from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the city of Unkel
Map of Germany, location of the city of Unkel highlighted

Coordinates: 50 ° 36 '  N , 7 ° 13'  E

Basic data
State : Rhineland-Palatinate
County : Neuwied
Association municipality : Uncle
Height : 58 m above sea level NHN
Area : 8.16 km 2
Residents: 5004 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 613 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 53572
Area code : 02224
License plate : NO
Community key : 07 1 38 073
City structure: 3 districts
Association administration address: Linzer Strasse 4
53572 Unkel
Website : www.unkel-kulturstadt.de
City Mayor : Gerhard Hausen ( SPD )
Location of the town of Unkel in the Neuwied district
Neuwied Buchholz (Westerwald) Asbach (Westerwald) Windhagen Neustadt (Wied) Rheinbreitbach Unkel Bruchhausen (Landkreis Neuwied) Erpel Vettelschoß Linz am Rhein Kasbach-Ohlenberg Ockenfels Sankt Katharinen (Landkreis Neuwied) Dattenberg Leubsdorf (am Rhein) Bad Hönningen Rheinbrohl Hammerstein (am Rhein) Leutesdorf Isenburg (Westerwald) Kleinmaischeid Großmaischeid Stebach Marienhausen Dierdorf Oberdreis Woldert Rodenbach bei Puderbach Ratzert Niederwambach Steimel Döttesfeld Puderbach Dürrholz Hanroth Raubach Harschbach Niederhofen Dernbach (Landkreis Neuwied) Urbach (Westerwald) Linkenbach Breitscheid (Westerwald) Waldbreitbach Roßbach (Wied) Hausen (Wied) Datzeroth Niederbreitbach Hümmerich Oberhonnefeld-Gierend Oberraden Straßenhaus Kurtscheid Bonefeld Ehlscheid Rengsdorf Melsbach Hardert Anhausen Rüscheid Thalhausen Meinborn Nordrhein-Westfalen Landkreis Altenkirchen (Westerwald) Landkreis Ahrweiler Landkreis Mayen-Koblenz Koblenz Marienhausen Westerwaldkreismap
About this picture
Unkel, aerial photo (2016)

Unkel is a town in the Neuwied district in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate and the administrative seat of the association of the same name . The city is located about 20 kilometers south of Bonn on the Lower Middle Rhine and is part of the Rhine-Westerwald Nature Park .

It is known both for its reputation as a red wine town and as the residence of many well-known personalities such as Willy Brandt , Stefan Andres , Ferdinand Freiligrath , Leonhard Reinirkens or Annette von Droste-Hülshoff .


Land use
use Area in ha
Residential and traffic areas 198
Agricultural area 105
Forest area 441
Water surface 57
Other areas 14th

Unkel is located on the eastern bank of the Rhine , about five kilometers south (upstream) of the city of Bad Honnef and north (downstream) of the city of Linz am Rhein . The Unkelbach district of the city of Remagen is located in a side valley on the other side of the Rhine . The city belongs to the outer catchment area of the federal city of Bonn .

In terms of natural space , the southern section of the Unkel valley area with the old town can still be assigned to the one kilometer wide Linz-Hönninger valley widening , while the Honnef valley widening begins to the north . A central portion of the communal territory extends at Bruchhausen on the spacious Linzer terraces , the area northeast of it lying, uninhabited is a 300-500 m wide strip and part of the south to the Seven Mountains subsequent Rheinwesterwald Volcanic Ridge . Here the urban area with the Asberg ( 430.2  m above sea  level ) reaches its highest point, the lowest point is on the banks of the Rhine. The valley of the Hähnerbach leads down from Bruchhausen to Unkel .


On the Stux (142 m), a prominent hill on the slope of the Rhine Valley above the city center, faults in the sedimentary rock are visible. In the Rhine at the height of Unkel, but already on the left half of Remagen, there are the Unkelsteine , a basalt outcrop and, in earlier times, dangerous shoals for shipping. The rock formations of Unkel also caught the attention of Alexander von Humboldt . Humboldt visited Unkel on his trip with the Dutch physician Steven Jan van Geuns in autumn 1789 and with Georg Forster in March 1790. In the same year he published his observations, based on his commitment to so-called Neptunism at the time , i.e. H. the theory of the origin of rocks as sediments from water, in his first book ( Mineralogical observations on some basalts on the Rhine ).

City structure and neighboring communities

The urban area is divided into the city center and the two districts Scheuren and Heister , which are north and south-east of the B 42 . Unkel also includes the Gut Hohenunkel and Gut Haanhof residential areas (both on the Rhine terrace near Bruchhausen) as well as Vilzelt Castle and Stuxhöhe.

Unkel borders - clockwise from the north - on Rheinbreitbach , Windhagen , Erpel , Bruchhausen and Remagen .


