Jena (German pronunciation: [ˈjeːna] (listen)) is a German university city and the second largest city in Thuringia. Together with the nearby cities of Erfurt and Weimar, it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of about 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and had 18,000 students in 2017 and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students. Furthermore, there are many institutes of the leading German research societies.
Jena was first mentioned in 1182 and stayed a small town until the 19th century, when industry developed. For most of the 20th century, Jena was a world centre of the optical industry around companies like Carl Zeiss, Schott and Jenoptik (since 1990). As one of only a few medium-sized cities in Germany, it has some high-rise buildings in the city centre, like the Jen Tower. These also have their origin in the former Carl Zeiss factory. Between 1790 and 1850, Jena was a focal point of the German Vormärz as well as of the student liberal and unification movement and German Romanticism. Notable persons of this period in Jena were Friedrich Schiller, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Novalis and August Wilhelm Schlegel.
The city's economy is based on the high-technology industry and research. The optical and precision industry is the leading branch to date, while software engineering, other digital businesses and biotechnology are of growing importance. Furthermore, Jena is also a service hub for the surrounding regions.
Jena lies in a hilly landscape in the east of Thuringia, within the wide valley of the Saale river. Due to its rocky landscape, varied substrate and mixed forests, Jena is known in Germany for the wide variety of wild orchids which can be found within walking distance of the town. Local nature reserves are maintained by volunteers and NABU.
Location of Jena
|• Lord Mayor||Thomas Nitzsche (FDP)|
|• Total||114.76 km2 (44.31 sq mi)|
|Elevation||143 m (469 ft)|
|• Density||970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Dialling codes||03641, 036425|
Until the High Middle Ages, the Saale was the border between Germanic regions in the west and Slavic regions in the east. Owing to its function as a river crossing, Jena was conveniently located. Nevertheless, there were also some more important Saale crossings like the nearby cities of Naumburg to the north and Saalfeld to the south, so that the relevance of Jena was more local during the Middle Ages. The first unequivocal mention of Jena was in an 1182 document. The first local rulers of the region were the Lords of Lobdeburg with their eponymous castle near Lobeda, roughly 6 km (4 mi) south of the city centre on the eastern hillside of the Saale valley.
In the 13th century, the Lords of Lobdeburg founded two towns in the valley: Jena on the west bank and Lobeda – which is one of Jena's constituent communities today – 4 km (2 mi) to the south on the east bank. Around 1230, Jena received town rights and a regular city grid was established between today's Fürstengraben, Löbdergraben, Teichgraben and Leutragraben. The city got a marketplace, main church, town hall, council and city walls during the late 13th and early 14th centuries making it into a fully fledged town. In this time, the city's economy was based mainly on wine production on the warm and sunny hillsides of the Saale valley. The two monasteries of the Dominicans (1286) and the Cistercians (1301) rounded out Jena's medieval appearance.
As the political circumstances in Thuringia changed in the middle of the 14th century, the weakened Lords of Lobdeburg sold Jena to the aspiring Wettins in 1331. Jena obtained the Gotha municipal law and the citizens strengthened their rights and wealth during the 14th and 15th centuries. Moreover, the Wettins were more interested in their residence in the nearby city of Weimar, and so Jena could develop itself relatively autonomously.
The Protestant Reformation was brought to the city in 1523. Martin Luther visited the town to reorganize the clerical relations and Jena became an early centre of his doctrine. In the following years, the Dominican and the Carmelite convents were attacked by the townsmen and abolished in 1525 (Carmelite) and 1548 (Dominican).
An important step in Jena's history was the foundation of the university in 1558. Ernestine Elector John Frederick the Magnanimous founded it, because he had lost his old university in Wittenberg to the Albertines after the Schmalkaldic War. During the Little Ice Age, wine-growing declined in the 17th century, so that the new university became one of the most important sources of income for the city. The same century brought a boom in printing business caused by the rising importance of books (and the population's ability to read) in the Lutheran doctrine, and Jena was the second-largest printing location in Germany after Leipzig.
Beginning in the 16th century, the Ernestine dynasty saw many territorial partitions. Initially, Jena remained a part of Saxe-Weimar, but in 1672 it became the capital of its own small duchy (Saxe-Jena). In 1692, after two dukes (Bernhard II and Johann Wilhelm), the dukes of Saxe-Jena died out and the duchy became part of Saxe-Eisenach and, in 1741, of the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar, to which it belonged until 1809. From 1809 to 1918, Jena was part of the Duchy (from 1815 Grand Duchy) of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
Around 1790, the university became the largest and most famous one among the German states and made Jena the centre of idealist philosophy (with professors like Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling) and of the early Romanticism (with poets like Novalis, the brothers August and Friedrich Schlegel, and Ludwig Tieck). In 1794, the poets Goethe and Schiller met at the university and established a long lasting friendship. Consequently, the reputation of the University and the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach as particularly liberal and open-minded was enhanced.
