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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Soest
Map of Germany, location of the city of Soest highlighted

Coordinates: 51 ° 34 ′  N , 8 ° 7 ′  E

Basic data
State : North Rhine-Westphalia
Administrative region : Arnsberg
Circle : Soest
Height : 90 m above sea level NHN
Area : 85.81 km 2
Residents: 47,514 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 554 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 59494
Primaries : 02921, 02927 , 02928Template: Infobox municipality in Germany / maintenance / area code contains text
License plate : SO, LP
Community key : 05 9 74 040
City structure: Core city and 18 districts

City administration address :
Am Vreithof 8
59494 Soest
Website :
Mayor : Eckhard Ruthemeyer ( CDU )
Location of the city of Soest in the Soest district
Hamm Hochsauerlandkreis Kreis Gütersloh Kreis Paderborn Kreis Unna Kreis Warendorf Märkischer Kreis Anröchte Bad Sassendorf Ense Erwitte Geseke Lippetal Lippstadt Möhnesee (Gemeinde) Rüthen Soest Warstein Welver Werl Wickede (Ruhr)map
About this picture
View of Soest from the Haarstrang to the south . In the background the Beckum Mountains approx. 20 km away . At churches can be seen from left to right: St. Petri, St. Pauli, St. Patrokli and the Wiesenkirche
Bronze model of the city center, tactile model for the visually impaired on Petrikirchplatz in front of the town hall, view from the north of the Ottonian core

Soest (pronounced [ zoːst ] with strain-e ; Soest ? / I , Westphalian Saust) is the county town of the same district in Arnsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia . Today, around 48,000 people live halfway between Dortmund and Paderborn , in the fertile Soest Börde . In addition to the core city with more than 40,000 inhabitants, the rest of the population is spread across the surrounding districts . Audio file / audio sample

Spelling, pronunciation and origin of the name

Because it contradicted the rules that were in force before 1995, the spelling with oe (so-called expansion e ) is retained , as was the urgent recommendation of the Standing Committee on Geographical Names , as was the case with Coesfeld . The city does its own advertising at Soest train station. There are not only photos of the half-timbered old town, in the passage to the tracks there is also the following text: "Welcome to SÖST - (Newbies are allowed to do that, once! Then please do it correctly: SOOOST!)"

For the origin of the name “Soest”, the derivation of “Sod-saten” (for example: those who reside at the source ) is almost popular. In the more recent debate, however, it is becoming apparent that the name comes from a pre-Germanic stage of development in Indo-European , with the presumed meaning "place where people settle".

Historical spelling variants of the name:

Name variant Nomination year Name variant Nomination year Name variant Nomination year
Sosat (ii) 836, 864, 985, 1124/25, 1214-1220 Suzat (o / i) 1060-1075, 1121, 1589 Sosatia (m) 1179, 1188, 1194
Suosaz / Sûosaz 962, 1000, 1014, 1079-1089 Sosaz (iensis) 1068, 1091, 1169 Susacia 1184
Susacium 962 Suesac (en) 1072 Sosatum 1219
Susat (o / iensem) 962, 1204-1208, 1260, 1297 Shsaz (insis) 1091 Susatum 1354
Sosatio 965 Susat (i / iam / iensis) 1119, 1166, 1194 Zest 1367
Schûschît 965/966 Sosac (ia / iam) 1140, 1166 Zoest 1385
Sosatium 980 Shsac (ii) 1147 So 1429, 1458
Svhsaz 1014 Suosat 2nd third of the 12th century So is 1441, 1531, 1590
Sosaet 1047 Sesat 2nd third of the 12th century Soest 1620ff.

Location and structure

Neighboring communities

Soest borders (clockwise from the north) on Lippetal , Bad Sassendorf , Möhnesee , Ense , Werl and Welver .

Basic geographic information

The urban area covers 8581.6 hectares. The city center is located on Marktstrasse in downtown Soest at 8 ° 6 ′ 24 ″ east longitude, 51 ° 34 ′ 23 ″ north latitude. The maximum north-south extension of the municipality is 11.5 km, the maximum east-west extension 13 km. The lowest point in the city is 73 m above sea level. NN in the "Hammer Land" between the Schledde and the federal road 475 in the Thöningsen district ; the highest point is at 219 m above sea level. NN in the Bergede district; d. H. in the urban area there is a difference in altitude of 146 m.

City structure

As part of the municipal reform of 1969 in North Rhine-Westphalia , the old town of Soest was merged with 18 originally independent municipalities - now districts - on July 1, 1969 . These districts have always been closely related to the city of Soest; in the lordly sense, like 30 other communities, they belonged to the Soester Börde from the Middle Ages to 1809 . This also means that the original majority denomination of the residents of these districts, like the Soest city population, was the Protestant . In the landscape sense, however, part of the Soest districts does not belong to the Soest Börde, but to the Haar . Not all individual localities of today's city of Soest - such as Ellingsen north of Soest - are districts in the administrative sense. With the municipal territorial reform , the area of ​​the city of Soest expanded on July 1, 1969 from 28 km² to almost 86 km²; the population rose from 35,511 to 40,320. In 2008, with a total population of 48,000, 40,660 (~ 84.7%) residents lived in the core city and 7,340 (~ 15.3%) in the surrounding districts. In the actual old town within the ramparts live 6,532 inhabitants (2008), about 13.6% of the total city population.

Districts of the city of Soest in the administrative sense outside the core city:

Soest and its districts

The noticeable accumulation of place names on "-ingsen" is characteristic of the entire vicinity of Soest. It is an abbreviation of the original part of the name " -inghausen ".


The old Hanseatic city of Soest (Sosat , Latinized : Susatum) with a history going back well over 1000 years was one of the most important Hanseatic cities in Europe in the Middle Ages. The territory of the city of Soest included the 106 hectare walled city as well as the area around the Soest Börde with ten parishes .