The Rhine promenade at high tide
The Unkeler Rhine promenade

Like many places on the Rhine, Unkel is more often affected by floods . Since the old town center is on a hill, major damage rarely occurs in the inner city. As soon as the water level in Koblenz rises above 8.40 m, the Rhine takes its original course. It leaves its river bed at Erpel, flows through the fields and the edge of the Heister district and returns to the main stream north of Unkel. Such floods occurred in 1784 , 1845, 1920, 1926, 1947, 1955, 1970, 1983, 1988, 1993 and 1995. One of these floods threatened Heister in 1926. At the dam that led to Vilzelt Castle , the Rhine water flowing behind Erpel dammed up and threatened to flood Heister. The only way to avoid a disaster was to pierce the dam. After the flood, the dam was replaced by the flood bridge, which is now in urgent need of renovation. As the financing of such a renovation could not yet be clarified by the affected communities, a demolition was also discussed.


The city is located in the temperate climate zone . The average annual temperature is 9.4  ° C , the average annual rainfall 701 mm.

The warmest months are June to August with an average of 17.9–16.8 ° C and the coldest December to February with an average of 2.3–3.2 ° C.

Most of the precipitation falls from June to August with an average of 72–70 mm, the lowest from February to April with an average of 40–53 mm.


The Rhine to the south

The name Unkel probably comes from Latin ( uncus = bow, hook) or from Franconian ( angel = bow, curvature). Since the Rhine makes a wide curve at Unkel, the entire area to the right and left of the Rhine curve was initially called uncus . The neighboring settlements of Unkel and Unkelbach were later given the same name.

Franconian grave goods from the 7th century, which were discovered in Unkel in 1900 and 1923, prove that Unkel was settled as early as 600 AD. The first documentary mention as oncale in the Golden Book of Prüm Abbey took place on February 26, 886. In 943 Unkel was mentioned for the last time as a Prüm property.

Cologne period (1000–1803)

Attack on Unkel 1583, by Frans Hogenberg, 16th century
Unkelly prison tower

In the middle of the 11th century, Unkel became the property of the Cologne church. The Archbishop of Cologne Anno II (1056-1075) signed a treaty with the former Queen of Poland , Richeza , according to which Unkel would be in her possession for life. After her death in 1063, Unkel returned to the Cologne church. Archbishop Anno II then gave Unkel to the newly established Maria ad Gradus Abbey in Cologne, which it remained in until 1803. The donation was officially confirmed in 1075. The monastery was very important for the development of the city.

Since the places in the area were directed for the Cologne Archbishop and Elector Ruprecht and against the Landgrave Hermann von Hessen , Unkel was captured by imperial troops on January 13, 1475. Archbishop Ruprecht was transferred to Westphalia and Hermann von Hessen was the new Archbishop of Cologne.

As a result of the Cologne collegiate feud , various cities on the Rhine merged in 1475 under the leadership of the city of Linz to form Linzer Eintracht . In 1535 these belonged to Linz am Rhein , Remagen , Unkel, Erpel , Honnef (now Bad Honnef), Königswinter and many other cities in the area. In 1597 Leutesdorf, Ober- and Niederhammerstein, (Rhine) Brohl and Hönningen joined. The content of the Linz Agreement included providing mutual assistance if a location belonging to the alliance was attacked, mutual reimbursement of the costs incurred through attacks and mutual recognition of court judgments . According to the documents, Linzer Eintracht existed until 1640 and was soon forgotten afterwards.

Unkel received its city ​​fortifications in 1553. The Rhine side received the strongest wall , it was protected by the prison tower and the tower of the Fronhof. Both towers are no longer preserved in the original; the tower of the Fronhof was completely rebuilt in 1803 in the neo -Gothic style, the prison tower was given a new roof in the baroque style around 1700 . A fortress consisting of walls and a moat led through the city center, the moat was fed by the Hähnerbach (then Ursbach ). Access to the city was protected by two city gates and several Rhine gates. The city gates were preserved until the 19th century, but were demolished and auctioned in 1823 because they hindered through traffic. The city wall on the Rhine in the area of ​​the church and in the street “Am Graben” (moat wall) has been largely preserved and was renovated in 1802. The trench itself was filled in and built as a road.

In 1578 Unkel was first included in the list of cities in the Electorate of Cologne. A formal granting of the city ​​rights never took place, therefore this date is regarded as Unkel becoming a city. As a city, Unkel was also a member of the Cologne State Parliament , to which it sent a representative.

In 1583 Unkel was affected by the Cologne War , but survived it without major damage. In the Thirty Years' War Unkel was badly damaged, especially by a Swedish attack in 1633. Also, there were many in Unkel Einquartierungs - and Kontributionskosten . However, a lease discount requested for this was refused.

Nassau period (1803-1815)

View of Unkel in 1805

The Principality of Nassau-Usingen had some linksrheinische possessions of France lost and should follow the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 27 April 1803 as compensation, the right bank Electorate of Cologne received possessions. However, the Nassau prince had already taken possession of these areas in September 1802. Under the Nassau rule, from 1806 to the Duchy of Nassau , the rights of Unkel's citizens were very limited, so Unkel's jurisdiction was withdrawn, the estates were abolished and the marriage license was only allowed to be granted by the Linz Oberamt .