On 14 October 1806, Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army here in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, near the district of Vierzehnheiligen. Resistance against the French occupation was strong, especially among the students. Many of the students fought in the Lützow Free Corps in 1813. Two years later, the Urburschenschaft fraternity was founded in the city.
During the later 19th century, the famous biologist Ernst Haeckel was professor at the university. The expansion of science and medicine faculties was closely linked to the industrial boom that Jena saw after 1871. The initial spark of industrialization in Jena was the (relatively late) connection to the railway. The Saal Railway (Saalbahn, opened in 1874) was the connection from Halle and Leipzig along the Saale valley to Nuremberg and the Weimar–Gera railway (opened 1876) connected Jena with Frankfurt and Erfurt in the west as well as Dresden and Gera in the east. Famous pioneers of industry were Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe (with their Carl Zeiss AG) as well as Otto Schott (Schott AG). Since that time, production of optical items, precision machinery and laboratory glassware have been the main branches of Jena's economy. Zeiss, Abbe and Schott worked also as social reformers who wanted to improve the living conditions of their workers and the local wealth in general. When Zeiss died in 1889, his company passed to the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung, which uses great amounts of the company's profits for social benefits like research projects at universities etc. This model became an example for other German companies (e.g. the Robert Bosch Stiftung).
Industrialization fundamentally changed the social structure of Jena. The former academic town became a working-class city; the population rose from 8,000 around 1870 up to 71,000 at the beginning of World War II. The city expanded along the Saale valley to the north and the south and its side valleys to the east and the west. In 1901, the tram system started its operation and the university got a new main building (established between 1906 and 1908 on the former castle's site). After the foundation of Thuringia in 1920, Jena was one of the three biggest cities (together with Weimar and Gera, while Erfurt remained part of Prussia) and became an independent city in 1922. The modern optical and glass industry kept booming and the city grew further during Weimar times.
During the Nazi period, conflicts deepened in Jena between the influential left-wing milieus (communists and social democrats) and the right-wing Nazi milieus. On the one hand, the university suffered from new restrictions against its independence, but on the other hand, it consolidated the Nazi ideology, for example with a professorship of social anthropology (which sought to scientifically legitimize the Racial policy of Nazi Germany). Kristallnacht in 1938 led to more discrimination against Jews in Jena, many of whom either emigrated or were arrested and murdered by the German government. This weakened the academic milieu, because many academics were Jews (especially in medicine). In 1945, towards the end of World War II, Jena was heavily bombed by the American and British Allies. 709 people were killed, 2,000 injured and most of the medieval town centre was destroyed, but in parts restored after the end of the war. Nevertheless, Jena was the Thuringian city whose level of destruction was exceeded only by Nordhausen, whose destruction was utter. It was occupied by American troops on 13 April 1945 and was left to the Red Army on 1 July 1945.
In 1945, Jena fell within the Soviet zone of occupation in post-World War II Germany. In 1949, it became part of the new German Democratic Republic (GDR). The Soviets dismantled great parts of the Zeiss and Schott factories and took them to the Soviet Union. On the other hand, the GDR government founded a new pharmaceutical factory in 1950, Jenapharm, which is part of Bayer today. In 1953, Jena was a centre of the East German Uprising against GDR policy. The protests with 30,000 participants drew fire from Soviet tanks.
The following decades brought some radical shifts in city planning. During the 1960s, another part of the historic city centre was demolished to build the Jen Tower. The Eichplatz in front of the tower is still unbuilt and its future is still the subject of ongoing heated discussion. Big Plattenbau settlements were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, because the population was still rising and the housing shortage remained a perpetual problem. New districts established in the north (near Rautal) and in the south (around Winzerla and Lobeda). The opposition against the GDR government was reinforced during the late 1980s in Jena, fed by academic and clerical circles. In autumn 1989, the city saw the largest protests in its history before the GDR government was dissolved.
After 1990, Jena became part of the refounded state of Thuringia. Industry came into a heavy crisis during the 1990s, but finally it managed the transition to the market economy and today, it is one of the leading economic centres of eastern Germany. Furthermore, the university was enlarged and many new research institutes were founded.
