Freudenstadt in the Black Forest is a historic city which experienced already a lot in its 400 year’s existence. Here you get a compressed overview of the history of our beautiful Black Forest city.

The foundation of Freudenstadt

  • 1599 Duke Friedrich I. of Wurttemberg had the vision to found a new residence city in the mid of the Black Forest to upvalue this sparsely populated part of his lordship. He ordered his builder Heinrich Schickhardt, to design Freudenstadt as plan city. He oriented his layout to the board game morris and in its center should arise a huge residence castle.
  • The 02. May 1601, after the cornerstone laying of the city church, Duke Friedrich named the city „Freudenstadt“. The city was planned for 3.500 inhabitants (Berlin that time had 6.000 inhabitants) and was situated in the center of his vision of his great wuerttembergian empire which ranges up to Montbéliard.

    The following years religious refugees from the Habsburgs from Styria, Carinthia and Carniola found home and refuge in Freudenstadt.
  • When Duke Friedrich I. from Wurttemberg died 1608, also his great state idea and the dream of an important residence city died. What remained is Germany’s biggest marketplace with a size of 219x216 meters.

Freudenstadt – world famous, high-altitude health resort

  • With Alfred Hartranft, 1877 Freudenstadt got a visionary village mayor who wanted to bring the small hillbilly village to fame and glory. With determined work, he managed to get Freudenstadt more famous.
  • About 1900 in Freudenstadt there were built the grand hotels Waldlust, Waldeck and Rappen and it didn’t take long until king Georg from England, Mark Twain, Reich president Friedrich Ebert or Hollywood stars as Mary Pickford were among Freudenstadt’s guests.
  • 1937 more than 65.000 guests visited Freudenstadt, thereof a lot from foreign countries. Two years later Freudenstadt received for the first time the title “spa which’s climate is beneficial to health”.
  • With the start of the Second World War the splendid years of Freudenstadt ended.
Marktplatztreiben zur Zeit des florierenden Tourismus


War, deterioration and the wonder of Freudenstadt

  • Already in its younger years, the city needed to overcome several blows of fate.
    1610 a lot of Freudenstadts‘ inhabitants fall victim to the pest.
  • In the year 1632 a major fire deteriorated half of the city. Only two years later, Freudenstadt is pillaged by friends and enemies, after the Protestants suffered a big defeat during the Thirty Years’ War near Nördlingen. A further pest wave again claimed a lot of victims. Also, during the 18th and 19th century the city wasn’t spared by wars.
  • During the time of the NS regime there was stationed an army high command in Freudenstadt.
    Also, Hitler created his headquarter in Kniebis. That’s why the city became a symbol of the NS regime what was important in 1945.
  • During the night of 16./17. April 1945, only few weeks before end of the war, Freudenstadt had been deteriorated nearly completely, when the French set on fire the important hub during their advance to Stuttgart.
Die zerstörte Stadtkirche nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg
  • But the suffering didn’t stop the people of Freudenstadt and they soon began with the matchless rebuilt of the city. Ludwig Schweizers‘s plans prevailed against all other proposals and so the city was built up again according to the old plans. Deviating from most of Germany’s cities, no new town was built but the special character of Freudenstadt preserved.
  • Already in 1950 the reerected city church was inaugurated. 1954 with the inauguration of the town hall the rebuilding of the city was considered as completed. “The wonder of Freudenstadt“ was achieved.

Freudenstadt’s development during the last years and today

  • After the wonder of Freudenstadt the city recovered smoothly and the tourism returned and experienced it’s second period of prosperity.
  • In the 70ies, new hotels were built. 1989 the spa-house was extended by a congress center. To the 400 year’s anniversary of the city in 1999 the marketplace was redesigned and became with the 50 water fountains an attractive center of attraction.
  • Between 2003 and 2008 the city railway connections to Karlsruhe and Offenburg were extended and improved and the connection to the regional capital Stuttgart was expanded.
  • In the course of the foundation of the national park Black Forest 2014, Freudenstadt became member of the national park region Black Forest.
  • As of 2020 Freudenstadt will be university city with the inauguration of the “Campus Schwarzwald”, a campus of the university Stuttgart.