Prussian period (1815-1948)

After Napoleon's expulsion , the Rhineland was assigned to the Kingdom of Prussia on July 9, 1815 , according to the treaties concluded at the Congress of Vienna . The predominantly Catholic area was initially hostile to Protestant Prussia. Unkel lost its town charter and became the seat of a mayor's office . It belonged from 1816 to the district Linz in the administrative district of Coblenz at the district Linz but already in 1822 with the county Neuwied together. After taking stock of the economy, Prussia recommended that the vineyards be converted into grain fields. The Unkeler were initially suspicious of this advice, but then followed the recommendations. Due to its romantic location, Unkel attracted many noble families , poets and writers from Cologne .

On October 21, 1923, the Rhenish Republic was proclaimed in Aachen . The goal of the Free and Independent Republic of the Rhineland was to create an empire bordering France, which was to be independent of the German Empire. The first separatists entered Unkel on November 12, 1923. They set up their headquarters in the town hall and searched the whole building for usable items. The separatists posted guards and imposed a curfew after 7:00 p.m. Some youths actively resisted, but were caught and suffered severe abuse. Shortly afterwards the people of the Rhineland organized a resistance. It came to the defensive battle in the Siebengebirge , in which the separatists were completely defeated.

First World War (1914-1918)

The Christinenstift is now a retirement home

In Unkel, as in many other German cities, the First World War was initially greeted with patriotic enthusiasm . The reservists took the train to where they were presented. A Landwehr company was set up in Unkel to monitor the railway, the train station, the railway underpass, the mayor's office and the post and telegraph stations. The Christinenstift was converted into a hospital for possible wounded. Because many men had gone to war, there was soon a shortage of workers to work the fields and vineyards . Therefore, old men and women had to work in the fields, school attendance was canceled so that the children could also help.

Later in the war, Russian prisoners of war from the prisoner-of-war camp in Wahn were also used to work in the fields in Unkel. Since the hoped-for quick victory failed to materialize and the food supply deteriorated, the Unkel population was increasingly skeptical of the war; per person there was only 150 grams of meat per week and 375 grams of potatoes a day. Since food was very scarce overall, many Unkel residents could only survive by growing vegetables in their gardens. Schoolchildren in the upper grades could use part of the school garden to grow vegetables. The proceeds were left to them.

Because many men were involved in the war, women and older girls had to work in factories, for example in the fur factory in Unkel or the powder factory in Troisdorf . For the many workers, special trains were used from Linz to Troisdorf, which were colloquially referred to as powder trains.

In order to help the children who were threatened with neglect due to the previously unusual occupation of their mothers , Pastor Schwamborn founded an association in 1916 that provided them with hot meals and firewood.

War bonds were drawn up to finance the war . With several house collections in Unkel, a total of 126,000 marks came together. The bonds were never repaid.

Period of National Socialism and World War II (1933–1945)

"A German Soldier", grave near Unkel, 1945
Memorial plaque in memory of the destroyed synagogue

In 1930 a local branch of the NSDAP was founded in Unkel , which had seven members before Hitler came to power . In 1933 there were already 50. After the takeover of power, the mayor Unkels was dismissed because he did not want to submit to National Socialism . All city council members who did not sympathize with the new rulers were also dismissed. From 1937, processions were banned. Caritas was only allowed to collect money in the church and not on the street. A particular annoyance was that the propaganda paper Der Stürmer was hanging out near the school. The Unkel synagogue , which had been vacant for decades , was set on fire by two Unkelers on November 10, 1938 during the November pogroms and burned down completely. The arsonists were tried in 1949, but they were acquitted. Pastor Joseph Vaassen was summoned several times for his dissident sermons to the Gestapo in Koblenz. His house was also searched, but he got away with a reprimand.

The first bombs fell on Unkel on December 11, 1941, but more in sparsely populated areas. The church bells were melted down in 1942 and used for the armaments industry. In the autumn of 1944, the elementary school was closed due to constant bombing raids. When the imminent end of National Socialist rule became apparent, all secret files of the Unkel Office were burned on March 7th. After the Americans crossed the Rhine on March 7, 1945 in Erpel-Remagen, parts of the 99th US Infantry Division arrived in Unkel on March 8, 1945. In Unkel itself there was hardly any resistance, but some members of the Wehrmacht had holed up in the Scheuren district. A young soldier tried to stop an American tank with a bazooka, but was killed instantly. The Americans set up a command post in Unkel.

post war period

After the unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, many German soldiers were taken prisoner. At Remagen one was POW camp built. Unkel, which had been without electricity since the beginning of March , received the light again on July 9th. Life slowly returned to normal, the main problem now was ensuring adequate nutrition. The food rationed with ration cards alone was not enough for survival. So many Unkeler were forced to exchange jewelry and other valuables as substitute currency for eggs, butter and bacon from the farmers, since the Reichsmark was practically worthless.

On July 22, 1945, the school cross , which was banned during the National Socialist era , was put up again with great sympathy from the population . After the Americans withdrew at the end of July, French troops moved into Unkel. The school in Unkel reopened on October 12th. It had been little damaged, but there was only furniture for two classes, so classes had to take place in shifts. Especially in the first two winters after the war there was a shortage of firewood and food.

From September 21, 1948, the school children in Unkel received a school meal made possible by American donations. Every day around 100 liters of soup were made for the schoolchildren in Christinenstift and given to them.

