Worms, Germany

Worms (German: [vɔʁms]) is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, situated on the Upper Rhine about 60 kilometres (40 miles) south-southwest of Frankfurt-am-Main. It had approximately 82,000 inhabitants as of 2015.[2]

A pre-Roman foundation, Worms was the capital of the Kingdom of the Burgundians in the early 5th century and hence the scene of the medieval legends referring to this period, notably the first part of the Nibelungenlied. Worms has been a Roman Catholic bishopric since at least 614, and was an important palatinate of Charlemagne. Worms Cathedral is one of the Imperial Cathedrals and among the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Germany. Worms prospered in the High Middle Ages as an Imperial Free City. Among more than a hundred Imperial Diets held at Worms, the Diet of 1521 (commonly known as the Diet of Worms) ended with the Edict of Worms in which Martin Luther was declared a heretic. Today, the city is an industrial centre and is famed as the origin of Liebfraumilch wine. Other industries include chemicals, metal goods and fodder.

Nibelungen Bridge over the Rhine at Worms
Nibelungen Bridge over the Rhine at Worms
Coat of arms of Worms

Coat of arms
Location of Worms within Rheinland-Pfalz
Rhineland-Palatinate WO
Worms is located in Germany
Worms is located in Rhineland-Palatinate
Coordinates: 49°37′55″N 08°21′55″E / 49.63194°N 8.36528°ECoordinates: 49°37′55″N 08°21′55″E / 49.63194°N 8.36528°E
DistrictUrban district
 • Lord MayorMichael Kissel (SPD)
 • Total108.73 km2 (41.98 sq mi)
100 m (300 ft)
 • Total83,081
 • Density760/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes06241,
06242, 06246, 06247
Vehicle registrationWO
Worms Dom Ostfassade Vierung2005-05-27a
The restored Cathedral of Worms
Rathausturm Worms 2009-Carschten
Town hall of Worms


Geographic location

Worms is located on the west bank of the river Rhine between the cities of Ludwigshafen and Mainz. On the northern edge of the city the Pfrimm flows into the Rhine, and on the southern edge the Eisbach flows into the Rhine.


Worms has 13 boroughs (or "Quarters") around the city centre. They are as follows:

Name Population Direction and distance from city centre
Abenheim 2,744     Northwest (10 km)
Heppenheim 2,073     Southwest (9 km)
Herrnsheim 6,368     North (5 km)
Hochheim 3,823     Northwest
Horchheim 4,770     Southwest (4.5 km)
Ibersheim 692     North (13 km)
Leiselheim 1,983     West (4 km)
Neuhausen 10,633     North
Pfeddersheim 7,414     West (7 km)
Pfiffligheim 3,668     West
Rheindürkheim 3,021     North (8 km)
Weinsheim 2,800     Southwest (4 km)
Wiesoppenheim 1,796     South West (5.5 km)


The climate in the Rhine Valley is very temperate in winter and quite enjoyable in summer. Rainfall is below average for the surrounding areas. Winter snow accumulation is very low and often melts quickly.



Worms was in ancient times a Celtic city named Borbetomagus, perhaps meaning "water meadow".[3] Later it was conquered by the Germanic Vangiones. In 14 BC, Romans under the command of Drusus captured and fortified the city, and from that time onwards a small troop of infantry and cavalry were garrisoned there. The Romans renamed the city as Augusta Vangionum, after the then-emperor and the local tribe. The name does not seem to have taken hold, however, and the German Worms developed from Borbetomagus. The garrison grew into a small town with a regular Roman street plan, a forum, and temples for the main gods Jupiter, Juno, Minerva (whose temple was the site of the later cathedral), and Mars.

Martinskirche Worms Portal
St Martin's Church.

Roman inscriptions, altars, and votive offerings can be seen in the archaeological museum, along with one of Europe's largest collections of Roman glass. Local potters worked in the town's south quarter. Fragments of amphoras contain traces of olive oil from Hispania Baetica, doubtless transported by sea and then up the Rhine by ship.

During the disorders of 41113 AD, the Roman usurper Jovinus established himself in Borbetomagus as a puppet-emperor with the help of King Gunther of the Burgundians, who had settled in the area between the Rhine and Moselle some years before. The city became the capital of the Burgundian kingdom under Gunther (also known as Gundicar). Few remains of this early Burgundian kingdom survive, because in 436 it was all but destroyed by a combined army of Romans (led by Aëtius) and Huns (led by Attila); a belt clasp found at Worms-Abenheim is a museum treasure. Provoked by Burgundian raids against Roman settlements, the combined Romano-Hunnic army destroyed the Burgundian army at the Battle of Worms (436), killing King Gunther. It is said that 20,000 were killed. The Romans led the survivors southwards to the Roman district of Sapaudia (modern day Savoy). The story of this war later inspired the Nibelungenlied. The city appears on the Peutinger Map, dated to the 4th century.

