz .

Industrialization and the first commercial diesel engine

The beginning of industrialization was marked by the construction of the King Ludwig Bridge in 1847. The first train station , at that time still a terminus , a few meters from the city walls, was inaugurated in 1852 with the arrival of the first train. Numerous factories were built along the Iller. Between 1852 and 1853 a large seven-story mechanical cotton spinning and weaving mill was built in Kempten on the right bank of the Iller , in which by the end of the 1850s almost 1,000 workers were operating 566 looms. The operation was only stopped in 1992, the original building from the middle of the 19th century is a listed building and has been converted into a residential complex. Mayor Adolf Horchler provided another impetus for urbanization and industrialization ; During his term of office from 1881 to 1919, the population of Kempten grew from 12,000 to 21,000 inhabitants, and the many jobs in particular made many people who had previously been employed in agriculture move to Kempten from the surrounding area. The oversupply of cheap labor gave manufacturers the opportunity to build new factories. The low wage costs made up for the disadvantage of the bad location at the time, away from all major urban centers.

Flooded Bäckerstrasse during an Iller flood (1910)

On March 15, 1898, the world's first commercially used diesel engine was put into operation by the Augsburg machine factory in the Kempten match factory , a year later an automobile drove through the city for the first time, and shortly before the First World War , an airplane flew over Kempten for the first time. At the turn of the century, the city grew south. One of the reasons for this was the city's terminus.

Kempten in the 20th century

Otto Merkt succeeded Mayor Adolf Horchler in 1919. The time of Merkt is characterized by the expansion of the city into the "capital of the Allgäu". The first plans for a middle ring , which at that time was already planned as a multi-lane bypass of the city, came up under Merkt . These urban development concepts are still effective today.

The time of flax cultivation in the Allgäu was already over, Merkt tried to restructure the region for grassland farming and thus for industrial cheese production. The weaving mill changed from manufacturing to industrial cotton processing using the existing know-how and the water power of the Iller. The technology required led to the development of precision engineering factories. In addition, tourism developed relatively early in the Allgäu as a further mainstay of the economy.

time of the nationalsocialism

Built under the Nazis in 1937 and partially destroyed by air raids in 1945: artillery barracks

In 1935, Kempten was elevated to a city district; the city has since moved from a small town to a central role and function in the region. During National Socialism, a large garrison developed in the city with the Prinz-Franz-Kaserne (1936) and Scharnhorstkaserne (1937). In 1942 Otto Merkt was deposed as mayor and replaced by the more radical Anton Brändle .

Between 1943 and 1945, was at the nearby Weidach the satellite camp concentration camp Kottern-Weidach the Dachau concentration camp built for 1,000 to 2,000 prisoners. Among other things, concentration camp prisoners were housed in the animal breeding hall at the train station , which is otherwise used for cattle trading . They had to do forced labor for the Messerschmitt factory in aircraft production. Another external camp already existed at Keselstrasse 14 , where around 800 to 1000 forced laborers and 500 concentration camp inmates had to work for Helmuth Sachse KG , which was one of the most important suppliers for BMW (command device production for the 801 engine). The production of parts essential to the war effort was relocated to Kempten, as large cities like Munich were more threatened by air raids than the more rural Allgäu.

The few Jews in Kempten were not spared either. Jewish shops were boycotted and closed, almost all Jews were deported to concentration camps and murdered there. Only two Jewish women and eight so - called half - Jews experienced the end of the war in Kempten .

Allies bombed Kempten from 1942 up to and including 1945. On October 23, 1942, British and American aircraft dropped 200 incendiary bombs on Kempten-Hegge station. Allied and German planes fought southwest of Kempten on July 18, 1944, and on the following day the Allies attacked Kempten. Factory halls that housed Messerschmitt's production facilities were bombed. 29 people were killed and some houses were destroyed.

On August 3, 1944, bombers attacked the Upper Illerbrücken and the nearby spinning and weaving mill. In addition to destroyed houses, there were also fatalities. On February 22, April 12 and April 16, 1945 the Allies attacked the station area as well as the Wehrmacht and armaments facilities, including the Scharnhorst barracks . The greatest number of bomb victims was reported in July and August 1944, with 146 dead and 79 seriously injured in these bombs. Even today, in the less developed south of Kempten, numerous bomb craters near the Adelharz district remind of these bombs. The building stock of Kemptens was destroyed by 1.8 percent during the bombing. (For comparison: around 50 percent of the city was destroyed during the air raids on Munich .)

On April 27, 1945, US troops coming from the north occupied the city and liberated over 4,000 forced laborers and political prisoners in Kempten and the surrounding area. The National Socialist rule was put to an end. The mayor Anton Brändle tried to flee from the troops in a monk's habit on a bicycle, was caught and shown in the city on a truck bed.

Post-war period and economic miracle

On September 29, 1946, American soldiers held a festival in the Illerstadion in Kempten for children who had been affected by the Second World War and the post-war period. At the Illersteg accident, the bridge crashes into the Iller. About 800 people stood on the bridge. Six people died in this accident and around 200 were injured.

The influx of 10,000 displaced persons, deportees, refugees and resettlers from Central and Eastern Europe brought a rapid increase in population, but also an acute shortage of housing. With the Sozialbau-Gesellschaft (Sozialbau Kempten) founded by Mayor August Fischer , there was a lot of construction work. These satisfied the demand for living space, but the hasty and intensive wave of renovations also reduced the valuable historical building fabric. Kempten was part of a federal pilot project for old town renovation measures. The experiences made in Kempten - including the bad ones - were incorporated into other urban redevelopments. The focus of transport policy was on the construction of the Middle Ring and the new central station at another location, which replaced the old terminal station. The peripheral location in Bavaria and the comparatively great diversity in the economy as well as the brisk construction have since ensured gradual but steady growth and moderate effects of wars and crises until today. In 1977, Mayor Josef Höß decided to establish the Kempten University of Applied Sciences , which is now the Kempten University of Applied Sciences . The original goal was to set up a university in Kempten.

Kempten became known throughout Germany as the seat of the Turkish right-wing extremist group “ Gray Wolves ”, which was founded by Turkish guest workers . On April 9, 1973, a local MHP ( Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi , German party of the Nationalist Movement ) was officially founded at the Ordnungsamt and approved without objection, although this was not in accordance with the constitutions of the Federal Republic and Turkey. The founding of the party in Kempten was confirmed by the regulatory office in 1978. In a letter on request from Amnesty International regarding the activities of the Kempten MHP it says: "The registration of the MHP took place on April 9, 1973 and the de-registration on July 28, 1976. Unfortunately we are not able to provide further information."

Developments since the 1990s

Housing department store XXXLutz in Central Station nearby, to be completed (March 2015)

In 1990, Wolfgang Roßmann, the first mayor of Kempten, who was appointed by the SPD , was elected to succeed Höß . He strove to build a new prison in Kempten and had local public transport modernized. With the Forum Allgäu shopping center , which Roßmann proposed to replace the former train station, the area in the center that had been fallow for decades was revitalized. With the rail reform in 1994 and the associated privatization of the Federal Railroad , the electrification of the railway lines through Kempten to Munich, Lindau / Zurich, Ulm and Oberstdorf, which had been awarded for decades, fell by the wayside.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Russian mafia in Kempten , in addition to the existing Italian mafia structures of the 1950s / 60s, established an important strategic point.

In 1996 Ulrich Netzer was elected, whose tasks consisted in particular of completing the work Roßmann had begun. The last years of Netzer's term of office were marked by austerity measures and "open construction sites" of the financial crisis from 2007 and the euro crisis. The first protracted construction site was the construction of a new XXXLutz department store in the south. The question was clarified by a referendum in October 2007, in which a majority of citizens decided to build. However, construction of the department store did not begin until the beginning of February 2014. The department store opened in July 2015. In 2007, talks began for a commercial building called August-Fischer-Haus in the city center. The deep construction site of the house had been lying idle since 2011 and was dealt with in courts several times: the underground car park was completed in the summer of 2015, and this building hole has not been in the city since. Nevertheless, the “Big Hole” (as of March 2018) has still not been completed, even if the insolvency administrator has already sold it to other investors. The architecturally special Keselstrasse hydropower plant was completed in 2010, replacing the building from the late 1950s. Another referendum came in April 2011, when a majority spoke out against the CSU's plans to build an underground car park under Hildegardplatz .

Since 2013/14: shootings, Salafists, coke scandal with Mafia structures

The years 2013 and 2014 brought Kempten numerous headlines within a short period of time.

Shootings on the train

On March 21, 2014, on the Alex train on the way from Munich to Kempten near Kaufbeuren, there was a shooting between two criminals and two officers. The station area in Kempten was cordoned off by the police and rail traffic was stopped. The elder of the two rail travelers hit the federal police officer with the stolen service weapon and then shot him. He fled to the other end of the train, where he was stopped by an officer from the State Criminal Police Office . The younger companion of the shooting perpetrator was on a search for a prison term (robbery). The older perpetrator jumped out of the moving train after the gunfire and was seriously injured in a hospital. The younger perpetrator also jumped off the train and was found dead between Günzach and Wildpoldsried .