After Bonn was chosen as the provisional German capital , Unkel developed into a popular place to live just outside Bonn and almost doubled its population. In 1949/50, the so-called Landeshaus was located in the former Villa Henkel north of the old town of Unkel , which temporarily housed some state representatives . Even after the move of the Bundestag and parts of the federal government , it benefits from the favorable economic situation in the region. A new building area in the south of the city creates additional living space for this.


Like the rest of the Rhineland, Unkel is Catholic . Around 55% of the population are today Catholic and 15% Protestant . 18% of the people living in Unkel belong to another or no denomination; around 8% are Muslims . The proportion of foreigners is 10.29%. The age structure of the Unkel population is distributed as follows: 22.5% are under 20 years old, 51.1% between 20 and 59 years and those over 60 are 26.3%.

Population development

In the early modern period , Unkel only had a few hundred inhabitants. The population grew only slowly and fell again and again due to the numerous wars, epidemics and famine. Only with the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century did population growth accelerate. While only 900 people lived in the city in 1790, in 1921 it was already 1531.

By May 27, 1970, the population rose to 3,200. On June 30, 2005, the " official population " for Unkel was 5003 (only main residences ) according to an update by the State Statistical Office of Rhineland-Palatinate . The following overview shows the number of inhabitants according to the respective territorial status. These are census results or official updates from the State Statistical Office. From 1871, the information relates to the “local population”, from 1925 to the resident population and since 1987 to the “population at the location of the main residence”. Before 1871, the number of inhabitants was determined according to inconsistent survey procedures.

year Residents
1815 923
1835 1,083
1871 1,153
1905 1,371
1939 2,020
1950 2,695
year Residents
1961 2,869
1965 3,106
1970 3.152
1975 3,312
1980 3,737
1985 4,024
year Residents
1990 4,350
1995 4,724
2000 5,042
2005 4,999
2010 4,945
2011 4,960
Population development of Unkel am Rhein


City council

The city ​​council in Unkel consists of 22 council members, who were elected in a personalized proportional representation in the local elections on May 26, 2019 , and the honorary city ​​mayor as chairman.

The distribution of seats in the city council:

choice CDU SPD GREEN FWG total
2019 7th 8th 4th 3 22 seats
2014 9 9 2 2 22 seats
2009 9 9 2 2 22 seats
2004 10 9 1 0 20 seats
  • FWG = Free Voting Group Unkel e. V.


Gerhard Hausen (SPD) (* 1952) has been the mayor since 2004; he was last re-elected for a further five years in the direct election on May 26, 2019 with a share of the vote of 61.63%.

coat of arms

Unkel coat of arms
Blazon : “Divided by silver and red; above a continuous black polished bar cross ; below two diagonally crossed golden keys with turned away beards and with quatrefoil bridges , accompanied by four silver hexagons. "
Justification of the coat of arms: The Unkel coat of arms goes back to the seal of the 16th century. The coat of arms can be seen most clearly on the seal from 1744. The black cross on a white background shows that it belonged to Kurköln until 1803. The two keys represent the attributes of St. Peter , the patron saint of the Cologne church. The four hexagonal points denote the Unkelsteine in the Rhine, basalt rocks that were once dangerous for shipping. One of the oldest representations of the coat of arms can be found on the old jury jugs from 1750, a simplified version is shown on the pump in Pützgasse. It was not until the 19th century that the coat of arms got its present form.

City partnership and "International Friendship Ring"

Unkel has had a town partnership with Kamen in the Ruhr area ( North Rhine-Westphalia ) since 1980 . This was renewed in 2005 through a partnership agreement. Kamen runs an international friendship ring, in which Unkel is also involved. It includes the cities of Beeskow (Brandenburg), Sulecin (Poland), Eilat (Israel) and Bandirma (Turkey), as well as the municipality of Montreuil-Juigné (France). There is also a partnership with the Argentine city of Ushuaia .


The historic old town, enclosed by the city wall, forms an ensemble and has been declared a cultural asset that is protected by the Hague Convention and must not be destroyed in the event of war. This is documented on site by appropriate signs.

Willy Brandt Forum

An exhibition room in the Willy Brandt Forum
Unkel, Willy Brandt's house (2015)

The "Willy Brandt Forum" in Unkel commemorates the former German SPD politician, Federal Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Willy Brandt . He lived in Unkel from 1979 until his death in 1992. The contemporary history museum is run by a non-profit community foundation . The focus of the exhibition is on Willy Brandt's private study from his home in Unkel and the portrait of Georg Meistermann, which was intended for the Chancellor Gallery in Bonn.

The Willy Brandt Forum was opened on March 20, 2011. Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González and Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate Kurt Beck spoke at the opening ceremony .