Middle Ages

Imperial City of Worms

Reichsstadt Worms
11th century–1789
StatusFree Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• City founded
before 14 BCE
• Gained Reichsfreiheit
between 1074 and 1184 11th century
• Concordat of Worms
• Reichstag concluded Imperial Reform
• Sacked by French during War of Grand Alliance
• Occupied by France
1789–1816 1789
• Awarded to Hesse
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Franconia
Grand Duchy of Hesse
Worms 1630 P7160060
Map of Worms in 1630. The Jewish Ghetto is marked in yellow.

Worms has been a Roman Catholic bishopric since at least 614, with an even earlier mention in 346. In the Frankish Empire, the city was the location of an important palatinate of Charlemagne, who built one of his many administrative palaces here. The bishops administered the city and its territory. The most famous of the early medieval bishops was Burchard of Worms.

Worms Cathedral (Wormser Dom), dedicated to St Peter, is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Germany. Alongside the nearby Romanesque cathedrals of Speyer and Mainz, it is one of the so-called Kaiserdome (Imperial Cathedrals). Some parts in early Romanesque style from the 10th century still exist, while most parts are from the 11th and 12th century, with some later additions in Gothic style (see the external links below for pictures).

Four other Romanesque churches as well as the Romanesque old city fortification still exist, making the city Germany's second in Romanesque architecture only to Cologne.

Worms prospered in the High Middle Ages. Having received far-reaching privileges from King Henry IV (later Emperor Henry III) as early as 1074, the city later became an Imperial Free City, being independent of any local ruler and responsible only to the Holy Roman Emperor himself. As a result, Worms was the site of several important events in the history of the Empire. In 1122 the Concordat of Worms was signed; in 1495, an Imperial Diet met here and made an attempt at reforming the disintegrating Imperial Circle Estates by the Imperial Reform. Most important, among more than a hundred Imperial Diets held at Worms, that of 1521 (commonly known as the Diet of Worms) ended with the Edict of Worms, in which Martin Luther was declared a heretic after refusing to recant his religious beliefs. Worms was also the birthplace of the first Bibles of the Reformation, both Martin Luther's German Bible and William Tyndale's first complete English New Testament by 1526.[4]

The city, known in medieval Hebrew by the name Varmayza or Vermaysa (ורמיזא, ורמישא), was a centre of medieval Ashkenazic Judaism. The Jewish community was established there in the late 10th century, and Worms's first synagogue was erected in 1034. In 1096, eight hundred Jews were murdered by crusaders and the local mob. The Jewish Cemetery in Worms, dating from the 11th century, is believed to be the oldest surviving in situ cemetery in Europe. The Rashi Synagogue, which dates from 1175 and was carefully reconstructed after its desecration on Kristallnacht, is the oldest in Germany. Prominent students, rabbis, and scholars of Worms include Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi) who studied with R. Yizhak Halevi, Elazar Rokeach, Maharil, and Yair Bacharach. At the rabbinical synod held at Worms at the turn of the 11th century, Rabbi Gershom ben Judah (Rabbeinu Gershom) explicitly prohibited polygamy for the first time. For hundreds of years, until Kristallnacht in 1938, the Jewish Quarter of Worms was a centre of Jewish life. Worms today has only a very small Jewish population, and a recognizable Jewish community as such no longer exists. However, after renovations in the 1970s and 1980s, many of the buildings of the Quarter can be seen in a close-to-original state, preserved as an outdoor museum.

Modern era

In 1689 during the Nine Years' War, Worms (like the nearby towns and cities of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Oppenheim, Speyer and Bingen) was sacked by troops of King Louis XIV of France, though the French only held the city for a few weeks. In 1743 the Treaty of Worms was signed, forming a political alliance between Great Britain, Austria and the Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1792 the city was occupied by troops of the French First Republic during the French Revolutionary Wars. The Bishopric of Worms was secularized in 1801, with the city being annexed into the First French Empire. In 1815 Worms passed to the Grand Duchy of Hesse in accordance with the Congress of Vienna and the city was subsequently administered within Rhenish Hesse.

