Main Births etc
Ulm Donauschwabenufer1
Country Germany
State Baden-Württemberg
Admin. region Tübingen
District Stadtkreis
First mentioned
Subdivisions 18 Stadtteile
 • Lord Mayor Ivo Gönner (SPD)
 • Total 118.69 km2 (45.83 sq mi)
Elevation 478 m (1,568 ft)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 • Total 122,801
 • Density 1,000/km2 (2,700/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 89073–89081
Dialling codes 0731, 07304,
07305, 07346
Vehicle registration UL

Ulm (German pronunciation: [ˈʔʊlm]  (Speaker Icon listen)) is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 (2006), forms an urban district of its own (German: Stadtkreis) and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850 (first written mention in 22 July 854), is rich in history and traditions as a former Free Imperial City (German: freie Reichsstadt). Today, it is an economic centre due to its varied industries, and it is the seat of a university (University of Ulm, founded in 1967). Internationally, Ulm is primarily known for having the church with the tallest steeple in the world (161.53 m or 529.95 feet), the Gothic minster (Ulm Minster, German: Ulmer Münster) and as the birthplace of Albert Einstein.


Ulm Fußgängerzone

View from the Münster towards Hirschstraße.

Ulm lies at the point where the rivers Blau and Iller join the Danube, at an altitude of 479 m (1,571.52 ft) above sea level. Most parts of the city, including the old town, are situated on the left bank of the Danube; only the districts of Wiblingen, Gögglingen, Donaustetten and Unterweiler lie on the right bank. Across from the old town, on the other side of the river, lies the twin city of Neu-Ulm in the state of Bavaria, smaller than Ulm and until 1810 a part of it (population ~50,000).

Except for the Danube in the south, the city is surrounded by forests and hills which rise to altitudes of over 620 metres (2,034.12 feet), some of them part of the Swabian Alb. South of the Danube, plains and hills finally end in the northern edge of the Alps, which are approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Ulm and are visible from the city on clear days.

The city is divided into eighteen districts (German: Stadtteile): Ulm-Mitte, Böfingen, Donaustetten, Donautal, Eggingen, Einsingen, Ermingen, Eselsberg, Gögglingen, Grimmelfingen, Jungingen, Lehr, Mähringen, Oststadt, Söflingen (with Harthausen), Unterweiler, Weststadt, and Wiblingen.

The city of Ulm is situated in the northern part of the North Alpine Foreland basin, where the basin reaches the Swabian Alb. The Turritellenplatte of Ermingen ("Erminger Turritellenplatte") is a famous palaeontological site of Burdigalian age.


The oldest traceable settlement of the Ulm area began in the early Neolithic period, around 5000 BC. Settlements of this time have been identified at the villages of Eggingen and Lehr, today districts of the city. In the city area of Ulm proper, the oldest find dates from the late Neolithic period. Ulm is mentioned in records dating to as early as 854. The city was declared an Imperial City (German: Reichsstadt) by Friedrich Barbarossa in 1181.

At first, Ulm's significance was due to the privilege of a Königspfalz, a place of accommodation for the medieval German kings and emperors on their frequent travels. Later, Ulm became a city of traders and craftsmen. One of the most important legal documents of the city, an agreement between the Ulm patricians and the trade guilds (German: Großer Schwörbrief), dates from 1397. This document, considered an early city constitution, and the beginning of the construction of an enormous church (Ulm Minster, 1377), financed by the inhabitants of Ulm themselves rather than by the church, demonstrate the assertiveness of Ulm's mediæval citizens. Ulm blossomed during the 15th and 16th centuries, mostly due to the export of high-quality textiles. The city was situated at the crossroads of important trade routes extending to Italy. These centuries, during which many important buildings were erected, also represented the zenith of art in Ulm, especially for painters and sculptors like Hans Multscher and Jörg Syrlin the Elder. During the Reformation, Ulm became Protestant (1530). With the establishment of new trade routes following the discovery of the New World (16th century) and the outbreak and consequences of the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), the city began to decline gradually. Around 1700, it was alternately invaded several times by French and Bavarian soldiers.