Coke scandal and mafia structures
The interior minister responsible for the coke scandal,
Joachim Herrmann from the CSU, was also present at the opening ceremony of the north clasp in Kempten . As part of this street opening, Stefan Albanesi criticized the unsatisfactory clarification of the coke scandal with a poster. The apartment of the Bundestag candidate from the party Die Linke was searched by police officers in February 2016 for files on the coke scandal trial. The officers confiscated files relating to the trial and indiscriminately numerous data carriers. The search took place without the usual previous questioning of the process critic.

On Valentine's Day 2014, the head of the Drug Enforcement Armin N. was the criminal investigation of the police headquarters Schwaben South / West arrested based in Kempten, after his wife had called the police. The drug agent had strangled his wife, forced her to engage in sexual acts, and threatened to kill her. He fled heavily drunk and with antidepressants in his blood in the car. He was caught on the way from Sulzberg to Kempten. Later on, police officers found about 1.85 kilograms of cocaine with a market value of over 250,000 euros in his locker in the criminal investigation department in Hirnbeinstrasse , which he allegedly kept there for training purposes. During the investigation it became clear that the officer, who has been head of the drug search since 2000, has been addicted to cocaine himself since at least 2007 and regularly consumed the drug, especially for BDSM activities with his wife. In 2009 there should have been abnormalities due to bodily harm and alcohol abuse at Armin N. The drug found is said to have come from the evidence room ; a public prosecutor is said to have left it to him to train others in how to recognize drugs. He later admitted in a confession that the cocaine stored was for private use. The person came to the drug search in 1993 and first consumed the substances found in 1994. The officer had to answer in a court case for drug possession, but also for dangerous bodily harm and rape of his wife.

The large criminal chamber of the Kempten Regional Court sentenced the 53-year-old civil servant to six and a half years' imprisonment and ordered that after 15 months in prison he be placed in a rehab facility. The officer paid his wife compensation for pain and suffering in advance . In the process, he also lost all of an official's pension entitlement. In the course of the investigation into the cocaine package, fingerprints of a colleague with whom the officer in charge is said to have had a "relationship" were also found. The proceedings were discontinued due to a lack of evidence, the suspension remained in place until at least February 2018. Trial observers criticized the legal proceedings against the former drug investigator, saying that the punishment was low compared to minor offenses and that the origin of the cocaine and its possible connection had not been clarified. After the investigator's arrest, the senior public prosecutor who allegedly provided Armin N. with the cocaine committed suicide . Since not all questions could be clarified during the first questioning with the lawyer, a second appointment was made with the chief public prosecutor responsible for drug crime, which did not take place. The drug scandal in Kempten was also an issue in an interior committee of the Bavarian state parliament in 2014 . It was stated there that it was surprising that the officer was not taken out of service earlier because of the events in 2009 and that his supervisor too often "turned a blind eye". The suspicion of mafia contacts has not yet been dispelled, and negligence with confiscated drugs has not been eliminated.

In retrospect, the press showed a connection between the Italian mafia and the "coke scandal" at the Kripo: In 1998 the mafioso and contract killer Giorgio Basile of the mafia organization 'Ndrangheta was arrested at the main train station in Kempten. Before that, an Italian clan tried to smuggle a typist into the Kempten public prosecutor's office as a spy, which was discovered in good time. In 1992 Der Spiegel wrote extensively about the mafia, including the origin of the criminal structures. In the report “The Mafia speaks Swabian” from March 2014, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on mafia-like structures of the 'Ndrangheta, Camorra and Cosa Nostra in Swabia, especially in Kempten and its vicinity. With the arrival of numerous Italian guest workers from the Adrano area in Sicily in the 1950s and 1960s in Swabia, especially in Kempten, a center of these organizations in southern Germany emerged. In 1992, Kempten investigators had 130 alleged Mafiosi in their sights. Numerous members of the Mafia were arrested in the 1980s and 1990s. After a raid, the President of the Bavarian State Office of Criminal Investigation, Heinz Lenhard, announced that the region around Kempten would not only serve as a retreat for organized criminals, for whom it had become too risky in Italy, but that the region has now become a hub for the Central European drug trade. This discovery came late, as the mafia in the Allgäu had long since built criminal, largely undiscovered structures. Numerous restaurateurs in Kempten are said to have regularly extorted protection money . Around 2016, the murdered brother of a Kempten-based restaurateur of Italian origin was found. The journalist Petra Reski , who specializes in criminal structures, claimed in the case of the drug investigator: “Anyone who has 1.6 kilos [ sic !] Of cocaine has to be very close to the source. And that source is the 'Ndrangheta. ” In February 2018, a marginal note in the Allgäuer Zeitung reported about the release of the former chief drug investigator“ because of successful drug therapy and good conduct ”. He had been at large since 2017.

Salafism and Jihadism

Several younger men from Kempten who publicly professed Salafism and jihadism also generated a lot of media attention . The German David G. regularly attended church services with his Christian family. He converted to Islam at the age of 18 and has studied the Koran ever since . Before that, he had contact with a Turk who ran propaganda with websites for radical Islam and holy war . From 2013 he learned Arabic , his role model is the German Salafist Pierre Vogel . The young man increasingly distanced himself from German culture, rejected democracy and promoted Sharia law . In the course of time, the young man, who now called himself Dāwūd , radicalized and took on more responsibility for creating propaganda content. In August 2013 he tried to travel to Turkey, which he was denied by police officers in Germany. In September he finally managed to escape to Turkey across a green border in Bulgaria. In December he was already in a terror camp on the Turkish-Syrian border to prepare for the “ holy war ”. In January 2014, reports came of the man's death, believed to have been near Aleppo . The ARD reported on the events in the Munich Report .

Another man who joined IS and was observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution was Erhan A., born in 1992, who moved with his parents from Turkey to Kempten at the age of two. He suffered from psoriasis in his youth and was regularly bullied by classmates fight. Despite having successfully completed high school and studying at the University of Kempten, he radicalized himself in the field of economics. Erhan A. initially propagated his faith by regularly praying in the direction of Mecca in public places, whereupon the police banned him from sitting during the Allgäu festival week. Like David G., he sought contacts with like-minded people and increasingly took on responsibility for targeted Islamist media propaganda. The Islamist tried several times to travel to Syria to join ISIS as a fighter. Erhan A. also maintained close contact with Pierre Vogel. In Germany, the Allgäu's passport was taken away and a travel ban was issued. Nevertheless, he made it to Turkey, was stopped by Turkish officials shortly before crossing the Turkish-Syrian border and brought back to Germany. In 2014 he was described by the press as “Germany's best-known Islamist”, which is also related to an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung: There he described his radicalization, confessed to the Islamic State terrorist militia and said, among other things: “I would even kill my own family if she opposes the Islamic State. ” In the same month, in October 2014, Erhan A. was deported from Germany to Turkey, the country of his birth, by the Bavarian state government in an urgent procedure by the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Joachim Herrmann . In August 2016, the Ministry of the Interior announced that Erhan A. was dead.

Necessary construction work and refugee crisis

With the renovation and the associated modernization of many commercial buildings around the Allgäu Tower , the northern Bahnhofstrasse in the city center was revived. In May 2012, the groundbreaking for the North Spade , a major road construction project in which the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann operated a 40-ton excavator for the first groundbreaking , and overturned it , made unfortunate headlines in national media . With the closure of the artillery barracks in 2016, the last military facility in the city was closed after the Prinz-Franz-Kaserne was closed in 1992 . The city wants to acquire the area of ​​the former artillery barracks, which belongs to the federal government, and use it for a commercial settlement. The federal government is planning to set up an initial reception and overnight accommodation facility for around 1,000 migrants and refugees there from 2019. This is to close a similar facility in Donauwörth . At the end of 2016, according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees , there were 1,313 asylum seekers in Kempten (see also the refugee crisis in Germany from 2015 ), most of them allegedly from Nigeria with 103 and from Afghanistan with 129 people.

In 2017, after constant growth, the city headed for the 70,000 inhabitants that had been reached in November according to the residents' registration office. The housing market in Kempten is tense, which is partly increased by the needs of the more than 6000 students at the university, but also by the steadily growing number of residents. This need can hardly be met by new development areas. With 300 applicants for an apartment in Kempten, real estate agents and tenants' associations even speak of “Munich conditions”. Even the three housing associations (BSG, Sozialbau, Baugenossenschaft) cannot meet the demand and have waiting times of several months so that interested parties can view an apartment. Even in the case of building land offered cheaply by the church in the St. Mang district and cheap loans, the city council only wants to tackle housing construction "slowed down". In the case of a new construction area “Auf der Halde”, the start of construction has been postponed at least since 2014 due to constant changes to the plan. While 500 residential units were planned in 2014, in 2017 there were only 350.