After the Battle of the Bulge, Allied Armies advanced into the Rhineland in preparation for a massive assault into the heart of the Reich. Worms was a German strongpoint on the west bank of the Rhine and the forces there resisted the Allied advance tenaciously. Worms was thus heavily bombed by the Royal Air Force in two attacks on Feb. 21 and March 18, 1945. A post-war survey estimated that 39 per cent of the town's developed area was destroyed. The RAF attack on Feb. 21 was aimed at the main railway station on the edge of the inner city, and at chemical plants southwest of the inner city, but also destroyed large areas of the city centre. Carried out by 334 bombers, the attack in a few minutes rained 1,100 tons of bombs on the inner city, and Worms Cathedral was among the buildings set on fire. The Americans did not enter the city until the Rhine crossings began after the seizure of the Remagen Bridge.

In the attacks, 239 inhabitants were killed and 35,000 (60 percent of the population of 58,000) were made homeless. A total of 6,490 buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. After the war, the inner city was rebuilt, mostly in modern style. Postwar, Worms became part of the new state of Rhineland-Palatinate; the borough Rosengarten, on the east bank of the Rhine, was lost to Hesse.

Worms today fiercely vies with the cities Trier and Cologne for the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only German member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.[5][6] A multimedia Nibelungenmuseum was opened in 2001, and a yearly festival right in front of the Dom, the Cathedral of Worms, attempts to recapture the atmosphere of the pre-Christian period.

In 2010 the Worms synagogue was firebombed. Eight corners of the building were set ablaze, and a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a window. There were no injuries. Kurt Beck, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, condemned the attack and vowed to mobilize all necessary resources to find the perpetrators, saying, "We will not tolerate such an attack on a synagogue".[7]

Main sights

Liebfrauenkirche Worms - Süd
The Gothic Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Wine from the adjacent vineyard gave its name to the (now more generic) Liebfraumilch style.

International relations

Worms Wappen 2005-05-27
Worms' twin towns

Twin towns — sister cities

Worms is twinned with:

Other relations

Notable citizens


Ludwig Edinger painted by Lovis Corinth
Götz (Schleuen)
Johann Nikolaus Götz 1755


WP Emil Stumpp
Emil Stumpp self-portrait
Rudi Stephan
Rudi Stephan

See also


  1. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand 2017 - Gemeindeebene". Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz (in German). 2018.
  2. ^ a b Statistisches Landesamt (2015-12-31). "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden am 31.Dezember 2015 - A1033_201522_hj_G.pdf" (pdf). statistik.rlp.de (in German). Rheinland Pfalz. p. 15. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  3. ^ "Etymologie". Etymologie.info. damit der Bedeutung von 'Borbetomagus' = dt. 'Wasserwiese'
  4. ^ Teems, David. "Tyndale: The man who gave God an English voice." Nashville: Thomas Nelson (2012). Chapter 4.
  5. ^ MAETN (1999). "diktyo". classic-web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 22, 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  6. ^ Worms city council (2011). "worms.de > Kultur > älteste deutsche Stadt". worms.de. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Worms synagogue fire-bombed". Haaretz. 17 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Dom St. Peter Worms". pg-dom-st-peter-worms.bistummainz.de. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  9. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.

Further reading

  • Roemer, Nils H. German City, Jewish Memory: The Story of Worms (Brandeis University Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-58465-922-8 online review

External links

  • The Official website of the city of Worms ‹See Tfd›(in English)
  • Nibelungenmuseum website ‹See Tfd›(in English)
  • wormser-dom.de, website of the Worms Cathedral with pictures ‹See Tfd›(in German) (click on the "Bilder" link in the left panel)
  • Wormatia, Worms football club ‹See Tfd›(in German)
Alexander Esswein

Alexander Esswein (born 25 March 1990; German pronunciation: [alɛkˈsandɐ ˈʔɛsvaɪ̯n]) is a German footballer who plays as a midfielder or forward for VfB Stuttgart, on loan from Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga.


Alzey-Worms (German pronunciation: [ˈaltsaɪˈvɔʁms]) is a district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by (from the east and clockwise) the district Groß-Gerau (Hesse), the city of Worms and the districts of Bad Dürkheim, Donnersbergkreis, Bad Kreuznach and Mainz-Bingen.

Anne Cibis

Anne Cibis (née Möllinger; born 27 September 1985 in Worms) is a track and field sprint athlete who competes internationally for Germany.Cibis represented Germany at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She competed at the 4 × 100 metres relay together with Verena Sailer, Cathleen Tschirch and Marion Wagner. In their first round heat they placed third behind Jamaica and Russia and in front of China. Their time of 43.59 seconds was the eighth time overall out of sixteen participating nations. With this result they qualified for the final in which they sprinted to a time of 43.28 seconds for fifth place.She again appeared in the German 4 × 100 m team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She and teammates Leena Günther, Tatjana Pinto and Verena Sailer reached the final and again finished fifth, with a time of 42.67.