Architectural monuments

St. Pantaleon
→ See also the list of cultural monuments in Unkel

The most important architectural monument is the Freiligrathhaus on the Rhine promenade , a baroque aristocratic palace from 1760, in whose mansard floor the poet Ferdinand Freiligrath lived from 1839 to 1841. The richly equipped, Catholic parish church of St. Pantaleon with a baroque high altar has a Romanesque tower and three parallel gable roofs, which give it a charming sight. It houses a wooden reliquary with tempera pictures depicting the life of St. Pantaleon . In addition, large parts of the city wall have been preserved, as have the two corner towers, albeit with later modifications. Ludwig van Beethoven is said to have spent one night in the prison tower, for which there is no evidence. Since 1986 there has been a museum in this tower, which is open to visitors on request. In Vogtsgasse is the Vogtshaus, the so-called Sternenburg , a unique patrician house from the 16th century with a rich interior. Opposite was the so-called Bachem House , the foundations of which were made of layered columnar basalt that also went back to at least the 16th century. With its vaulted cellars providing sufficient space, this three-winged complex is one of the few surviving examples of a winegrower's farm from the 17th / 18th centuries. Century. However, the Bachem house was demolished in spring 2008 as part of the expansion of the Rheinhotel Schulz.

The Scheurener Chapel St. Joseph , also known as Scheurener Dom , is located on Scheurener Dorfplatz . It was first mentioned in a document in 1552, but it was probably built around 1500. In 1583 it was set on fire during the Cologne War and remained unused for about 100 years. The chapel was only rebuilt between 1680 and 1683. Only the original choir parts were preserved, the other walls were rebuilt and a gallery was created. In 1986 the chapel was renovated again .

Rhine promenade

The Rhine promenade below the St. Pantaleon Church

The construction of the Rhine promenade stretched over many years with an enormous financial outlay for the city. From old views you can see that the bank of the Rhine in Unkel was very flat. There were numerous sandbanks in front of the bank . A similar shape of the banks of the Rhine can still be found today in the area between the prison tower and the canoe home. With each flood part of the bank was removed, to which the steamships in particular contributed with their waves . During the flood of 1845, the city wall collapsed directly in front of the church. After the wall had been repaired by the parish, the political community tried to achieve better fortification of the banks of the Rhine; however, the Rhine Province refused the corresponding applications. It was not until 1859 that the Prussian Hydraulic Engineering Inspection submitted a cost proposal. 7500 thalers were estimated for the banks of the Rhine from the Fronhof to the tower. Since Unkel was heavily in debt because of the construction of a new school, the sum could not be raised. Finally, in 1866, the Rhine construction administration agreed to assume the cost of bank reinforcement when the water level was normal (up to twelve feet ). The citizens of Unkel would have preferred a higher wall of up to 20 feet, but as the city's financial resources were very limited at that time and a renewed collapse of the wall could not be ruled out, it was decided to accept the proposal. The cost of raising the sea wall in 1867 was borne entirely by the Rhine Province. In 1870 the promenade from the tower to Kirchgasse was increased to 20 feet, the remaining part of the Rhine promenade was increased in 1873. The cost of the renovations (2500 thalers) were raised from the proceeds from the sale of the Unkel forest. After the promenade was completed, an avenue of linden trees was laid out .


Tourism in Unkel began in the 19th century. Above all English people visited Unkel, among other things because of the proximity to the Siebengebirge. When Unkel could be reached with the railway line on the right bank of the Rhine from 1870, there was an expansion of tourism . Another increase in tourism took place in 1883 when Unkel received a landing stage for steamships . Therefore, a health resort and tourist association was founded in 1881, which built new hiking trails and expanded old ones , beautified the Rhine promenade and provided effective advertising . In 1927 a modern lido was built where you could swim in the Rhine. In the 1930s, tourism was further increased with the construction of a second jetty for motor boats, and it was not until the Second World War that tourism fell abruptly. As a result, many restaurants and hotels had to close, which is driving the vacancy rate in the city center even further.

Unkel had hardly suffered any damage in the Second World War, but tourism was not possible because hotels were confiscated by the occupying forces or occupied by refugees from the east. From 1948 tourism slowly began to rise again, many hotels , inns and guest houses were reopened. The choice of Bonn as the federal capital had a positive effect on tourism in Unkel. The "Haus Henkel" was set up as an inn for the federal government , and many conferences were held there. Since the villa was no longer used later, it was demolished in 1960 and replaced by a bungalow . In the meantime the well-known Hotel Schulz has taken over the place of the former country house. After the ship Westmark , which was sunk in front of the landing stage in 1945, was lifted, ships docked again in Unkel since 1950. When tourism continued to decline in the 1980s, the city tried to make the city more attractive to tourists with a new gym , swimming pool , tennis facility and sports facility. The relocation of the parking spaces out of the city center and the renovation of the old town streets served the same purpose. Despite all efforts, tourism continues to decline into the 21st century. By including it in the Rheinsteig long-distance hiking trail from Bonn to Wiesbaden , new impulses have been set since 2006.

Art and music

The Unkeler Kantorei under its conductor Marc Unkel stands out through regular concerts of sacred music . The Carl Loewe Music Days are also held annually in memory of Carl Loewe's family. The Carl Loewes family settled in Unkel after his death. UnkelerKreativ is of particular importance . It is an annual exhibition in October with works by regional recreational artists. In connection with the Unkel wine and homeland festival, the idea of art in Unkeler Höfe was very well received.