In 2017, parking fees were increased or introduced on previously free spaces. This was widely accepted by the population. Local retailers in particular criticized this fee increase. In May 2017, the city council decided the costly renovation of the ailing König-Ludwig-Brücke from 1851 for 5.2 million euros, whereupon it was dismantled and placed in a nearby parking lot for repair. The work was finished in July 2018. The wooden bridge parts were also reinserted into the pillars with several heavy-duty cranes, whereby the four-lane Upper Iller bridges had to be closed for two weeks. Meanwhile, there was a traffic blackout in the city, as drivers had to take extensive detours ( St. Mang Bridge , Ring North Bridge, Riederaubrücke , A 980 ) and numerous other roads were not passable due to construction work.

At the beginning of 2018, the long-term construction site on the former production area of ​​the Allgäu brewery in the center came to a slow end with the completion of the renovation and conversion of the historic barrel hall . The year 2018 will be marked by the 200th anniversary of the united Kemptens. However, this is clouded by the delayed completion of the new city museum in the Zumsteinhaus . According to the original plans, this should have opened on the anniversary.

Separations and incorporations

Kempten in 1836 before the first incorporation, the railway lines were added in 1851/53: the city of Kempten surrounded by green, encased by the rural communities of St. Lorenz and Sankt Mang

After Kempten became the administrative seat of the Illerkreis in 1802, the administrative seat was moved from Kempten to Augsburg in 1817 . The two rural communities of Sankt Mang and St. Lorenz were created in 1818 , these were separated from Kempten. These two independent communities were not each a closed unit, but a rural association. The name for these two settlement groups was not the largest part of the community, but the Kempter parishes of Sankt Lorenz and Sankt Mang. The parish churches were not in the parishes, but continued to be in the city of Kempten.

With the decision on December 15, 1971 on a regional reform to be completed on January 1, 1972 , the long-cherished wish for a reunification of Kempten became a reality. From then on, St. Lorenz and Sankt Mang belong to Kempten. The district of Kempten (Allgäu) was dissolved on July 1, 1972. It was merged with the Sonthofen district to form the new, larger Oberallgäu district.

St. Lorenz

The first successful reunification took place in 1869 when Schwaighausen, Anwanden and the Fischerösch of St. Lorenz were joined. Smaller incorporations followed from 1904.

A major assignment of territory took place on October 1, 1934, when the community lost a good third of its total area. These were the corridors Lotterberg, Reichelsberg, Haubensteig, Stiftallmey, Stadtweiher, Eggen, Haslach, Moos, Seibäum, Letten, Ellharten, Steufzgen, Stadtallmey, Bucharts, Steinberg, Kaurus, Adelharts, Eich, Moosers, Breiten, Lugemanns, Rottach and parts of the Corridors Oberwang, Unterwang and Halden.

A year later, the areas of Thingers, Rauhen, Ober- and Unterheggers, Staudach, Lauben above and below the Bruck, Kindo, Mariaberg , Jägers, Johannisried, Ober- and Unterried, Zur Rottach, Wittleiters and some remnants of not were replaced by a new legal regulation incorporated corridors from 1934 added to Kempten. Kempten was then raised to the status of an urban district.

Santa Mang

When a settlement attempt by residents of Sankt Mang failed in 1900/01, various minor changes of area followed in the following years - mainly for strategic and economic reasons. During the Second World War, Kempten tried several times to incorporate it, but without success. Small areas came to Kempten between 1869 and 1909 and 1937.

Population development

Thanks to the city's rail connection in 1852 and the associated industrialization , Kempten recorded rapid population growth in the 19th century. The admission of refugees and displaced persons from the former areas of the German Reich in the post-war years resulted in a rapid increase in the population. An equally large increase in population was achieved in 1972 through the incorporation of the localities of Sankt Mang and St. Lorenz.

In 2011 there were 496 births, 690 deaths, 4,225 immigrants and 3,824 departures. This resulted in a growth of 207 people. The number of marriages remained constant at around 300, in 2011 it was 307. On December 31, 2011 there were 64,300 residents in Kempten, of which 31,190 or 47.7 percent were male.

The number of foreigners in Kempten as of December 31, 2011, updated on the basis of the 2011 census, was 7,310, which corresponds to 11.4 percent of the total number of residents.

Population development of Kempten from 1798 to 2017 according to the table below

The 2011 census showed that for Kempten the largest percentage correction of the number of inhabitants upwards had to be carried out in Germany, in comparison with all 402 independent cities and districts. According to this, a total of 64,300 inhabitants lived in Kempten on December 31, 2011 (population update for the first time based on the 2011 census), which was an increase of 2060 or 3.3 percent compared to the population update on the same reference date on the previous basis (1987 census). The city administration had determined a population of 64,487 inhabitants on the same reference date based on the population register . As of June 30, 2015, Kempten had 67,198 inhabitants. At the end of March 2017, the city administration reported 69,442 inhabitants; in the same year, on November 2, 2017, the milestone of 70,000 inhabitants was reached with the birth of a girl.

Between 1988 and 2018, the urban district grew from 60,052 to 68,907 by 8,855 inhabitants or 14.8%.

Population development in the city of Kempten since the 18th century
year Residents year Residents year Residents year Residents
1798 * 6,192 1900 18,864 1960 44,156 2008 65,272
1840 7,780 1910 21.001 1970 44,844 2011 64,300
1852 7,856 1919 20,498 1972 57,315 2014 66,037
1855 9.424 1930 23,498 1980 57,376 2015 67.198
1861 10,370 1940 28,016 1990 62,282 2016 67,529
1885 14,368 1950 40,357 1998 61,469 2017 69,443
* Total of 3,192 (imperial or old town) and around 3,000 (monastery or new town) residents

Myths and legends

Legends and legends naturally have a minimal or no truth content. Most of these legends relate to royalty or saints. The legends of the city include Heinrich von Kempten as the courageous savior of the emperor. Other legends include the founding of the monastery by Hildegard and her husband Charlemagne , with whom numerous other legends have been handed down. Magnus von Füssen is said to have come to Kempten and found a place full of snakes and dragons, through the destruction of the dragon all evil is said to have disappeared from the city and Kempten to be Christianized. The Georgsinsel in the Iller, the only island in the city, is said to represent the petrified dragon. The alleged execution of the death sentence of Anna Maria Schwegelin , Germany's last witch, is also a legend. For a long time it was assumed that the last witch was cremated in front of the Kempter Residenz. Schwegelin probably died of natural causes in a Abiftkemptischen prison.

The last court jester, today depicted as a court dwarf in the Zumsteingarten , is said to have had his hands cut off for alleged silver theft.


Denomination statistics

On December 31, 2018, the proportion of Catholic citizens was 42.0% (previous year 43.1%), Protestant 15.8% (2017: 16.1%) and other or no religious affiliation 42.2% (2017: 40.8%)


Until 1525, Kempten was a purely Roman Catholic . Since the “Great Purchase” in 1525, the city was divided into two faiths. Thus the Catholic collegiate city and the Protestant imperial city were always hostile to each other. Church buildings in the imperial city became Protestant after an iconoclasm . Faith separated the city, even long after the secularization . It was not until 1888 that Catholics and Protestants worked together in a kindergarten chapel. Until then, mixed denominational marriages were considered a scandal. This also contributed to regional gossip among the people. This religious dualism ended after World War II . In the great expansion of the city since the 1950s, the new church was of great importance. So one helped each other with emergency churches in order to cope with the shortage of space of the respective parish at short notice.

As a result of immigration from the Catholic area, the Protestants, as in Augsburg and other former imperial cities, increasingly fell into the minority. By the late 19th century there were around 15,000 Catholics and 4,000 Protestants. The 234 Old Catholics , 68 Jews and 49 non-believers played a small role . In the 20th century, the proportion of the Catholic population fluctuated between 76 and 82 percent, the proportion of Protestants between 15 and 20 percent. However, the relationship shifted due to the admission of around 10,000 displaced persons and refugees after the Second World War. The Protestant population rose from 4,500 to 10,000 believers within a short period of time. Between 1935 and 1955, the number of Catholics in the city rose by about a quarter to 6,600. During the same period, the number of Protestants quadrupled. The New Apostolic Congregation decreased from 450 to 330 members during this time.

In 1971, for the first time since 1525, a Catholic clergyman preached in the Evangelical Lutheran St. Mang Church . In 1998, as part of a state exhibition, an ecumenical service was held on the outside staircase , the symbol of the united cities of Kempten, with Protestants and Catholics.

There is no longer a separate Jewish community today, and there was no synagogue in the true sense of the word in Kempten . The Jews in Kempten rented premises in order to devote themselves to the regular cult. The small Jewish cemetery has been preserved .