Location and origin

The Ottonian core of the old town (outlined in green): 1)  Nikolaikapelle , 2)  St. Patrokli Cathedral , 3)  Morgner House , 4) Location of the Old Palatinate , 5)  St. Petri Church , 6)  Town Hall with four Building parts from different centuries; lower left a corner of the great pond

Soest was first mentioned in 836 as villa Sosat on the occasion of the transfer of the remains of St. Vitus from St. Denis near Paris to Corvey . In fact, evidence of human settlement activity can be found in today's urban area since the Neolithic era : Settlement of the area southeast of the Patrokli Cathedral is already known for the so-called band ceramic period - around 5500 to 5000 BC. - has been proven. During archaeological excavations in the city center, an earthwork of the Michelsberg culture was discovered in the early 1990s . The stone box near the Hiddingsen district is also an important megalithic grave from the Stone Age . The sites of the Rössen culture near Deiringsen and Ruploh are of supraregional archaeological importance . Archaeologists from the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association also found traces of settlement from the time around the birth of Christ on the eastern outskirts (Soest-Gelmen). Excavations show a settlement on the Ardey from the Iron Age to the Merovingian Age . Archaeological finds at the Kohlbrink (today the C&A site) also show that people lived and extracted salt here by 600 AD at the latest. The Franconian cemetery on Lübecker Ring has been known since the middle of the 20th century, and its settlement affiliation is still unknown.

Like the cities of Dortmund , Unna , Werl and Erwitte , Soest belongs to an old chain of settlements, which is favored on the one hand by numerous springs north of the Ardey Mountains and Haarstrang , on the other hand by the old trade connection of the trunk road, which has been known as Hellweg since the Middle Ages . The fertile landscape of the Soest Börde, the relatively dry climate and the abundant water have always been favorable for a settlement. The brine springs in the neighborhood made salt production an important medieval branch of the city's economy. In addition to the salt, iron processing, as we have known for several decades, played an important role in Soest's rise to one of the most important industrial and, above all, trading cities, whose contacts reached as far as Novgorod (Naugarden) in today's Russia . The rise to the long-distance trading town was supported by the favorable location at the intersection of Hellweg (east-west axis) and a north-south road. The brine springs in the area are still used today, but not for salt production, but for the spa in neighboring Bad Sassendorf and for a show saline in Werl.

The “city map”, ie the historical settlement structure of Soest with the apparently irregular road network, was often interpreted as a model case of a primitive, unplanned “grown” city. The special, spider-web-like structure of the medieval city is explained less by the origin of a supposedly unregulated prehistoric age, but rather by the fact that supra-regional paths, various early medieval settlement cores and a central structure of Ottonian palatinate and surrounding markets later became a city whole within the medieval wall were united.

In the controversial and largely rejected theory of the Thidrek saga as a historical source , the early medieval Soest is the place where the Nibelungs perished.

Middle Ages and transition to modern times

View of the tower of St. Patrokli over the "Big Pond"
Half-timbered houses on the market: the historic house of the "Wild Man" with double gables. The original size of the figure "Wilder Mann" by Fritz Viegener, created in 1933, can be seen on the right side of the building.
Half-timbered and green sandstone in the old town, here at a passage between Markstrasse and Petrikirchplatz; View west towards Haverland bakery

A special feature is the old Soest city law , the first demonstrably recorded in Germany, handed down in the form of the old and new cowhide , as well as the old Schrae . Presumably, the Soest city law goes back to models from Lombardy that were mediated via Cologne . It was adopted by many cities in the area, such as Korbach . More important, however, was the long-range effect of Soest city law: the takeover by Lübeck , which was co-founded by Soest merchants, among others , meant that Soest city law, in a modified form, as Luebian law , radiated widely into the Baltic region.

As the German king, Wilhelm von Holland took Soest in his and the empire's special protection as early as 1252 and granted the city far-reaching trading privileges.

Soest was one of the most important Hanseatic cities in the Middle Ages and was a principal city in the Westphalian Hanseatic Quarter, alongside Dortmund , Münster and Osnabrück . The last local Hanseatic day for the cities assigned to Soest, including Lippstadt , Werl , Arnsberg , Attendorn , Brilon , Rüthen and Geseke , took place in 1604. The last time Soest was represented at a general Hanseatic convention in Lübeck was in 1608. Soest no longer took part on the last Hanseatic Day in 1669 of the Hanseatic League, which was in decline.

Like many other cities in the late Middle Ages, Soest also tried to enforce its independence from sovereignty , in this case the Archbishop of Cologne over the Duchy of Westphalia . As early as 1225, the inhabitants of Soest had forcibly defused the new archbishopric Palatinate . In order to maintain or expand its independence, the city submitted to the protection of Johann I, Duke of Kleve , who was a relative of the Burgundian ruling house and who guaranteed Soest extensive independence in the 15th century . The victory over the siege troops of the archbishop in the Soester feud (1444–1449) was, however, a Pyrrhic victory . Soest was now almost all around surrounded by foreign territory, and so the trading town lost power and influence in the period that followed and became more and more an agricultural town . Many of the mighty merchant houses from the city's heyday were now uninhabited and derelict. The many green sandstone walls in the old town, which often enclose surprisingly large gardens, arose from their stones.

Early modern age

De jure , Soest was more independent after the Soest feud than a free imperial city ; however, the loose connection to Kleve later brought with it the incorporation into the later Prussia, which was slowly expanding westward . After the death of Johann Wilhelm , the last Duke of Kleve, in 1609 Soest was given to the Brandenburgers as part of the Klevian inheritance . Soest's refusal to counter this was unsuccessful: With the capitulation in 1616, Soest was occupied for the first time as "hostile". The city, like other cities, suffered considerably from the Thirty Years' War . Soest experienced the lowest point of decline in terms of its population in 1756, when it only had about 3600 inhabitants. Prussian absolutism and, last but not least, the efforts of the Prussian state to obtain free access to able-bodied men led to the gradual abolition of the city's privileges: Soest lost the right to mint in 1742, and in 1751 the council constitution, which had existed for more than 490 years, was abolished (under Notice of manipulation in the inner-city elections). In Soest there was a Prussian regiment on foot , which received its replacement from the county of Mark .