Jena is situated in a hilly landscape in eastern Thuringia at the Saale river, between the Harz mountains 85 km (53 mi) in the north, the Thuringian Forest/Thuringian Highland 50 km (31 mi) in the southwest and the Ore Mountains, 75 km (47 mi) in the southeast. The municipal terrain is hilly with rugged slopes at the valley's edges. The city centre is situated at 160 m of elevation, whereas the mountains on both sides of Saale valley rise up to 400 m. On the eastern side those are (from north to south): the Gleisberg near Kunitz, the Jenzig near Wogau, the Hausberg near Wenigenjena, the Kernberge near Wöllnitz, the Johannisberg near Lobeda and the Einsiedlerberg near Drackendorf. On the western side, there are the Jägersberg near Zwätzen, the Windknollen north of the city centre, the Tatzend west of the city centre, the Lichtenhainer Höhe near Lichtenhain, the Holzberg near Winzerla, the Jagdberg near Göschwitz and the Spitzenberg near Maua. The mountains belong to the geological formation of Ilm Saale Plate (Muschelkalk) and are relatively flat on their peaks but steep to the valleys in between. Due to its jagged surface, the municipal territory isn't very suitable for agriculture all the more since the most flat areas along the valley were built on during the 20th century. At the mountains is some forest of different leaf trees and pines.
32 species of native orchids can be found in the Jena area. One of the best places to see them is Leutratal, to the south of the town. Ophrys apifera even grows at a few locations within the town. Firefly can be seen in the meadows in Paradiespark as well as a variety of native wildflowers. Wildlife on the surrounding mountains includes raven, sand lizard and wood ants. Heron, beaver and muskrat have been seen on the Saale, within the town. Pine martens sometimes come into the town at night, from the mountains, to raid bins.
Jena has a humid continental climate (Dfb) or an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system. Summers are warm and sometimes humid; winters are relatively cold. The city's topography creates a microclimate caused through the basin position with sometimes inversion in winter (quite cold nights under −20 °C (−4 °F)) and heat and inadequate air circulation in summer. Annual precipitation is 585 millimeters (23.0 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall mainly occurs from December through February, but snow cover does not usually remain for long. During the Middle Ages, Jena was famous for growing wine on its slopes. Nowadays, the next commercial wine-growing areas are situated 20 km (12 mi) down Saale river. Due to its distance to coastal areas and position in the Saale valley, wind speeds tend to be very low; predominant direction is SW.
Jena abuts the district of Saale-Holzland with the municipalities of Lehesten, Neuengönna and Golmsdorf in the north, Jenalöbnitz, Großlöbichau and Schlöben in the east and Laasdorf, Zöllnitz, Sulza, Rothenstein, Milda and Bucha in the south and the district of Weimarer Land with the municipalities of Döbritschen, Großschwabhausen and Saaleplatte in the west.
The city itself is divided in 30 districts. The inner-city districts are Zentrum, Nord, West, Süd, Wenigenjena (east of Saale, incorporated in 1909) and Kernberge, other big districts are Lobeda (incorporated in 1946) and Winzerla (incorporated in 1922) in the south with large housing complexes.
The residual districts are from a more rural constitution:
|Ten largest groups of foreign residents|
During the centuries, Jena had been a town of 4,000 to 5,000 inhabitants. The population growth began in the 19th century with an amount of 6,000 in 1840 and of 8,000 in 1870. Then, a demographic boom occurred with a population of 20,000 in 1900, 50,000 in 1920, 73,000 in 1940, 81,000 in 1960 and 104,000 in 1980. The peak was reached in 1988 with a population of 108,000. The bad economic situation in eastern Germany after the reunification resulted in a decline in population, which fell to 99,000 in 1998 before rising again to 107,000 in 2012.
The average growth of population between 2009 and 2012 was approximately 0.47% p. a, whereas the population in bordering rural regions is shrinking with accelerating tendency. Suburbanization played only a small role in Jena. It occurred after the reunification for a short time in the 1990s, but most of the suburban areas were situated within the administrative city borders.
The birth surplus was 62 in 2012, this is +0.6 per 1,000 inhabitants (Thuringian average: -4.5; national average: -2.4). The net migration rate was +4.0 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2012 (Thuringian average: -0.8; national average: +4.6). The most important regions of origin of Jena migrants are rural areas of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony as well as foreign countries like Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria.