Furthermore, there are Jehovah's Witnesses in Kempten who officially reported in early 1947. There is a New Apostolic church congregation and an Old Catholic congregation . Because of the immigration from Turkey to the Federal Republic of Germany , Islam also plays a major role in Kempten. In 1999 there were three places of prayer, the largest is on Füssener Straße.


Kempten is represented in the constituency of Kempten, Oberallgäu for the state and district parliament elections. The Bundestag and its representatives are elected by the citizens of Kempten in the Oberallgäu constituency.

City council

The city ​​council consists of 44 members.

Distribution of seats after the local elections in 2020, 2014 and 2008
Party / group Seats
Share of votes
Share of votes in
Share of votes in
Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) 12 26.48% 16 37.04% 18th 40.63%
Alliance 90 / The Greens (Greens) 8th 19.16% 6th 13.74% 6th 11.46%
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 4th 9.24% 7th 17.04% 6th 14.22%
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 3 6.81% - - - -
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 2 4.66% 3 5.73% 3 6.46%
Young Union (JU) 1 1.49% - - - -
The left 0 0.97% - - - -
The Republicans (REP) - - 1 1.70% 1 3.18%
Free voters / non-partisan group of voters 10 21.78% 8th 18.17% 6th 12.88%
Independent citizens / ÖDP (UB / ödp) 2 4.34% 3 6.58% 3 7.49%
Future for Kempten (FfK) 2 6.07% - - - -

The turnout for the 2020 election was 44.01%.

Seat of the city leaders and the city council: the Kempter town hall

Mayor and Lord Mayor

Thomas Kiechle , Lord Mayor of the City of Kempten since April 2014

Thomas Kiechle , son of the former Federal Minister Ignaz Kiechle , has been Lord Mayor since April 30, 2014 . For the 2014 local elections, he was presented on July 1, 2013 by CSU together with the free voters as a joint candidate for the office of Lord Mayor. In the local elections on March 16, 2014, Kiechle sat down with 51.09 percent against Martin Bernhard (23.3%, SPD), Thomas Hartmann (11.75%, Greens), Ulrich Kremser (7.67%, FDP), Michael Hofer (4.74%, ÖDP), Michael Ulmer (1.72%, REP). He became the successor of the previous mayor Ulrich Netzer , who had been in office since May 1, 1996. Netzer was represented by Josef Mayr and Sibylle Knott. Sybille Knott has been the second mayor since the 2014 local elections, with Josef Mayr in third place.

Lord Mayor Kiechle was confirmed in office in the 2020 local elections with 54.32% of the valid votes in the first ballot. He had clearly prevailed against four other candidates (Greens, SPD, FDP and UB / ödp). On May 14, 2020, at a constituent meeting of the new city council in the city theater, the restaurateur Klaus Knoll (free voters) was elected as second mayor and Erna-Kathrein Groll (green) as third mayor. This was preceded by a discourse and dispute between the parties, so the elected CSU city councilors, namely the sporting goods dealer Alexander Buck and the carpet dealer Alexander Kibler, switched to the Free Voters and the lawyer Sybille Knott from the Free Voters as a non-party member of the CSU parliamentary group. Knott wanted to be confirmed as the candidate of the CSU in the office of second mayor, but failed.

Important representatives from the ranks of the mayors were Gordian Seuter (negotiator for the "Big Purchase") as well as Adolf Horchler and Otto Merkt . August Fischer initiated the modernization of the city after the Second World War, during which much of the historical building fabric was destroyed. Josef Höß initiated the establishment of a city archeology and represented Kempten in the establishment of the Kempten University of Applied Sciences.

Coat of arms of the independent city of Kempten (Allgäu)
Blazon : “Split; of black and silver; at the front at the gap a half golden eagle, behind on a green three-mountain a red pinnacle tower with an open gate. "
Justification for the coat of arms: The coat of arms shows on the (heraldic) left side the Burghalde (Dreiberg) as the erroneously earliest location of the monastery (red pinnacle tower), on the (heraldic) right side half of the imperial eagle is depicted, which indicates the relation of the former imperial city to the emperor symbolizes.

The city colors of Kempten are black and silver or white. The city of Kempten has its own municipal flag, in black and white since 1887.

The logo of the city of Kempten and its administration is a word mark . Kempten is written in large letters with the word Allgäu in the same font as an addition.

Town twinning

The city has five city partnerships.

city country comment
Bad Dürkheim Bad Dürkheim GermanyGermany Germany A partnership with Weinstadt has existed since 2001. It is based on a wine sponsorship from 1951. There are sporting and cultural encounters, but also school and youth trips take place.
Quiberon Quiberon FranceFrance France Initial contacts were made with the fishing village on the French Atlantic coast in 1968 and then friendly relations were established in 1971. This partnership was originally founded by the formerly independent municipality of Sankt Mang, but was taken over by the city of Kempten after the regional reform in 1972.
Sligo Sligo IrelandIreland Ireland In 1990 the most distant partnership from Kempten was started with the largest city in the north-west of Ireland. This was preceded by a youth exchange between the Kempten University and a college in Sligo.
Sopron Sopron HungaryHungary Hungary A partnership was established with the city in northwest Hungary in 1987. There are student exchanges. Since 1990 interested citizens have traveled to Sopron twice as part of citizens' trips.
Trent Trent ItalyItaly Italy The partnership with the northern Italian city was established in 1987. Exchanges between the music school lead to cultural revitalization of the places.

Environmental policy

The gradual expansion of the district heating network in Kempten can save a large amount of fossil fuels. By modernizing the street lighting, electricity consumption was reduced by 35 percent between 2002 and 2008.

In May 2012, 19 municipalities, including Kempten, were awarded the BMUMasterplan 100% Climate Protection ” prize by Norbert Röttgen . Kempten receives funding from the federal government to reduce emissions in relation to the energy transition .

Financial policy

Since January 1, 2006, Kempten has been levying a second home tax , which corresponds to 10 percent of the annual basic rent. The aim of the city is, in addition to the financial participation in the urban infrastructure, also to create an incentive to convert the secondary residence into a main residence.

In 2009 the city council decided on five strategic goals that are to be achieved by 2020. One of them is the debt-free city budget. In 2003, household debts were still over 41 million euros. By the end of December 31, 2011, they decreased to 15.2 million euros, and in 2013 to 13.1 million euros. In 2014 the debt level was 9.6 million euros. With a steady further reduction in debt, the city's budget should be completely debt-free in 2020; a year before that, the debt should have fallen to 1.5 million euros. The city has not taken out any new loans since 2003 and is paying off the existing debts. The main focus of the investments are the expansion of the daycare center and school building measures. Some other projects usually have to be postponed due to budgetary discipline.



The Allgäu Tower in Kempten

Almost all architectural styles are represented in Kempten. In addition to Romanesque , Gothic , Renaissance and Baroque styles, there are also mixed forms and modern architectural elements. The towers of the churches are the main feature of the cityscape. The 13-story Allgäu Tower with its reflective glass facade is a newer building that defines the cityscape . The top floor offers a view far beyond the city limits.


Historic buildings and classic sights are the Burghalde with the Allgäu Castle Museum and the open-air theater as well as the fragrance garden, in which guided tours are also offered, as well as the historic town hall and the former prince abbot's residence with court garden and orangery , which also houses the city library with the Allgäu department - holds books.

The parish church and former monastery church of St. Lorenz , a basilica minor , received its honorary title in 1960 from Pope Paul VI. awarded. Another church is the Protestant parish church of St. Mang . Next to this is the Erasmus Chapel - a medieval cemetery chapel, which was demolished after its misuse and the remains of the underground facade were made accessible to the public as a showroom in 2010.

As featured Fountain of applicable town hall fountain as well as the in the Art Nouveau held St. Mang Fountain .

The remains and replicas of the Roman country town of Cambodunum are also considered a sight of Kempten.

The technical sights include the König Ludwig Bridge , the only one of its kind in Germany, and the Upper Iller Bridge , the largest stamped concrete bridges in the world.

Architectural monuments

Vaulted cellar in the beguinage . The restoration of the listed property is supported by students from the secondary school on Salzstrasse .

Due to the dual nature of the city of Kempten, the listed city ensemble can be split into two parts: Old and New Town. The old town, the former imperial city, has narrow alleys and streets as well as an older building fabric than the baroque new town, the prince monastery or also the monastery town.

Then there is the Beethovenstraße ensemble. This part of the settlement of Kempten, which dates from the 19th century, was the first development area of ​​the city after the opening of the city walls. During the period in which it was built, it formed an elegant suburban residential area consisting of villas for the upper class.

From the 1950s onwards, Kempten became a model for a nationwide urban development pilot project, and Kempten's old building fabric escaped any damage during the world wars. Until the 1970s, historical substance was actively replaced by new historicizing and / or modern buildings. An example of this is the Stern Pharmacy or the Schachenmeyersche Landgut . Most of the monuments described by Michael Petzet in 1959 no longer exist.

Although the city fortifications were largely demolished in the 19th century, a new awareness of history emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. The orphan gate was rebuilt in 1986 and the butcher gate in 1990.