In 1531 the city introduced the Reformation through Philipp Melanchthon . The numerous, art-historically significant medieval churches in the old town and the Börde are all Protestant , except for the St. Patrokli Cathedral as a former collegiate church . As a punishment for a Soest hunting crime in the Electorate of Cologne , the statue of the Madonna was transferred to Werl in 1661 by the Archbishop of Cologne from the Wiesenkirche (and thus the pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary, which had been inactive since the Reformation ) . Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make pilgrimages there every year and have made Werl the third largest pilgrimage site in Germany. In the wake of secularization at the beginning of the 19th century, the Paradiese and Welver nunneries in the Soester Börde were abolished in 1808 and 1809, followed by the St. Patrokli monastery in 1811, the St. Walburgis and the Dominikaner - (1812) and the Franciscan monastery (1814).

During the time of the witch hunts , at least 67 witch trials were carried out from 1570 to 1616 . With the witch trial against Anna Witthovedes began the most momentous chain trial of Soest from 1585–1586, the victims of which were largely male. On February 27, 2013, the city council of Soest announced that victims of the witch hunt would be rehabilitated.

During the Napoleonic period (1809) Soest also lost its Börde, after all approx. 20,000 hectares with 48 villages.


Although Soest was still one of the largest cities in Westphalia with around 5000 to 8000 inhabitants after Münster , Paderborn , Iserlohn and Minden at the beginning of the 19th century (In 1843 Soest with 8,750 inhabitants still had more than Dortmund with 7,650). Century largely the economic connection. The medieval building fabric was falling into disrepair; important architectural monuments, including three churches, parts of the medieval town hall and nine out of ten city gates, were laid down in the first half of the 19th century. Initially, neither the elevation to the district town in 1817 nor the railway connection in 1849 changed the economic deficit. The deficit was also noticeable in the sewer system. In 1897, as part of the construction of the sewer system, the Soestbach, which had been exposed until then, in the center of the city was lowered by approx. 1.50–1.80 m and partially contained in stone half-shells. In large areas it was optically removed from the cityscape by covers.

Villa Sternberg in Soest, Bruno Paul's best-preserved building in the city, both inside and out.

Only towards the end of the 19th century did the economic situation improve, when the freight yard created more and more jobs (around 2000 employees during the wedding) and a medium-sized industry in the food industry (sugar factory, Soest as the center of the fertile Börde) and iron processing developed. At the same time, Soest was still a tranquil provincial town at the beginning of the 20th century that had barely outgrown the city wall and, precisely because of its romantic character, became the center of Westphalian Expressionism . Three villas by the architect Bruno Paul from the 1920s are significant for modern architecture . The smallest of these villas ("Plange Villa") housed the district archive until 2011. In the 1930s there were unsuccessful efforts in Nazi circles to declare the medieval-looking Soest a national monument. In the Nazi period Soest bore the title "City of the German Middle Ages".

Roller “monument” at the old Ruthemeyer factory , today the site of the town hall

During the Second World War , Soest was repeatedly the target of Allied bombing raids , as it had one of the most important marshalling yards in the former German Reich (goods traffic from the Ruhr area to Saxony and Silesia ). In addition, there was an important war battery factory of the Accu Hagen company in the city center . Outside of the wedge-shaped main bomb field between the train station and the factory, however, the historic city center was largely preserved, although a total of 60% of the building stock was damaged and partially destroyed. The marshalling yard was rebuilt in a smaller but more modern form after the Second World War, but was later shut down and demolished.

After the Second World War, the area and population of the city grew considerably in a short time, when the largest closed settlement in Germany at the time for mainly Silesian refugees (mainly from the Glatz region ) was built in the south-east . For several decades the city was an important garrison location for first Canadian , then Belgian units (third largest location of the Belgian armed forces in Germany ). Numerous English soldiers' families from locations in the surrounding communities also lived in the city.

With two connections to Autobahn 44 , which was completed in the 1970s, and the establishment of the university (see below), the foundation was laid for Soest to present itself today as an economically prosperous city and a popular place to live for commuters to the eastern Ruhr area. In 1991, the excavation of the underground Soestbach broke out because there was an acute risk of collapse in some places. Due to the unfavorable budget situation, the necessary measures were postponed several times. A first renaturation finally succeeded in 1997/98 over a length of 170 m. In the following years, more pieces were uncovered. In 2010, the last and at the same time the largest part behind the Teichsmühle on Kolk, corner of Wiesenstraße, and on Loerbach, corner of Walburgerstraße, was tackled.

Historical structure

The historical structure of the city consisted of the actual city with its six so-called “ courtyards ” and the surrounding area, the “ Börde ”. With the territorial reform of 1969/1974, the communities Welver and Bad Sassendorf emerged from the individual communities of the Börde . Since July 1, 1969, the city of Soest has consisted of the core town and 18 districts , including the old church villages of Ostönnen and Meiningsen . The tiny community of Paradiese , whose former monastery was partially restored in recent years, was also incorporated. The Paradiese monastery is closely linked to the city's history and was immortalized in literary terms by Grimmelshausen's Simplicius Simplicissimus .

Soest specialties

The traditional specialties of Soest cuisine include Möppkenbrot and Pumpernickel . Whether the Pumpernickel was actually invented in Soest is debatable, because several cities in Westphalia, such as Rheine , are fighting over this honor . What is certain, however, is that the Haverland bakery in the city center, formerly royal. Bavarian purveyor to the court of black bread, can refer to a centuries-old operating tradition (since 1570). A new addition to the Soest specialties is the "bull's eye", a mocha liqueur that is mainly served at All Saints' Day . An ice cream parlor at the train station even offers the appropriate flavor. Another specialty is Soest beer, also called onion beer, which has been brewed in the Zwiebel brewery since 1993 . Above all, the beers Soester Hell, Dunkel and Weizen as well as the Soester Christmas goat brewed in during Advent should be mentioned here.