Like other eastern German cities, Jena has only a small amount of foreign population: circa 4.0% are non-Germans by citizenship and overall 6.2% are migrants (according to 2011 EU census). Differing from the national average, the biggest groups of migrants in Jena are Russians, Chinese and Ukrainians. During recent years, the economic situation of the city improved: the unemployment rate declined from 14% in 2005 to 7% in 2013. Due to the official policy of atheism in the former GDR, most of the population is non-religious. 15.9% are members of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany and 6.6% are Catholics (according to 2011 EU census).
Jena has a great variety of museums:
The historic city centre is located inside the former wall (which is the area between Fürstengraben in the north, Löbdergraben in the east, Teichgraben in the south and Leutragraben in the west). There are only few historic building structures in this area (e.g. at Oberlauengasse), caused by large losses during World War II and the projects of the following decades. The Eichplatz, a big sub-used square covering a large amount of the centre, is not built on since the 1960s and the discussion about its future is still in process. The wall's defortification took place relatively early – in 18th century – and the first suburbs developed in front of the former city gates. In this areas, some historic building structures from 18th and early 19th century remained like in westward Bachstraße and Wagnergasse, in northward Zwätzengasse and in southward Neugasse.
The later 19th and early 20th century brought a construction boom to Jena and the city enlarged to the north and south along Saale valley, to the west along Mühltal and on the Saale's east side in former Wenigenjena. Compared with the city centre, later substantial losses were much slighter in this areas. During the interwar period, the construction of flats stayed on a high level but suitable ground got less, so that new housing complexes were set up relatively far away from the centre – a problem, that remained until today with long journeys and high rents as consequences. Today's Jena is not that compact as other cities in the region and urban planning is still a challenge.
A peculiarity of Jena is the presence of a second old town centre with market square, town hall, castle etc. in the former town of Lobeda, which is a district since 1946, located approximately 4 km (2 mi) to the south of Jena's centre.
Jena has its own theatre and orchestra, the Jenaer Philharmonie.
Jena hosts a traditional football club, the FC Carl Zeiss Jena. At its best during the 1970s and 1980s, the club won the national GDR championship and played in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final of 1981, but lost against FC Dinamo Tbilisi. Compared to then, the results of FC Carl Zeiss are poor today, playing only in 3rd league (3. Liga). In women's football, the FF USV Jena is member of the German first division. Both clubs' stadium is the Ernst-Abbe-Sportfeld. Also, the city's basketball team, Science City Jena played in Basketball Bundesliga in 2007-2008 season and returned to top level in 2015-16 season. In addition, since 2000, the university of Jena has a rugby team. Since 2012, the USV Rugby Jena team has been playing in the 2. Rugby-Bundesliga.
Agriculture plays a small role in Jena, only 40% of the municipal territory are in use for farming (compared to over 60% in Erfurt and nearly 50% in Weimar). Furthermore, the Muschelkalk soil is not very fertile and is often used as pasture for cattle. The only large agricultural area is situated around Isserstedt, Cospeda and Vierzehnheiligen district in the northwest. Wine-growing was discontinued during the Little Ice Age around 1800, but is now possible again due to global warming. Nevertheless, the commercial production of wine hasn't yet resumed.
Industry is a great tradition in Jena, reaching back to the mid-19th century. In 2012, there were 80 companies in industrial production with more than 20 workers employing 8,300 persons and generating a turnover of more than 1,5 billion Euro. The most important branches are precision machinery, pharmaceuticals, optics, biotechnology and software engineering. Notable companies in Jena are the traditional Carl Zeiss AG, Schott AG, Jenoptik and Jenapharm as well as new companies like Intershop Communications, Analytik Jena and Carl Zeiss Meditec. Jena has the most market-listed companies and is one of the most important economic centres of east Germany.
With companies such as Intershop Communications, Salesforce.com (after the acquisition of Demandware) and ePages as well as several web agencies, Jena is a hub for E-commerce in Germany. Other IT players with regional offices include Accenture or ESET. Jena-Optronik, a subsidiary of the Airbus Group, develops components for spaceflight or satellites in Jena.
The city is among Germany's 50 fastest growing regions, with many internationally renowned research institutes and companies, a comparatively low unemployment and a young population structure. Jena was awarded the title "Stadt der Wissenschaft" (city of science) by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a German science association, in 2008.
Jena is also a hub of public and private services, specially in education, research and business services. Other important institutions are the High Court of Thuringia and Thuringia's solely university hospital. Furthermore, Jena is a regional centre in infrastructure and retail with many shopping centres.
Together with the photonics lab Lichtwerkstatt and the Krautspace there are makerspaces and hackerspaces enabling start-ups to create their product ideas and realizing their first prototype and business models as well as networking.