Church and monastery buildings

Roman Catholic building

The center of the Catholics in Kempten is the St. Lawrence Basilica , a baroque building. The soul chapel, built in 1680, is nearby . A small brick chapel belongs to Villa Huber . The St. Anton monastery church is located in Kempten-Süd .

Even further south, in Eich , is the Maria-Hilfs-Church, designed by Andor Ákos .

In 1978 the parish church of St. Franziskus was completed in the Steufzgen district . The parish waived a bell tower with a bell.

In 1927, for the first time since 1525, a Catholic church was built in the former imperial city. The Ascension Church, which was also designed by Andor Ákos and demolished in the 1970s, was built as an emergency church. The abandoned Church of the Ascension of Christ a few meters to the west was replaced by the new, listed Church of the Ascension of Christ .

The St. Ulrich church was built near the Ostbahnhof in the 1960s . Another church from the same decade is St. Michael's Church in the north of the city. The church of St. Hedwig was built in Kempten-Thingers in the 1980s . The daughter church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, completed in 1997, is located in Leubas.

The Church of the Assumption is located in the Sankt Mang district . The church, consecrated in 1922, has a reinforced concrete bell tower built in 1955.

Franciscans have settled in the Lenzfried district with the Franciscan monastery of St. Bernardine and the Church of St. Magnus . In the 17th century, the St. Anna monastery in Lenzfried was completed with the chapel of the same name for the Franciscan nuns. They lived in the old male monastery until the Franciscans returned.

The Chapel of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary was built on the Mariaberg in 1783 . In Hirschdorf there is the St. Magdalena Chapel, mentioned in 1394 and replaced by a new building in 1774 . The St. Ursula chapel , which was first mentioned in 1378, is located on the Ursulasried industrial estate . In Leubas there is a small chapel named St. Magnus, mentioned in 1735, directly on the main street . In Leupratsried there is a Lady Chapel from 1777 . There is a Trinity Chapel in the Steufzgen district . There is a broom chapel on Memminger Straße.

Evangelical Lutheran Buildings

The Gothic St. Mang Church in the imperial city was the starting point for the Reformation in Kempten. Since 1525 this church has become Protestant during the Reformation.

The Christ Church, designed by the architect Otto Heydecker and consecrated in 1927, is located in Sankt Mang .

When hood lock 1964 was John's Church . The Matthäuskirche was consecrated in 1968 in the east of Kempter. The consecration of the Markuskirche in Thingers took place in 1976.

The Keck chapel , built in the 13th century, also belongs to the parish of St. Mang . It is consecrated to Saint Stephen.

Other church buildings

The New Apostolic Church is on Immenstädter Strasse , and the Old Catholic parish of Kempten is on Lindauer Strasse .


The Zumsteinhaus contained the Roman Museum and Natural History Museum. Currently (2017) it is being converted into a city museum.

One of the museums is the Alpine Museum , which is housed in the so-called Marstall . Since June 2016 the permanent exhibition Luminous Middle Ages with sculptures and panel paintings of the Gothic from the Kempten area has also been on view there. This also includes the Allgäu Museum in the Kornhaus . The Zumsteinhaus with the Roman Museum and Natural History Museum was closed in spring 2015. The reason is a redesign of the museum landscape in the city. The future city museum is to be opened there in December 2018 [obsolete] . The Allgäu Castle Museum , run by an association, is located on the Burghalde, and the art gallery is housed in the monastery malt house.

The Cambodunum Archaeological Park shows restored buildings of the settlement on the Lindenberg from Roman times.

The beguinage is a listed building ensemble from the 14th century consisting of a beguinage and nuns tower . This will be renovated through donations and will then be made accessible to the public as the center of book culture.

Function rooms

The Toten Hosen concert in the bigBOX

Kempten has a city ​​theater that used to be a mere guest theater, but today it also staged in-house and co-productions.

A number of different types of event rooms are available for cultural events. The most modern event house is the bigBOX , in which plays and concerts are played. Trade fairs are also part of the event program.

The large event room in the Kornhaus offers balls, conferences and theater performances. In the adjacent abbey malt house , several exhibitions of regional and national visual artists take place annually in the art gallery. Classical concerts take place in the inner courtyards of the residence, as well as in the protective structure of the small thermal baths ( Cambodunum Archaeological Park ).

Regular events

Concert in the courtyard of the residence

Allgäu festival week

The Allgäu Festival Week was launched in 1949 on the initiative of Mayor Georg Volkhardt and Albert Wehr . In the meantime, the annual regional fair in August with cultural and sports highlights and over 180,000 (2014) day and evening visitors is one of the highlights of the events in the Allgäu.

Musical events

One of the annual music events is the Kempten Jazz Spring . At these open-air events, musicians play in public places and also in event rooms. National artists also play. Furthermore, the day of music, the city festival, the chamber music festival CLASSIX Kempten and the music night take place annually.

Organ and choir concerts take place regularly in the main churches of St. Mang and St. Lorenz in Kempter. There has been a town band in Kempten since 1897, which initially functioned primarily as a military band. In 1899 the band first appeared in public with a large concert. Since then, the city band has been accompanying them on many official occasions. In 1901 the orchestra association was founded as an association of music lovers for the care of orchestral music. The singing and music school is located in the old monastery malt house. In 1998 Herbert Grönemeyer gave an open-air concert on Hildegardplatz , around 12,000 people came together for this event. In 2012, The BossHoss performed on the square.

Weekly market

Every Wednesday and Saturday there is a weekly market in Kempten on Hildegardplatz . Until 1998, this farmer's market was housed in the vaulted cellar of the Kornhaus during the cold months , until the market hall near the secondary school on Salzstrasse was completed.

Other Events

The art night took place for the first time in autumn 2011. At these events, studios, exhibitions, galleries and other cultural places are open to visitors until late at night. The Art Night is accompanied by games of fire and lights and artistically illuminated fountains. Family Day takes place in summer.

In autumn, internationally known choreographers and dancers meet for ten days for the Kempten TANZherbst. Every dance style is represented here. The Kathreinemarkt with rides and a dealer market takes place in the same season. A similar event takes place in May as the Ascension Market.

Sports activities are the Kempten half marathon in April, the pre-alpine marathon in September and the New Year's Eve run on the last day of the year.

The Park Theater with its facade
lighting at night: formerly a cinema, now a disco.


The first cinema in Kempten opened in 1905. Up until 2003 there were two cinemas in Kempten: The Parktheater , which was closed there, and the Colosseum Center, which was built on Königsstraße in the 1930s and expanded in 2002. The Colosseum, which was last expanded in 2012/13, has seven halls for more than 1200 visitors. In the summer there are open-air cinema performances on the open-air stage of the Burghalde .


There are numerous bars, pubs and other restaurants in Kempten. The meeting places for young people are the Parktheater Kempten , the “Drop-In” and the “pappilon” (formerly “ferggies” and “mia”) on Bahnhofstrasse. In the pedestrian zone there is the Künstlerhaus with various evening events and the Irish pub "A Thousand Miles to Dublin". In the area of ​​the town hall, numerous restaurants with different customer orientations invite guests. The "Ritterkeller" is located below the Burghalde, away from it.

Sports facilities

Outdoor climbing facility in Engelhaldepark .

The Illerstadion is located in Kempten near the river. Since the first plans by Otto Merkt in 1919 , the city planning officer Maximilian Vicari presented the stadium to the city council in 1938. It had standing room for 5,600 people, a small-caliber shooting range , devices for high jump , shot put , pole vault and a parking lot for 200 cars. In 1939 the playing field, the cinder track , the "SA-Wehrkampfbahn" and part of the spectator stand were finished. The main stand was completed in 1949, followed by the large standing stand wall and the marathon gate in 1956. It then offered 12,500 places. Between 1979 and 1986, two plastic pitches, two new grass fields and a sandy grass field were created. In 1995, the main square and sand track were converted and expanded into a "Type B" athletics track with six individual tracks and a large grass field. The stadium was modernized in 1999/2000. The covered grandstand offers space for around 1000 spectators.

Right next to it is a skateboard facility from the 1990s, which was later adapted for inline skaters .

In 1977 the ice rink was opened on Memminger Straße in the north of the city with seating for 4,000. Until then, there were syringe ice rinks in Kempten and an ice rink near the Illerstadion.

The open-air climbing facility of the German Alpine Club , Allgäu-Kempten section in Engelhaldepark was opened in 2000.


The CamboMare adventure
pool in Kempten

The Romans had already set up thermal baths in Kempten . At the beginning of the 20th century there was a mineral bath in Kempten next to the Rottach Bridge. In 1910 the Volksbad was built on Lenzfrieder Straße, which was used by the military from 1932 and closed in 1944. Sunbathing on the Rottachschleife followed in 1927. In 1932 an outdoor pool that still exists today was opened, and in 1970 an indoor pool. This was partially demolished in the early 2000s and replaced in 2003 by the CamboMare adventure and indoor pool . The outdoor pool and CamboMare are operated by the Kempten municipal company (KKU).

