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

Coordinates: 50 ° 42 '  N , 10 ° 44'  E

Basic data
State : Thuringia
County : Schmalkalden-Meiningen
Height : 800 m above sea level NHN
Area : 23.4 km 2
Residents: 1650 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 71 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 98559
Area code : 036842
License plate : SM, MGN
Community key : 16 0 66 047

City administration address :
Zellaer Strasse 10
98559 Oberhof
Website : www.oberhof.de
Mayor : Thomas Schulz (Free Voters)
Location of the city of Oberhof in the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district
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About this picture

Oberhof is a country town in the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district in Thuringia ( Germany ). It is located on the ridge of the Thuringian Forest at about 815 m above sea level. NHN near the Rennsteig .

Oberhof is known as a German winter sports center. The sports of biathlon , luge and bobsleigh , cross-country skiing and Nordic combined are particularly popular here . The city lives from tourism. In 2009, 132,000 guests came to Oberhof with a total of 426,000 overnight stays. This makes Oberhof the most visited place in Thuringia after Erfurt and Weimar and the most visited holiday destination in the Thuringian Forest.

Oberhof is also known for the Bundeswehr sports promotion group stationed there and for its sports high school , which is the center of winter sports promotion in Thuringia.


Oberhof is located in the Thuringian Forest , a low mountain range, about 815 meters above sea level. The Rennsteig , which represents the ridge of the mountains, runs south of the village . The city is located on a plateau, which is why there are no great differences in altitude in the built-up area. The 904 meter high Schützenberg borders directly on the city area to the south . About four kilometers to the southeast, the 983 meter high Großer Beerberg and the 978 meter high Schneekopf are the two highest mountains in Thuringia. There are also two Rennsteig passes to the south-west of Oberhof: the pass at Grenzadler (former state border between the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha and Prussia ) and the pass at Rondell . From time immemorial they were crossings of trade routes. Several rivers have their source near Oberhof, the Gera in the east, the Ohra in the north, the Hasel in the south and the Schönau in the west.

The area around Oberhof is completely forested, the most common tree species is the spruce .

Expansion of the urban area

City view of Oberhof
View from the Schneekopf (978 m) to Oberhof. From this perspective you can see the location of the town of Oberhof on the main ridge of the Thuringian Forest at an altitude of about 800 m.

The urban area has the shape of an upside-down T, with the oldest settlement core in the southeast. Later the place grew to the west and in the last 50 years also to the north. The Gründle , a natural wetland in the northeast of the city, remained undeveloped until 1994. In 1996 the "Rennsteig-Therme" was built here.

Oberhof has no districts.

Neighboring communities

Oberhof is located in the northeastern corner of the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district and borders the towns of Steinbach-Hallenberg and Zella-Mehlis in the southwest . In the east the city borders on the rural community Geratal in the Ilm district and the independent city of Suhl . Oberhof borders the municipalities of Luisenthal and Ohrdruf , which are part of the Gotha district , in the north.


The climate in Oberhof is very harsh, so the place could not develop before 1900. Unlike the other places in the Thuringian Forest, Oberhof is unprotected to the north, west and east on a plateau. The closest weather station is on the Schmücke , about six kilometers away on the Rennsteig. The annual rainfall is very high at around 1300 mm, the annual average temperature is 4.4 ° C in the low range. The average July temperature is 12.8 ° C, the January temperature is -4.0 ° C. Snow is usually from mid-November to late March.

Like many low mountain range regions dependent on winter sports, Oberhof is also affected by the effects of climate change . The region is no longer "snow-sure", as was the case in the past. Oberhof's mayor summarized the situation on the basis of study results as follows: “They say quite openly: Friends, watch out! You will have 20 fewer days of snow. That doesn't sound very spectacular at first, because you can say: Then we'll still have 80 - that's not the problem! But they are not in one piece. That means cold and warm weather periods will alternate more and more frequently. I'll say it in my shirt: a week of rain, a week of snow. "


Oberhof around 1900
Former hunting lodge from 1830

Oberhof was first mentioned in a document in 1470. The place in the Black Forest office belonged to various Ernestine duchies , most recently from 1826 to 1918 to the duchy of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha . In 1830, Duke Ernst I had a hunting lodge built. The first holiday guests came to the village in 1861. With the completion of the Brandleitetunnel on the Neudietendorf – Ritschenhausen railway line in 1884, Oberhof was given a railway connection that enabled tourism to be expanded. In 1901 4,948 guests visited the place, in 1913 there were 12,772.

