"Bergisches Land"

Embedded in a well-wooded area our homeland and "root" is lying, called the "Bergisches Land". Freely translated it means "The hilly land". Our city called Remscheid, combined with two other cities Solingen and Wuppertal nearby, in the middle of western Germany within a stone´s throw of the well-known city Cologne, with it´s world famous "Dome of Cologne"., known as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. .

The roots
An area with a well-known tradition, which has it´s historical roots in the range of steel treatment but even clothiers. Up to now Remscheid has the main focus on the steel treatment industry especially in the range of tool making, furthermore the machine building is another main pillar of the area. From the historical perspective the surname "City of blades" says, that in Solingen is the heart of the German blade producing industry. Wuppertal on the other hand was affected by textile industry in the 19th century, but even with contingents of the metalworking industry. The total number of residents in these three cities is today about 600.000. But now we will start the trip through our homeland, from the foundation of the



"Bergisches Land" up to the industrial location today and start our trip in Solingen at "Schloss Burg" an old castle.

Here was the beginning of the history of "Bergisches Land", in the beginning of the 12th centurary with earl "Adolf von Berg" the eponym of this region At the outset he was ruling from different residences, but 1133 he decided to build the castle "Schloss Burg" at the river Wupper in the center of the empire. In the 13th and 14th century it was the main residence of the earls "von Berg".

The castle was build on top of a hill, today you can reach through three different ways, comfortable over the road by car, with a nostalgic chair lift or by feet on a short but strenous and steep was up the hill.


During the Thirty Years War the castle was damaged dramatically and later different building material was removed for other buildings, finally there was only a ruin.

Rebuilding and restoration was only done in the year 1890. Today unfortunately we do not stand in front of the realy historical castle but although you got on some places there an impression and feeling of mediaeval times. A lot of nice restaurant around the castle seduce you with regional viands, like the traditional coffee plate, with different sorts of bread, cheese, waffles, zwieback and pretzels. But for the present we ignore our appetite and are more interested to explore our homeland.
Ore, the gold of our mountains
First we go a little step back in the history. Already in the 10th century people in our region begun with digging of small orebodies, mainly in open cast mining. Beside the ore bodies our well-wooded area gave the second raw material of steel treatment: the wood. By using charcoal the iron was smelted out of the ore bearing stones. This was the fpoundation of the later beginning industry. Parallel with this industrie a second industry was develloping in the city of Lennep, today a part of Remscheid, the clothing and weaver industry. Lennep got official city rights in the year of 1230, and belonged to one of

the oldest cities in the "Bergischen land", it was yet a aprt of the Hanseatic League. Trade andhandcraft bloomed. We visit this part of Remscheid and make a detour in the nice Old Town of Lennep. Far into the 14th century the clothing industry increased its strength and the products of city Lennep were famous all over the places.
Still in the 18th century, after struggles in the trade guild and a devastating fire in the city in 1750, which nearly destroyed Lennep, disrupted this field of industry. Many residents of the city migrated and Lennep was not able to continue these traditions.


The Outfit of the Region Today many alleyways go alongside the restaurated, old typical houses of the region. We see a lot of the black schist houses, with the white window and door frames and the green shutters. These are the typical colours of the region you will find on every kind of these houeses. Another typical house you will see beside the schist houses are the black and white half-timbered houses. Both types symbolise the classic architectional picture of the region.
We reach a further very famous house, which is even suitable to that architectional scheme, during our

walk through the old town. The birthplace of Mr. Wilhelm Corad Röntgen, who was born in Lennep in 1845 and who detected X-ray radiation and got for that the first noble price. Quite every people know x-ray, but only few people in the world know Mr. Röntgen or his birthplace, Lennep. Before walking back on the path of industrialisation we make a last detour to the old city wall which is partly conserved.         

The Region - Hard like a Hammer
The region of Remscheid was famous for the refinement of steel and the producing of semi-finished products. Solingen was famous for forgeing swords out of the steel and Wuppertal was concentrated on forgeing scythes. All different kinds of blades got their finish for the necessary sharpness and the polished surface by grindstones. In the beginning the grindstones, bellows and blacksmith´s hammer were moved only by human´s hand. Later in the second half of the 16th century they begun to use the force of water by using water wheels


for impetus of these devices. The known forges and grinding shops came into being in great densitiy and increased their productivity. The very first forge was founded around 1475. The early forges in the three cities were mainly used for for steel making only. For turning iron into forgeable and heat-treatable steel by refining or decarbonizing it. In the following years the image changed and the aforementioned specialities of the region came into being.