Wine and local festival in the old town of Unkel (2010)
  • Rhine in Flames : on the 1st Saturday in May. Large fireworks and boat tour from Linz along the Rhine along Erpel , Unkel, Remagen , Rheinbreitbach , Rhine island Nonnenwerth near Bad Honnef , Bad Godesberg , Königswinter to Bonn's Rheinaue near Bonn .
  • Wine and local festival : on the first Sunday in September; at the same time as the event "Art in Unkeler Höfen".
  • Unkeler Kirmes: the folk festival takes place on the weekend after July 27th (name festival of St. Pantaleon) and is organized by the bachelor and civic association.
  • Park festival in the district of Heister: It takes place on the second weekend in August.
  • Swimming in the Rhine in August: On the 3rd Sunday in August, the Canoe Club Unkel's Rhine swimming takes place.
  • Heisterer fair in January
  • Scheurener Kirmes : The fair is in Scheuren every year on the first weekend in July.
Rhine panorama in northern Unkel

Economy and Infrastructure

The Unkel industrial park with the Vorteil-Center and the Vorteil-Baucenter (2007)

The city is part of the outer " bacon belt " of Bonn and is just under 15 kilometers from the federal district, which is a focus of work with the local federal ministries and authorities , United Nations organizations and two DAX companies .

In the Unkel industrial park there is a shopping center with food discounters, an event hall, a hardware store and many other shops. There are also other grocery stores and restaurants in the historic inner city, which was renovated in the 1990s and not destroyed in the Second World War. However, as in most of the smaller communities, the retail sector has problems there because of the shopping centers located in the region.

The company Haus Rabenhorst has its headquarters in Unkel and produces its fruit juices here. Another large company based in Unkel is Bluhm Systeme GmbH, a system provider for labeling, coding and RFID . The Federation of Energy Consumers , which was founded in 1987 and represents the interests of private consumers in energy supply, has had its federal office in Unkel since 2007 .

On December 31, 2005, the city of Unkel was in debt with 4.2 million euros, which corresponds to a debt of 842 euros per inhabitant.


Streets in Unkel

In the days of the Electorate of Cologne, the main road at that time, the Heerweg, passed Unkel. Their course corresponded roughly to today's railway line . Several dirt roads led to the streets that are now called Bruchhausener Strasse, Freiligrathstrasse and Schulstrasse. The fastest connection to Scheuren was the Kirchweg (today Alter Kirchweg ), which was interrupted in 1870 by the newly built railroad tracks. The main connection to Erpel was the Pfortenweg (today Linzer Straße ) and the Heisterer Feld. The Hohe Weg and the Lach ran parallel to this.

When Unkel fell to Prussia in 1815, the road was passed through Unkel in 1823 by order of the authorities at the time. For almost a hundred years the road situation was not changed. It was not until 1913 that the road was changed after the two railway underpasses had been built, the country road was routed past the station and returned to the old route via the Siebengebirgsstraße.

As the car traffic continued to increase, the passage through Unkel became more and more difficult and an attempt was made to solve the problem via a bypass. Two variants were discussed in 1932: a large bypass through the vineyards, where the B42 is today, and a small bypass from Bruchhausener Straße to Fritz-Henkel-Straße. The city council decided in favor of the major bypass, which was implemented a little later, in 1933. From 2008 to 2011, the main road in the Unkel area was significantly changed when a junction free of intersections was built at the level of the Scheuren district. In connection with the measure, two bridge structures were built that replaced the previously existing traffic lights and underpasses. In addition, the road was lowered.

Trunk roads

Unkel is connected to the northern ( Bad Honnef , Königswinter , Bonn ) and southern cities ( Linz , Bad Hönningen , Neuwied ) via the B 42 . Via L 252 is reached via Bruchhausen and Bad Honnef district Aegidienberg the junction Bad Honnef / Linz of A 3 . The connection to the A3 is also possible via Bad Honnefer Schmelztalstraße (L 144) or via Linz (L 253).


2 regional express
trains meet shortly before the Unkel train station

The RE 8 (Rhein-Erft-Express) and the RB 27 (Rhein-Erft-Bahn) on the right-hand Rhine route to Mönchengladbach and Koblenz depart from Unkel train station at rush hour every 30 minutes . The train in the direction of Mönchengladbach stops u. a. in Bad Honnef (Rhine) , Königswinter , Bonn - Beuel and Cologne , the RE 8 line also stops at Cologne / Bonn Airport train station . The train to the south stops u. a. at the stations Linz (Rhine) , Bad Hönningen, Rheinbrohl and Neuwied.

Public transport

Unkel belongs to the transport association Rhein-Sieg and the transport association Rhein-Mosel .

Line 565 runs from Linz train station to the Bad Honnef Stadtbahn terminus of line 66 and thus connects Unkel with the Bonn light rail network . There are bus stops on the route in Rheinbreitbach , Unkel-Scheuren, Unkel-Stadtmitte, Unkel-Heister, Erpel and Kasbach .

Line 134 leads to the nearby Bruchhausen and Orsberg , while line 133 creates connections with Rheinbreitbach and its district of Breite Heide.


Unkel is located on the Middle Rhine section (variant on the right bank of the Rhine) of the Rhine Cycle Route . The route to the north, which is easy to drive and is frequently used by tourists, leads along the Rhine to Bad Honnef , Königswinter and Bonn . In a southerly direction, wider paths lead only to Erpel , the further path is often narrower and is a little further away from the Rhine. In the further course it is easy to drive and signposted to Neuwied .