City council

In the elections to the city ​​council on May 25, 2014 the distribution of seats was as follows:

Party / group Seats (to 2009)
CDU 18 seats (−1)
SPD 13 seats (+2)
BG 3 seats (−2)
FDP 2 seats (−2)
Green 4 seats (± 0)
SO! 4 seats (+1)
left 2 seats (± 0)
Young Soest 2 seats (+2)
AfD 1 seat (+1)
Pirates 1 1 seat (+1)


1 The Councilor of the Pirate Party resigned from the party on September 20, 2015.

Results of the city council elections from 1975

Only parties and voter communities that received at least 1.95% of the votes in the respective election are listed in the list:

year CDU SPD Green 1 SO! BG JS FDP left AfD
1975 40.4 34.2 12.9 10.0
1979 43.5 36.9 9.9 06.7
1984 39.5 36.4 8.2 9.8 04.3
01989 2 33.4 38.4 8.1 12.8 04.5
1994 34.0 43.7 7.8 11.3 03.2
1999 47.0 30.6 6.0 15.1 02.6
2004 40.1 26.7 9.9 3.1 13.4 06.8
2009 39.7 23.0 9.0 6.2 09.6 09.1 3.4
2014 34.8 26.1 8.4 7.0 06.9 4.5 04.4 3.5 2.6


1 Greens: 1984 and 1989: Greens, from 1994: B'90 / Greens
2 1989: additionally: REP: 2.8%

Mayor before 1948

  • 1440–1441: Johann de Rode
  • 1444–1446: Johann de Rode, military leader of the Soest citizens in the Soest feud
  • 1448–1450: Johann de Rode
  • 1457–1486: Wilhelm Schaphusen the Elder (six times mayor)
  • 1553–1554: Andreas vom Dael
  • 1556–1557: Andreas vom Dael
  • In 1596 Andreas Klepping was mentioned (according to a document he was enfeoffed with the small court in Loerbrocks by Johann Wulff von Lüdinghausen, assessor of the court in Speier .)
  • 1605–1617: Goswin Merckelbach (four times mayor)
  • 1686–1687: Dietrich Jacobi
  • 1713–1718: Otto Gerhard Glotz, the baroque town hall was built during his tenure
  • 1732–1735: Johannes Arnold Schwackenberg
  • 1744–1746: Johann Friedrich (von) Offerhaus
  • 1750–1752: Johann Friedrich (von) Offerhaus, last governing mayor according to the old city constitution
  • 1837–1857: Heinrich Schulenburg
  • 1858–1890: Otto Coester
  • 1924–1933: Friedrich Kleim

Mayor since 1948

coat of arms

Blazon : "In silver a stake-wise, right-facing, upright red key, whose beard is broken through in a certain way by cross-shaped incisions."


In the first white third of the flag - counted from the pole - the vertical red key of the city coat of arms. The remaining two thirds are divided seven times white over red.

Town twinning

Soest maintains city ​​partnerships with:

There are friendly relations with Riga in Latvia and with the French community of Saint-Parres-aux-Tertres . In addition, Soest is a member of the New Hanseatic League of Cities .

Culture, religion and sights

The Teichsmühle in Soest

City fortifications

The old city wall, built around 1180, is still three-quarters with its wall of 2.5 kilometers, a quarter was sacrificed to the railway tracks from 1890. However, the remaining part is only the so-called inner wall, as the outer part was demolished in 1586 for military tactical reasons. The inner Osthofentor , which today houses one of the city's museums, is the only one of the ten city gates that were formerly ten (eight main gates and two side gates) . The tree-planted ramparts and the park-like “ moat ” in front are completely accessible and ideal for a walk, for example to the Kattenturm .

Also noteworthy is the so-called “Big Pond”, which does not freeze over due to several salty springs.

Profane buildings in the old town

Haus zur Rose, also known as Freiligrathhaus ; on the left the house where Wilhelm Morgner was born

Soest city center is largely a listed building , with a total of over 600 buildings. Some of the old houses on the many narrow streets, often framed by green sandstone walls, are only a few meters wide, and in many older half-timbered houses the room height is also well below two meters, so that today, as part of renovations, one has in some cases switched to lifting entire houses in order to have high ceilings at least on the ground floor. Soest was apparently not always a half-timbered town, if one can believe old representations. Only in the period of economic decline, i.e. from the 15th century, was stone construction replaced by cheaper half-timbered construction. The wood required for this was available cheaply, as the Archbishop of Trier and administrator of Cologne Kuno II von Falkenstein had given the city extensive wood rights in the Arnsberg Forest in the late 14th century , which had existed for over 400 years. A specialty of Soest are the many gardens in the city center.

Of the many listed buildings, the following are particularly noteworthy:

  • the " Burghof " with the city history Burghofmuseum and the Romanesque House,
  • the baroque town hall ,
  • the "Haus zur Rose" or "Freiligrath House", named after the poet Ferdinand Freiligrath ,
  • the " Pilgrim House ", the oldest inn in Westphalia, a former pilgrimage hostel of the Jacob pilgrims ,
  • the double-gabled half-timbered house "Zum wilden Mann".

Medieval churches

St. Patrokli Cathedral

From the former 10 large churches and 28 chapels in the old town, an art-historical heritage has been preserved. All of these churches are built from local green sandstone , as is extracted in Anröchte . Six of the churches are hall churches .

