World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kaiserslautern, Germany

This article is about the city. For the surrounding district, see Kaiserslautern (district).

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 49°26′41″N 7°46′8″E / 49.44472°N 7.76889°E / 49.44472; 7.76889Coordinates: 49°26′41″N 7°46′8″E / 49.44472°N 7.76889°E / 49.44472; 7.76889

Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
 • Lord Mayor Klaus Weichel (SPD)
 • Total 139.72 km2 (53.95 sq mi)
Elevation 251 m (823 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 97,112
 • Density 700/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 67655–67663
Dialling codes 0631, 06301
Vehicle registration KL

Kaiserslautern (German pronunciation: [kaɪ̯zɐsˈlaʊ̯tɐn]) is a city in southwest Germany, located in the Bundesland (State) of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) at the edge of the Palatinate Forest (Pfälzer Wald). The historic centre dates to the 9th century. It is 459 kilometres (285 miles) from Paris, 117 km (73 miles) from Frankfurt am Main, and 159 km (99 miles) from Luxembourg.

Kaiserslautern is home to almost 100,000 people. Additionally, approximately 50,000 NATO military personnel inhabit the city and its surrounding district (Landkreis Kaiserslautern), and contribute approximately US$1 billion annually to the local economy. These are mainly Americans, who form the largest U.S. population center outside the territory of the United States and often call the city K-Town.[2]


Prehistoric settlement in the area of what is now Kaiserslautern has been traced to at least 800 BC. Some 2,500-year-old Celtic tombs were uncovered at Miesau, a town about 29 kilometres (18 miles) west of Kaiserslautern. The recovered relics are now in the Museum for Palatinate History at Speyer.

Kaiserslautern received its name from the favorite hunting retreat of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa who ruled the Holy Roman Empire from 1155 until 1190. The small river Lauter made the old section of Kaiserslautern an island in medieval times. Ruins of Frederick's original castle, built 1152–1160, can still be seen in front of the Rathaus (city hall). A second castle, Nanstein Castle, was built at Landstuhl to guard the western approach to the city. Because of the influence Frederick Barbarossa had on the town, it is nicknamed a "Barbarossa town".

The Stiftkirche, Kaiserslautern's oldest church, was constructed in 1250–1350. As the population of Kaiserslautern grew, King Rudolf von Habsburg chartered the town in 1276. St. Martin's Kirche (church) was built from 1300–1350 for an order of monks. Today a section of the original city wall still stands in the courtyard of the church.

In 1375, the city of Kaiserslautern was pledged to Electoral Palatinate and therefore became subsequently part of the Wittelsbach inheritance.

In 1519, Franz von Sickingen became the owner of Nanstein Castle. He became a Protestant, and in 1522 Nanstein was a stronghold for local nobles favouring the Reformation. Sickingen and the local nobles began their battle against the Archbishop of Trier; but the attack was unsuccessful, and they retreated to Nanstein. Nanstein was then besieged by cannon-armed German Catholic princes. Sickingen died after the castle surrendered, and the Protestant nobility of the Electoral Palatinate were subdued by the Catholic princes.

Count of the Electoral Palatinate Johann Casimir, came to Kaiserslautern during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Spanish occupation in 1621–1632 ended when Protestant Swedish armies liberated the area. In 1635, however, Croatian troops of the Austrian emperor's army entered Kaiserslautern and killed 3,000 of the 3,200 residents in three days' plundering. Landstuhl was saved from a similar fate by surrendering without a fight. It took Kaiserslautern about 160 years to repopulate itself.

Conflict did not end with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Elector of the Pfalz had difficulty with many of his subjects and ordered all castles, including Nanstein, destroyed. The French repeatedly invaded and occupied the area, residing in Kaiserslautern in 1686–1697. Nevertheless, after the treaty of Utrecht it was restored to be part of the Palatinate. During the unquiet episodes in the 18th century, the Palatinate was the scene of fighting between French and German troops of different states. In 1713, the French destroyed Barbarossa's castle and the city's wall towers. From 1793 until Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the area was under French administration.

As French power declined after 1815, Kaiserslautern and the Palatinate became a Bavarian province and remained so until 1918. After World War I, French troops again occupied the Palatinate for several years.

