Imperial city of Herford

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Coat of arms of the imperial city on a boundary stone on the border with Herford Abbey
Map of the imperial city consisting of the Radewig, new and old town

The imperial city of Herford (at the present time also Vorteilden / Heruorden, Herforden, Herevorde, Her Werden, Herfurt, lat.Hervordia / Herfordia, Herfurtum) was a territory of the Holy Roman Empire in north-eastern Westphalia , existing from the late Middle Ages until 1652.

For the entire development of the city see Herford and the history of the city of Herford .


The town of Herford was in the Middle Ages from the local woman pen ruled that already in 1147 as Reichsstift the Imperial City had acquired. In the following period, the citizenship was able to gradually reduce the abbesses' position of power and also received various privileges from the Roman-German kings and emperors , so that Herford was also considered a free imperial city at the end of the Middle Ages .

In 1547 the monastery transferred its remaining rulership rights to the city to the dukes of Jülich-Kleve-Berg , who then denied Herford's imperial immediacy. In it they were confirmed in 1548 by a ruling by the Reich Chamber of Commerce, but the dukes refrained from affecting the autonomy of the city, which is why the citizens were able to come to terms with the situation.

When Brandenburg-Prussia received part of the inheritance of Jülich-Kleve-Berg in the Treaty of Xanten in 1614 , it also took over the claims to Herford and gave them emphasis through increased military presence in the surrounding area. In view of this threat to its freedoms, the city brought another trial to the Imperial Court of Justice and was finally reassigned the status of a Free Imperial City in 1631.

Brandenburg-Prussia, strengthened by the Peace of Westphalia , resorted to violence in 1652, conquered and annexed Herford and added it to its county of Ravensberg . Protests by the citizens against this illegal procedure at the Reich Chamber of Commerce remained ineffective.


  • Gerhard Köbler : Historical lexicon of the German countries. The German territories from the Middle Ages to the present. 7th, completely revised edition. CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-54986-1 , p. 270.

Web links

Commons : Landmarks of the imperial city  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Model of the Imperial City  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hervorden, Herforden, Herevorde, Herwerden, Herfurt. In: Johann Heinrich Zedler : Large complete universal lexicon of all sciences and arts . Volume 12, Leipzig 1735, column 1857 f.

Coordinates: 52 ° 6 ′ 51 ″  N , 8 ° 40 ′ 18 ″  E