Infobox German Location
Art = Stadt
Wappen = Gladbeck, Germany COA.pnglat_deg = 51 |lat_min = 34 | lat_sec=0
lon_deg = 6 |lon_min = 58 | lon_sec=0
Lageplan =
Bundesland = Nordrhein-Westfalen
Regierungsbezirk = Münster
Kreis = Recklinghausen
Höhe = 52
Fläche = 35.91
Einwohner = 77436
Stand = 2006-12-31
PLZ = 45964–45968
Vorwahl = 02043
Kfz = RE
Website = []
Bürgermeister = Ulrich Roland
Partei = SPD

Gladbeck (IPA2|ˈglatbɛk) is a city in the district of Recklinghausen in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

The name ´Gladbeck´ evolves from Low German, originally spoken in the area around Gladbeck. ´Glad´ means something like gleamy and ´beck´ means about brook. However, the brook Gladbeck flows under the ground nowadays. The districts of Gladbeck are Brauck, Butendorf, Ellinghorst, Mitte, Ost, Rentfort, Rosenhügel, Schultendorf and Zweckel.


Gladbeck is located in the Ruhr Area and belongs to the so called Emscherzone in which mining started late in relation to other towns of this area. Gladbeck is predominantly surrounded by Bottrop, Gelsenkirchen, Dorsten and by Essen in the south.


Pre-industrial society

Early archeological finds prove a population in the region of Gladbeck already in about 2000 before Christ.It was first mentioned in 1020 as Gladbeki and was originally a small village of 300 inhabitants. The village with the five peasantries was arranged around the St.-Lamberti-church.

From 1180 to 1802 Gladbeck belonged to the Vest Recklinghausen and thus it was linked with the Electorate of Cologne for a long time. At the 1815 Congress of Vienna the Kingdom of Prussia acquired the area and administered it within the Province of Westphalia.

Time of coal mining

Coal was found in the 1870s and the first coal was produced in 1878. Depending on additional workers, the coal mines attracted many people. Therefore Gladbeck rapidly grew by immigration from surrounding Westphalia, the Rhine Province, and from the eastern provinces of Prussia including citizens with Polish as their native language.

The little village quickly turned into an establishment of industry and was given town privilege in July 1919. Also Gladbeck benefited from the general boom in the years 1925 to 1929 in which important building projects were realised in spite of all troubles, such as the stadium as well as the open-air bath.

As with all German towns, Gladbeck was brought into line after Adolf Hitler was named Reichskanzler. This took place under the earlier elected conservative mayor immediately joining the Nazi Party. In World War II Gladbeck was heavily damaged and around 43% of the buildings in the center were destroyed, making it as one of the most destroyed towns in the Ruhr Area. After the war the town became part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

During the 1960s the coal industry went into a substantial crisis, resulting in widespread unemployment. Apart from this Gladbeck's population reached 85,927 inhabitants in 1969, which is unique in the history of this town. Since the last coal mine was closed in 1971 Gladbeck is fighting against a high rate of unemployment, activating the structural change.

Communal realignment and history since 1975

In the course of the communal realignment in North Rhine-Westphalia (1975) Gladbeck, original a county borough, and the village Kirchhellen were incorporated into the neighbouring town Bottrop. Censors of the realignment criticized a sparse population between Gladbeck and Bottrop and emphasized that Bottrop was not much bigger than Gladbeck. ´Glabotki is nich´ (Glabotki is not) was their catchphrase. With the help of a court decision Gladbeck successfully left Bottrop, thereby cancelling the fusion. Since July 1976 Gladbeck is part of the district of Recklinghausen.

On 16 August 1988, two thieves robbed a bank in Gladbeck. They kidnapped several persons and drove through West Germany and the Netherlands. Three people were killed in the crime (Gladbeck hostage crisis).



Gladbeck possesses a mayor since it gained town privilege in July 1919. Yet, the official term was lord mayor as Gladbeck was a county borough by 1974. Since then it has a mayor and since 1994 the position as Gladbeck's mayor is a full-time function.