In the wars following the French Revolution, the city was alternately occupied by French and Austrian forces, with the former ones destroying the city fortifications. In 1803, it lost the status of Imperial City and was absorbed into Bavaria. During the campaign of 1805, Napoleon managed to trap the invading Austrian army of General Mack and forced it to surrender in the Battle of Ulm. In 1810, Ulm was incorporated into the Kingdom of Württemberg and lost its districts on the other bank of the Danube, which came to be known as Neu-Ulm (New Ulm).

In the mid-19th century, the city was designated a fortress of the German Confederation with huge military construction works directed primarily against the threat of a French invasion. The city became an important centre of industrialisation in southern Germany in the second half of the 19th century, its built-up area now being extended beyond the medieval walls. The construction of the huge minster, which had been interrupted in the 16th century for economic reasons, was resumed and eventually finished (1844–91) in a wave of German national enthusiasm for the Middle Ages.

From 1933 to 1935, a concentration camp primarily for political opponents of the regime was established on the Kuhberg, one of the hills surrounding Ulm. The Jews of Ulm, around 500 people, were first discriminated against and later persecuted; their synagogue was torn down after Kristallnacht in November 1938. The sole RAF strategic bombing during World War II against Ulm occurred on December 17, 1944, against the two large lorry factories of Magirus-Deutz and Kässbohrer, as well as other industries, barracks, and depots in Ulm. The Gallwitz Barracks and several military hospitals were among 14 Wehrmacht establishments destroyed.[2] The raid killed 707 Ulm inhabitants and left 25,000 homeless and after all the bombings, over 80% of the medieval city centre lay in ruins.

Most of the city was rebuilt in the plain and simple style of the 1950s and 1960s, but some of the historic landmark buildings have been restored. Due to its almost complete destruction in 1944, the Hirschstraße part of the city primarily consists of modern architecture. Ulm experienced substantial growth in the decades following World War II, with the establishment of large new housing projects and new industrial zones. In 1967, Ulm University was founded, which proved to be of great importance for the development of the city. Particularly since the 1980s, the transition from classical industry towards the high-tech sector has accelerated, with, for example, the establishment of research centres of companies like Daimler, Siemens and Nokia and a number of small applied research institutes near the university campus. The city today is still growing, forming a twin city of 170,000 inhabitants together with its neighbouring Bavarian city of Neu-Ulm, and seems to benefit from its central position between the cities of Stuttgart and Munich and thus between the cultural and economic hubs of southern Germany.

Panorama of Ulm
Panorama of Ulm


Kirche St Georg Ulm

Saint George's Catholic church, Ulm

The city has very old trading traditions dating from medieval times and a long history of industrialisation, beginning with the establishment of a railway station in 1850. The most important sector is still classical industry (machinery, especially motor vehicles; electronics; pharmaceuticals). The establishment of the University of Ulm, is regarded as one of the best research universities in Germany and the world. The university focuses on biomedicine, the sciences, and engineering. The establishment also helped support the transition to high-tech industry, especially after the crisis of classical industries in the 1980s.

Companies with headquarters in Ulm include:

  • Ebner & Spiegel GmbH (book printing)
  • Gardena AG (gardening tools)
  • J. G. Anschütz (firearms for sports and hunting)
  • H. Krieghoff GmbH (weapons for hunting and sports since 1886)
  • Müller Ltd. & Co. KG (major German trade company)
  • Ratiopharm (pharmaceuticals)
  • Carl Walther GmbH (fire arms, especially pistols)
  • Wieland-Werke AG (non-ferrous semi-finished products)
  • Britax Roemer Kindersicherheit GmbH (Child safety products)
  • Iveco Magirus AG
  • Zwick Roell Group (Materials Testing Machines) "intelligent testing"
  • Liqui Moly (additives, oils, car care products)

