Wels (city)

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Statutory city
coat of arms Austria map
Wels coat of arms
Wels (city) (Austria)
Wels (city)
Basic data
Country: Austria
State : Upper Austria
Political District : Statutory city
License plate : WE
Surface: 45.88 km²
Coordinates : 48 ° 9 '  N , 14 ° 2'  E Coordinates: 48 ° 9 '27 "  N , 14 ° 1' 36"  E
Height : 317  m above sea level A.
Residents : 62,470 (January 1, 2020)
Postcodes : 4600, 4601, 4603, 4604, 4605, 4606
Area code : 07242
Community code : 4 03 01
Address of the
municipal administration:
Stadtplatz 1
4600 Wels
Website: www.wels.gv.at
Mayor : Andreas Rabl ( FPÖ )
Municipal Council : (2015)
(36 members)
16 10 6th 
A total of 36 seats
Location of Wels
Bezirk Braunau am Inn Bezirk Eferding Bezirk Freistadt Bezirk Gmunden Bezirk Grieskirchen Bezirk Kirchdorf Linz Bezirk Linz-Land Bezirk Perg Bezirk Ried im Innkreis Bezirk Rohrbach Bezirk Schärding Steyr Bezirk Steyr-Land Bezirk Urfahr-Umgebung Bezirk Vöcklabruck Wels (Stadt) Bezirk Wels-LandLocation of the district of Wels (city) in the federal state of Upper Austria (clickable map)
About this picture
Template: Infobox municipality in Austria / maintenance / site plan image map
The Ledererturm - landmark of the city
The Ledererturm - landmark of the city
Source: Municipal data from Statistics Austria

Wels is a city in Upper Austria .

With 62,470 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2020), Wels is the second largest city in the federal state of Upper Austria after the state capital Linz and ranks eighth on the list of cities in Austria .

In terms of administrative law, the municipality of Wels is one of three Upper Austrian cities with its own statute ( statutory city ) and thus performs the tasks of the district administration itself. In addition, here sitting Bezirkshauptmannschaft Wels-Land and the district and regional court Wels .

The city experienced two heydays during Roman times and the Middle Ages . Wels acquired its current economic importance as a trade fair and industrial city and as a transport hub.


Aerial view of catfish

Wels is located in the middle of the Wels-Land district on the left bank of the Traun (Danube) flowing to the northeast in the Hausruckviertel at 317  m above sea level. A. , measured in the center at the parish church. The extension is from north to south 9.5 km, from west to east 9.6 km.

The Mühlbach and the Grünbach flow through the city . The Mühlbach is artificially branched off from the Traun and flows into it again in Linz. The Grünbach rises near Bachmanning and flows into a quarry pond in the Stadlhof district near Marchtrenk .

The total area of ​​the city is divided as follows:

Since the city lies in the area of ​​the Welser Heide , a flat landscape made fertile by centuries of streak fertilization , a lot of the area is used for agriculture today.

Neighboring communities

Krenglbach Buchkirchen Buchkirchen
Gunskirchen Neighboring communities Marchtrenk
Stone house Thalheim near Wels Schleissheim

The border between Wels and Thalheim bei Wels is formed by the Traun.

City structure

Wels is divided into the six districts: Inner city and clockwise from SW to NE: Lichtenegg , Vogelweide , Neustadt , Pernau and Puchberg .

Independently of this, Wels is also divided into six cadastral communities : Lichtenegg , Obereisenfeld, Pernau , Puchberg , Untereisenfeld and Wels.

The municipality includes the following 37 localities (population in brackets as of January 1, 2020):

Urban area of ​​Wels
  • Aichberg (154)
  • Au (20)
  • Mountain (196)
  • Bernardin (4451)
  • Brandln (3007)
  • Dickerldorf (969)
  • Double trench (23)
  • Even (36)
  • Grabenhof (26)
  • Grilzgraben (18)
  • Haidl (2032)
  • Hochpoint (1553)
  • Höllwiesen (125)
  • Wooden (76)
  • Kirchham (53)
  • Laahen (5238)
  • Lichtenegg (6277)
  • Mitterlaab (82)
  • Niederthan (720)
  • Noham (118)
  • Oberhaid (5131)
  • Oberhart (1053)
  • Oberlaab (37)
  • Oberthan (217)
  • Pernau (985)
  • Puchberg (98)
  • Roithen (156)
  • Rosenau (467)
  • Sheep meadows (2159)
  • Stadlhof (424)
  • Trausenegg (115)
  • Untereisenfeld (1042)
  • Unterleithen (307)
  • Waidhausen (195)
  • Catfish (17,058)
  • Wimpassing (5874)
  • Wispl (1978)

There are also unofficial names for settlement areas or parts of Wels, such as Noitzmühle, a settlement consisting largely of high-rise buildings, the garden city or Maxlhaid, a small settlement on the outskirts of the city.

Since 1942, 4 hectares of land on Reinberg including the Marienwarte from 1892 in the municipality of Thalheim near Wels have belonged to the city of Wels under private law.


The center (center of gravity) of the Wels-Stadt district is in Andreas-Hofer-Strasse (Puchberg cadastral community) ( ).


The area around Wels is characterized by a molasse zone , i.e. a hilly landscape made up of tertiary deposits ( tertiary hill country ), and by fluvial terraces.

The tertiary hill country, in the north and northwest of the city, consists mainly of clay and gravel. The terraces were created by the river Traun in the Holocene and consist mainly of gravel , sand and clay . Since the river was regulated in the 19th century and the resulting deepening of the Traun, there has hardly been any flooding in the Wels urban area . Around 1985 dams were raised and the Traun from Wels Mitte was dammed with the Marchtrenk power plant.

The raw materials of the Wels soil are used for economic purposes. Sand, gravel, loess and clay are extracted. The latter two occur mainly in the Mitterlaab district and are used for brick production. The dismantling was abandoned in Oberlaab, where the Pichler brick factory is located today.

The loess layers of a clay pit near Aschet document in detail the climate development during the ice ages and have been scientifically examined.

Natural gas was already being produced in Wels in 1892 ; Many boreholes were made in the Wels area . The general hospital was supplied with locally obtained natural gas as an energy source until 1990 (at last only in small quantities).

Drinking water from the Welser Heide has not been harmless to health for decades due to the dense settlement, agriculture and industry . The city administration therefore decided after the Second World War for a central water supply and sewerage system . Since then, the city has been getting its drinking water mainly from the Hartholz and Au an der Alm waterworks and from a deep well near Steinerkirchen .


The oldest finds from the Wels area date from the Younger Stone Age , i.e. the period from 3500 to 1700 BC. They found simple tools , especially on the banks of the Traun and in what is now the city center.

In the Bronze Age , from 1700 BC. Chr were. Grave fields applied in the field of today's and near airport thereof urn field to the time of urnfield culture is (1100-750 v. Chr.) Dated. There were 60 graves with additions such as bronze jewelry or food.

Swords from the Hallstatt period (750–400 BC) were found in the Pernau.

In the Latène period (up to 100 BC) Celts populated the area around Wels and left behind gold coins , swords and fibulas made of iron and earthenware . The name "Traun" comes from this time. The name “catfish” may also be of Celtic origin. Wels would then mean something like "settlement on the Traunwindungen".

As has been established from layers deposited in the course of floods, the Traun formed an extensive river system with numerous tributaries in the Wels area. The division of the water masses led to the fact that the arms of the Traun at Wels were shallow and therefore it was possible to cross at fords .

Roman times

Rest of the Roman city wall in Schubertstrasse
Medallion from a Roman tombstone, today attached to a house facade on the town square

The small settlement developed into an important base and outpost of the Roman Empire . Under Emperor Hadrian what was then Ovilava was elevated to a city ( municipium ). The built-up area included the area from the Traun to the height of today's Kaiser-Josef-Platz. There were already brick houses, steam baths , an arena and an irrigation system that brought water from the Reinberg across the Traun.

As a result, Wels became a large city ( colonia ) under Emperor Caracalla . Due to the threat of the Alemanni , the city was expanded, surrounded by a city wall - the area was about 90 hectares - and a road from Passau was built along the Danube . What is certain is that six towers and a gate system were integrated into the walls, which were built from the castle along the Western Railway and across Feldgasse back towards the banks of the Traun.

As part of his reform of the provincial system, Emperor Diocletian made Wels a capital that administered the area of ​​the Roman Empire north of the Alps, the Ufernoricum ( Noricum Ripense ). Two duumviri , who acted as city judges, two aediles who advocated compliance with laws and market rights, a quaestor who administered the city treasury, and a 100-member city council headed the city.

Ovilava administered an area that was enclosed by the Inn and Danube, bounded to the east by the administrative areas of Lauriacum ( Enns ), and reached as far as Bad Ischl . The city district included border fortifications, which also included Linz ( Lentia ) and Passau ( Boiodurum ), and countless settlements on Upper Austrian and Salzburg soil.