Asher ben Jehiel

Asher ben Jehiel (Hebrew: אשר בן יחיאל, or Asher ben Yechiel, sometimes Asheri) (1250 or 1259 – 1327) was an eminent rabbi and Talmudist best known for his abstract of Talmudic law. He is often referred to as Rabbenu Asher, “our Rabbi Asher” or by the Hebrew acronym for this title, the Rosh (רא"ש, literally "Head"). His yahrzeit is on the 9 Cheshvan.

Curtis Bernhardt

Curtis Bernhardt (15 April 1899 – 22 February 1981) was a German film director born in Worms, Germany, under the name Kurt Bernhardt.

He trained as an actor in Germany, and performed on the stage, before starting as a film director in 1926. Other films include A Stolen Life (1946) and Sirocco (1951).

Bernhardt made films in Germany from 1925 until 1933, when he was forced to flee the Nazi regime — who briefly had him arrested — because he was Jewish. Bernhardt directed films in France and England before moving on to Hollywood to work for Warner Brothers in 1940. He produced and directed his last Hollywood picture, Kisses for My President (1964), about the nation's first female Chief Executive starring Polly Bergen and Fred MacMurray.He is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, near his wife, Pearl Argyle Wellman Bernhardt.

Diet of Worms

The Diet of Worms 1521 (German: Reichstag zu Worms [ˈʁaɪçstaːk tsuː ˈvɔɐms]) was an imperial diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire called by King Charles V. It was held at the Heylshof Garden in Worms, then an Imperial Free City of the Empire. An imperial diet was a formal deliberative assembly of the whole Empire. This one is most memorable for the Edict of Worms (Wormser Edikt), which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.

It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with the Emperor Charles V presiding.Other imperial diets took place at Worms in the years 829, 926, 1076, 1122, 1495, and 1545, but unless plainly qualified, the term "Diet of Worms" usually refers to the assembly of 1521.

Hans Folz

Hans Folz (c. 1437 – January 1513) was a German author of the late medieval or early Renaissance period.

Folz was born in Worms. He was made a citizen of the city of Nuremberg, Germany in 1459 and master barber of the city in 1486. Folz was a reformer of the meistersangs, adding 27 new tones to those that had been allowed by the twelve "Alten Meister" (old masters) up to that point. His Meisterlieder (a type of song), of which he wrote about a thousand, were mostly devoted to religious questions. He also wrote twelve Fastnachtsspiele (short plays that made light of people in medieval society, for instance farmers, priests, and the bourgeoisie) in the same style as Hans Rosenplüt, but with more subtle language.

Folz has been labelled as an anti-semite by Andrew Gow, who called him "a thorough-going Jew-hater" for his work Ein Spil von dem Herzogen von Burgund (A Story of the Dukes of Burgund).[1]According to Albert Wimmer's Anthology of Medieval German Literature, "Folz's plays were trendsetters in the development of moderately dramatic plays (so-called «Handlungsspiele»)".[2].

His name was adapted by Richard Wagner for the coppersmith "Hans Foltz," one of the Mastersingers portrayed in the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Hanya Holm

Hanya Holm (born March 3, 1893, Worms, Germany – died November 3, 1992, New York City) is known as one of the "Big Four" founders of American modern dance. She was a dancer, choreographer, and above all, a dance educator.

Hermann Staudinger

Hermann Staudinger (23 March 1881 – 8 September 1965) was a German organic chemist who demonstrated the existence of macromolecules, which he characterized as polymers. For this work he received the 1953 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

He is also known for his discovery of ketenes and of the Staudinger reaction. Staudinger, together with Leopold Ružička, also elucidated the molecular structures of pyrethrin I and II in the 1920s, enabling the development of pyrethroid insecticides in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ida Straus

Rosalie Ida Straus (née Blun; February 6, 1849 – April 15, 1912) was an

American homemaker and wife of the co-owner of the Macy's department store. She and her husband Isidor died on board the RMS Titanic.