Companies with important plants in Ulm include:

  • Daimler: Daimler Forschungszentrum (research centre) and EvoBus (production of buses)
  • EADS, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company
  • BMW Car IT GmbH
  • Nuance Communications Speech Recognition (research departments)
  • Siemens AG
  • Nokia Siemens Networks
  • Deutsche Telekom AG
  • Atmel
  • Intel
  • AEG
  • Audi AG


In 2007 the city of Ulm was awarded the European Energy Award for their remarkable local energy management and their efforts against climate change.[3] Examples of these efforts are a biomass power plant operated by the Fernwärme Ulm GmbH (10 MW electrical output), and the world's biggest passive house office building, the so-called Energon, located in the "Science City" near the university campus. Moreover, the city of Ulm boasts the second largest solar power production in Germany.[4] For all new buildings, a strict energy standard (German KFW40 standard) is mandatory since April 2008. The Ulm Minster is powered fully by renewables since January 2008.[5] Until the end of 2011 as a European pilot project a self-sustaining data-centre will be constructed in the west-city of Ulm.[6] There is a solar-powered ferry that crosses the Danube 7 days a week in the summer.[7] In February 2010 the "Bündnis 100% Erneuerbare Energien" was founded, that aims to bring all capable regional people and institutions together, to switch the entire region of Ulm and Neu-Ulm to 100% renewable energy by 2030.[8]


Strassenbahn ulm stadion

Tram in Ulm

Ulm is situated at the crossroads of the A8 motorway (connecting the principal cities of southern Germany, Stuttgart and Munich), and the A7 motorway (one of the motorways running from northern to southern Europe).

The city's railway station is served, among other lines, by one of the European train routes (ParisStrasbourgStuttgart – Ulm – MunichViennaBudapest). Direct connections to Berlin are also available.

Ulm features a good public transportation system, based on several bus lines and a tram line. Park and ride, as well as parking lots in the city centre, are available. Several streets in the old town are restricted to pedestrians and bicycles only. Ulm was the first area to be served by the Daimler AG's Car2Go carsharing service.

Education and culture[]

Ulm public library above

The Ulm Public Library

The University of Ulm was founded in 1967 and focuses on the sciences, medicine, engineering, and mathematics / economics. With about 7,200 students, it belongs to the smaller universities in Germany.[9]

Ulm is also the seat of the city's University of Applied Sciences (German: Fachhochschule), founded in 1960 as a public school of engineering. The school also houses numerous students from around the world as part of an international study abroad programme.

In 1953, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill founded the Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm), a design school in the tradition of the Bauhaus, which was however closed in 1968.[10]

Ulm's public library features over 480,000 print media. The city has a public theatre with drama, opera and ballet,[11] several small theatres,[12] and a professional philharmonic orchestra.[13]


Ulm Donaustadion 1

The Donaustadion is the stadium of football club SSV Ulm 1846

  • SSV Ulm 1846, multi-sports club, former football Bundesliga club, now Regionalliga Süd
  • Ratiopharm Ulm, basketball club, Basketball Bundesliga
Club Founded League Sport Venue Capacity
SSV Ulm 1846 1846 Football Donaustadion 19,500
Ratiopharm Ulm 1970 Basketball Bundesliga Basketball Ratiopharm arena 6,000


Ulm Marktplatz

Ulm Marktplatz (market square) with town hall (right) and public library (center)


Town hall

Ulm Rabengasse

Ulm: View through Rabengasse towards the minster

Uni Ulm See Nordeingang

Sculpture of Niki de Saint Phalle (The poet and his muse) in front of the Ulm University