The Rhine ferry from Unkel to Remagen - Birgel was first mentioned in 1110. The ferry first belonged to the Maria ad Gradus monastery and later became the property of the organ fund . The ferry became famous for the organ work "Unkeler Fahr" by Tilo Medek , who was living in Unkel at the time. The crossing took place with the ferry boat, a long boat to which a sail could also be attached. The ferry was also used to bring people to the excursion boats, as Unkel temporarily did not have a landing stage for steamboats.

In 1906 it was decided to replace the barge with a motorboat ferry. The ferry was bought by two Unkelern and supported by the city council with 250 marks annually. During the First World War, the ferry service had to be carried out again by rowing boat, as no person with a skipper's license could be found. In 1920 the motorized ferry service was resumed. In 1926, another motor ferry Maria went into operation after another motorboat landing bridge had been built on the banks of the Rhine. In addition to ferry traffic, excursions were also carried out with the two boats. In 1935 the third boat Hansa was purchased. Operations continued during World War II, and in 1945 the boats were also used to transport the wounded for American soldiers. In 1948 the boat Maria was sunk by the Linz Rhine ferry while on an excursion . Because of the good business, the city ​​of Unkel was purchased as a new boat in 1962 . The ferry traffic slackened later, and from 1976 the ferry was only operated part-time with the new St. Nikolaus ship , as the old one no longer met the requirements. In 1999 the company was finally stopped and St. Nikolaus was sold to Mainz.

Today there are still three landing stages for excursion traffic. The Köln-Düsseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt and the Bonner Personen Schiffahrt operate here regularly in summer.


Stefan Andres Realschule Plus

Unkel has a primary school and a secondary school plus . Of the 774 students who go to school in Unkel, 40% attend the primary school Am Sonnenberg , 10% the secondary school branch of the Stefan-Andres Realschule plus and the remaining 50% the secondary school branch of this school.


Vineyards and fields near Unkel-Heister

The first mention of viticulture in Unkel is handed down for the year 886, so viticulture was already practiced here in Franconian times. In the Middle Ages , the Unkel vineyards were owned by clergy and noble people, the main landlord was the monastery "Maria ad Gradus". Over the centuries, locals also received property as the ownership structure changed dramatically. Under the Prussian government in 1815, all of the ground-level vineyards were converted into grain fields because, according to Prussian opinion, too little grain was grown in Unkel . This resulted in a sharp reduction in the area under cultivation.

In 1871 the Pelzfabrik Profitlich and the Betonwarenfabrik Schwenzow created around 100 new jobs in Unkel . Many winemakers took advantage of this situation and ended their insecure winemaking careers . Furthermore, thanks to the newly built railway line, they could also find work in the surrounding villages. In 1875 the area under vines in Unkel was around 200 hectares .

At the end of the 19th century, the winemakers' turnover was significantly reduced due to the increased occurrence of vine pests and the difficulties in selling red wine due to cheaper foreign competition.

While many winegrowers were now changing their occupations, around 60 winegrowers joined together to form a winegrowing community and on September 8, 1895 founded the "Unkeler Winzerverein". This merger made it possible to create more rational working conditions . But even the winegrowers' association could only delay the decline of viticulture, but not prevent it. The 20th century started well for viticulture. The year 1905 brought a full autumn with an above-average quantity. But then from 1906 to 1915 a series of bad harvests began due to the massive occurrence of vine pests. As a result, many vineyards were abandoned.

In 1928 only around 50 hectares of vineyards were used in the mayor's office in Unkel, a few years later it was only 40 hectares. Since viticulture was strongly promoted during the Nazi era, it experienced a brief boom. New grapevines were planted on approximately 10 hectares in the Unkel office . In 1935 the cultivated vineyard area was again around 50 hectares. The Second World War and the period afterwards brought an enormous reduction in the vineyard area. In 1969 the Unkeler Winzerverein was closed. It was only at the beginning of the 1990s that some enthusiasts, some of them as a sideline, revived viticulture and expanded the planted areas. In particular, the Unkeler Sonnenberg terroir with its terraces that have not been refurbished should be emphasized, which produces popular and especially regionally sold wines such as Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Blauer Portugieser, as well as Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.

House Rabenhorst

The "Rotbäckchen" juice of the Haus Rabenhorst company, originally founded in 1805 by Pastor Johann-Heinrich Lauffs in Oberwinter as a winery, also comes from Unkel . His grandson and successor as company manager, Alexander Lauffs, began to sell grape grapes as "non-alcoholic wine" towards the end of the 19th century , which he was allowed to do after a trial in 1910 at the royal district court in Neuwied . The company, headed for a long time by the descendant of the company's founder and honorary citizen Günther Lauffs (1901–1990), has had its headquarters in Unkel for more than a hundred years, today it produces fruit juices and also offers guided tours on request.