  • The Church of St. Petri ("Alde Kerke") was founded around 780 and is probably the oldest church to be founded in Westphalia . The Romanesque parts of the current building were built from 1150. From 1230 it was converted into a hall church with large galleries. The church used to be connected to the first Palatinate (later so-called “ Hohes Hospital (Soest) ”), the remains of which can still be seen in the vicinity of the tower (“Wittekindsmauer”). After bomb damage in World War II , the church was rebuilt in the 1950s and is now one of the places of worship for the Protestant St. Petri Pauli Congregation.
  • The neighboring St. Patrokli Cathedral is less than 10 meters from the Petrikirche. The Catholic Today's Provost church was 954 as a collegiate founded. The basilica is considered the "epitome of Romanesque in Westphalia". The tower and the westwork, on the upper floor of which is the cathedral museum, appear particularly monumental.
  • The two-aisled Nikolaikapelle is located in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, southeast of the sanctuary.
  • The Wiesenkirche , more precisely St. Maria zur Wiese , dates from the 14th century. It is considered one of the most beautiful Gothic hall churches in Germany. Your congregation merged with that of the now no longer existing St. George Church .
  • The so-called “Hohnekirche” ( St. Maria zur Höhe ) was built in its present form from 1180 and is one of the oldest hall churches in Westphalia. Its medieval interior decorations, some of which were probably made by Greek or Byzantine artists, and a disc cross, as is otherwise only found on Gotland , point to the city's extensive trade relations in the Middle Ages.
  • The St. Pauli Church was first mentioned in 1229. The original Romanesque church was converted into a Gothic hall church from around 1350. In 1972, the St. Pauli congregation merged with that of Sankt Petri.
  • Alt-St. Thomä was probably created in connection with the formerly neighboring (second) Episcopal Palatinate and has belonged to the Reformed community since 1890. Outwardly, your "leaning" tower helmet is noticeable. The church interior is not open for tours. The walls of the three-aisled hall are unplastered and the floor has no smooth covering. In the choir area of ​​the church there is one of the probably oldest Gothic framed windows in Germany, also visible from the wall.
  • The church of Neu St. Thomae of the medieval Franciscan monastery was built as a Gothic hall church from 1259 .
  • The Brunstein Chapel originally dates from the 12th century and was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 14th century. From 1552 to 1890 it was the church of the Reformed community. In 1662 the vault collapsed and was replaced by a wooden ceiling. Since 2004 the cultural monument no longer serves religious purposes.

The churches that have been demolished include St. George's Church (demolished in 1823), the Dominican Church of the Holy Cross (demolished in 1820) and the Walburgis Church (demolished in 1879) as well as numerous chapels. Some of the furnishings are now in other churches in Soest and the surrounding area.

Modern churches

  • The Catholic parish church Heilig Kreuz was built in the 1960s according to designs by Rudolf Schwarz , one of the most important church architects of the post-war period.

Denomination statistics

According to the 2011 census , 37.9% of the population were Protestant , 37.1% Roman Catholic and 25.0% were non-denominational , belonged to another religious community or did not provide any information. The number of Catholics, and especially Protestants, has fallen since then. Of the inhabitants of the city of Soest on June 30, 2017, 17,248 (35.2%) were Roman Catholic , 17,188 (35.1%) were Protestant , and 14,544 (29.7%) belonged to another or no religious community.

Historical art treasures in and from Soest

Glocken Soest has the second largest historical bell in Germany after Bamberg . The Patroklidom is particularly outstanding, with 11 of the 34 bells in its tower.

Organs Numerous old churches in Soest have important organs. An art and music history specialty of international standing is the organ in St. Andreas zu Ostönnen , one of the oldest recordable organs in the world.

Paintings, graphics, glass art

Heinrich Aldegrever: Self-Portrait 1537
Wilhelm Morgner: Entry of Christ into Jerusalem


Well-known German touring theaters regularly perform in the town hall. In addition, concerts, musicals, operas, operettas, children's theater and ballet events take place here.

The largest English-language touring theater in Europe is located in Soest, the White Horse Theater , which primarily pursues educational approaches.

The Alter Schlachthof cultural center , which is located on the listed site of the former municipal slaughterhouse opposite the town hall, hosts concerts, cabaret, readings, sports and trade fairs. The associated cinema shows a daily film arts program.

Regular events

Allerheiligenkirmes: Ferris wheel in the middle of Soest's old town; View east towards Vreithof, the three facades on the right hand side belong to the town hall
The seesaw at the Great Pond in Soest
  • Philipps Dinner : One of the oldest events of its kind is the Philipps Dinner, which the city council holds every year with officially invited guests in the historic castle courtyard.
  • Bürgererschützenfest: The Bürgererschützenfest is always on the first Saturday after Midsummer (June 24th). It is organized by the Bürger-Schützen-Verein zu Soest, which has its origins in the late Middle Ages. The prelude is traditionally the " seesaw into the pond ", in which two well-known Soest citizens and a rifle brother are "rocked" into the pond. On Friday evening the big tattoo will be performed in the town hall; on the Schützen-Saturday there will be a speech at the market and then the big parade in front of the town hall; on Sunday morning the commander gives a reception for the new royal couple with guests of honor and rifle brothers in the castle courtyard museum.
  • Bördetag (city festival): The Bördetag in May or June is the big city festival in Soest. In addition to Sunday shopping and the flea market, there is a rich entertainment program with music and a show. Every year, the Bördekönigin is appointed on Bördetag, who, together with the mayor, represents the city at social and tourist events.
  • Dance into May: Traditionally, every year on April 30th, a dance into May takes place in the city center , to which all citizens are invited.
  • Pub Festival: Since 2001, live performances have been held in over 25 bars every March.
  • Campus Summernight: In July, at the start of the semester break, the Campus Summernight takes place, at which the university graduates are officially bid farewell.
  • Career Day Soest of the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences: Regularly in spring, at the start of the summer semester, representatives of numerous companies gather on the Soest campus (2011: around 120) and offer information to the graduates of the University of Applied Sciences, but also to all other interested parties and the many guests , Internships, theses and jobs. Federal and state ministers and representatives as well as the VDI President support this major recruiting event for the engineering sector.
  • All Saints 'Fair : In November 2012 the All Saints' Fair took place for the 675th time. It is the largest old town fair in Europe (entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest inner city fair in Europe) and runs through large parts of the medieval town center. The All Saints 'Fair always begins on the first Wednesday after All Saints' Day and lasts a total of five days. Every year at the All Saints' Fair, the Soest hunter is named as a symbol for the city. The hunter of Soest is the main character in the Simplicissimus novel by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen , published in 1669 , which is set in the Thirty Years War. An alienated Landsknecht, who is supposed to symbolize the hunter of Soest, advertises annually on the advertising posters for the All Saints' Fair. Jägerken and Bördekönigin mostly represent the city of Soest together at city festivals in and outside of Soest.
  • Soest Christmas Market: The Soest Christmas Market takes place every year in the Soest city center. The market organized by Soest Economic Development takes place on the northern Petrikirchhof, on Rathausstrasse and now also on Soest market square. It usually begins on the Monday after the Sunday of the Dead and lasts until a few days before Christmas. The Soest Christmas market is enjoying increasing popularity, so that it has replaced the Bördetag as the second largest Soest event.
Panorama picture from the All Saints Fair 2010



Soest is a center of strength sports. The AC Soest is a multiple German weightlifting champion and has produced a number of important weightlifters and other strength athletes in recent years. At the end of the 1980s, Soest hosted the world championship in powerlifting . The wrestling league Westside Xtreme Wrestling also took place in Soest.