What is striking about the Roman burial culture in Wels is that only a few valuable things were buried. This was due, on the one hand, to the nearby border with the constant threat of raids and wars, and, on the other hand, to the harsh climate, which is why only a few wealthy citizens settled there. Richer graves only come from earlier periods of settlement.

From the 3rd to the 5th century the area around Wels was often invaded by Germanic and Vandal tribes as well as by Attila's army in the course of the beginning of the migration of the peoples . Under Emperor Gallienus , the province of Noricum was described as devastated. The officer and king of Italy , Odoacer , had Noricum evacuated as it could no longer be held.

From the 4th century onwards, Wels should have become a small and insignificant settlement again for a few centuries.

Economy in the Roman Wels

Venus of Catfish

Agriculture and border trade as well as brick production, pottery and stone mining were the economic basis of the town.

Since several Roman imperial roads ran through the city, including the great east-west connection to Enns, many goods were imported from the west, such as Gaul and the Rhine region , including terra sigillata vessels and statuettes , including the so-called "Venus of Wels". But there was also brisk trade with Italy. They found amphorae , oyster shells and bronze figures of Italian origin.

The cultivation of grain just covered the regional consumption; cattle and horses were probably exported. In today's urban area, the oldest granary in the Eastern Alps was found, in which, according to the findings, mainly wheat , dwarf wheat, emmer , barley and rye were stored.

Religion in the Roman Catfish

Ursa tombstone

There is evidence that a pontiff and the College of Sexviri, a community devoted to the imperial cult, were resident. Their temple, which was dedicated to the Capitoline Triassic , has not yet been found. However, consecration stones have been found for other gods and spirit beings, such as Apollo , Jupiter , Vulcanus , Genius and Laren . Some statues of Diana , Venus , Fortuna , Mercurius and Minerva could also be excavated.

The Celtic world of gods could only be proven on the basis of a statue of a mother goddess and an image of the Celtic bull god Tarvos Trigaranus .

The emerging Christianity was represented in Wels since the 3rd or 4th century. These first years of the Christian religion were mainly characterized by persecution and oppression, but Florian von Lorch is said to have worked in Wels before he fled to St. Pölten . Part of a pilaster provides information about an early Christian church from the 4th or 5th century and suggests a larger Christian community.

The Ursa tombstone is one of the oldest finds from an early Christian community. The tombstone was commissioned by a Roman soldier for his wife.

Great Migration

The Bavarians settled the region around Wels in the 6th century. Weapons found in Bavarian burial grounds date from the 7th century.

In the 8th century Wels was again equipped with fortifications. Wels was first mentioned in 776 as castrum uueles , which means “fortified settlement Wels” (fortified settlement where one speaks Romansch , Welsch). Before the official seat of Count Machelm , a relative of the Agilolfinger , Wels came to the Carolingian possessions until the late 9th century .

middle Ages

Administrative structure of the city government in the Middle Ages
Stadtpfarrkirche: stained glass window from the 14th century (crucifixion)

From the year 1000 Wels was called a "market" and was known for its cloth trade. Since Wels belonged to the Lambach monastery in the 11th century , it was later assigned to the Würzburg diocese (→ see also: Wels-Lambacher ).

In the 12th century Wels was properly divided, because the market rights, the toll for the bridge, the parish church and a Marienkapelle were administered separately by Würzburg, Lambach Abbey, Kremsmünster Abbey and some nobles. The oldest surviving Wels documents date from this time. These are Bruckamt invoices, i.e. records of the income from the Traun Bridge, which was created between 1138 and 1140.

After the death of the last Traungauer in 1192 , Wels came into the possession of the Babenbergs through an inheritance contract , who in 1222 registered Wels as a city ( civitas ). At that time, Wels was already one of the largest fortifications in Upper Austria , along with Linz and Steyr , and was the scene of a battle between the armies of Duke Heinrich XIII. of Bavaria and King Ottokar II of Bohemia .

In 1233, Duke Otto II of Bavaria broke into the territory of the Babenbergs , to which he was subject after the occupation of the city of Wels.

The town square was built in the 13th century and the leather gate, the forerunner of the leather tower , was mentioned in 1326. The Habsburgs doubled the size of the city.

On June 13, 1295, a Wels seal was used for the first time .

In the 14th century, the market rights were expanded , protective devices were built against flooding, the beverage tax was exempted, the right of seizure and stacking rights were granted, and the city only had to pay taxes to the sovereign.

Characteristic of the 14th and 15th centuries was the emergence of the first wealthy middle-class families who built their houses - some of which have survived to this day - in the area of ​​the town square and the Traungasse, and the training of craft guilds , the so-called "collieries". Their houses stood and still stand mainly in today's Schmidt- and Bäckergasse. Similarly, some noble families, parishes and monasteries owned houses for which they wanted to obtain the status of (tax-exempt) free houses .

Emperor Maximilian I.

Monument to Emperor Maximilian I (Burggarten Wels)

Emperor Maximilian I stayed in Wels very often, much more often than other emperors. One reason for this was certainly his hunting lodge in the Welser Heide. Under him, the town hall and Wels Castle were expanded in 1514 and he granted some privileges to the city. In 1519 he gave the city the right to seal in red wax.

At the end of 1518, the emperor made the last stop in Wels. An illness prevented him from recovering, so that at the beginning of 1519 he died in the castle with the words “I am fully equipped for this journey with God's grace” . Emperor Maximilian I was buried in Wiener Neustadt .


Water tower at the Zwinger, in the background Maria-Theresia-Hochhaus, for a short time Austria's highest
A print of the early modern city made by Matthäus Merian in 1649

In the 16th century, Wels experienced an economic boom due to its position as a transshipment point for agricultural goods from the area and from long-distance trade. Structures that have survived from this period are the water tower , built around 1577 , which stored water drawn up from the Mühlbach and distributed through a pipe system in the city, and the Ledererturm, which was renewed in 1619.

The Reformation movement was mainly supported by nobles and students from Wels. Since the middle of the 16th century, mainly Protestant citizens lived in Wels . The theologian Konrad Cordatus , an acquaintance of Martin Luther , came from the area of ​​Wels. An event hall next to the Protestant church is named after him. The re-Catholicization ordered by Emperor Ferdinand II was carried out very strictly and resulted in a strong wave of emigration , especially among the leading families.

With the exception of 1626, Wels was largely spared from peasant uprisings and the efforts of the Counter Reformation. When the rebellious farmers under Stefan Fadinger stopped in Wels, the city fell victim to the flames, a damage from which Wels found difficult to recover.

In the second half of the 16th century, about 200 houses were built, and the economy and arts and crafts began to flourish. Iron processing , wholesaling and the money business became important at this time .

From 1569 the mayor and the city judge, who were elected annually, joined the existing political administration of the city. From this point on, the city judge only had legal duties.


After the Thirty Years War , during which troops were quartered in Wels several times, the city coffers were empty. The plague , floods and an earthquake in 1690 caused great damage. The population of Wels at the time was around 4,000 people who lived in around 550 houses.

The economic order of the city changed: the iron trade and weavers lost their importance, only the number of breweries rose to five. The country's largest grain market and some representatives of handicrafts survived the recession . Nevertheless, many new monuments were built in the 18th century, and some old buildings were renovated or rebuilt under the leadership of Wolfgang Grinzenberger and Johann Michael Prunner . The former roll tower at Kaiser-Josef-Platz (1733), the town hall (1739) and the Minorite monastery (1745) were built or significantly changed.

In the 17th century the portcullis was added to the city arms .

Emperor Josef II.

The reforms of Emperor Josef II showed their effects in Wels. On the one hand, some chapels were demolished or closed. In 1784 the Minorite monastery was closed, but in 1781 the foundation stone for the Protestant community was laid; the first meetings took place. In the year the suburban parish was founded (1785), the moat was drained.

Around 1800 Wels was repeatedly occupied and looted by French troops, but it also served as the headquarters of several Austrian regiments. The inflation put factories lame, and the price of grain fell due to good harvests.

Today a monument in the form of a statue is dedicated to Emperor Josef II on the Kaiser-Josef-Platz named after him, which refers to the lifting of heir subservience.

Biedermeier and Vormärz

Building of the former Welser Fritschmühle
Media Culture House (old savings bank building)

High politics in the 19th century was shaped by the Metternich system , and Wels was not subjected to any major reforms either. The city grew slowly and was, among other things, the base of the k. u. k. Hussar Regiment  12, got new offices and from 1823 uniform city lighting.

In 1829 the Wels Theater Association was founded, which played four times a week in the former hospital church, and later five times. It was not until 1883 that the Linz State Theater took over the program for the Wels stage.

The opening of the Budweis – Linz – Gmunden horse-drawn railway in 1835 , which was not replaced by the railway until 1860, was important for economic development . The economy was shaped by the beginning of industrialization. In the second half of the 19th century a nail and hat factory as well as several machine factories and the Wels art mill Fritsch were established.