After the Oberhof winter sports club was founded on the initiative of the Oberhof doctor Kurt Weidhaas in February 1904, the place developed into a center of winter sports . Under the influence of Duke Carl Eduard , who operated winter sports and had a castle hotel (1908) and a golf hotel (1912) built, Oberhof became a fashionable winter sports resort. In 1906 the first bobsleigh run and the first ski jump were inaugurated.

On September 21, 1912, the forerunner of the German Society for Sports Medicine and Prevention was founded in Oberhof in the Ducal Golf Hotel as the German Reich Committee for scientific research into sport and physical exercise . It was the first sports medicine association in the world. Germany is thus considered the motherland of this subject. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary, a new memorial plaque was unveiled on the former golf hotel in Oberhof, donated by the sports medicine professor Karl-Hans Arndt from Erfurt.

In 1931 world championships were held in the village for the first time, namely in the two-man bobsleigh and in the Nordic combined on the Hindenburgschanze . In 1939, Oberhof was entered as a climatic health resort in the official list of Greater German spas.

During the Second World War , around 170 men and women from the countries occupied by Germany had to do forced labor : at the forestry office, the railway maintenance department, in Wehrmacht reserve hospitals and in the tourism industry. Oberhof was a hospital town. The large hotels served as reserve hospitals for the wounded soldiers. In April 1945 three prisoners were killed during the death march of the Bad Salzungen concentration camp and were later buried in the forest cemetery on Crawinkler Strasse , where a memorial stone commemorates them. On April 3, 1945, American tanks responded to German machine-gun fire with heavy shell fire, including a German gun, the German command post in the Hotel Diana and the castle hotel. As a result, the centrally located Ducal Castle Hotel burned out completely.

On November 13, 1950, a total of 48 families (approx. 170 people), mostly owners of hotels and guest houses , became due to the order issued by the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Walter Ulbricht on the instructions of the Thuringian Ministry of the Interior of November 10, 1950 for alleged "economic crimes" Expropriated without compensation and deported from Oberhof . All inventory had to remain in the buildings for the state's own further use. This action was repeated twice more by February 1951. Figures on this are not available. Subsequently, Oberhof was systematically expanded by the GDR leadership into a holiday and sports center. The pensions continued to be operated as holiday properties by the FDGB holiday service . In 1952, Oberhof was incorporated into the newly founded district of Suhl .

From 1951 to 1956 the GDR winter sports championships took place in Oberhof. In 1964 the construction of the large hill on the Rennsteig for ski jumping was completed and in 1971 the racing sledge track was completed, on which the 1973 World Luge Championships were held for the first time .

The Protestant Christ Church was consecrated on November 17th, 1957 . The foundation stone for the new building, which replaced a church from 1783, was laid in the spring of 1953. It was the first newly built church in the newly founded German Democratic Republic.

Walter Ulbricht had the guest house of the GDR Council of Ministers , an exclusive noble hostel, built near Oberhof ( Lage ) for himself and for high-ranking party cadres in 1963 . A few hectares of forest were cleared for this. With regard to the procurement of materials, the secret object was preferred, like one for national defense, and imported materials from the “non-socialist currency area” were also used generously. In 1990 the guest house was closed and has been falling into disrepair ever since.

From 1968 to 1978, the existing buildings were completely torn down and the Oberhof was expanded and converted, which completely changed the character of the place. The State Council Chairman Walter Ulbricht consulted his Berlin architect Hermann Henselmann for the planning . Both loved representative symbol architecture. With the replacement of Ulbricht not all plans were realized. The accommodation capacity of the hotels and homes was increased to 4,500 beds. For this purpose, the large hotel complexes Panorama (1969) in the form of ski jumps, Rennsteig (1973) in the form of a Rennsteig stone and Fritz Weineck (1975) were built. In 1971, the “Obere Hof”, the largest restaurant complex in the GDR with seven restaurants, was opened in the center of the village. A new residential area was built using prefabricated panels.

After the fall of the Wall , the FDGB Hotel Rennsteig , a 15-storey high-rise in the center of the village, was equipped like an Interhotel , and in 2003 the 500-bed Hotel Schützenberg (formerly Fritz Weineck) was demolished. Smaller hotels and pensions were set up again. Of the 50 families displaced in 1950, eight now live in Oberhof again.