Green areas and parks

There are several parks and green areas in Kempten. The courtyard garden with the St. Lawrence Basilica, the residence and the orangery is a representative park with well-tended plants. The city ​​park with a small pond extends behind the Zumsteinhaus . The Burghalde is sealed off from the rest of the city as a green area and offers a good all-round view of the city and the Alps. The Archaeological Park Cambodunum (APC) is the Chapuis Park connected and provides for residents of the East is a way to relax. To the hood lock is the Hoefelmayr- / hood lock park with several war memorials. The angel stockpile Park was created after a reclamation of a gravel pit. Around the city pond in the south-west of the city there is a green area with sidewalks that was designed until 1980. In the northwest of the city is the Schwabelsberger Weiher with floodplains and laid-out footpaths. The steep Calgeerpark is laid out in the west on the Adenauerring .


The Illerstadion of FC Kempten in August 2015

sports clubs

With almost 18,000 members, the Allgäu-Kempten section of the German Alpine Club is the largest club in Kempten, one of the sports clubs with the largest number of members in Germany and one of the largest sections of the German Alpine Club .

A football club is FC Kempten , it was created in 1908 through a spin-off from a gymnastics club. His stadium is the Illerstadion am Augarten. The TSV Kottern-St. Mang is a mixed sports club. The club has departments for football, tennis, ice hockey, athletics and other sports. Ice hockey teams have existed in Kempten since the 1950s. One of the newer sports is American football , this sport is represented by the successful Allgäu Comets . Like FC Kempten, the Allgäu Comets are active in the Illerstadion. In March 2015, the two associations TV Kempten 1856 and TV Jahn Kempten merged , the association now appears as TV Kempten . The shooting sport can be practiced in several clubs. The best known and oldest representative is the royal privileged fire rifle society founded in 1466. After being promoted again from the 2018/19 season, she will be back in the air rifle Bundesliga .

Cultural associations

One of the oldest clubs in Kempten is the Heimatverein Kempten . The Heimatbund Allgäu association is based on a similar tradition as the Heimatverein, but rather serves as an association for various regional cultural newsletters and Heimatvereine. Other cultural associations are the Allgäuer Burgenverein , the Friends of the Kempten Museums , the Förderverein Beginenhaus Kempten and the Künstlerhaus e. V. .


Original cemeteries in Kempten were the cemeteries around the Erasmus Chapel and Soul Chapel . Due to the increase in the population, the cemetery of the soul chapel moved to the site of the Catholic cemetery . The Jewish cemetery is also located in the area of ​​the Catholic cemetery ; the last burial took place there in 2008 with special permission. The cemetery around the Erasmus Chapel came to the foot of the Burghalde in the early modern times, the Protestant cemetery houses the graves of numerous well-known personalities from Kempten.

From 1955, the city laid out a municipal cemetery near the Catholic cemetery. The reason for this was that the previous cemeteries were only denominational and because of historical developments a denominational cemetery had to be created.


Relic of the flax and cotton industry: the closed mechanical cotton spinning and weaving mill in Kempten
Abt company building in Kempten
Dachser headquarters in Kempten
Forum Allgäu shopping center

In 2016, Kempten achieved a gross domestic product (GDP) of € 3.59 billion within the city limits . In the same year, GDP per capita was € 53,401 (Bavaria: € 44,215 / Germany € 38,180) and thus well above the regional and national average. In 2016 there were around 53,200 gainfully employed people in the city.

In the administrative region of Swabia, Kempten is regarded as an “economic locomotive” with a market area of ​​500,000 potential customers, including people from the Allgäu and Baden-Württemberg as well as neighboring countries with the regions of Vorarlberg and Tyrol . Purchasing power in Kempten in 1998 was nine percent above the national average.

Due to the fact that Kempten is unsuitable for any kind of heavy industry, has no raw materials such as ores and no large industrial group has its headquarters, mainly export-oriented medium-sized companies have settled in Kempten. Mayor Otto Merkt recognized this when he once remarked that the textile, wood and dairy industries were of particular importance. The Kempten University in particular attracts many companies because of its well-trained specialists. In the first two years of office of Mayor Ulrich Netzer , the number of employees in the manufacturing industry rose by almost 500 to around 6,000. The turnover here was 1.46 million DM . A third of the money was earned through export deals.

In 1998, with 39,200 employees and an average unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, Kempten was one of the ten cheapest employment office districts in Germany. The unemployment rate in the independent city of Kempten was 4.8 percent in January 2011 and was thus within the Bavarian average. Unemployment was 3.1 percent in May 2012. The unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.0% and thus slightly above the Bavarian average of 2.7%.

As of June 30, 2014, 36,518 employees subject to social security contributions were employed in Kempten, and there are a further 21,461 commuters.

In recent years, up to 2008, commercial areas in Ursulasried, Bühl-Ost and at Stiftsbleiche were designated. The last two areas cover an area of ​​16 ha . From 2002 to 2008 these measures created around 1,300 jobs. In 2012, Telekom announced that it would provide the Kempten location with a fiber optic network; the work was completed in 2013.

In the past, performance comparisons by economic institutes have shown increasingly good results for Kempten. In 2012 the ifW awarded the city eleventh place within the 100 largest independent cities in Germany for sustainability potential . In a nationwide survey by GfK , Kempten ranked ninth as a retail location in 2012. In a joint study by Wirtschaftswoche , INSM and IW Consult, Kempten took ninth place in the nationwide city test in 2010. Data on the labor market, wealth and location were included in the study. In the Future Atlas 2016 , the district was ranked 59th out of 402 districts and independent cities in Germany, making it one of the places with "high future opportunities".

retail trade

South entrance on Fischerstrasse , which was expanded into the first pedestrian zone in Swabia in 1970.

The city of Kempten is one of the three Bavarian cities with the highest "shopping centrality". During his tenure, Mayor August Fischer expanded Kempten into a retail metropolis. Numerous department stores such as Quelle , Horten and C&A opened in the city center .

In the city center there has been the first developed pedestrian zone in the administrative district of Swabia, Fischerstrasse, since 1970. This was followed by traffic-calmed zones such as Rathausstrasse, Fischersteige, Promenadestrasse, Sutt, Klostersteige and in 1998/99 the Brandstatt. Fischerstraße was modernized from 1999 to 2000 and Gerberstraße was rebuilt in 2010 . The “Mühlbachquartier”, which has been reinvented from a historical perspective, is characterized by a huge metal mill wheel (“film reel”) with a watercourse along the pedestrian zone. In the population, these gutters are mockingly referred to as "piss channels".

The Forum Allgäu is in competition for the central pedestrian zones . The shopping mall, which opened its doors on September 10, 2003, has around 90 shops, restaurants and cafes on 23,000 m² and three levels.


In terms of larger media, the Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag , the radio station RSA and the local television station TV Allgäu for the region have their headquarters in Kempten .

In Kempten there is a local editorial office of the Kreisboten-Verlag from Weilheim in Upper Bavaria. The city magazines include "0831" and "Allgäu Live In". The local station of the radio station Radio Galaxy has been broadcasting in Kempten since 2001 .

Established businesses

service provider

The German Post AG has in Kempten the mail center Augsburg-Kempten . The Adolf Präg company plays an important role in the mineral oil trade ; it operates petrol stations and large tank farms in Germany.

The internationally operating logistics service provider Dachser has its headquarters in Kempten . The forwarding company Franz Lebert is also active in this branch.

Abt Sportsline , based in Kempten, is an internationally known racing team and car refiner. The Seitz company operates several car dealerships in Kempten and the surrounding area that focus on the Volkswagen brands . The retail chain Feneberg Lebensmittel is based in Kempten .

The banks Sparkasse Allgäu and the Allgäuer Volksbank Kempten-Sonthofen are based in Kempten. In terms of publishing, the Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag, the Tobias Dannheimer publishing house and the Kösel publishing house should be mentioned.

The 3S-Smart Solutions GmbH in Kempten is software manufacturers CODESYS as a development environment for programmable logic controllers. CODESYS is hardware-independent and is used worldwide.


The Edelweiss company produces dairy products such as different, internationally represented products called “Brunch”, “Bresso” or “ Milkana ”. Liebherr-Verzahntechnik is a machine manufacturing company that has been based in Kempten since 1961. The Kemptener Maschinenfabrik (KMF) is a subsidiary of the tractor manufacturer Fendt and produces various parts for them, but also for Mercedes-Benz . The Allgauer Brauhaus has, although the brewery to Marktoberdorf has moved, still its administrative headquarters in Kempten.

The Allgäu overland plant supplies the Allgäu with electricity.

The Ott Hydromet company was founded in 1873 and specialized in hydrometric measuring systems. The company, known as ESK Ceramics until 2014 , was founded in 1922 and produces technical ceramics. In 2014 the name was changed to 3M Technical Ceramics .