After the March Revolution of 1848, numerous newspapers were founded , including the first weekly "Der Welser Landbote", published by Michael Haas. His son Johann Nepomuk Haas (1820–1897) later headed the weekly newspaper "Welser Anzeiger", which had been published since 1855 and which until 1939 was one of the most important newspapers in Upper Austria. Today his former shop houses a bookshop on Wels town square.

The construction of the dragoon barracks , which was as big as the old town at the time, was significant . It was completed in 1858 and immediately occupied by Hussar Regiment No. 6 . Until the end of the First World War , dragoon regiments , most recently the fourth , were stationed in Wels.

The opening of the "kk privileged Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Bahn" (Western Railway) in 1860 also fell during this period. This gave Wels a connection to the Austrian railway network, so that Vienna, Linz and Salzburg could be reached within hours.

Fin de siècle

The turn of the 20th century was marked by brisk construction activity, buildings such as the Sparkasse on Ringstrasse and the hospital were built, as well as factories, including the Knorr food factory, Teufelberger hemp and wire rope production , the Reformwerk agricultural machinery factory, the Nöttling frame factory and the power station founded.

In 1904 the city museum was opened in the Sparkasse building on the Ring.

First World War and the interwar period

The First World War tore a deep hole in the city's budget . The city had to take care of the wounded and secure basic supplies for the civilian population , but it was also not allowed to forget economic issues. The inflation dominated the post-war economy, was until 1924 slowed for several years.

The increasing number of citizens led to the founding of the Welser Heimstättengenossenschaft in 1911 and to large building projects in the housing sector on the part of the municipal authorities. The milling school was founded in 1921 and the state women's clinic in 1923.

After the war things picked up again, the city grew very quickly and new industrial companies were founded, such as the Tigerwerk paint factory . Nevertheless, high unemployment and financial crises dominated the city at the end of the 1920s .

During this time, the city became known for the first industrial application of composting, a process developed by the researcher couple Annie Francé-Harrar and Raoul Heinrich Francé . On December 28, 1920 the "Welser natural fertilizer factory" was founded, which was operated until 1939.

time of the nationalsocialism

The preparations for the National Socialists to take power were made on the eve of March 12, 1938 in Café Markut on Ringstrasse. The military was placed under the Nazi leadership and the police were taken over by the SS and the SA .

During the Second World War , the villages of Lichtenegg , Pernau and Puchberg were incorporated. During this time the Vogelweide district was also created , and in 1939 the airport was used as the home base for the III. Group of Kampfgeschwader 76 expanded. The Gunskirchen concentration camp , a subsidiary of the Mauthausen concentration camp, was located in the neighboring municipality of Gunskirchen . In 1938 the Welfen acquired a machine factory that produced tractors and their company Flugzeug- und Metallbauwerke Wels (FMW) worked for the German Air Force; about 45 percent were employed in forced labor . In Wels there were several large camps for prisoners of war and foreign civilian workers : the “Rennbahn” camp for French prisoners of war was housed in an exhibition hall on the “ Reichsnährstandsgelände ” (exhibition grounds), a camp for male foreign civilian workers on Wiesenstrasse and the one on Römerstrasse “Wispl” camp for Eastern workers , the “Oberhaid” camp for Soviet prisoners of war on Wallerer Strasse and a camp for Italian military internees in “Herminenhof” . Thousands of people had to do forced labor in countless factories and work details.

During the Nazi era, Wels was an important location for the German Wehrmacht : on the one hand, numerous units of the field and reserve army and the air force were stationed here, on the other hand, extensive military facilities were built. In addition to schools and various other larger public buildings such as the Herminenhof and the "Deutsche Turnhalle" (today's ÖTB gymnasium), private properties were also used - sometimes under duress - to billet soldiers. The Wehrmacht set up several barracks barracks camps (in Lichtenegg and Neustadt ), residential buildings for soldiers, construction camps for prisoners of war (in Pernau ), reserve hospitals (in addition to the air force hospital in Neustadt there was a general hospital and in the school buildings of today's high school Dr.-Schauerstraße and the grammar school / middle school in Vogelweiderstraße lazarette) and various military offices (Heerespflegungsamt, Heereszeugamt , Heimatkraftfahrpark, Heeresbauamt, Heeresstandortverwaltung). The military airport, which existed before the Nazi era, was extensively expanded as the Wels air base. An aircraft pilot school trained more than 1,000 soldiers. 5000 Welser served in the German Wehrmacht, around 700 lost their lives in the process.

After the Gunskirchen concentration camp was liberated by US troops on May 5, 1945, numerous surviving prisoners were taken to military hospitals, including those in Wels. By the end of August 1945, 1,032 liberated people had died in the city as a result of their imprisonment in the camp. The dead were buried at the northwestern end of the Wels city cemetery. A memorial erected in 1947 and a memorial erected in 2001 with the inscription "About 1030 people rest here who died as a result of the Nazi regime after their liberation from the Gunskirchen subcamp in Wels" commemorate these victims.

At least 131 people related to the city of Wels or the communities of today's Wels-Land district were definitely or (in the case of " decentralized " killings) possibly victims of Nazi euthanasia in the Hartheim Castle killing facility , the Niedernhart sanatorium and the facility " At the Spiegelgrund ”. At least 13 people of Jewish origin from Wels were victims of the Holocaust .

In 1944 and 1945, more than 500 people died in a total of eleven Allied air bomb attacks. Almost 300 residential buildings were destroyed and hundreds more damaged. Around a fifth of the living space was thus destroyed. In May 1945 the city was liberated by the US Army .

Dealing with the Nazi era after 1945

Since the end of the 1990s, the Austrian party The Greens and the Communist Party of Austria have been trying to rename streets and squares with names of personalities who are said to have a close relationship with National Socialism. Examples of this are Wagner-Jauregg-Strasse , named after the Nobel Prize laureate Julius Wagner-Jauregg , who was born in Wels, Ginzkeystrasse , named after Franz Karl Ginzkey , an author and member of the NSDAP, and Waggerlstrasse , named after Karl Heinrich Waggerl , a writer and also a member of the NSDAP. A memorial plaque for SS- Kameradschaft IV that had been criticized for many years in 1964 in the “Sigmar” chapel was removed in 1995 by unknown perpetrators. The name of the gym of the Wels gymnastics club "Moritz-Etzold-Halle", which had been controversial for decades, was changed in 1997 to "Gym Wels". Moritz Etzold had been a NSDAP district trainer. In the same year Ottokar Kernstock Street, named in 1955 after the author of the "Hakenkreuz-Lied", was renamed. The then mayor Karl Bregartner had previously stated that he had no problem with the name Kernstock.

In 2008, six stumbling blocks were laid in Wels in memory of victims of National Socialism - three people of Jewish origin and three resistance fighters.

post war period

Until 1948 the food supply was precarious, industry was down and livestock was severely reduced. The railroad was destroyed, the economy took ten years to recover somewhat. New companies were founded during this difficult time, such as the Vogel pump factory in 1945 or the Rübig steel goods company in 1947 .

The increasing traffic and the high number of students were important problems in the following period. They were largely resolved with the expansion and new construction of roads and railways, as well as the commercial academy (1952) and the technical college (1962). All of today's kindergartens were founded at the time, and the housing associations invested heavily in new living space.

The foundations for most of today's public facilities were laid in the 1960s and 1970s. The city ​​library , the adult education center or the music school were launched at the time.

The high point of the good economic and socio-political development was the granting of a separate statute for the city in 1964 ; after decades of efforts, Wels was elevated to a separate (city) district. In the course of this, the coat of arms and the city colors green and red were officially included in the municipal statutes. In the official description of the city coat of arms it says:

“In blue on a green, corrugated shield base, a silver, two-tower, tinned gate, the openwork arched gate with raised, golden portcullis, the towers with three black open windows each, one placed above two. The Austrian red-white-red sign hovers over the building. "

The coat of arms symbolizes Wels Castle or the former fortifications of the city in the Middle Ages with the Traun River in front of it.

During this time, Eisenfeld Castle from the 18th century was destroyed.

In addition to the founding of the Noitzmühle district and many social institutions, such as Lebenshilfe and advice centers for drug and alcohol addicts, the 1970s also brought energy crises and economic setbacks in the form of bankruptcies of some large companies, such as Reisner & Wolff or the Welsermühl paper mill.


Population development

17% of the resident population are under 15 years of age, 63% are 15 to 59 years old and thus 20% are 60 years or older (2001 census).


The proportion of foreigners is around 21.6% (according to Statistics Austria). Around 28% of the population were not born in Austria (Statistics Austria 2015 data). The most important countries of origin are - in descending order according to the citizenship of the residents - Bosnia-Herzegovina , Turkey , Croatia and the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("Serbia-Montenegro") .


The largest religious community is the Roman Catholic . About 63% of the city's population belong to it. The next largest group is that of the confessing, to which 14% belong. About 10% belong to the Islamic religion and 7% to the Protestant church . The rest is divided between Orthodox and other religious communities.


