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Panoramic view of Aachen, including Kaiser-Karls-Gymnasium (foreground), townhall (back center) and Aachen Cathedral (back right)
Panoramic view of Aachen, including Kaiser-Karls-Gymnasium (foreground), townhall (back center) and Aachen Cathedral (back right)
Coat of arms of Aachen
Aachen is located in Germany
Coordinates 50°46′31″N 6°4′58″E / 50.77528°N 6.08278°E / 50.77528; 6.08278
Country Germany
State North Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. region Köln
District Aachen
Basic statistics
Area 160.83 km2
Elevation 266 m  (873 ft)
Population 259,839  (30 June 2022)
 - Density 1,616 /km2 (4,184 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate AC
Website www.aachen.de

Aachen (French: Aix-la-Chapelle, Latin: Aquisgranum, Ripuarian: Oche, Dutch: Aken) is a historic spa city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It was the favoured residence of German-Roman Emperor Karl der Große (also known as Charlemagne), and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany.


Originally a Roman spa called Aquisgranum, Aachen rose to prominence in the late 8th century during the rule of Charlemagne, becoming his favourite residence and a centre of Western culture and learning. From the coronation of Otto I in 936 until the 16th century, more than 30 German emperors and kings were crowned at Aachen. Aachen was fortified in the late 12th century and granted municipal rights in 1166 and 1215, and it became a free imperial city about 1250. Aachen began to decline in the 16th century. It was too remote from the centre of Germany to be convenient as a capital, and in the 1560s the coronation site was changed to Frankfurt am Main. Aachen was frequently at odds with the emperors during the Protestant Reformation. In 1656 the city was devastated by a great fire. Aachen hosted several peace conferences, including those ending the War of Devolution (1668) and the War of the Austrian Succession (1748). Occupied by Napoleon’s army in 1794 and annexed by France in 1801, it was given to Prussia after the Congress of Vienna (1814–15). The city was briefly occupied by the Belgians after World War I. It was severely damaged in World War II, and it became the first large German city to fall to the Allies (October 20, 1944).[1]


Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km (40 mi) west of Cologne.[2] RWTH Aachen University, one of the Germany's Universities of Excellence, is located in the city.[3][4]

Aachen is situated directly on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. It is Germany’s most westerly city, with a population of 250,000. More than 50,000 students attend Aachen’s four major colleges and universities (Rhineland-Westphalian Technical University [RWTH], University of Applied Sciences, Catholic University of Applied Sciences and Academy of Music). Aachen unites tradition with progress. Charlemagne has left his mark throughout the city. The cathedral - the first monument in Germany to be included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list - and the gothic City Hall in which 32 German kings celebrated their coronations still form the heart of Aachen’s old city centre. And Charlemagne has lent his name to a prize awarded by Aachen’s citizens to personalities who have rendered outstanding services to European unity: the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen. This award has been presented on Ascension Day every year since 1950. But Aachen is by no means just a museum; it is a modern city, open to the world, with political, economic and cultural contacts that reach far beyond Germany’s borders. One example is Europe’s first transnational industrial estate with the name Avantis, which was developed in cooperation with the Dutch town of Heerlen. At EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Aachen was presented as a European model region, as a fine example of successful structural change and a remarkable instance of a region’s departure from mining and conventional industry to become one of Europe’s major high-tech locations. This success story is a result of cooperation between the universities and the chambers of industry, research institutions, companies, business establishment centres and the city’s administration. The scientific competence available in Aachen has attracted famous international enterprises and research institutions including Ericsson, Ford, Philips, Microsoft and Grünenthal, and enabled the successful placing of up-and-coming technology companies such as Aixtron and Parsytec on the Neuer Markt in Frankfurt. Aachen’s colleges and universities develop top technologies for the sunrise industries such as information and telecommunication engineering, plastics engineering, computer science, materials science and biotechnology.[5]


There's a charming contrast between the grand old buildings and the open-minded attitude and exuberant buzz created by 45,000 students hailing from all corners of the globe. Also not to be missed are the modern works on display at the Ludwig Forum for International Art. Each stop along the way focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. The lack of an equestrian-themed stop is somewhat of an oversight, though, as the annual Concours Hippique International Officiel (CHIO) in Aachen is one of the world's leading equestrian tournaments.

Aachen Cathedral

Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe's illustrious past. Built in around 800 AD, it was the first cathedral in northern Europe. Across a period spanning centuries, it served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. Its treasury houses one of the most significant collections of church treasures north of the Alps. So it's no wonder both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the sightseeing route that winds through Aachen and takes in a series of spectacular buildings.

See also

External links


  1. Aachen, Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Bridgwater, W. & Beatrice Aldrich. (1966) The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia. Columbia University. p11.
  3. "RWTH" is the abbreviation of "Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule", which translates into "Rhine-Westphalian Technical University". The institution is commonly referred to as "RWTH Aachen" or simply "RWTH", with the abbreviation remaining untranslated in other languages to avoid the use of the "Hochschule" term, which is sometimes mistakenly translated as highschool. Sometimes, RWTH Aachen is also referred to as "TH Aachen" or "Aachen University".
    Note: The term "FH Aachen" does not refer to the RWTH but to the Fachhochschule Aachen, a university of applied sciences, which is also located in Aachen.
  4. 2007 statistics of RWTH Aachen University(German; retrieved 2009-04-09)
  5. General Information