In Soest is the destination of the largest New Year's Eve run in Germany. The New Year's Eve run from Werl to Soest , whose 15-kilometer route takes you along the former federal highway 1 , attracts over 8,000 runners every year.

The TuS Jahn Soest association had a strong women's table tennis team in the 1980s . She played in the 2nd Bundesliga since the 1979/80 season and in 1984 made it to the 1st BL. In 1990 the team became German runner-up. Well-known players were Jin-Sook Cords , Katja Nolten , Ilka Böhning , Brigitte and Nicole Dekein , Éva Ferenczi , Olawunmi Majekodunmi.





Since the end of the Westfalenpost on July 1, 2009, Soest has only had one daily newspaper with local reporting: the Soester Anzeiger , which had an outstanding market share in previous years (88.10% according to IVW 2006). The free advertising paper Stadt-Anzeiger is distributed to all households on Wednesdays and Saturdays . It is created by the “Special Topics” editorial team at Soester Anzeiger.

The city magazines Soestmagazin and SoSo as well as the local health journal iovado appear monthly . The free lifestyle magazine PUR is also published quarterly .


The local radio for the Soest district is called Hellweg Radio , based on Schloitweg in Soest. The transmission frequency for the Soest area is 100.9 MHz.

watch TV

Soest belongs to the editorial area of ​​the Siegen studio of WDR television. The local time Südwestfalen reports on the region. In addition, the show Punkt 12 was often parodied in the comedy show Switch reloaded , and the parodied version reported a lot about the city of Soest.


Soest is the seat of Bübchen-Werk Ewald Hermes GmbH, a subsidiary of Nestlé that produces child care products under the Bübchen brand .

The Kuchenmeister company , which has its main operation in the industrial area southeast and also operates a logistics center in the former sugar factory in the northwest of the city, is the world market leader in the industrial production of tree cakes and Christmas stollen.

There are also locations of Alcoa , Hasbro and Honsel . The largest employer in Soest is the computer wholesaler ALSO Actebis , which is based in Soest. ALSO Actebis sells products, solutions and services in information technology, telecommunications and consumer electronics.


The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has set up the central state office for educational services in Soest with the quality and support agency - State Institute for Schools (QUA-LiS NRW). The QUA-LiS NRW supports the schools in their education and training mandate, advises and supports the Ministry of Schools and Education (MSB) and promotes further training for the common good in NRW. In addition, the QUA-LiS NRW sees itself as a forum and hub for technical, interdisciplinary and specialist political discourses on school education and further training aimed at the common good. Conference rooms for groups of 5 to 200 people, a cafeteria and a guest house allow seminars and conferences lasting several days to be held.

In Soest there is a campus of the University of Applied Sciences ( Fachhochschule Südwestfalen ) with the three departments of agriculture , electrical power engineering and mechanical engineering and automation technology (formerly: University / Comprehensive University of Paderborn - Soest department). For international courses there is a cooperation with the Soester department “Westphalia” of the “Swiss German University of Jakarta”. The campus arose from the conversion, i.e. the redesign and in part also the redesign of a former barracks area of ​​the Belgian armed forces previously stationed in Soest . A department of the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia was dissolved in August 2000.

The educational landscape includes three grammar schools (the Aldegrever grammar school , the Archigymnasium and the Conrad von Soest grammar school ), two secondary schools (the Christian Rohlfs secondary school and the Hansa secondary school ), the reform-oriented Hannah Arendt comprehensive school, a Waldorf school as well as two vocational colleges (the Börde vocational college for the Soest district and the Hubertus Schwartz vocational college for economics and administration in the Soest district). The Archigymnasium is the oldest humanistic grammar school in Westphalia.

City library in Soest

There are eight primary schools in the city, each with at least one group for the open all-day area. The public community schools are Astrid-Lindgren-Grundschule, Georg-Grundschule, Hellweg-Grundschule, Johannes-Grundschule, Petri-Grundschule and Wiese-Grundschule. This offer is supplemented by the two catholic confessional primary schools Bruno primary school and Patrokli primary school.

There is also a vocational college for blind and visually impaired children, adolescents and young adults, the vocational training center and the von Vincke school (LWL special school , special focus on vision) in Soest.

Soest has a city ​​library and a nationally important city archive, plus the district archive of the Soest district. Another important part of the Soest archives is the Islam Archive Germany , largely shaped by Mohammed Salim Abdullah .



The old trading routes, to which Soest owes its former importance, are still there today: The old Hellweg from the Hanseatic era , which Charlemagne built as a west-east connection from Aachen to Paderborn , later became Reichsstrasse 1, and from 1949 Bundesstrasse 1 . Coming from the Ruhr area , it mostly runs in a straight line towards the church towers of Soest and also continues towards Paderborn. In 1972 (western section) and 1975 (eastern section) the Autobahn 44 took over long-distance traffic in the east-west direction. It runs parallel to the former B 1 south of the city and connects the Ruhr area in the west and Kassel in the east; near Soest are the junctions “Soest” on the B 229 and “Soest-Ost” on the B 475. In 2014/15, the B 1 in the Soest area was downgraded to a state road (L 856, L 969).

The old north-south connection is now roughly the B 475 into the Münsterland , which has been routed past Soest for several years, and the B 229 , which begins in the south of Soest, into the Sauerland .


The station building in Soest in its current form after the renovation completed in 2010

Today's Soest station is the only remaining train stop in the city. This is where the double-track and electrified railway lines Hamm – Warburg and Dortmund – Soest meet. The station is served by a few ICE and IC trains, one RE line and two RB lines.