A high ropes course was set up on the grounds of the spa park in 2001 and dismantled again in 2016. In 2011 the place had 3,500 guest beds.

On October 7, 1985, Oberhof received city ​​rights .

Population development

Development of the population (from 1994 December 31st) :

  • 1665: 51
  • 1705: 150
  • 1900: 400
  • 1933: 1.149
  • 1939: 1,086
  • 1994: 2.189
  • 1995: 2.118
  • 1996: 2,052
  • 1997: 1,981
  • 1998: 1,884
  • 1999: 1,845
  • 2000: 1,803
  • 2001: 1,726
  • 2002: 1,693
  • 2003: 1,647
  • 2004: 1,613
  • 2005: 1,632
  • 2006: 1,673
  • 2007: 1,594
  • 2008: 1,533
  • 2009: 1,513
  • 2010: 1,530
  • 2011: 1,576
  • 2012: 1,666
  • 2013: 1,631
  • 2014: 1,664
  • 2015: 1,668
  • 2016: 1,625
  • 2017: 1,634
  • 2018: 1,608
  • 2019: 1,650
Data source from 1994: Thuringian State Office for Statistics


Town hall of Oberhof

City council

The city council consists of 12 members. In the local elections on May 26, 2019 , the list "Free Voters Oberhof" won six seats with 46.5% of the votes, the "Voting Community Oberhof" (WGO) with 40.7% of the votes five seats and "Aktiv für Oberhof" ( AfO) with 12.8% one seat. Thomas Schulz has been the mayor since 2006. He was confirmed in office for a further six years on April 29, 2018 with 56.8% of the vote.

Town twinning

Culture and sights

Natural monuments

In the north of the city on the Schloßberg there is a nature reserve with the oldest spruce (so-called Schloßberg spruce), a very resistant breed of spruce adapted to the climatic conditions of the ridges. The Schuderbachswiese is a natural monument because of numerous rare and endangered plants and is home to Thuringia's largest arnica deposit. On the southeast edge of the city, near the 868 m high Pfanntalskopf , the Rennsteiggarten Oberhof as a botanical garden for mountain flora on seven hectares offers an overview of around 4000 different plant species from many mountain regions of the world.


Ski jumping facility in Kanzlersgrund
Leisure pool H2Oberhof

One of the special features of Oberhof is the concentration of many winter sports facilities in a very small space, such as the ski jumping hill facility in Kanzlersgrund and the Oberhof youth ski jump , the Lotto Thuringia Arena biathlon stadium on the Rennsteig and the Oberhof luge track . This can be used by anyone for ice rafting or bobsledding in winter when there are no competitions taking place on it . From May to September there are also offers for summer bobsleigh rides. For downhill skiers and snowboarders, an 800 m long slope including a chair lift, snow-making system and floodlights was created in 1998. In 2009, the DKB Skisporthalle Oberhof was put into operation, on whose 1.9 km long circuit with up to 12% incline you can also do cross-country skiing in summer.

The surroundings of the city are particularly suitable for cross-country skiers in winter on many kilometers of groomed trails, while in summer the area is well suited for hiking. The Rennsteig long- distance cycle path also leads through the city. The Rhön-Rennsteig-Radweg and Haseltal-Radweg begin in Oberhof .

On Grenzadler Also located sports promotion group of the Bundeswehr (barracks am Rennsteig). Biathletes, bobsleigh riders, Nordic combined athletes, luge runners and cross-country skiers from the national team practice their training there. Successful trainers like Frank Ullrich are also sports soldiers there .

The Rennsteig-Thermen , a leisure pool with a sauna area, was built between 1994 and 1996 for around 17.4 million euros and opened in November 1996. The pool was closed in October 2008 due to a loss of around 4.37 million euros between 2001 and 2008, in particular due to high energy, water and sewage costs. In December 2011, the renovation of the pool began , which was reopened on January 20, 2014 under the new name H2Oberhof . The cost was 10.3 million euros.

With the Ducal Golf Club Oberhof , the city not only has one of the oldest, but also the only listed golf club in Germany.

Economy and Infrastructure

Tourism plays an important role in Oberhof. The largest hotel is the Panorama

Oberhof is a state-approved resort . The economy of Oberhof is based solely on tourism . Thus, the largest employers are various hotels, there are also numerous restaurants, sports shops , a water park , an exotic arena , and other infrastructure facilities required for tourism, such as the Oberer Hof as the city center. The winter sports facilities also create numerous jobs. In the Oberhof sports high school, biomass and solar energy are now replacing fossil fuels.