Municipal council election 2015
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The town hall building is the seat of the magistrate of the city of Wels, in the foreground the city fountain
State court building

The city is administered by the city senate (the city government) and the municipal council. The municipal council consists of 36 members. After the 2015 municipal council elections, the FPÖ 16, the SPÖ 10, the ÖVP 6, the Greens have three seats and the NEOS one.

With the runoff election on October 11, 2015, which took place in 44 Upper Austrian municipalities at the same time, Andreas Rabl , the FPÖ candidate, was elected mayor with 62.97% against Hermann Wimmer (SPÖ). It is the first time that the FPÖ has appointed the mayor of a statutory city in Upper Austria.

Wels is the seat of a district and a regional court . The competent higher regional court is in Linz. In 1996 the district court was rebuilt opposite the seat of the regional court. The two courts are now connected by an underground passage. In 2005, after two years of renovation, the reopening of the former k. u. k. District court and today's regional court.


Ellipses stand for the times of further mayors not listed here.


On the wels.at platform, official channels can be carried out easily from home with the help of online procedures. Citizens can communicate around the clock through the city's e-government service and do not have to comply with the opening times of the offices. In addition, they do not need to know any responsibilities or departments, as e-government automatically sends the respective request to the correct address. The AFORMSOLUTION form solution used comes from aforms2web .

Town twinning

  • The first town twinning was concluded with Straubing on April 14, 1973 . The contract was signed by the then mayors of Straubing (Ludwig Scherl) and Wels ( Leopold Spitzer ) and, according to the document, should:

"[...] maintain permanent friendly relations [...], work together in all areas of common interest, promote exchange among citizens, especially among young people."

Youth teams from Wels and the surrounding area often take part in the annual soccer tournaments in Straubing.
  • The second partnership was entered into on May 9, 1988 with Chichigalpa in Nicaragua , signed by Mayors Carlos Manuel Garcia Castillo and Karl Bregartner. Many aid projects and organizations from Wels are particularly committed to this region in Central America .
  • Wels has had a partnership with the Romanian Bistrița since 2014 . This twinning is intended to commemorate the evacuation of Bistrița in 1944 and to underline the European idea.


Wels has around 40,000 employees in over 4,000 companies, with 22,600 people commuting regularly from the area to Wels and 8,600 people from Wels commuting to the surrounding communities .

Over 60% of employees work in the service sector. Most of the companies in this sector operate in commerce , with the rest spread across social, public services , finance and transportation. The second economic mainstay is the manufacturing and processing industries . The industrial area of ​​Wels is located in the Pernau. There are companies in the chemical industry, furniture manufacturers, mechanical engineers and various wholesalers.

The companies with the highest turnover and headquartered in the city are, in descending order, XXXLutz , Intersport Austria, Doppler Mineralöle, 3e and Felbermayr.

Other famous Welser company include the company Trodat , a manufacturer of Stempeln- and laser engraving machines , TGW Logistics Group , a manufacturer of conveyor systems and automatic storage systems , Rübig, a manufacturer of equipment for the curing of materials, Teufelberger, a manufacturer of ropes from various materials reform Wels , Resch & Frisch, a large bakery , clip, a chain of hair salons, Richter Pharma, a pharmaceutical company, and Tiger Coatings , a manufacturer of paints and colors , as well as a specialist in powder coating materials.

The agriculture has declined in recent decades important. Today there are only 80 farms within the district boundaries, cultivating over 2000 ha of land and raising 4000 cattle and pigs .

Fair Wels

City hall, exhibition entrance

The origins of Messe Wels go back to the 14th century. At that time, in addition to the weekly market , which took place twice a week, there were also two annual and horse markets. The focus of these markets was on trading in agricultural goods. The traditional Glanglmarkt (a small cattle market), which is held once a year on the Saturday after Candlemas , has been preserved.

The location of the spring market in the 19th century was the city center and the clearing at Polheim Palace. The first Welser Volksfest took place on September 6th, 1878 , the annual fair in autumn lost its importance, also due to the competition from Linz and Ried . The folk festival took place on parts of today's exhibition area, which covered approximately 29,000 m². 56,000 people came in three days. At that time, the Volksfesthalle was already in place, in place of which the town hall was later built, and the Volksgarten was laid out on the exhibition grounds.

In 1880 the next festival took place, which was already provided with electric light (carbon arc). The so-called “test lighting” (this evening before the first day of the fair) was introduced for this purpose and is still in place today. The Wels industry and commercial enterprises as well as exhibitors from all over Austria offered their, especially, agricultural goods here. The folk festival brought a record of over 86,000 visitors. Due to the First World War and the difficult economic situation afterwards, the festival was suspended from 1912 to 1924.

300,000 people came to the 50th anniversary, for which the exhibition area was expanded to five halls with 106,000 m². The offer ranged from food and machines to animals of all kinds. The first signs of special exhibitions, the later trade fairs , were made in the interwar period . The Second World War required a ten-year break from the trade fair. Despite the difficult conditions, 482,000 people came again in 1948.

In 1952 there were 840,000 visitors and a total of 1,100 exhibitors at the fair. This year the festival was renamed “Austrian Agricultural Fair - Welser Volksfest”. The size of the exhibition grounds was 322,000 m². Between 1964 and 1978, 13 new halls were built and the fair was renamed “International Welser Fair”. During these years, the peak in visitor numbers, which still exists today, was recorded - over a million visitors.

In order to expand the outdoor area, the harness racing track was moved to the west. Until 1964, all trade fairs only took place in even-numbered years, in interplay with the Rieder Volksfest in odd-numbered years. A spring fair has been held every odd year since 1965. During the rest of the year, numerous trade fairs take place, such as the ÖBA & ÖKONDA, the trade fair for bakers and confectioners , or the horse fair. Concerts , exhibitions and balls are held in the town hall . Messe Wels has been outsourced to the magistrate since 1993, making it an independent company. Large halls were also built in 2006/2007.

The subject of energy brings new aspects, especially renewable energy , which is to be more closely integrated in the economy and in trade fairs. It has been a topic for many years at the energy saving fair (in March).

Today, with 4,000 exhibitors and 461,000 visitors at 100 events per year, Wels is third behind Vienna among the trade fair locations in Austria.

The so-called World Sustainable Energy Days , an annual conference on the topics of sustainability , renewable energies and energy efficiency, have also been taking place in Wels for 20 years .

On 10/11 In February 2018, the trade fair trio Fishing Festival & Archery Fair & Bike Festival Austria was held for the first time with the third section around the bicycle.



Old Traun Bridge

Wels is located almost 30 km southwest of Linz on the B1 federal highway, which leads from Vienna to western Austria. For decades, it has been moved to the side around 300 m north of the historic city center. The Pyhrnpass road B138 goes for about 1978 not from the square from which around 2000 in some areas pedestrian was but flows through a new Traunbridge just over 1 km downstream to the east ring road.

The West Autobahn A 1, the Wels Autobahn A 25 and the Innkreis Autobahn A 8 form a motorway ring around Wels. The last section of this ring, the section of the A 8 called the Welser Westspange between the Voralpenkreuz junction at Sattledt and the Wels West junction, was opened in 2003.

Only after decades of discussion was this 11-kilometer section approved and construction finally started in 2000. In August 2003 it was released for road traffic. Due to ecological concerns, the route runs under the Noitzmühle district, a tunnel bridge crosses the Traun, and only in Steinhaus will the route be above ground again.

The city's regular traffic is operated by the private Wels bus company Sabtours Reisebüro und Autobusbetrieb Gesellschaft mbH. 31 buses are used. Over 5 million passengers are carried annually.

The main station in Wels , which reopened in autumn 2005, is an important hub in Austrian rail traffic. Here the Passau branch, named after its end point, branches off to the northwest from the Vienna - Linz - Salzburg railway . Since 1893, the single-track, non-electrified Almtalbahn has also been running south to Grünau . The Wels Lokalbahn and Wels Messe stations are located on the latter connection .

The Wels terminal is important for freight traffic , where up to 1000 trucks and as many freight wagons are handled every day. In addition, over 200,000 trucks are loaded onto the so-called rolling road every year . The yard was the era of National Socialism built to large amounts of military importance armaments to be able to handle. The construction of a second marshalling yard did not go beyond the planning due to the war.

Wels airfield

With the airport Wels the city ​​owns the largest public civil airport in Europe since 1972 with an area of ​​100 hectares ( ICAO code LOLW). There is the Welser Fliegerclub with its own flight school as well as opportunities for glider, model flight and parachute jumps.

The cycle path in the direction of Linz from around 1960, which runs alongside the B1, was eliminated from 1970 in favor of widening a large part of the route to Marchtrenk . Alternative cycle routes have detours. Around 2000, a left bank cycle route was developed along the Traun, this R4 Traun cycle path is more important for cycling than for everyday traffic.

Urban establishments

The Elektrizitätswerk Wels (EWWAG), eww group or Wels Strom for short, is responsible for supplying the city with electricity , but also with water and sewerage . A third of all households obtain district heating from the eww group. Other business areas are the supply of natural gas , the implementation of lighting systems and lighting , such as the Christmas lighting of a city or the implementation of solar systems . The eww group is also represented in the telecommunications market for business customers with the eww ITandTEL division.