Wall painting near the Jakobitor in Soest as a reminder of the small train that once operated here

Other railway lines have now been completely shut down and some have been converted into cycle paths . The standard gauge Möhnetalbahn of the Westfälische Landes-Eisenbahn (WLE) once connected Soest to the southeast with the Möhne valley, Belecke , Rüthen and the district town of Brilon . In addition, the AG Ruhr-Lippe-Eisenbahnen (RLE) operated meter- gauge small railroad connections from Soest to the north-west via Oestinghausen , Heintrop and Uentrop to Hamm with a branch to Hovestadt and in a south-west direction via Ostönnen , Niederense and Neheim-Hüsten to Arnsberg . The former stops of these branch lines in the city area (including Soest-Thomätor of the WLE and Soest-Jakobitor of the RLE) are barely recognizable today. A mural on the house at Westenhellweg 4 is reminiscent of the nickname of the “ Pengel Anton ” small train that once operated here .

The freight yard in Soest has now also been completely shut down and the last industrial sidings have been dismantled.

Local public transport

The regional transport Ruhr-Lippe GmbH operates several bus lines with a depot on site. On the one hand, there are regional bus routes with an "R" in front of the route number, which connect the city center and the suburbs with the surrounding communities. On the other hand, a city ​​bus network typical for medium- sized cities with the line designations C1 – C8 is operated in Soest . All city bus routes are radially oriented towards the city center, starting with line C1 in the southeast and ascending clockwise to line C7 in the east. (Only line C8, which serves the north-west of the city, is excluded from this system.) The central meeting point for all bus lines with a consistent rendezvous principle is the “Bustreff Hansaplatz” stop in the old town. The train station, located in the north-west of the old town, is also served by a large number of city bus routes. All city bus routes have a maximum cycle time of either 30 or 60 minutes and serve the core city and the incorporated localities. Individual city lines also take on a regional function and connect surrounding communities, including a. Möhnesee .

Soest is in the area of ​​the Westphalian tariff (WT).


Picture gallery

Cityscape and secular buildings



Newer literature

  • Michael Brocke: The Jewish cemetery in Soest and Gerhard Köhn: The Jewish community of Soest - its members from 1700 until the expulsion and murder in the Third Reich. Soest 1993, ISBN 3-87902-040-X .
  • Wilfried Ehbrecht, Mechthild Siekmann, Thomas Tippach (arrangement): Soest (= Historical Atlas of Westphalian Cities, Vol. 7). Ardey, Münster 2016, ISBN 978-3-87023-382-2 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: The Thirty Years War in town and country - for example in Soest / Westphalia and in the Soest Börde. Soest 1998.
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soest in old pictures. 1. 1870–1920 (The cityscape). Soest 1979, ISBN 3-87902-208-9 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soest in old pictures. 2. The Soesters in the German Empire and in the Weimar Republic. Soest 1986, ISBN 3-87902-209-7 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soest in old pictures. 3. The car conquers a city. Soest 1987, ISBN 3-87902-210-0 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soest in old pictures. 4. 1919–1939, part 1. Soest 2003, ISBN 3-87902-213-5 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soest in old pictures. 4. 1919–1939, Part 2 (Soest under National Socialism). Soest 2006, ISBN 3-87902-214-3 .
  • Gerhard Köhn: Soester city stories. Soest 1985.
  • Gerhard Köhn: History of fire fighting in Soest. Soest 1997, ISBN 3-87902-703-X .
  • Gerhard Köhn (Ed.): Soest. City - territory - empire. Festschrift for the 100th anniversary of the Society for History and Homeland Care Soest with contributions to the history of the city, the state and the Hanseatic League. Soest 1981, ISBN 3-87902-031-0 .
  • Gerhard Köhn (Ed.): Bombs on Soest. Soest 1994, ISBN 3-87902-041-8 .
  • Gerhard Köhn (Hrsg.): Soest in the story. A calendar from 5500 BC. Until 1996 with extensive literature list. Soest 1997, ISBN 3-87902-605-X .
  • Marga Koske: History of the incorporated districts of Soest. In: Soester Zeitschrift, 112, 2000, pp. 23-78.
  • Walter Melzer: Everyday life in a Westphalian Hanseatic city. Urban archeology in Soest. Soest 1995, ISBN 3-87902-300-X .
  • Hubertus Michels: Urban house building on the middle Hellweg. The development of residential buildings in Soest from 1150 to 1700. Münster 1998, ISBN 3-89325-539-7 .
  • Daniel Peters: The early medieval cemetery of Soest. Studies on society in border areas and epochal changes. Publications of the Antiquities Commission for Westphalia, Volume XIX. Münster 2010, ISBN 978-3-402-15006-1 .
  • Joachim Poeschke: The Soester Antependium: facts, questions, research perspectives. In: The Soester Antependium and the early medieval panel painting. Art-technical and art-historical contributions. Edited by Joachim Poeschke, Hermann Arnhold, Manfred Luchterhandt and Hans Portsteffen, Münster 2005, pp. 11–36.
  • Michael Römling: Soest - history of a city. Tertulla-Verlag, Soest 2005, ISBN 3-9810710-0-X .
  • Hans Weller: The self-government in the Soest district 1817–1974. A contribution to the history of supra-community self-government. Paderborn 1987 (with detailed information on the reorganization of Soest).
  • Norbert Wex (ed.): Soester show places. Recall historical places. Soest 2006, ISBN 3-87902-049-3 .
  • Soest. History of the city. 1. The way into the urban Middle Ages. Topography, domination, society. Soest 2010, ISBN 978-3-87902-042-3 .
  • Soest. History of the city. 2. The world of the citizens - politics, society and culture in the late medieval Soest. Soest 1996, ISBN 3-87902-043-4 .
  • Soest. History of the city. 3. Between civic pride and princely state. Soest in the early modern period. Soest 1995, ISBN 3-87902-044-2 . (Volumes 4 (19th century) and 5 (20th century) are being prepared.)
  • Periodicals / series on Soest history:
    • Soester contributions to archeology. Most recently Volume 7, Soest 2007, ISBN 3-87902-306-9 .
    • Soest magazine. Most recently issue 121 (2009), ISSN  0176-3946 .

More literature is here to find.