Luther Monument (Worms)

The Luther Monument (German: Lutherdenkmal) is a group of statues that was erected in Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, to commemorate the Protestant reformer Martin Luther. It was designed and partly made by Ernst Rietschel, and unveiled on 25 June 1868. The monument consists of a group of bronze statues on stone plinths centred on a statue of Luther, surrounded by statues of related individuals and allegorical statues representing related towns. The elements are arranged in the shape of a castle, recalling Luther's hymn "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"). It is one of the largest Luther Monuments, and shaped views of the reformer. Copies of the central Luther statue are located in Europe and the United States, including the Luther Monument in Washington, D.C. (1884).

Meir of Rothenburg

Meir of Rothenburg (c. 1215 – 2 May 1293) was a German Rabbi and poet, a major author of the tosafot on Rashi's commentary on the Talmud. He is also known as Meir ben Baruch, the Maharam of Rothenburg. Rabbi Menachem Meiri referred to Rab Meir of Rothenberg, as the "greatest Jewish leader of Zarfat" alive at the time, Zarfat is Medieval Hebrew for France which was a reference to Charlemagne's rule of Germany.

Prince-Bishopric of Worms

The Prince-Bishopric of Worms, was an ecclesiastical principality of the Holy Roman Empire. Located on both banks of the Rhine around Worms just north of the union of that river with the Neckar, it was largely surrounded by the Electorate of the Palatinate. Worms had been the seat of a bishop from Roman times. From the High Middle Ages on, the prince-bishops' secular jurisdiction no longer included the city of Worms, which was an Imperial Free City and which became officially Protestant during the Reformation. The prince-bishops however retained jurisdiction over the Cathedral of Worms inside the city.

In 1795 Worms itself, as well as the entire territory of the prince-bishopric on the left bank of the Rhine, was occupied and annexed by France. In the wake of the territorial reorganizations that came with the German mediatization of 1802-1803, the remaining territory of the bishopric, along with that of nearly all the other ecclesiastical principalities, was secularized. In this case, it was annexed by Hesse-Darmstadt.


Shlomo Yitzchaki (Hebrew: רבי שלמה יצחקי‎; Latin: Salomon Isaacides; French: Salomon de Troyes, 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), today generally known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: רש״י, RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki), was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh. Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginner students, and his works remain a centerpiece of contemporary Jewish study. His commentary on the Talmud, which covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud (a total of 30 out of 39 tractates, due to his death), has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing by Daniel Bomberg in the 1520s. His commentary on Tanakh—especially on the Chumash ("Five Books of Moses")— serves as the basis for more than 300 "supercommentaries" which analyze Rashi's choice of language and citations, penned by some of the greatest names in rabbinic literature.

Richard Hildebrandt

Richard Hermann Hildebrandt (13 May 1897, Worms – 10 March 1952, Warsaw) was a German politician in Nazi Germany, member of the Reichstag, and a high-ranking Schutzstaffel (SS) commander.

Thomas Gerstner

Thomas Gerstner (born 6 November 1966) is a German football manager and former player. He is the current manager of the German Frauen-Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg (women).

Wormatia Worms

VfR Wormatia 08 Worms is a German association football club that plays in Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate. The club and its historical predecessors were regular participants in regional first-division football competition until the formation of the national top-flight Bundesliga in 1963. Today the team plays in the fourth tier Regionalliga Südwest.

Worms Hauptbahnhof

Worms Hauptbahnhof is, along with Worms Pfeddersheim station, one of two operational passenger stations in the Rhenish Hesse city of Worms, Germany. The station with is its pedestrian underpass is also an essential link between the eastern and the western parts of central Worms. Every day it is used by about 15,000 people.

Worms massacre (1096)

The Worms massacre was the murder of at least 800 Jews from Worms, Germany, at the hands of crusaders under Count Emicho in May 1096.

The massacre at Worms was one of a number of attacks against Jewish communities perpetrated during the First Crusade (1096–1099). Followers of Count Emicho arrived at Worms on May 18, 1096. Soon after his arrival, a rumour spread that the Jews had boiled a Christian alive, and used his corpse to contaminate water to poison the town’s wells. The local populace later joined forces with Emicho and launched a savage attack on the town’s Jews, who had been given sanctuary in Bishop Adalbert's palace, though others chose to remain outside its walls. They were the first to be massacred.After eight days, Emicho's army, assisted by local burghers broke in and slaughtered those seeking asylum there. The Jews were in the midst of reciting the Hallel prayer for Rosh Chodesh Sivan.In all, from 800 to 1,000 Jews were killed, with the exception of some who committed suicide and a few who were forcibly baptised. One, Simchah ben Yitzchak ha-Cohen, stabbed the bishop's nephew while being baptised and was consequently killed. One of the most famous victims was Minna of Worms.

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