Wels waste recycling, WAV for short, is responsible for waste disposal . It has a thermal waste recycling facility , where, in addition to incineration, electricity and district heating are generated, thus supplying 60,000 households. WAV has been working to reduce waste since 1995, back then with a capacity of 100,000 t, until 2003 it was expanded to an annual capacity of 300,000 t of waste.

fire Department

The first fire brigade in Wels was founded in 1863 as the Turner fire brigade . However, the requirements quickly exceeded the possibilities of the gymnastics club and so it was replaced by the volunteer fire department of the city of Wels, founded on October 15, 1867.

Until the early 1980s, the main fire station in the former Minorite monastery with the exit via a forecourt by the town hall and fountain onto the town square was central, but characterized by winding descents. Today the Wels volunteer fire brigade is one of the largest volunteer fire brigades in Austria. In addition to the main fire station in Hamerlingstrasse, there are fire stations in the districts of Pernau, Puchberg and Wimpassing. In addition, there are two company fire departments in the city.


Entrance area to the Wels-Grieskirchen Clinic

The city has the largest religious hospital in Austria, the Wels-Grieskirchen Clinic . Since the Upper Austrian hospital reform in 2007, the facility has been owned by the Order of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross and the Order of the Franciscan Sisters of Vöcklabruck , who decided to run the two hospitals in Wels and Grieskirchen as a single hospital from 2008. The Wels Psychiatric Clinic was also incorporated, where both inpatient and outpatient care is available. There is also the St. Stephan Clinic (in Wels), which covers part of the medical spectrum with around 60  attending doctors .

This results in a systemized number of beds of 1349, making it the largest hospital in Upper Austria and fifth in an Austrian comparison. Around 3500 employees, including around 470 doctors, work in 25 departments and 12 institutes at 4 locations, where an estimated 80,000 inpatients are treated and around 30,000 operations are carried out each year.


The State Police Department (LPD) Upper Austria acts as the security authority for the city , represented by its branch, the Wels Police Department. Subordinate to the LPD as the station of the guard for the urban area is the Wels City Police Command . In spring 2019, classes are to begin in the new education center of the Security Academy in the building of the former psychiatric clinic.

Federal Army

The Wels garrison consists of around 60 buildings and around 600 soldiers and civil servants. In the Hessenkaserne is the PzB 14 , the last remaining tank battalion of the army. The Heereslogistikzentrum (HLogZ) Wels is the technical and logistic system center for the Leopard 2 A4 battle tank and the M88 armored recovery vehicle with test stands, training and simulator centers. In addition, the Wels garrison has what is currently the largest and most modern training workshop for the armed forces and the only paint and varnish warehouse for the land forces.

The Military Service Center 7 (MSZ 7) in Wels takes care of the maintenance and new construction of military properties in large parts of Upper Austria.


Once a month the magistrate publishes the official gazette of the city of Wels, in which official statements of the city senate and its members, events, tenders, addresses, births or deaths are published. Otherwise there are only Wels-specific local parts in various Upper Austrian print media .

The private television channel WT1, founded in 1996, is one of the first regional private broadcasters in Austria. In the meantime, WT1 is the partner broadcaster of the Linz city television broadcaster LT1 , who jointly design the program.


In Wels there are eleven kindergartens, ten elementary schools and eight secondary schools with different focuses, such as B. IT , languages, sports and music .

Wels has a private secondary school for girls and an economic secondary school , which up until the 2007/08 school year only accepted girls, both of whom are administered by the order of the Franciscan Sisters of Vöcklabruck . Pupils with special educational needs are taught in integration classes in elementary and secondary schools, in the “Integrative School Center Wels-Stadt Dr. Schärf School” or in the “Jakob Muth School”.

Three high schools , with a focus on natural sciences, languages ​​and sports, with lower and upper school classes and a polytechnic school are located in the city. In the area of vocational secondary schools , Wels has a higher education institute for economic professions , two commercial academies , two higher technical institutes , the HTL Wels with a focus on chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronics and information technology and the HTL for food technology Wels , which is the only school with this training is in Austria.

A college has only existed since 1994, at that time with only one branch of study . As part of the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences , it represents the Faculty of Technology and Environmental Sciences. By 2004 the number of courses increased to six. As a result of the new building in 2005, the entire university is housed in one building and is not divided into ten branch offices as was previously the case. In 2012, almost 1,500 students in 10 fields of study studied at the FH Wels.

Culture and sights

Downtown map with attractions

The majority of the urban tourism is due to the Wels fair. Every year the tourism association records up to 150,000 overnight stays and a further 90,000 people who come to Wels. The city of Wels is a member of the Association of Small Historical Cities . This is where the initiative for this association came from.

In 1983 and 2000, Wels was the scene of the Upper Austrian provincial exhibition on the topics 1000 years of Upper Austria and time - myth, phantom, reality .


Many of the historical buildings are no longer preserved today and fell victim to modernization or fires , for example the medieval city wall, which is only partially preserved today, or the city gates. The Schmidttor was in the way during the construction of the Ringstrasse and was therefore torn down in 1875. The Fischertor was not rebuilt after a fire in 1870, and the Trauntor was demolished in 1842. The same fate befell the roll tower, which was demolished in 1959. Today only the landmark of Wels, the Ledererturm, is left.

Castles and houses

The bay window of the castle probably belongs to the room where Emperor Maximilian I died.

Many of the buildings in the town square date from the 13th century. Particularly noteworthy are the dozen arcaded courtyards from the 16th and 17th centuries, some of which are open to the public.

  • Wels Castle : The origins of the castle are in the dark. It received its current appearance under Emperor Maximilian I. After a margarine factory , the city museum was located in the castle from 1954, where parts of its exhibitions still take place today.
  • Salome Alt's house: The corner house adorned with coat of arms and with a splendid facade, which is located opposite the parish church, came into the possession of Hans Hoffmann, the aristocratic ruler of Wels Castle, in 1150, which is why it is called Hoffmann's Freihaus . It was first mentioned in a document in 1464. Salome Alt moved in in 1611 and lived there until her death in 1633. This house is one of the most beautiful buildings in Wels.
  • Herminenhof: The aristocratic seat Alttrauneck was founded in the 16th century. In 1725 a two-story mansion with a beautiful exterior facade was built on it. At the beginning of the 20th century, parts of the area known today as Herminenhof were demolished. Since February 27, 2010 it has been a new cultural center as Dreiklanghof and houses the city library, the city archive and the music school.
  • Ledererturm (also called Lederertor): The tower towers over the Lederertor, which was first mentioned in 1326 and borders the town square in the west. The name comes from the Lederer quarter that bordered the city center there. The Ledererturm received its current appearance between 1616 and 1619. The onion roof fell victim to the flames and was replaced in 1771 by the current roof structure. Like the other city towers, it should also be demolished due to traffic problems. The pedestrian passage next to the gate has only existed since 1928. Today, the Ledererturm is again restrictedly accessible.
  • The Kremsmünstererhof with rococo facade (1777) with rich stucco on the window frames and richly decorated portals, in the inner courtyard column arcades of the Renaissance (end of the 16th century), today a hotel, is located at the western end of the town square.
  • Minorite Monastery: The mendicant order of the Minorites in Wels was probably founded around 1280. He immediately built a house of worship and a shelter for the townspeople. The Minorites lived mainly on alms . In 1410 they acquired a town house in Salzburg as a base. The order was supported by local nobles and later by the Habsburgs. At the end of the 15th century, the Barbara chapel was added to the walls of the Minorite monastery. The monastery was in the meantime used as an imperial court hospital. From 1784 it belonged to the city of Wels, which used it for the military , the fire brigade or for apartments until it was renovated for the Upper Austrian Provincial Exhibition in 2000.
  • Castle Polheim : Its name comes from the noble family of Polheimer back. Albero von Polheim was not only an influential ruler in Wels, he probably also built the Polheim Palace, which was first mentioned in 1237. In 1695 it came into the possession of the city of Wels. Since the Polheimers' debts were too high, the Wels line had to sell the run-down castle. The castle was used by a brewery and later by the secondary school. The city planned to set up a prison there in the 19th century . Today only parts of the castle belong to the city of Wels, where the state music school was housed (→ 2010 move to the Dreiklanghof, see above). Another Polheimer important to Wels was Ludwig von Polheim . In the middle of the 16th century he built the moated castle Lichtenegg , which had to be sold again in 1642.
  • Palais Tilly: The former Freihaus was decisively rebuilt by Johann Michael Prunner after the purchase of Ferdinand Lorenz Graf Tilly in 1720 . Today there has Bezirkshauptmannschaft Wels-Land based. The gazebo in the yard from 1730 is also attributed to Johann Michael Prunner.