The Freiligrathhaus in Unkel
  • Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876), poet of the revolution of 1848, lived in Unkel from 1839 to 1841 and began his literary work there. The Freiligrathhaus still stands on the banks of the Rhine today.
  • Fritz Henkel (1875–1930), son of Friedrich Karl Henkel (1848–1930), founder of the Henkel Group , had his summer residence in Unkel; This Wilhelminian style villa was demolished in the 1960s. The manufacturer was very active in the city. He donated the sports field that still exists today and donated a motor pump and a fire truck to the fire brigade. In 1905 he financed the Fritz-Henkel-Park, which still exists today, with historic trees and an orangery from 1914, in which cultural events and civic festivals are held in the 21st century. In the north of the city near the Rhine there is a Fritz-Henkel-Straße , on which, among other things, the church of the Evangelical Trinitatis parish is located. Fritz Henkel died on January 4, 1930 in Unkel.
  • Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967) found refuge in the Pax-Heim next to the Freiligrathhaus in Unkel after his expulsion from the administrative district of Cologne from September 1935 to the summer of 1936 during the time of National Socialist rule . The Unkel Rhine promenade between the Marian column and the prison tower is named after him.
  • Hans Vogts (1883–1972), architect and preservationist.
  • Rudolf Wulfertange (1884–1974), writer and friend of Stefan Andres, lived with his wife, the actress Ilse von Werner, in the Fronhof in Unkel.
  • Hans Frentz (ps. Hans Frentz-Sudermann) (1884–1975), military, writer, publicist
  • Grete Fluss (1892–1964), singer, humorist and actress in Cologne dialect. Lived in Unkel from 1962 until her death.
  • Josef Arens (1901–1979), painter and graphic artist. Also created many books and portfolios , u. a. "Guide through Gelsenkirchen", "The Hunt" and "German Industry". Was born on April 4, 1901 in Oedingen in the Sauerland . Was a student of Wolfgang Zeller in Munich . From 1924 studies in France, Holland, Italy, Greece, the Middle East, North Africa and America. He recorded the collected impressions in numerous oil paintings . 1931 co-founder of the Gelsenkirchen artist settlement " Halfmannshof ", where he lived until 1943. After that he lived in Unkel until his death. First in the “Henkel Haus”, then in the “ Freiligrathhaus ” and from 1964 in a studio building in the “Seeches” district. As a souvenir, the “Josef-Arens-Stein” on the banks of the Rhine is dedicated to him.
  • Stefan Andres (1906–1970), writer, lived in Unkel from 1950 to 1961. He wrote some of his most important works in Unkel, such as “The Boy in the Well”, “The Journey to Portiunkula” and the novel “We are Utopia”. The Stefan-Andres-Platz and the Stefan-Andres-Realschule plus remind of him.
  • Willy Brandt (1913–1992) lived in Unkel from 1979 to 1992. Many well-known politicians came to Unkel through him, such as Helmut Kohl and Michail Gorbatschow . Today the market square (formerly Unterer Markt ) is dedicated to Brandt ; The Willy Brandt Forum has also been open since 2011 .
  • Leonhard Reinirkens (1924–2008), writer, author and reciter. Honorary citizen of Unkel.
  • Tilo Medek (1940–2006), German composer and music publisher, lived in Unkel from 1980 to 1985 and wrote the work “Unkeler Fahr” there, which is one of his most famous organ works.
  • Horst Philipp Schneider (* 1962), classical philologist and Byzantinist, was born in Unkel
  • Stephan Fahrig (1968–2017), rower and doctorate in sports science; born in Unkel
  • Ethel Matala de Mazza (* 1968), Germanist and professor for modern German literature at the Humboldt University in Berlin, member of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade; born in Unkel



Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. State Statistical Office of Rhineland-Palatinate - population status 2019, districts, communities, association communities ( help on this ).
  2. Alexander von Humboldt: Mineralogical observations on some basalts on the Rhine. With preliminary, absent-minded remarks on the basalt of the ancient and modern writers. School bookshop, Braunschweig, 1790, digitized: http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/resolve/display/bsb10282964.html
  3. State Statistical Office Rhineland-Palatinate (ed.): Official directory of the municipalities and parts of the municipality. Status: January 2019 [ Version 2020 is available. ] . S. 52 (PDF; 3 MB).
  4. a b Rudolf Vollmer: Unkel am Rhein - Chronik einer Stadt Önel-Verlag, Unkel 1995
  5. ^ The Regional Returning Officer Rhineland-Palatinate: Local elections 2019, city and municipal council elections
  6. ^ The State Returning Officer Rhineland-Palatinate: Local elections 2019 - individual results
  7. Kulturring Bad Honnef ( Memento of the original from March 5, 2016 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. (September 13, 2010) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.kulturring-badhonnef.de
  8. Carl Loewe Music Days 2010 (September 13, 2010)
  9. Unkeler creative
  10. Unkel, City of Culture - arrival. Retrieved April 4, 2018 .
  11. Middle Rhine wine guide online
  12. ^ History of the Unkel volunteer fire brigade ( Memento from December 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  13. ^ Information board at the PAX rest home , Wikimedia Commons
  14. Kürschner's German Literature Calendar in the Google Book Search
  15. ^ Entry on Frentz, Hans / 1884–1975 in the Rhineland-Palatinate personal database , accessed on May 2, 2020 .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on January 27, 2007 .