Jena has no central railway station with connection to all the lines at one point. What is relatively common in many countries is quite unusual for a German city and caused on the one hand by the city's difficult topography and on the other hand by the history, because the two main lines were built by two different private companies. The connection in north-south direction is the Saal Railway with ICE trains running from Berlin in the north to Munich in the south once a day stopping at Paradies station and local trains to Naumburg and Saalfeld stopping at Zwätzen, Saalbahnhof, Paradies and Göschwitz. The connection in west-east direction is the Weimar–Gera railway with regional express trains to Göttingen (via Erfurt and Weimar) and Zwickau, Glauchau, Altenburg or Greiz (via Gera) and local trains between Weimar, Jena and Gera. The express trains stop at West station near the city centre and Göschwitz, the local trains furthermore at Neue Schenke. The junction between both lines is the Göschwitz station, approx. 5 km (3 mi) south of the city centre.
In 2017–when the new Nuremberg–Erfurt high-speed railway opens–the city will lose its connection to the long-distance train network. For compensation, there will be new regional express train services to Halle and Leipzig in the north and, already started, to Nuremberg in the south.
The two Autobahnen crossing each other nearby at Hermsdorf junction are the Bundesautobahn 4 (Frankfurt–Dresden) and the Bundesautobahn 9 (Berlin–Munich), which were both built during the 1930s. The A 4 runs quite next to the Lobeda housing complexes and the Leutra district. Therefore, it was rebuilt in the 2000s and got two tunnels to protect the residents and the environment against noise and air pollution. Furthermore, there are two Bundesstraßen crossing in Jena: the Bundesstraße 7 is a connection to Weimar in the west and Gera in the east and the Bundesstraße 88 is a connection along Saale valley to Naumburg in the north and Rudolstadt in the south. Furthermore, there are some roads to Apolda via Isserstedt, Blankenhain via Ammerbach and Stadtroda via Lobeda. Most parts of city centre inside the former walls are pedestrian areas.
The next local airports to Jena are the Erfurt–Weimar Airport, approx. 50 km (31 mi) to the west and the Leipzig/Halle Airport, approx. 80 km (50 mi) to the northeast, which both serve mostly for holiday flights to the Mediterranean and other touristic regions. The next major airports are Frankfurt Airport, the upcoming Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Munich Airport.
Despite the hilly terrain in some parts, Jena is a cycling city, due to the many students. Cycling has become more popular in Jena since the 1990s when good quality bike paths began to be built. There are bike lanes along some main streets, though, in comparison to other cities in Germany, there are deficits.
For bicycle touring there is the "Saale track" (German: Saale-Radweg) and the "Thuringian city string track" (German: Radweg Thüringer Städtekette). Both of these connect points of tourist interest: the former along the Saale valley from Fichtel Mountains in Bavaria to the Elbe river near Magdeburg, while the latter follows the medieval Via Regia closely and runs from Eisenach via Erfurt, Weimar and Jena to Altenburg via Gera.
The Jena tramway network was established in 1901 and enlarged after the German reunification. It connects the major districts with the city centre; there are 5 ordinary lines served in different intervals between 7,5 and 20 minutes. Nevertheless, there are some old single-track segments interfering the services. Furthermore, there is an extensive network of buses, run (like the trams) by the "Jenah" organization (a pun on Jena and Nahverkehr, German for public transport). Buses of the JES Verkehrsgesellschaft connect Jena with cities and villages in the region.
After reunification, the educational system was realigned. The University of Jena, established in 1558, was largely extended. Today there are approximately 21,000 students at this university. Another college is the Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena, a University of Applied Sciences founded in 1991 which offers a combination of scientific training and its practical applications. There are also nearly 5,000 students.
Further there are six Gymnasiums, five state-owned and one Christian (ecumenical). One of the state-owned is a Sportgymnasium, an elite boarding school for young talents in athletics or football. Another state-owned Gymnasium (the Carl-Zeiss-Gymnasium Jena) offers a focus in sciences also as an elite boarding school additionally to the common curriculum.
The various research institutes based in Jena include:
The current mayor Thomas Nitzsche, FDP has been in office since 2018. The first freely elected mayor after reunification was Peter Röhlinger, FDP (in office between 1990 and 2006). He was succeeded by Albrecht Schröter, SPD, from 2006 to 2018.
The last municipal election was held in 2014 with the result:
|Party||Percentage||Seats in council|
|The Left (socialist)||24.0||11|
|SPD (social democratic)||20.8||10|
|Bürger für Jena (citizen-oriented/populist)||10.4||5|