In World War II, more than 60% of Kaiserslautern was destroyed by bombs from Allied aircraft. The railway and several main roads were primary targets. The heaviest attacks occurred on 7 January, 11 August, and 28 September 1944. Of the 20,000 homes, 11,000 were destroyed or damaged. The cemetery wall opposite Kleber Kaserne still bears shell marks of these raids. Unexploded ordnance from WWII continues to be discovered in and around Kaiserslautern. In May 2012 an unexploded 250-pound Allied bomb was found, buried deeply and reportedly covered by water pipe, during a construction project in the downtown area of the city. On 5 September 2013, another WWII bomb was found during construction near the train station in Enkenbach-Alsenborn.

On 20 March 1945, as the last of Omar Bradley's 1st Army crossed the Rhine at Remagen, the U.S. 80th Division, 319th Infantry, part of George Patton's 3rd Army, seized Kaiserslautern without resistance. The war was over for this area, but there was little reconstruction until the currency reform of 1948. The pace of the economy remained slow until 1952, when construction for newly established garrisons of American troops brought economic growth to the area.

The city's coat of arms is a red and white shield, with an open-mouthed pike on it. This was reportedly Frederick's favorite dish.

Sites and buildings

Today, Kaiserslautern is a modern centre of information and communications technology and home to a well-known university, a technical college and many international research institutes located throughout the city.

The Palatine Gallery dates from 1874 featuring exhibits of painting and sculpture from the 19th century to the present day.

Town Hall Kaiserslautern is one of the tallest buildings and is located in the city centre. The bar and coffee shop on the top floor provides a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside.

The tallest building in the center of Kaiserslautern is Marienkirche, a Catholic church, whereas the highest structure in all Kaiserslautern is the television tower in the suburb of Dansenberg, southwest of the city center.

Kaiserslautern's large botanical gardens feature a Japanese-style garden. Another unusual feature is the Waschmühle (also known as "Wesch"), an enormous 160-metre public swimming pool that is the largest in Europe. There are several pedestrian only shopping zones with numerous and varied restaurants and bars located in the city centre surrounding the old city (Altstadt). In the Altstadt you will find the "Kaiserbrunnen", a large ornamental fountain with symbols of the city's history such as a sewing machine, as produced by the Pfaff company in the city, a football representing the city's football club and various animals that children can climb.

University of Kaiserslautern

University of Kaiserslautern was founded on 13 July 1970. Earlier, it was part of the twin University Trier/Kaiserslautern. It started with the departments of Mathematics, Physics and Technology. Later many more facilities were added.

Culture and sports

Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern Local theatre West Side Story took place there. As the arts in Germany are significantly subsidized by the government, its ticket prices are reasonably low. Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern hosts the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Preis awards for German literature.

The Kammgarn The Uriah Heep and Jan Garbarek.

Gartenschau (Garden exhibition) Better known as the 'Dino Park' because of its lifesize dinosaur models, the Gartenschau is open from April through October and is popular with families. Having begun as a series of botanical displays and enjoying success at the first State Garden Exhibition of Rhineland-Palatinate in Kaiserslautern in 2000, this 54-acre (220,000 m2) park has been transformed into one of the most multi-dimensional cultural centers in Germany.

Fritz Walter Stadium

The newly renovated Fritz Walter Stadion accommodates 48,500 football fans. In June 2006, Kaiserslautern was one of 12 German cities to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup. During the five matches played, the first goal ever from an Australian team in a Football World Cup match was scored (by Tim Cahill).

Kaiserslautern is also home to the Football team 1. FC Kaiserslautern, which achieved the title "Deutscher Meister" (German champions) four times.

Museums and libraries

  • Palatinate Gallery of Art Pfalzgalerie (artgallery, mainly pictures and sculptures from the 19th and 20th century)
  • Theodor-Zink-Museum (local history)
  • Stadtbibliothek (Municipal Library)
  • Universitätsbibliothek (university library of Kaiserslautern)
  • Hochschulbibliothek (Bibliothek of Fachhochschule)
  • Pfalzbibliothek (scientific library with a main focus on the Electorate of the Palatinate issues)



The largest church is the 'Marienkirche' (Church of St. Mary - Catholic). There is also the historic Apostel Church (Protestant). Right in the center of town is the very large and old Stiftskirche (Protestant). All three have very large pipe organs and occ concerts.

The oldest house in town is the Spinnraedel, a guesthouse, only a few steps from the Stiftskirche in the centre of town.


The city has two mosques. The first mosque was built by the Turkish community living in the city. It is located on the Richard-Wagner-Str. Another one built more recently, Islamic Centre Kaiserslautern (which is an Arabic organization), is located at Humboldstraße.


The city was once the site of the magnificent Moorish Revival Kaiserslautern synagogue. Built in 1886, the synagogue's great dome could be seen from across the city. It was destroyed 31 August 1938, a few months before Kristallnacht.[3]


Kaiserslautern is located in one of the largest contiguous forest areas (Palatinate Forest) in Central Europe and offers numerous hiking trails and lakes to visitors.