When the 4P Group moved its administrative headquarters to Kempten in 1964, the city became a center of the packaging industry. In 1973 the company exported to 40 countries and achieved sales of 520 million marks. In the 1990s the company ran into economic difficulties and was bought by the Van Leer concern. In 1997 the Belgian group Van Genechten bought the company and in the following year achieved a turnover of 47 million euros with VG Nicolaus .

Previous companies are the twisting Denzler AG , the cotton spinning and weaving Kempten and the Kottern Textil AG . These three companies, which were exclusively focused on the textile industry, were dissolved at the beginning of the 1990s due to excessive competition from the Far East . Former breweries such as the Brewery zur Stadt Hamburg , Zum Schwarzen Adler and other small restaurants such as the Wein-Fässle or Zum Engel should also be mentioned here.

The Bahnhof-Apotheke, founded in 1949, has been producing its aromatherapy products in downtown Kempten since 1988. With over 320 employees, it is one of the larger companies in Kempten.


Railway tracks and the
Mittlerer Ring lead over the southern bridges ( Obere Illerbrücken and König-Ludwig-Brücke ) . The existence of the King Ludwig Bridge from 1851 is at risk.
Old central station from 1888
The newly built
main train station in 1969


Road traffic

Kempten is on the A 7 and the short A 980 . The federal highways 12 and 19 and the former federal highway 309, which was downgraded to state road 2520 on January 1, 2016 , continue to run through the urban area .

The four-lane Mittlerer Ring has been in existence in Kempten since the 1970s . Compared to larger cities, the state of development of the ring is striking, as it has up to four lanes in each direction (several turning lanes). This ring leads over one of the upper Iller bridges and is signposted as federal road 12, although the ring is actually a district or country road. To relieve the city, the B 12 will run around Kempten, together with the 7 and 980 motorways, until it branches off at the Kempten junction in the direction of Munich. It is also noteworthy on this street that the B 19 is not routed over the broad route, but rather through the old town (Kaufbeurer Strasse, Burgstrasse, Freudenberg, Beethovenstrasse, Lindauer Strasse).

The north clasp was opened in November 2015 . It enables an east-west connection with the crossing of the Iller, connects the industrial areas on both sides of the river and thus prevents the previously necessary local passage, which led over the congested Berliner Platz of the Mittlerer Ring.

The city's partially dynamic parking guidance system informs drivers of 16 paid and free parking spaces in multi-storey car parks, underground garages or uncovered parking spaces.

Rail transport

Kempten is on the Allgäubahn (KBS 970) from Munich to Lindau, which is not electrified in the section from Geltendorf. As a replacement for the canceled InterRegio of Deutsche Bahn, the alex stops in Kempten. The Neu-Ulm – Kempten railway line leads into the city from the north . In addition, the Ausserfernbahn branches off here via Pfronten to Reutte in Tyrol and on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen . The Kempten – Isny ​​railway line was closed in 1984.

Kempten received a railway connection in 1852 with the construction of the Ludwig-Süd-Nord-Bahn . The former terminus near the old town was replaced in 1969 by a new central station in the south of the city. In addition to the main train station, there are also the Kempten (Allgäu) Ost and St. Mang train stations in the urban area of ​​Kempten .

Shortly after the Kempten- Hegge through station was built at the turn of the century, there were plans to replace the main station as a terminal station with a new through station. In order to continue to connect the city to the railway line, Mayor Otto Merkt suggested connecting the new central station with a tram shortly after the First World War . However, construction was delayed due to the Great Depression and World War II. The head of the civil engineering department, Bruno Steinmetz, took up the pre-war plans and proposed a sub-paving tram from the new main train station to Residenzplatz. Plans for a tram connection were still in the traffic planning guidelines in 1991, which provided for a line from the new main train station via Residenzplatz to the parish church of St. Michael .

In the 1960s, under Mayor August Fischer, concepts for a light rail system in Kempten were developed, which were also followed up by his successor Josef Höß. This should connect the new main station, the Ostbahnhof, Steufzgen and Rothkreuz. With the closure of the Kempten – Isny ​​railway line , however, these plans were put on file. Corresponding ideas of a regional train for better connections to the city center are regularly discussed even after 2000.

In 2006 the city and Deutsche Bahn celebrated the 100th anniversary of the world's largest stamped concrete bridges called Obere Illerbrücken . All train traffic at the main station runs over one of the two bridges. Despite promises made by the government and the railway administration, not a single railway line through Kempten has been electrified. The term “diesel hole” is often used, as rail traffic is only powered by diesel. The constant thinning of the rail connections is problematic for commuters.

Local public transport

Central bus transfer point (ZUM) in Kempten

Urban bus transport is carried out by Kemptener Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH and Haslach Bus GmbH . There are 29 lines in the Kempter area and the surrounding area (as of February 2013), all of which meet at the ZUM ( central bus transfer point ) in Kempten.

Air traffic

Kempten has in common with the suburban community Durach the airfield Kempten-Durach . The highest airfield in the Federal Republic of Germany (710 meters above sea level) is approved for machines up to 5.7 tons. The nearest commercial airports are in Memmingerberg (40 km), Friedrichshafen (80 km), Innsbruck (140 km) as well as Munich and Stuttgart (180 km each).

Bicycle traffic

Kempten has a well-developed network of cycle paths. There is only an absolute ban on bicycles in the pedestrian zone. In the ADFC's 2012 bicycle climate test , Kempten achieved 14th of 252 places in cities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, and 11th of 29 places in cities with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants across Bavaria.

The Allgäu-Radweg and Iller-Radweg run through the city . The two cycle paths can be connected to each other.

power supply

Run-of-river power plant on the Iller, completed in 2010

There are several hydropower plants of the Allgäuer Überlandwerke , which generate part of the city's electricity. The systems mostly come from industrialization and were used to generate electricity for the local textile industry. The incineration of waste in the Kempten waste-to- energy plants generates electrical energy and heat, which is fed into the city center through a district heating network. In addition, a petroleum-powered combined heat and power plant is linked to the district heating network for the winter.

Water supply

The city library is located in the orangery in the courtyard garden

20 percent of the population of Kempten is supplied with drinking water from the Kempten municipality. The remainder is supplied by the Upper Allgäu Fernwasserversorgung (fwoa) association . The association maintains groundwater extraction systems in old towns , a parish village in the district town of Sonthofen .

Several elevated tanks serve to store and adjust the pressure of the drinking water in Kempten; the water flows through a 260-kilometer network of pipes. The annual consumption is 4.7 million cubic meters of drinking water.

Public facilities

The independent city of Kempten is the regional center of the Allgäu region and thus the seat of important state authorities for the administration of justice, finance and agriculture . The headquarters of the Federal Employment Agency Kempten-Memmingen is located in Kempten.


The district and regional court of Kempten has its seat in the abbot's residence. The Kempten Labor Court is located on Königsstrasse . Kempten is the seat of the Kempten correctional facility . The district court drew special attention with the “Gypsy Jew” ruling .


The main office of the city library is in the orangery , the district of Sankt Mang has a district library in the Rotschlößle . The Schwaben online loan has been offered since 2012 , where e-books , e-papers , e-audios and e-videos can be downloaded. The Kempten University of Applied Sciences has its own, publicly accessible university library. Around 70,000 books can be borrowed there, 200 printed magazines and 14,000 electronic media such as magazines and books can be read.

City Archives

The archive of the city of Kempten is in the Neubronner house and in the customs office . In addition to various files, documents, chronicles, population registers, graphics and historical documentation, the city archive also houses the bequests of Otto Merkt and Alfred Weitnauer . The historian Franz-Rasso Böck is head of the city archive . Many historical holdings can be found in other Bavarian cities such as Augsburg or Munich.

fire Department

The Kempten Volunteer Fire Brigade has existed since 1855 . Today, the fire fighting teams and fire fighting groups, which consist mainly of voluntary and voluntary workers, are organized under the Kempten City Fire Brigade Association. Two fire engines are stationed in the main station on Rottachstrasse. There are other fire engines in Lenzfried and Sankt Mang . Fire fighting groups are positioned in Leubas , Hohenrad, St. Lorenz and at the city pond. In 2011 the city council decided to set up a full-time fire brigade.

Health and care facilities

Kempten owns the Kempten Clinic . The clinic of care level II belongs to the Kempten-Oberallgäu clinic network and has 490 beds. The last expansion was completed in 2012, and the old Kempten district hospital was then closed. A psychiatric specialist clinic has been located at the hospital since 2015 with the Kempten District Hospital .

The medical care in Kempten in 2011 consisted of 59 general practitioners or family doctors, 118 specialists and 55 dentists. In the same year there were 747 places in seven retirement and care facilities.

In 2011, a total of 2069 children were cared for in 31 kindergartens; the number of parenting staff was 301.