  • City parish church Wels : The city parish church was first mentioned in a document in 888 - at that time it was still a wooden chapel . In the 14th century, the stained glass windows were redesigned and it was converted into a Gothic church. The Church received four letters of indulgence in 19 years listing prayers and financial contributions that would promise relief from sins. There are Romanesque elements in the church and sarcophagi of the Wels noble family Polheim have found their place there.
  • Vorstadtpfarrkirche: The Vorstadtpfarrkirche is today in the city area, in the founding year 1785 it was still a bit outside of the city at that time. The church was built after the Capuchin monastery , which had existed since 1631 , was built. Today it belongs to the city parish and is a Marienkirche.
  • Evangelical Christ Church: The only Evangelical church in Wels was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1849–1852. The church was the first Protestant church in Austria to have a bell tower in 1860.
  • Herz-Jesu-Kirche : The parish Herz-Jesu with the church of the same name is located in the new town . It was completed in 1911 after six years of construction according to the plans of the cathedral master builder Matthäus Schlager . Since 1922 the parish has been led by the Order of the Steyler Missionaries .
  • Kalvarienbergkirche : The Kalvarienbergkirche was probably built by Wolfgang Grinzenberger around 1715 and therefore has a style similar to the suburban parish church . Regular services are no longer held in it today.
  • Church of St. Francis : The youngest parish is in Laahen. The deed of establishment of the Church of St. Francis is dated to 1996, the parish only started its pastoral care in 1997. A lack of space made a new building necessary as early as 2004.
  • Parish church Wels-Pernau : The parish of St. Josef is located in the Pernau district , in the east of Wels. It is dedicated to Saint Joseph, the worker. The parish is the successor parish of the Wels suburban parish. The parish complex was built by the architects Franz Riepl and Othmar Sackmauer under the last suburban pastor, Alois Raster . The foundation stone was laid in 1965. The ground on which the church stands once belonged to Adalbero von Würzburg , the founder of the Lambach monastery.

Stand monuments and sculptures

Welser Metzen
  • Welser Metzen: The Welser Metzen was built around 1552 or 1553 and was used as a grain measure. Since 1595 the Metzen has held around 75  liters . Today there is a replica on the corner of Schmidtgasse and Stadtplatz, the original in the city museum.
  • City fountain: The city fountain was built at the end of the 16th century; it was removed in 1891 and a replica was placed in front of the municipal building in 1942 . The stone outer panels show stylized Luther roses , a testament to Protestantism in Wels.
  • Marian column: The column was erected on Minoritenplatz around 1660. After a renovation around 1745, it has stood next to the suburban parish church on Ringstrasse since 1840.


Roman dining room in the former Minorite monastery
South entrance to one of the three courtyards of the dragoon barracks
  • The Wels City Museum is divided into the Wels Castle and former Minorite Monastery locations. While the archaeological collection with the permanent exhibition on prehistory , Roman times and the early history of the city is located in the Minorites, history from the Middle Ages to modern times is documented in the castle. There is also the "Agricultural History Collection" as well as the "Austrian Pastry Museum" and the "Museum of Displaced People", which are also part of the city museum.
  • Welios , a science center on the subject of energy with an experience character, was opened in April 2011.
  • The history of the k. u. k. Dragoons Regiment No. 4, which was stationed in Wels during its existence. The museum is located in the dragoon barracks, which in addition to small businesses and some clubs are mainly apartments.

Former museums:

  • From 2000 to 2015, the Traces of Life Museum presented a collection of around 700 seal and stamp objects from all continents of the world, from the 5000 year old cylinder seal from Mesopotamia, textile printing devices from Ghana, objects for applying ritual symbols on the body from India and South America to to modern self-inking stamping devices for professional and private everyday life. This special museum of cultural history was based on an idea by KR Walter Just , the founder of the international TRODAT Group.
  • From 1986 to 2008 the Puppenweltmuseum showed over 150 dolls and exhibits about the life of Käthe Kruse . The private museum was the Upper Austrian Museum of the Month for September 2007. It was run by Franz and Reingard Ecker and was the only museum of its kind in Austria.

Cultural centers

Old slaughterhouse
Mural in the frame factory in Nöfa
Back of the granary

Wels has a number of organizations that organize cultural activities or offer a forum for those who work in and are interested in culture.

Various cultural associations have their headquarters in the old slaughterhouse , including the Wels-Chichigalpa town twinning project, a youth center and a youth hostel . The Kulturzentrum im Schlachthof has existed since 1985 and focuses on social and experimental art and culture and supports projects to promote the long-term unemployed and unemployed young people. Rehearsal rooms are provided for music groups, where over 100 musicians practice their art. In the old slaughterhouse there is theater , cabaret and music , with no limits from electronics to jazz.

The Nöfa gallery in the old frame factory began its cultural activities in 1923. Painting and visual art are primarily taught here. There is, among other things, the Atelier Wels, the youth creative center and a photo studio.

The Forum Wels gallery of the Wels artists' guild , founded in 1951, shows exhibitions.

The Medien Kultur Haus houses several cultural institutions:

  • The "Media Space - Association for the Promotion of Media Culture" acts as the organizer of the " YOUKI - International Youth Media Festival". At this event, workshops for films of all kinds, for journalism and painting as well as photography exhibitions provide an insight into contemporary art.
  • The gallery of the city of Wels is particularly concerned with the young art scene.
  • As the organizer of the reading topia, “Buch.Zeit” serves as a service and advice center for school libraries.
  • The Wels art house cinema has also been located in the Medien Kultur Haus since October 2012.
  • The “Reading Competence Center Upper Austria” is the sponsor of the Upper Austrian Reading Initiative and works as an information center and ideas workshop on the subject of reading.
  • The Kaiserpanorama in the Medien Kultur Haus is the only stereoscopic panoramic panorama still preserved in Austria.


The Greif City Theater has existed since 1904. It can accommodate 630 people. Today the city theater is used for events such as balls, cabaret, ballet performances and congresses .

The Richard Wagner Festival has been held here since 1989 and was reorganized in 2015 as the "Richard Wagner Festival International Productions".

Up to 80 events take place in the granary every year , ranging from avant-garde to children's theater, readings and cabaret.

movie theater

In 1900 the first cinema in Upper Austria, "Kieners Kinematograph", was opened in Wels. In 1907, before the first cinema opened in Linz, it was sold and in 1910 renamed "Kino Patry". Until 2001 there were still four cinemas in Wels. Today there is a Starmovie branch and an art house cinema in the city area. After the closure of the Central Cinema Center in 2004, there were discussions about a separate, new location for the arthouse cinema. This location was found in the Medien Kultur Haus Wels. Since October 2012, films have been shown on 364 days in two halls (92 and 50 seats) in the Wels arthouse cinema. Between 1984 and 1996 Wels was the location of the Austrian Film Days , which were no longer held in favor of the Diagonale .


The ESV Photo Club Bahnbau Wels is a photography club that has existed for decades and numerous state and national champion titles won in all areas of photography. In 2005 the club celebrated its 50th anniversary with an exhibition in the Minorites.

Night watchman

For years, it is now also in Wels again possible via night watchman - stories, legends, handed down "True" and not necessarily to find "truth" of the last centuries of the city. With a tour through the old streets, past historical buildings, history is brought to life and empathy with the way of life and wisdom is made possible.

Boy Scout Group

The Wels scout group was founded in 1930. From 1938 the scout movement was banned under the National Socialist regime and in 1945 it was re-established in Wels by Hans Schatzl. In 1957 the boy scout home was built on Gärtnerstraße. Since then, the home has been extended several times and a second home has also been acquired in the Gunskirchner Au for weekend camps and other outdoor events. The Wels scout group is part of the PPÖ and thus also part of the global organizations WAGGGS and WOSM .

freetime and recreation

Wimpassing leisure center, in the background residential houses in the garden city
Traun with Trodatsteg

The Welldorado leisure complex offers numerous sporting opportunities with an indoor and outdoor pool and an artificial ice hall .

The indoor and outdoor pool was reopened in 2001 after a renovation, whereby the indoor pool and the sauna area in particular were completely renovated and enlarged. Four water basins, a 10 m high diving tower , several water slides as well as a mini golf and trampoline facility and space for volleyball and football games are housed in the outdoor pool. There are just as many water basins and a large sauna area in the indoor pool. The embezzlement of entrance fees from 2006 onwards resulted in damage to the city amounting to 270,000 euros; those 2 officials who had failed to check the cashiers were transferred on January 26, 2015.

The Wels zoo is the oldest in Upper Austria, which developed in 1930 from a permanent facility for animals that were exhibited at the agricultural fair. A bird house was built in the Herminenhof area, especially after the Second World War, and over 650 animals from over 100 species were resettled. With free admission, you can visit the monkey house, turtle biotope or the duck pond all year round. The population of threatened species is maintained in our own breeding facility.

The Burggarten, the Volksgarten in the area of ​​the town hall and the Wels exhibition center as well as numerous other municipal parks and playgrounds offer green spaces in the city center. The Wimpassing leisure facility, formerly a gravel pit, is the city's largest local recreation area , but due to the diversion of the Grünbach , it can be inundated at times during floods. The Linetwald on the northwestern city limits to Krenglbach is the largest forest in Wels and is crossed by a hiking trail.