Other places of interest in Kaiserslautern are:

  • The Humberg Tower, an observation tower on the Humberg hill which was built in 1900 and offers a great view over the Palatinate Forest
  • Kaiserslautern Zoo at Siegelbach
  • Karlstal (a whitewater canyon)
  • Barbarossa (Redbeard)
  • Burg Nanstein, Landstuhl, a castle in the district
  • Burg Hohenecken, a castle in a suburb/ward of Kaiserslautern
  • EU
  • Japanischer Garten (Japanese Garden), largest garden of its kind in Europe.


Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[4]

Climate data for Kaiserslautern
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 39
Daily mean °F (°C) 34.3
Average low °F (°C) 30
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.56
Avg. precipitation days 18 15 13 15 14 14 15 14 13 14 16 17 178
 % humidity 86 83 76 71 70 75 76 79 80 83 88 90 79.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 48 77 118 169 194 207 224 211 154 102 54 38 1,596
Source #1: Deutscher Wetterdienst [5]
Source #2: Wetterkontor [6]

International relations

Kaiserslautern is twinned with:


Companies in Kaiserslautern

  • ACO Guss GmbH (was Guss und Armaturwerk Kaiserslautern; steel)
  • Adam Opel AG (engines and components factory)
  • Albert Ziegler GmbH & Co. KG (fire-fighting equipment)
  • AMEC Earth & Environmental (Environmental Consulting and Engineering)
  • Avid Technology (formerly Blue-Order)
  • Bahntechnik Kaiserslautern (formerly Bundesbahn-Ausbesserungswerk; trains and wagons)
  • Corning GmbH (catalytic converters)
  • CP Schmidt Verpackungswerk GmbH & Co. KG (cardboard and wrappings)
  • Creonic GmbH (microelectronic chip design)
  • CS3 (plasma cutters and designs)
  • Empolis GmbH (Content & Knowledge Management Software)
  • Euromaster GmbH (tires, company headquarters)
  • FACT Future Advanced Composites & Technology GmbH (plastics)
  • F.K. Horn GmbH & Co. KG (construction)
  • Freudenberg Vliesstoffe KG (manufacturer of fibrous webs)
  • Fruit of the Loom GmbH (European center for logistics)
  • Gebr. Pfeiffer SE(stonemills)
  • General Dynamics European Land Systems-Germany (until 2002 Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern; amphibious vehicles, mobile bridges for military use)
  • Hochwald Nahrungsmittel-Werke GmbH (milk)
  • Human Solutions GmbH (hardware/software for ergonomic processes and bodyscanners)
  • Johnson Controls, formerly Keiper (carseats)
  • Linux Networx GmbH (headquarters for Europe, specialists for supercomputer)
  • LMS Deutschland GmbH (software development for mechanic, structural density and components)
  • Lumera Laser GmbH (laser systems)
  • maxess Systemhaus GmbH (IT solutions for grocery companies)
  • MOBOTIX AG (megapixel video surveillance manufacturer and software developer)
  • Pfaff Industrie Maschinen AG (sewing machines)
  • Rohr Druck GmbH (printing)
  • Saar-Pfalz Erfrischungsgetränke GmbH & Co. KG (licensee of Coca-Cola)
  • SIEDA Systemhaus für intelligente EDV-Anwendungen GmbH (software for hospitals, scheduling, and logistics)
  • Spinnerei Lampertsmühle GmbH (textiles)
  • Supra Foto Elektronik Vetriebs GmbH
  • vwd Vereinigte Wirtschaftsdienste AG ( former Market Maker Software AG) (software for stock portfolio management)
  • Wipotec Wägetechnik GmbH (scales)

US military

Between 1950 and 1955, Kaiserslautern developed into the largest US military community outside of the United States. For this reason Kaiserslautern is also referred to as "K-town"; a term coined by the early American military population who had difficulty pronouncing the name. The Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) is a combined community consisting of Army and Air Force components. The KMC consists of Army facilities at Kleber, Panzer, and Daener Kaserne, Landstuhl, Miesau, Einsiedlerhof, Pirmasens, Sembach, Rhine Ordnance Barracks and Pulaski Barracks along with Air Force facilities located at Ramstein Air Base, Vogelweh, and Kapaun Air Station.



External links

  • Official website
  • History of Kaiserslautern
  • Website about some restaurant and festival reviews in and around K-Town
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.