Web links

Commons : Soest  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Soest  - travel guide
Wiktionary: Soest  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Soest  - sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Population of the municipalities of North Rhine-Westphalia on December 31, 2019 - update of the population based on the census of May 9, 2011. State Office for Information and Technology North Rhine-Westphalia (IT.NRW), accessed on June 17, 2020 .  ( Help on this )
  2. Recommendation of the Standing Committee for Geographical Names (StAGN) of September 17, 1999 - to adapt the spelling of toponyms to the reformed rules
  3. ^ Michael Flöer, Claudia Maria Korsmeier: The place names of the Soest district (=  Westphalian Place Name Book (WOB), Volume 1). Publishing house for regional history, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-89534-791-7 , pp. 411-417 ( digitized version ).
  4. ^ Michael Flöer, Claudia Maria Korsmeier: The place names of the Soest district (=  Westphalian Place Name Book (WOB), Volume 1). Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-89534-791-7 , pp. 411–417, here pp. 411–412. In the name table of the article on Soest, information about the tradition is given. Here in the Wikipedia article only occupied forms with a referenced year of mention are mentioned. From the grammatical derivations, e.g. B. -iensis , simultaneous basic forms can be reconstructed on -ia, -ium , e.g. B. Sosatia, Sosatium.
  5. Basic geographic information according to the information sheet (PDF)
  6. The previous information on the area and population development in the course of the municipal regional reform according to Marga Koske: History of the incorporated Soest districts . In: Soester Zeitschrift , 112, 2000, pp. 23–78, here p. 24.
  7. a b Statistics - Info from the City of Soest, February 2010 edition (PDF file; 76 kB)
  8. ^ Hubertus Schwartz : The street names of the city of Soest, as of April 1, 1966. Soest 1966, p. 8.
  9. The so-called “Dagobertsche Donation” (after Dagobert I (623–638)), which was relocated to the 7th century, has been considered a forgery of the 12th century for decades; the reference to Dagobert and the fabulous six original farms around the pond come from a historical interpretation of the document in question by Friedrich Wilhelm Barthold in the 19th century. See reply from Rothert to OF Timmermann p. 89 in Georg Niemeier , Hermann Rothert : The city map of Soest , in: Westfälische Zeitschrift 103/104, 1954, pp. 30–92 ( PDF ). Nonetheless, the traces of settlement in today's city (i.e. not any independent predecessor settlements) go back to the Merovingian era.
  10. Walter Melzer: New excavations with finds on medieval trade and craft in Soest. In: Soest - Geschichte der Stadt, Vol. 2. Soest 1996, pp. 437–458, here: p. 437.
  11. ^ Daniel Peters: The early medieval burial ground of Soest. Studies on society in border areas and epochal changes. Publications of the Antiquities Commission for Westphalia, Volume XIX. Munster 2010.
  12. ^ Quote from Hermann Rothert: "It should be mentioned (...) that the name Hellweg in Westphalia can only be documented relatively late. In 1280 the curtis in Selehorst ( Selhorst Kr. Wiedenbrück ) is called quae appellatur Helewech (WUB III 1116), in 1291 bona de Helewech (Helfshof in Stalleiken near Wattenscheid (?) WUB VII 2206) appear. The Hellweg in the city of Soest comes first before 1304 in vico qui dicitur Helewech apud portam beati Jacobi, furthermore in 1338 apud stratam regiam que Heleweg vocatur apud vulgus (Soester Zschr. 44/45 p. 66). ” In: Georg Niemeier, Hermann Rothert : The city map of Soest. In: Westfälische Zeitschrift 103/104, 1954, pp. 30–92, here p. 88 ( PDF ).
  13. Already mentioned by Georg Niemeier, Hermann Rothert: The city map of Soest. In: Westfälische Zeitschrift 103/104, 1954, pp. 30–92, here p. 30 ( PDF ).
  14. ^ Hubertus Schwartz: The street names of the city of Soest, as of April 1, 1966. Soest 1966, p. 62.
  15. ^ Wilhelm Heinrich Neuser : Evangelical Church History of Westphalia in the ground plan . Luther-Verlag, Bielefeld 2002, ISBN 3-7858-0443-1 , p. 60ff.
  16. List of names of the victims of the Soest witch trials (PDF file; 65 kB)
  17. ^ Council of the City of Soest rehabilitates victims of the witch hunt on February 27, 2013 (PDF; 104 kB), accessed on May 14, 2016.
  18. Martin Bünermann: The communities of the first reorganization program in North Rhine-Westphalia . Deutscher Gemeindeverlag, Cologne 1970, p. 92 .
  20. Pirate no more
  21. Directories of the results of the local elections for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (LDS NRW) from 1975 to 2009
  22. Election results 1999  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 5.62 MB)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  23. 2004 election results  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 6.70 MB)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  24. Election results 2009  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF file; 3.34 MB)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  25. 2014 election results
  26. ^ Albert Ludorff : The architectural and art monuments of the Soest district (=  The architectural and art monuments of Westphalia , Volume 16). Schöningh, Münster / Paderborn 1905, p. 88.
  27. City of Soest: List of monuments accessed on April 13, 2014
  28. Braun and Hogenberg's cityscape, which is certainly only partially historically authentic, shows stone gables as the predominant element in the early modern period; this is also supported by old buildings such as the Romanesque house in the courtyard and partial stone construction, especially in the oldest secular buildings, cf. Daelscher Hof u. Ä.
  29. ^ Hubertus Schwartz: The street names of the city of Soest, as of April 1, 1966. Soest 1966, p. 38.
  30. ^ Rolf Dieter Kohl: On the history of the Soester chapels, in particular the St. Barbara chapel on the Hellweg . In: Soester Zeitschrift, Heft 85, Soest 1973, pp. 48–54, here p. 49.
  31. ^ Soest Religion , 2011 census
  32. Religious affiliation of the Soest population (main residence) on June 30, 2017 (PDF; accessed on February 23, 2020)
  33. Bördetag and Bördekönigin , accessed on August 21, 2009
  36. DTS magazine , 1984/6 p. 32.
  39. Quality and Support Agency - State Institute for Schools
  40. See entry in the Fabian manual on the history and holdings of the Soest City Archives