Number of schools in Kempten
type of school number
Elementary schools 9
Middle schools 4th
Special schools 5
Real and business schools 4th
High schools 3
Private substitute schools 2
Technical and vocational schools 1
Vocational and vocational schools 13
Technical schools 4th
Technical academies 3
total 48
The latest expansion of the Kempten University of Applied Sciences from 2011
Aerial view of the Allgäu high school

The school town of Kempten has a broad school landscape, which is made up of 48 different educational institutions. All types of schools can be found in Kempten.

General education schools

Kempten has nine elementary schools (elementary school am Haubenschloß, Fürstenschule , elementary school an der Sutt, elementary school on the Lindenberg, north school, elementary school Kottern-Eich, elementary school Heiligkreuz , Konrad-Adenauer-elementary school, Gustav-Stresemann-elementary school) and four middle schools ( Wittelsbacherschule , Middle School on the Lindenberg, Middle School at the Hofmühle, Robert Schuman Middle School).

There are also three secondary schools in Kempten (Maria Ward secondary school, secondary school on Salzstrasse , municipal secondary school). The state business school concludes the intermediate level. The general educational school program is supplemented by three high schools ( Allgäu-Gymnasium , Hildegardis-Gymnasium , Carl-von-Linde-Gymnasium ) with scientific-technological, linguistic and humanistic branches; a technical and vocational school is linked to the upper level.

Private substitute schools are the Montessori elementary school and the Albris Free School .

Vocational schools

The vocational schools I to III (industrial-technical, commercial, agricultural, domestic and industrial) occupations share the area of ​​the vocational school center with the technical, vocational and business school.

There is a private vocational school on Mozartstrasse for individual learning support.

Also to be mentioned are four technical schools (Agricultural School Kempten, teaching, testing and specialist center for dairy farming, teaching, testing and specialist center for dairy farming and grassland), which offer, for example, the acquisition of a dairy master or certified technician for dairy farming and dairy farming. The Allgäu technical school, which has been training state-certified technicians since 1966, is located on the premises of the vocational training center for commercial further training in the fields of construction, electrical and mechanical engineering.

A vocational school for technical assistants in medicine is attached to the Kempten-Oberallgäu Clinic. The professions of medical-technical laboratory assistant and medical-technical radiology assistant can be learned here. Further vocational schools enable learning to care for the sick and the elderly.

There are three specialist academies, including one for foreign language professions.


The Kempten University of Applied Sciences was founded in the 1970s and has been steadily expanded in recent years. In the 2015/16 winter semester, a total of 5976 students studied at the university. The Kempten Adult Education Center offers a wide range of educational opportunities with around 1,000 events per semester.

Other educational institutions

There are five special schools for physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged children.

There is also a public observatory in Kempten .

Military and garrison

The hunting memorial on Memorial Day, inaugurated in 1930 (2015)

Kempten is one of the oldest garrison towns in Bavaria and has developed into a regionally important military location since 1802/07. The units stationed in Kempten from 1866 to 1897 also included the Royal Bavarian 1st Jäger Battalion "König" , to which the Jägerstrasse and the Jägerdenkmal at the hooded lock commemorate. In 1897 the unit was withdrawn from Kempten and replaced by the Royal Bavarian 20th Infantry Regiment "Prinz Franz" . Zwanzigerstrasse is named after him.

On October 26, 2011 it was announced that the artillery barracks and thus also the Bundeswehr site would be closed. Only six of the more than 800 posts are to remain. The military hospital , built between 1938 and 1942, and the Prinz-Franz-Kaserne in 1992 , had already been closed in 1980 .

One of the first memorials for soldiers who died in the war was the war memorial at the Lyceum , others followed, such as the war memorial in Lenzfried or the memorial in Heiligkreuz . There are also monuments in the Catholic and Protestant cemeteries to commemorate soldiers and war victims who did not return. The Mulzer pine is named after a fighter pilot, the monument to the Iller disaster commemorates an incident in which several conscripts were killed.

The hooded castle or Hoefelmayrpark developed from the 1930s into a green area with various war memorials. The Jägerdenkmal has been a reminder of the 1st Jäger Battalion since 1930 and also serves as a memorial to the two world wars. A few meters away, further memorials and memorials were erected over the next few decades.


Honorary citizen

The most famous honorary citizen of Kempten is the Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck , to whom several German cities awarded this title on his 80th birthday on March 4, 1895. The long-standing Lord Mayor Josef Höß was the last to receive this honor in 2011.

No honorary citizenship, but a special honor was given to King Ludwig II of Bavaria posthumously in 1932 with the erection of the King Ludwig Monument .

Kempton Park

The Kempter businessman Karl Friedrich Wolff founded a city east of Johannesburg in the course of the gold rush in South Africa in 1903 and named it Kempton Park after his native city .



Overall representations

  • Volker Dotter Weich u. a. (Ed.): History of the city of Kempten. On behalf of the city of Kempten (Allgäu). Tobias Dannheimer publishing house, Kempten 1989, ISBN 3-88881-011-6 .
  • Birgit Kata, Volker Laube, Markus Naumann, Wolfgang Petz (eds.): "More than 1000 years ..." - The Kempten Abbey between founding and releasing 752–1802. (Allgäu research on archeology and history; 1) Likias Verlag, Friedberg 2006, ISBN 3-9807628-6-6 .

Medieval and modern history

  • Stefan Kirchberger: Kempten im Allgäu: archaeological findings and finds for the development of the imperial city . Scrîpvaz, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-931278-04-2 (= Archaeological Sources on the Middle Ages , Volume 1, also dissertation Uni Bamberg ).
  • Wolfgang Petz: Kempten twice. History of a twin city. Vögel, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-89650-027-9 (= writings of the philosophical faculties of the University of Augsburg , Volume 54, historical-social science series, also a dissertation at the University of Augsburg 1996).
  • Wolfgang Petz, Josef Kirmeier, Wolfgang Jahn and Evamaria Brockhoff (eds.): “Citizen hard work and prince-luster.” Imperial city and prince abbey of Kempten. House of Bavarian History , Augsburg 1998, ISBN 3-927233-60-9 .
  • Franz-Rasso Böck, Ralf Lienert, Joachim Weigel (eds.): Views of the century on Kempten 1900–2000. Publishing house Tobias Dannheimer, Allgäuer Zeitungsverlag, Kempten 1999, ISBN 3-88881-035-3 .
  • Richard Dertsch : City and District of Kempten . (= Historical Place Name Book of Bavaria . Part: Swabia . Volumes 4 and 5), Munich 1966.
  • Gerhard Willi (Hrsg.): Folk and regional history descriptions from the districts of Lindau and Oberallgäu with Kempten - the physics reports of the city and regional courts of Lindau, Weiler, Kempten, Immenstadt and Sonthofen (1858-1861) Augsburg 2016, ISBN 978-3 -95786-036-1
  • Wolfgang Wüst: Against “adultery, hurereÿ, fornication, kuppeleÿ and unterleipf” - Policey statutes in Kempten in 1770 , In: Allgäuer Geschichtsfreund, No. 116 (2016) pp. 69–106. ISBN 978-3-9816746-1-3

Ancient history

  • Gerhard Weber (Ed.): Cambodunum - Kempten. First capital of the province of Raetia? (Ancient World, special volume) (Zabern's illustrated books on archeology). Zabern, Mainz am Rhein 2000, ISBN 3-8053-2691-2 .
  • Wolfgang Czysz u. a .: The Romans in Bavaria . Theiss, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-8062-1600-2 .
  • Wolfgang Czysz, Hanns Dietrich and Gerhard Weber (arrangement): Kempten and the Allgäu. (Guide to Archaeological Monuments in Germany, Vol. 30). Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-8062-1150-7 .

Out of date content

  • Josef Rottenkolber: From Kempten's past days. Kösel-Verlag, Kempten 1954, DNB 454212291 .
  • Johann Bapt. Haggenmüller: History of the city and the princely county of Kempten. Kempten, Volume 1: 1840. Volume 2: 1847. (Reprint: in one volume, Verlag Tobias Dannheimer, Kempten 1988, ISBN 3-88881-009-4 )


  • Harald Derschka : Fund coins from Kempten. Catalog and evaluation of the coins and coin-like objects from the Middle Ages and modern times found in Kempten (Allgäu). (Allgäu research on archeology and history; 2) Likias Verlag, Friedberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-9807628-7-8 .
  • Clemens Maria Haertle: The coins and medals of the monastery and the city of Kempten. Vol. 2, Dannheimer, Kempten 1993, ISBN 3-88881-014-0 .

Art and architectural monuments

  • Alexander Duke of Württemberg: City of Kempten (= Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation [Hrsg.]: Monuments in Bavaria . Volume VII.85 ). Schnell & Steiner publishing house, Munich / Zurich 1990, ISBN 3-7954-1003-7 .
  • Michael Petzet: City and District of Kempten . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich 1959, DNB  453751636 .

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Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 19, 2014 .