The mayor is the chairman of the town council and employer of administration.Gladbeck already had the following mayors:
*1919-1931: Michael Jovy, non party
*1931-?: Bernhard Hackenberg, in 1933 he joined the NSDAP
*1948–1952: Johann Harnischfeger, CDU
*1946–1958: Friedrich Lange, SPD
*1958–1963: Heinrich Kliem, SPD
*1963-1965: Hans Wuwer, SPD
*1965–1971: Günter Kalinowski, SPD
*1971–1974: Norbert Aust, SPD
*1976–1994: Wolfgang Röken, SPD
*1994–2004: Eckhard Schwerhoff, CDU
*since 2004: Ulrich Roland, SPD

In 1994 Eckhard Schwerhoff was elected mayor by the town council after the SPD governed Gladbeck for 48 years. The SPD failed the absolute majority only barely and due to the fact that the mayor has one voice too it would have led to a stalemate.

As a result, the Alliance '90/The Greens and a new founded local party (BIG) made the decision to support Eckhard Schwerhoff although he was not much involved in the politics of Gladbeck. In 1999 Eckhard Schwerhoff was re-elected after a reform according to which mayors should be elected directly.

In the second ballot on 10th October he no longer stood for the mayor and thereupon Ulrich Roland (SPD) was elected mayor.

Town council

Gladbeck forms one constituency together with Bottrop and its town council consists of 44 councilmen. In its council the SPD has 18, the CDU 16 and the Alliance '90/The Greens 3 seats. Additionally, there are smaller parties that have some seats (according to the last council election on 26th September 2004).

The list [catalogues of the results of the council elections of North Rhine-Westphalia (LDS NRW) from 1976 to 2004] below gives an overview about the results of the last seven council elections:

Coat of arms

Gladbeck's city arms is portrayed in black, red and yellow and has a red bettlement as a sign of the received municipal law from 1919. The black field and the yellow hammer as well as the yellow beater on the left side represent the coal that had a major position in Gladbeck's history. The black clasps on the right side are taken from the blazon of the Lords of Brabeck, having possessed the moated castle Wittringen at the end of the 14th century.


** 1575: 1,500
** 1800: 2,000
** 1900: 11,704
** 1916: 48,302
** 1945: 59,439
** 1965: 84,097
** 2006: 77,436

Culture and sights


The moated castle Wittringen houses the museum of the town. It contains collections and exhibitions of the history of Gladbeck. The museum shows the development of the region from the origin of the coal over the first inhabitants to the present of the town.

Besides all topics are being offered for school classes specially. A major exhibit is a skeleton of a bison found in the district of Brauck. Other exhibits are:

* A coin collection and an offertory of Roman coins.
* A cemetery of the Bronze Age.
* Several rooms inform about the time of the coal mining.
* Moreover the museum collects modern art, such as Joseph Beuys.

Religious communities

According to information of the town council 30,906 of 77,436 inhabitants were Catholics and 22,121 inhabitants were Protestants in December 2006. There are 11 churches, 5 are Protestant and 6 are Catholic.

In school pupils are allowed to choose between Catholic and Protestant lessons. Alternatively, pupils can be taught in Philosophy likewise if they want to. Visits to churches are included to the lessons in basic school. However, there is a Muslim minority in Gladbeck due to the immigration of the 1960s.

Theater and music

Several events, for example jazz festivals, take place regularly. There is also one library in Gladbeck and theater courses are normally offered in the three grammar schools. From time to time theater plays can be visited in the municipal hall, even well known plays like Emilia Galotti written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. There is one school of music where one can participate in different courses.

Road traffic

Gladbeck is connected to the network of trunk roads through the following Autobahn:

* A 2: Oberhausen–Dortmund–Hannover–Berlin
* A 31: Bottrop–Gronau–Emden
* A 52: Marl-North–Gelsenkirchen–Gladbeck
* B 224: Raesfeld–Erle–Dorsten–Gladbeck–Essen–Velbert–Wuppertal–Solingen

Famous people

*Jean-Henri Riesener (German: "Johann Heinrich Riesener", 1734-1806 in Paris), cabinetmaker having worked at the French household in the 18th century. A grammar school, a fountain in front of the townhall as well as a street are dedicated to him. The furniture mainly designed for the French king Louis XVI can be admired in big museums, for example in Los Angeles, London and in Versailles, Paris
*Hermann Nattkämper (1911-2005), won the German cup 1934 and 1935 as a player of the FC Schalke 04

Twin towns

*flagicon|GBR Enfield, United Kingdom
*flagicon|FRA Marcq-en-Barœul, France
*flagicon|China Fushun, China
*flagicon|Poland Wodzisław Śląski, Poland
*flagicon|Turkey Alanya, Turkey
*flagicon|Austria Schwechat, Austria


External links

* [ Website of Gladbeck]
* [ Information about and pictures of Gladbeck]

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