The Traunuferweg stretches from the Traun weir on the southwestern city limit, to the end of the industrial area and on to Linz. On the way there is a model of the solar system that Wels students designed. The Traun has been clean enough to bathe in for many years.


There are around 100 sports clubs from all branches in Wels, some of them very successful:

  • The WBC Raiffeisen Wels has been playing in the top basketball division in Austria (Bundesliga) since the 2003/04 season . In 2009 the championship title could be won for the first time in this league. Previously, in the 2005/2006 season, winning the Austrian Cup and the runner-up in the Austrian basketball league was celebrated.
  • The SPG Walter Wels has been playing for the championship title in the highest men's table tennis league for several years .
  • The men's team of the Wels baseball club Jumpin 'Chickens has been playing in the baseball league, the second highest league in Austria, for four years. The international Chicken Trophy tournament is held annually in the Mauth Stadium.
Budokan in Rosenau
  • With the Budokan, a center for Far Eastern martial arts and sports was created in 2006 . The martial arts scene has with Ewald Roth , the initiator of this project and 12-time karate state champion as well as world and European champion, Ursula Inzinger , also multiple state, European and world champion in karate and Sabrina Filzmoser , multiple judo state champion, European champion, third place in the World Cup as well as six-time military world champion, a lively sports scene. The men's team of the judo club Multikraft Wels fights in the national league of Austria.
  • The football club FC Wels plays in the OÖ Liga ( Upper Austrian Football League), the fourth highest division in Austria. The club emerged from Eintracht and Union Wels , a former Bundesliga club . FC Wels finished the 2018 championship of the OÖ Liga (Upper Austrian Football League) in fourth place. By renouncing two better-placed clubs, FC Wels and WSC Hertha, who are second in the table, are entitled to promotion to the Middle Regional League and will therefore play in the third-highest division in Austria from summer 2018.
  • The Wels trotting club has its home in the exhibition grounds, where it has its own trotting track . Races take place from April to July.
  • The Wels volleyball club Sportunion McDonalds Supervolley Wels has been working with youngsters in Austrian volleyball for years. Numerous top players who play today in the Central European League MEVZA and in the Indesit Champions League testify to the successful youth work.
  • The women's team of the Welser Hockey Club (HC Wels) has been Austrian national champion six times. In the hall in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and in the field in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
  • EC Wels , founded in 1980, is considered the most successful ice hockey club in Upper Austria.
  • The oldest sports club is the Welser Turnverein, founded in 1862, with around 2900 members also one of the largest clubs. Sections: gymnastics , athletics , tennis , basketball , swimming and volleyball . Every year the club holds the international Wels half marathon and the international Speedo swimming meeting. The first Federal Gymnastics Festival was organized by Welser gymnastics club 1956th The Frisbee team pterosaur was already world champion in Ultimate Frisbee (as of 2013). The women's volleyball team became national champions in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and played in the 2nd Austrian Bundesliga in the 2013/2014 season. The men's volleyball team, founded in 2017, will play in the Upper Austrian regional league from 2020 after direct promotion. In 2020 another national gymnastics festival will be held.
  • A rowing area is available with the pent-up Traun. The Wels rowing club with around 100 members is located on the (left) bank of the Wels. Young people also train and take part in national and international regattas.

Regular events

Concerts and exhibitions by contemporary artists are held in the pavilion in the courtyard of the Wels-Land district administration. Every summer the Arkadenhöfe provide the ambience for the Welser Arkadenhof Kultur Sommer (WAKS), where readings and classical concerts are offered.

The International Puppet Theater, which offers puppet theater for children and adults, has taken place every two years since 1990 and annually since 1994.

Regular sporting events are the Upper Austria Cup , a football tournament where youth teams from all over the world are invited, the Wels Half Marathon, the Wels Inner City Cycling Criterion, where local and international cyclists take part, and the Cherry Blossom Race , a cycling race that has been held by the Wels Bicycle Club for over 40 years is organized.

For the younger pupils, the magistrate offers annual events during the summer holidays. You can take part in tennis , diving courses or excursions , among other things . The Kinderfreunde also offer trips lasting several days in Upper Austria every year.

The open-air cinema "Filmfestiwels" offers not only cinematic but also culinary offers in summer . A screen has been set up on the square in front of the Minorites , where, in addition to well-known films of the year, films from the repertoire of the arthouse cinema are shown. There is also the “gourmet mile”, where foreign specialties are offered.


Born in Wels

To 1900

1901 to 1950

From 1951

Honorary citizen

Memorial plaque for Hans Sachs (Polheim Palace)
Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra , September 2008

In connection with the city

  • Saint Florian , Roman official of Ufernorikum - Ovilava, Wels
  • Maximilian I (1459–1519), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , died in Wels Castle
  • Reinprecht von Pollheim († 1466) and his wife Elisabeth († 1482), administrators of the main team on the Enns, both buried in the Minorite monastery
  • Hans Sachs (1494–1576), poet, master singer and playwright, from 1511 to 1516 during his journeyman's journey as a shoemaker stay at Schloss Polheim
  • Salome Alt (1568–1663), partner and lover of the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau , died in Wels; her house is still preserved and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Wels
  • Paulus Freudenlechner († 1616), Mastersinger , was a member of the singing school in Wels from 1549 to 1601
  • Charles V Leopold (1643–1690), Duke of Lorraine, died in Wels
  • Werner Wigelbeyer (1937–2018), Vice Mayor of Wels from 1976 to 1991
  • Herwig van Staa (* 1942), Governor of Tyrol , graduated from Wels
  • Walter Rescheneder (* 1948), conductor, composer, Upper Austria. Regional music director, living in Wels
  • Martin Pyrker (* 1954), blues and boogie-woogie pianist from Vienna, lives in Wels
  • Franz Welser-Möst (* 1960), conductor, grew up in Wels and went to school; has integrated the name 'Wels' into its own name as an appreciation of its hometown Wels
  • The Spanish Riding School was housed in the Dragoon Barracks in Wels from 1945 to 1955.
  • Maria Santner (* 1986), dancer, Viennese waltz world champion 2011, winner of the ORF show “ Dancing Stars ” 2017. She runs a dance school in Wels with her brother Christoph Santner


  • In the pedestrian zone that connects the town square with Kaiser-Josef-Platz, a sensor-controlled pedestrian frequency measurement system was installed in the area of ​​Bäcker- and Schmidtgasse. In 2005, 7,417,676 contacts were registered.
  • During the Second World War there were plans that Thalheim near Wels , located on the other (right) side of the Traun, would be incorporated and come to Wels. The project failed due to the resistance of the then mayor.
  • There is a street in Wels called "Lange Nose". The name comes from the fact that allegedly the citizens of Wels there showed the "long nose" to the French who withdrew.
  • In 1878 the urban area was given house numbers .
  • In 1897 there was a project for a small train running from the train station across the town square to the Traunlände .
  • In 1921 the world's first industrial production of compost began in Wels.
  • The Wels company Krifka is the only manufacturer of biscuit cutters in Central Europe and produces two million pieces a year.
  • On May 22, 2010 the rock band AC / DC gave a concert in front of around 100,000 visitors at the airfield in Wels.


  • Walter Aspernig, Günter Kalliauer, Roland Wamser. In: Musealverein Wels (ed.): The Wels town square and its houses . Denkmayr, Wels 2002.
  • Helmut Grassner: The trade fair city of Wels and its surroundings . Landesverlag, Linz 1976, ISBN 3-85214-156-7 .
  • Kurt Holter , Gilbert Trathnigg (Ed.): Wels from primeval times to the present . 2nd Edition. Welsermühl, Wels 1985.
  • Sepp Käfer: Wels - portrait of the city and the district . Landesverlag, Linz 1975, ISBN 3-85214-123-0 .
  • Magistrate of the City of Wels (Ed.): 1878–1978 Hundred Years of Wels Fair . Landesverlag, Wels 1978.

further reading

  • Roland Anzengruber: The horse-drawn railway in old views. European Library Publisher, Zaltbommel (Netherlands) 1985, ISBN 90-288-3137-1 .
  • Walter Aspernig, Günter Kalliauer (Hrsg.): 100 years Wels-Neustadt Festschrift . Ernst Denkmayer Printing Center, Wels 1998.
  • Rudi Christoforetti: Smell, it's the German fist - A South Tyrolean optante boy experienced the Nazi era in Wels . Folio Verlag, Bozen 1999, ISBN 3-85256-132-9 .
  • Rudolf G. Dietl: What old taverns tell . Self-published, Wels 2004, ISBN 3-200-00172-0 .
  • Rudolf G. Dietl: Wels economy through the ages . Self-published, Wels 2006.
  • Helmut Grassner: Wels: A guide through the city and its surroundings . Kellner, Wels 1989, ISBN 3-900468-00-1 .
  • Hannelore Hörhann, Claudia Mallinger: The Welser Memorial Path - a handout for teachers , Remember.at, Bregenz 2013, (Master's thesis of the course: Pedagogy at Memory Places 2012/13 at the PH Linz 2013, 66 pages full text online PDF, free of charge, 66 pages, 939.6 kB).
  • Musealverein Wels (publisher): Festschrift - 50 years of the Musealverein Wels 1953–2003 (= 33rd year book of the Musealverein Wels). Wels 2004, 1st part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at, 2nd part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at, 3rd part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at, 4th part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at