Around the 18th century the number of scythe smith´s decreased and the development of the tool-making

industry begun. This was the foundation for the today flourishing business of tool industry. Beside the original cutting tools there were made files, drills, chisel and hammers but even products like waffle irons, ice-skates or coffee grinders. In the producuing Remscheid was leading temporary. People understood taking up and using new technologies and new sales prospects. The age of industrialisation begun and therefore even the progress with regard to architectional work. Today you can still visit the Steffen´s forge, an old origin forge, restaurated but even in its old functional principle The „descent“ with the elefant
On the second leg of the journey we make a short stop at a further historical “building” of Remscheid, the curved dam wall of the first drinking water dam of Germany. It was builded in 1891 and an important milestone in the economical development. Today there is a 3km walk around the dam. It is a recreation area for the residents of Remscheid and you can see there a lot of joggers and walkers in the evening. Today we do without jogging and decide for driving to Wuppertal. We want to use



the opportunity for a ride with the Wuppertal suspension railway. 1901 the railway was finished after 3 years construction time. Today it connects on a 13.5 kilometer ride the district Oberbarmen with Vohwinkel.

Mostly it drives over the river Wupper but even directly through the city. The suspension railway stands for safety for more than one century. It is on of the most safe public traffic device in the world. Only one accident made a headline in the local newspapers in 1950. A famous circus had an advertising idea for their show, they wanted to transport an
elephant named Tuffi with this railway. Unfortunately Tuffi did not like that idea while being on ride, the animal run through the railway like crazy, trumpeting, breaked through the side wall of the railway and jumped 10 metres deep in the river.

Fortunately nobody including the elephant were injured seriously. The suspension railway was always an advertisement of the region which stands for the innovation of Wiuppertal. In its extension and kind this traffic device is really unique in the world.

An arch which is connecting…
After the ride with the suspension railway we watch the steel construction of this railway and got an idea. Our idea is to visit another very famous steel construction of our region. This construction lies in the valley between Remscheid and Solingen, better the fundament lies in the valley, the bridge on the fundament goes over that valley at a height of 107 metres over the river Wupper. Every day several trains use this bridge as a connection between Wuppertal, Remscheid and Solingen. It is called the “Müngstener Bridge” and it is the highest railway bridge of Germany which
was finished in the year 1897 after 3 years construction time. Around the turn of the century the bridge was a master piece of architecture and it stood in a strong contrast to the world of experiences of the people during this time, who were really astonished about that building. All these different kinds of buildings shape the character of our region. We start our walking trail back to the castle “Schloss Burg” which is close to the bridge and our starting point of our little journey through the region. Slowly rain is coming up, this rain, which is so typical for the area here, we are glad to reach “Schloss Burg”, we want to stop for a bite of eat and decide for the traditional “Bergische” coffee plate.


"Seaside town on the mountain“
his was our short trip through the highlights of the three cities, the head office of industry in that region of “Bergisches Land”. Our city Remscheid with the highest part of production industry is the last real industry city of that area. The inhabitants call them loving “Seaside town on the mountain”, not because of the many rain which is falling here, but with regard to the traditional roots of export, the combination of workmen and traders. Human beings, who brought the high quality tools and steel into the world and made also a name of quality out of it.
      The „Bergisches Land“ as the cradle of quality tools, old story told from : … when they came back from their journeys, the producers and the traders, then they found their roots here and were rooted to their native soils. They are a little bit unyielding, straight and traditional, even famous for solving difficult problems.” It gives above-average many patents and inventions.

Roots and wings even the motto of our journey, as inhabitants of Remscheid out in the world, without standstill, open for every problem, with the aim to use it as a challenge and don´t see it as a barrier.

If you are interested please use the chance to visit our region “Bergisches Land” and try a taste of our region with the famous "Bergische Kaffeetafel".