Arnsberg (German pronunciation: [ˈaʁnsbɛʁk] (listen); Westphalian: Arensperg) is a town in the Hochsauerland county, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is the location of the Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg's administration and one of the three local administration offices of the Hochsauerlandkreis.
Arnsberg is located in the north-east of the Sauerland in the Ruhr river valley. The river Ruhr meanders around the south of the old town of Arnsberg. The town is nearly completely encircled by forest, and the nature park Arnsberger Wald lies to the north".
Arnsberg is connected by Federal Motorway 46 (Autobahn 46) Brilon in the east and (using the Federal Motorway 445) Werl in the west. It is also connected by several railroad stations, which provide a connection to the major city Dortmund and the Ruhrgebiet. There is also a regional airport, located in the city district of Vosswinkel, which is exclusively used for small private aircraft.
The municipal territory spans a distance of up to 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from the southern to the northern limits.
After the local government reforms of 1975 Arnsberg consists of 15 boroughs (Ortsteile):
Arnsberg was first mentioned in 789 in the Carolingian records (Urbar) as belonging to the abbey of Werden. The town was built by the counts of Werl in the 11th century. They built a castle there whose remains can still be visited and are occasionally used for public celebrations. It was destroyed in the Seven Years' War in 1769.
In the 12th century, old Arnsberg became the seat of Westphalian jurisdiction (whose coat of arms is still used today by the Hochsauerlandkreis). Later, the city lost its independence and was subject to the Archbishops of Cologne. In 1816, it came under Prussian rule and was made a local administrative centre.
In 1794 the French attacked Cologne, so parts of the treasure of the Cologne Cathedral were brought to safety to Arnsberg, also the relics of the Biblical Magi. In 1804 the treasure was returned to Cologne. A plaque in the Propsteikirche reminds of those years.
The current city of Arnsberg was created in 1975 by merging 14 cities and municipalities into one city. Old Arnsberg itself and Neheim-Hüsten are the two urban parts, while the other parts are very rural. Neheim and Hüsten were merged in 1941.
In the Second World War, Arnsberg first suffered widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of lives when RAF Lancasters breached the dam of the Möhne Reservoir in the night from 16 to 17 May 1943 (Operation Chastise). The nearby Abbey Himmelpforten was completely washed away.
Later, dozens of Arnsberg citizens were killed in several British air raids aimed at destroying the railway viaduct. The targets were finally destroyed on 19 March 1945 using a Grand Slam bomb.
Arnsberg's population is mostly Roman Catholic. Arnsberg belongs to the Archdiocese of Paderborn. Catholic churches include the "Propsteikirche" or the "Heilig-Kreuz Kirche"; the "Auferstehungskirche" is a Protestant church. There is also a New Apostolic congregation. In the last years Arnsberg's Muslim minority grew considerably. There's a mosque. The cemeteries are mostly Catholic but there is also a Jewish cemetery.
The Kunstverein Arnsberg operates in Arnsberg. Founded in 1987 and devoted to contemporary art, Kunstverein Arnsberg has presented solo exhibitions by artists including Georg Baselitz, Thomas Ruff, Karin Sander, Dan Perjovschi, Boris Mikhailov, Gregor Schneider, Erwin Wurm, the Turner Prize winner Susan Philipsz and the Marcel Duchamp Prize winner Laurent Grasso.
The arms of the city depict a white eagle on a blue field. Earlier it was a white eagle on a red field, introduced in 1278 and as used by the counts of Arnsberg . In the 17th century the red was changed to blue, reflecting the Bavarian blue of the House of Wittelsbach.
Mayors of the new town Arnsberg
Arnsberg is twinned with:
Glockenturm (Bell tower)