  • Ulm Minster (German: Ulmer Münster, built 1377-1891) with the world's highest church steeple (161.53 m (529.95 ft) high and 768 steps). Choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin the Elder (1469–74), famous sculpture Schmerzensmann (Man of Sorrows) by Hans Multscher (1429).
  • The old Fischerviertel (fishermen's quarter) on the River Blau, with half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and picturesque footbridges. Interesting sights here are the Schiefes Haus(crooked house), a 16th-century house today used as a hotel, and the Alte Münz (Old Mint), a mediæval building extended in the 16th and 17th centuries in Renaissance style.
  • The remaining section of the city walls, along the river, with the 14th-century Metzgerturm (butchers' tower) (36 m (118.11 ft) high).
  • The Rathaus (Town Hall), built in 1370, featuring some brilliantly-coloured murals dating from the mid-16th century. On the gable is an astronomical clock dating from 1520. Restored after serious damage in 1944. Photos of the Rathaus can be seen at this commercial travel site.
  • The Krone inn, a medieval complex of several houses (15th / 16th century, extensions from 19th century), where German kings and emperors were accommodated during their travels.
  • Several large buildings from the late Middle Ages / renaissance used for various purposes (especially storage of food and weapons), e.g. Schwörhaus, Kornhaus, Salzstadel, Büchsenstadel, Zeughaus, Neuer Bau.
  • Ulm Federal Fortifications are the largest preserved fortifications and were built from 1842-1859 to protect from attacks by France.
  • The historic district Auf dem Kreuz, a residential area with many buildings from before 1700.
  • Wiblingen Abbey, a former benedictine abbey in the suburb of Wiblingen in the south of Ulm. The church shows characteristics of late baroque and early classicism. Its library is a masterpiece of rococo. Page with photos of Wiblingen Abbey's Baroque library


  • Building of the Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm), an important school of design (1953–68) in the succession of the Bauhaus.
  • Stadthaus, a house for public events built by Richard Meier, directly adjacent to the minster.
  • Stadtbibliothek, the building of the public library of Ulm was erected by Gottfried Böhm in the form of a glass pyramid and is situated directly adjacent to the town hall.
  • Kunsthalle Weishaupt Weishaupt Art Gallery is the highlight in Ulm's New Centre


  • Weishaupt Art Gallery. The private Collection shows modern art from 1945 in an extraordinary surrounding.
  • The Ulm Museum shows the a significant collection of art and craftwork from the Middle Ages, the 32.000 year old lion-headed figurine which is the oldest known human/animal shaped sculpture in the world, European and American art from the years after 1945 and alternating exhibitions.
  • Museum of Bread Culture offers a permanent exhibition about the history of grain, baking, milling and bread culture.
  • The exhibitions in the Danube Swabian Museum follows the varied history of the Danube Swabians (Donauschwaben) emigrants.


  • Albert Einstein Memorial - A small memorial at the site of the house where Albert Einstein was born in the Bahnhofstraße, between the present-day newspaper offices and the bank. The house itself and the whole district was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944.
  • Memorial for Hans and Sophie Scholl - A small memorial on the Münsterplatz in memory of these two members of the Weiße Rose (White Rose, a resistance group opposed to the Nazi regime), who spent their youth in Ulm. Their family's house near the memorial was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944.
  • The Memorial to Deserters - Located near the University's botanical garden, it commemorates those who deserted from the Wehrmacht during World War Two. It was originally erected on September 9, 1989, and was moved to its current location until July 2005. The Monument represents the idea: "Desertion is not reprehensible, war is".

Other landmarks[]

  • The Botanischer Garten der Universität Ulm, the university's botanical garden
  • Silo tower of the mill company Schapfenmühle (Schapfen Mill Tower)
  • Fernmeldeturm Ulm-Ermingen
  • Mediumwave transmission mast Ulm-Jungingen
  • FM and TV mast Ulm-Kuhberg

Notable inhabitants[]

Born in Ulm[]