Web links

Commons : Wels  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Catfish  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Statistics Austria - Population at the beginning of 2002–2020 by municipalities (area status 01/01/2020)
  2. a b Province of Upper Austria: Geography of the municipality of Wels , September 24, 2006.
  3. Statistics Austria: Population on January 1st, 2020 by locality (area status on January 1st, 2020) , ( CSV )
  4. The Reinberg and the Marienwarte. Retrieved February 2, 2019 (Austrian German).
  5. ^ Center of the district Wels-Stadt. (PDF) Office of Upper Austria. State government, accessed on May 18, 2020 .
  6. Dirk van Husen, Jürgen Reitner (eds.): The loess sequence Wels / Aschet (former Würzburger loam pit): A reference profile for the Middle and Young Pleistocene in the northern Alpine foothills ( MIS 16 to MIS 2). Austrian Academy of Sciences - OeAW. Announcements of the Commission for Quaternary Research Volume 19. Verlag der ÖAW. Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-7001-6992-5 . MIS = Oxygen Isotope Stage (English Marine Isotopic Stage).
  7. ^ Petroleum and natural gas in Austria> Upper Austria and Salzburg wabweb.net, last changed May 27, 2011, accessed on December 16, 2018.
  8. Federal Geological Institute: Explanations on sheet 49 Wels ( Memento of September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF, 0.98 MB, accessed on February 8, 2012).
  9. Christian Rohr: Floods on the Traun between everyday life and catastrophe. The Welser Traunbrücke as reflected in the Bruckamt's accounts of the 15th and 16th centuries. In: Festschrift 50 years of the Wels Museum Association 1953–2003 (= 33rd yearbook of the Wels Museum Association 2001/2002/2003). Wels 2004, pp. 281–327, 1st part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at, 2nd part (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at
  10. Renate Miglbauer: Ovilava - The Roman catfish. Website 470 in the forum OoeGeschichte.at
  11. Kurt Holter, Gilbert Trathnigg (ed.): Wels from primeval times to the present . 2nd Edition. Welsermühl, Wels 1985, p. 102.
  12. ^ AEIOU : View of the early modern city of Wels , August 25, 2006.
  13. Welser Anzeiger of January 5, 1921, Volume 67, No. 2, p. 4
  14. Dieter Bartetzko: Old nobility, dark past. faz.net, August 17, 2014, accessed September 5, 2014; Review of the documentary by Michael Wach and Schuhbauer: Nobility without scruples. The dark business of the Guelphs. The first, aired on August 18, 2014.
  15. ^ Hermann Volkmer: Migrations in Wels during the Nazi era. In: City of Wels (ed.): National Socialism in Wels. Volume 1. Wels 2008, pp. 164-178.
  16. See Markus Rachbauer: The German Wehrmacht in Wels 1938–1945. In: City of Wels (ed.): National Socialism in Wels. Volume 3. Wels 2015, p. 77 ff.
  17. ^ Günter Kalliauer: On the history of the Jewish concentration camp cemetery in Wels and its monuments. In: 33rd yearbook of the Wels Museum Association 2001/2002/2003. Wels 2004, p. 469, online (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at
  18. ^ Günter Kalliauer: On the history of the Jewish concentration camp cemetery in Wels and its monuments. In: 33rd yearbook of the Wels Museum Association 2001/2002/2003. Wels 2004, p. 469 ff, online (PDF) in the forum OoeGeschichte.at
  19. Markus Rachbauer: The Wels victims of the Nazi "euthanasia" crimes. In: City of Wels (ed.): National Socialism in Wels. Volume 2. Wels 2012, pp. 139–140.
  20. Günter Kalliauer: The Jewish population in Wels at the time of National Socialism. In: City of Wels (ed.): National Socialism in Wels. Volume 1. Wels 2008, p. 91.
  21. Michael Kitzmantel: The bombing war and catfish. In: City of Wels (ed.): National Socialism in Wels. Volume 2. Wels 2012, p. 272.
  22. KPÖ OÖ: News: Braune Flecken / Renaming / Resistance ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) , October 28, 2006.
  23. ^ KPÖ Upper Austria - "Brown spots" in Austrian municipalities. January 1, 2005.
  24. Antifa - Welser Initiative against Fascism: Success Record ( Memento of October 13, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) , accessed on February 8, 2012.
  25. ^ Infoladen Wels: Press release of the Infoladen Wels from September 16, 2003 ( Memento from May 17, 2006 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 8, 2012.
  26. Leo Furtlehner: Stubborn traces of fascism. At the conference “Brown spots are not fate” on September 9, 1995 in Wels.
  27. ^ Province of Upper Austria: Coat of arms of the municipality of Wels , July 28, 2006.
  28. a b c Statistics Austria: Demographic data of the Wels population (PDF 6 kB) , September 20, 2006.
  29. Population by nationality. Retrieved August 10, 2015 .
  30. ^ Haimbuchner: FPÖ Upper Austria is well positioned in the election. Press release of the FPÖ regional group Upper Austria, August 12, 2015, accessed on December 28.
  31. ^ FPÖ provides Wels mayor after the runoff election . APA report at derStandard.at , October 11, 2015, accessed on October 12, 2015.
  32. What is e-government? (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 2, 2015 ; accessed on May 15, 2015 .
  33. Magistrat Wels: Official city website ( memento from January 8, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (picture of the certificate under the heading “Straubing”) , July 28, 2006.
  34. Magistrat Wels: Our Sister Cities ( Memento of February 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) accessed on February 8, 2012.
  35. ↑ The commemoration of the evacuation in Bistritz sets new standards. Siebenbürgische Zeitung, accessed September 25, 2014 .
  36. OÖN -Journal: Top 250: The largest companies in Upper Austria , November 2008.
  37. ^ TGW Logistics Group in Wels ( memento from March 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on March 6, 2015.
  38. a b Magistrat Wels: Wirtschaftsdatenblatt 2005 ( Memento of October 8, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 178 kB) , July 29, 2006.
  39. Messe Wels is successfully expanding the outdoor theme with the trade fair trio bike-festival.at,
  40. Upper Austria News - "Lessons at the Wels Police School should start in spring 2019"
  41. http://www.hlogz-wels.at/datenveranstaltungen/garnisonsball/ballfuehrer_2013.pdf The Garrison Wels.
  42. Franziskanerinnen von Vöcklabruck : Education and Upbringing in Wels
  43. University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria: Facts & Figures
  44. Creation and development of a new parish using the example of Wels - St. Franziskus  ( 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. @1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.dioezese-linz.or.at   (PDF; 2.5 MB), August 19, 2006.
  45. Erik Famler: The Museum of Traces of Life closes: Villa am Mühlbach becomes Event Temple OÖN on September 10, 2015.
  46. Reingard Ecker: Wels. Doll World Museum. Special exhibition: Curtain up - theater in the children's room. From magic lantern to television. In: Yearbook of the Upper Austrian. Museum association. Volume 144 / II. Linz 1999, pp. 46-47, PDF on ZOBODAT
  47. http://www.nachrichten.at/oberoesterreich/wels/MedienKulturHaus-startet-im-Oktober;art67,855552
  48. ^ Kaiserpanorama in Wels ( Memento from November 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  49. ^ Richard Wagner Festival Wels. History of origin
  50. http://www.nachrichten.at/freizeit/kino/filmrezensions/Programmkino-startet-in-einer-Woche;art12975,984828
  51. Wels-Touristik: Night watchman tour ( memento from February 4, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) on stadtmarketing-wels.at (accessed on February 8, 2012).
  52. http://ooe.orf.at/news/stories/2691524/ Wels dissolves municipal department (excerpt from the inspection report), ORF.at, January 27, 2015.
  53. ^ Camillo Valerian Susan in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  54. Klara Kohler, in: Regiowiki.at website
  55. Johann Schwerdling: history of ancient and for centuries to sovereign and country highly deserved, sometimes handsomely, partly Count's house Starhemberg . Jos. Feichtinger , Linz 1830, p. 138 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  56. http://www.tanzschule-santner.at/
  57. Helmut Grassner: The fair city of Wels and its surroundings . Landesverlag, Linz 1976, ISBN 3-85214-156-7 , p. 46.
  58. railway Vorconcessionen. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, June 24, 1897, p. 10, top right (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp
  59. Welser Anzeiger of January 5, 1921, Volume 67, No. 2, p. 4.
  60. ORF .at: Two million cookie cutters per year from Wels. , July 2, 2007.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 29, 2006 .