Oberhof is located on state road 3247 (formerly Bundesstraße 247 ), which connects Suhl, about 20 kilometers south, with Gotha , 30 kilometers north . The A-71 junction Oberhof (about eight kilometers south) and the A-4 junction Gotha (about 23 kilometers north) can also be reached via the L 3247 . State roads lead from Oberhof to Schmalkalden in the west, Ilmenau in the east and Gräfenroda and Crawinkel / Arnstadt in the northeast.

Oberhof had a connection to the Neudietendorf – Ritschenhausen railway from August 1, 1884 to December 9, 2017. However, Oberhof (Thür) station is about five kilometers south of the city in a gorge 160 meters below. There was last connection every two hours to Erfurt via Arnstadt and Würzburg via Zella-Mehlis (RE 7: " Mainfranken-Thüringen-Express ") and to Meiningen with the Süd-Thüringen-Bahn (STB 44), also every two hours. In addition, the “Rodelblitz”, a special train on the Erfurt – Arnstadt – Oberhof – Zella-Mehlis – Meiningen or EisenachBad SalzungenSchmalkalden – Zella-Mehlis – Oberhof – Arnstadt route, ran on three weekends in winter . This offer was designed to bring day guests to Oberhof. There were regular buses to and from the city center from the train station. Since December 2017, as planned, no more passenger trains have stopped in Oberhof. As a replacement, the bus connection to Zella-Mehlis has been strengthened and the train station there has been made barrier-free . There are further bus connections to all nearby medium- sized centers .

The Eisenach – Budapest mountain hiking trail and the Rennsteig cycling trail run through Oberhof .


The city's regional daily newspaper is the Freie Wort , local edition of Zella-Mehlis .



Web links

Commons : Oberhof  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Oberhof  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Population of the municipalities from the Thuringian State Office for Statistics  ( help on this ).
  2. ^ Thuringian State Office for Statistics
  3. Climate diagram
  4. Less snow and more wellness: Tourism in the Thuringian Forest in times of climate change. November 28, 2007, accessed February 11, 2019 .
  5. ^ Ulrich Hess: History of Thuringia. 1866 to 1914. Edited from the estate by Volker Wahl . Böhlau, Weimar 1991, ISBN 3-7400-0077-5 , pp. 118, 341.
  6. 100 years of German sports medicine - foundation of the association in Oberhof. In: Ärzteblatt Thuringia. Vol. 23, No. 10, 2012, ISSN  0863-5412 , p. 535.
  7. Thuringian Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime - Association of Antifascists and Study Group of German Resistance 1933–1945 (Ed.): Local history guide to sites of resistance and persecution 1933–1945. Volume 8: Thuringia. VAS - Verlag für Akademische Schriften, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-88864-343-0 , p. 255.
  8. ^ Lothar Günther: The American Episode 1945. In the footsteps of XII. US Corps of the Third US Army in Southwest Thuringia . Wehry Verlag, Untermaßfeld 2014, ISBN 978-3-9815-3078-0 , pp. 83-93.
  9. Oberhof - his darkest day
  10. www.insuedthueringen.de: Christ Church. It was 50 years ago that a church was first built in the GDR. November 17, 2007
  11. mdr, January 22, 2013, 8.45 p.m. [1]
  12. https://wahlen.thueringen.de/datenbank/wahl1/wahl.asp?wahlart=GW&wjahr=2019&habenErg=GEM&wknr=066&gemnr=66047 .
  13. ^ Elections in Thuringia. Retrieved May 27, 2019 .
  14. ^ Chronicle of the German Embassy in Oslo. ( Memento of the original from June 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved March 22, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.oslo.diplo.de
  15. Thuringian State Parliament, petition platform: Deficit fun pool reopened after renovation - Black Book of the Taxpayers Association 2014
  16. ^ Free State of Thuringia - Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Environment and Nature Conservation: Bioenergy in Thuringia. Decentralized and sustainable in the regions. TMLFUN, Erfurt 2011, pp. 36–37.
  17. EisenbahnNostalgie Thueringen | Home page. In: www.bahnnostalgie-thueringen.de. Retrieved January 8, 2017 .
  18. HCS-Content GmbH: Oberhof station is abandoned: no more train stops from December . In: inSüdthüringen.de . ( insuedthueringen.de [accessed on May 15, 2017]).