  • Otl Aicher, graphic designer, co-founder of Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm), and creator of Rotis font
  • Max Bentele, German mechanical engineer, jet-engine pioneer, and father of the Wankel rotary engine in the US
  • Albrecht Berblinger, flight pioneer
  • Dieter Braun, Motorcycle Grand Prix racer
  • Albert Einstein, physicist, philosopher, Nobel Prize winner.
  • Fabian Endisch, football player for SSG Ulm 99 and the German National Team.
  • Anna Essinger, educator; co-founder and headmistress of Bunce Court School
  • Nikolaus Federmann (1505–1542), adventurer and conquistador in Venezuela and Colombia
  • Hellmut Hattler, German jazz and rock bass player (Kraan)
  • Max Hattler, German artist filmmaker
  • Johann Christoph Heilbronner, mathematical historian
  • Dieter Hoeneß, former football player, former general manager of Hertha BSC and VfL Wolfsburg football club
  • Uli Hoeneß, former football player, current president of Bayern Munich football club
  • Hildegard Knef, actress, singer and writer
  • Mike Krüger, German comedian
  • Hans Maler zu Schwaz, painter of the 16th century
  • Erwin Piscator, theatre director and innovator
  • Sam Rosen, American sportscaster (MSG Network)
  • Claudia Roth, politician, chairman of the German Green Party
  • Wilhelm Schuler, chemist, inventor and entrepreneur in the second half of the 20th century.
  • Erik Thommy, footballer

Otherwise associated with Ulm[]

  • Max Bill (1908–1994), architect and artist, co-founder and director of the Ulm School of Design, (German: Hochschule für Gestaltung - HfG Ulm)
  • Matthias Böblinger, stonemason and master builder, involved in the construction of the Ulm Munster
  • In 1619 philosopher Rene Descartes experienced a powerful vision near Ulm.[14]
  • Ulrich Ensinger, master builder, involved in the construction of the Ulm Münster and Strasbourg Münster
  • Hermann Fressant, 14th century author
  • Leonhard Hutter (born in Nellingen near Ulm)
  • Herbert von Karajan, conductor, Kapellmeister in Ulm (1929–1934)
  • Hans Multscher, 15th century sculptor
  • Erwin Rommel (born in Heidenheim, his last residence was at Herrlingen near Ulm)
  • Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, founders of the White Rose, spent their youth in Ulm
  • Robert Bosch industrialist, engineer and inventor, founder of Robert Bosch GmbH (Born in Albeck near Ulm)
  • Johann Gambolputty-de-von-ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knackerthrasher-applebanger-horowitz-ticolensic-granderknotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kürstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-guten-abend-bitte-einen-nürnburger-bratwürstel-gespurten-mit-zweimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-schönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittelraucher-von-hauptkopft of Ulm, fictional German Baroque composer in Monty Python's Flying Circus.

International relations[]

  • Ulm is a member city of Eurotowns network[15]

Ulm is officially not twinned. But there are relations with:



  • Johannes Baier: Über die Tertiärbildungen im Ulmer Raum. In: Documenta Naturae. 168; München, 2008. ISBN 978-3-86544-168-3


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit" (in German). Statistisches Landesamt Baden-Württemberg. 31 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "RAF History - Bomber Command 60th Anniversary". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  3. ^ [1] website of the city of Ulm, European Energy Award.
  4. ^ Lars Schulz (2010-03-27). "Solarbundesliga". Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  5. ^ SWU Fakten, Stadtwerke Ulm, visited 15. Mai 2008.
  6. ^ [2] Press release at
  7. ^ "Solarstiftung Ulm/Neu-Ulm - Home". Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  8. ^ Roland Fuchs. "Home - Bündnis 100% Erneuerbare Energien". Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  9. ^ "The University of Ulm". Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  10. ^ "HfG-Archiv Ulm - History". HfG-Archiv Ulm. 2003. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Theatre Ulm". Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Theatres & Stages". Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  13. ^ "Theater Ulm - Konzerte" (in German). Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Eurotowns". 
  16. ^ "Partner (Twin) towns of Bratislava". Archived from the original on 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  17. ^ a b "Ulm - International Contacts (in German)". City of Ulm.,4082,3836,57385.htm. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 

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