Trade Name: The "Blade Town" Solingen
Solingen is uniquely famous for its reputation as the “Blade Town”. It’s an internationally protected trademark which stands for quality in cutting tools, cutlery and scissors.
The town – the second largest of the “Bergisch Three“ with a population of 160,000 – is one of the oldest trading and industrial towns in Germany. One of its main features is the close relationship between the housing estates and the workplaces. Even today small and medium-sized companies determine the economic life. This is a part of our tradition. The cutting industry had its origins in small workshops and family businesses, the so-called “Kotten” and “Schmetten”, grinding and forging workshops. The “Wipperkotten” and the “Balkhauser Kotten” can still be seen in the Wupper Valley.
Some time later factories began to spring up on the hills and in the town. Ambitious entrepreneurs and global trade made Solingen products famous all over the world. The old Hendrichs Drop Forg, a museum on its original factory site, gives visitors interesting insights into the trade. The German Blade Museum displays every variety of cutting object including swords, cutlery and eating implements.
Our Tradition: Quality and Innovation
Today other industrial branches have established themselves alongside the traditional manufacture of cutting goods. Products from Solingen have attracted business from all corners of the globe because of their innovative features, quality and design. The Product Design Forum in the Solingen “Südpark” displays exemplary models of design, manufacture and craftwork.
Quality goods often attract cheap imitations. Solingen businesses are only too aware of this. The Plagiarius Museum exhibits a whole range of fakes to make people more sensitive to the damage caused by stealing ideas.
Close Neighbours: Nature and Industrial Heriatage
Although Solingen is one of the oldest industrial towns in Germany the negative attributes associated with industrial locations don’t stick here. Relics of a remarkable history can be found everywhere. Above all, the town is green. It is embedded in an attractive landscape – much of which is nature-protected – with woodland covering the hills above the Wupper to the East and South, and Ohligs Heath to the West. Even in the middle of town nature is never far away.
Solingen is a hikers’ paradise. There are around 50 signed hiking trails with a total length of 400 kilometres. The best-known of these is the “Klingenpfad“ (Blade Trail) a 75 kilometre circular trail around the town. The Corkscrew Trail is a long green belt through the town. It’s practically flat and free of cars. The old railway line has been turned into a popular trail for pedestrians and cyclists alike. It links interesting destinations in the middle of town (the Südpark, the botanical gardens and Gräfrath). Along with the “Bergbahn” trail it is a part of the Bergisch Panorama Cycle Trail.
The place to rest and relax is Gräfrath. The whole historic centre is a listed area and seems like a snapshot from earlier days. Here you can find pleasant street café and restaurants, and attractive museums like the German German Blade Museum and Solingen Art Museum.
Typical Solingen: The Pole Taxi
There are scarcely any more electrically-driven trolleys in the world. In Solingen the “Obus” is an integral part of the city’s image. Locals call it the pole taxi. Its routes take it to Burg Castle and the Müngsten Viaduct, two of the most popular destinations for day-trippers in the region. But there are other destinations worth visiting. Nature lovers should take a look at the Sengbach Valley Dam, and there is a museum for fans of Laurel & Hardy. Families can head for the “Tierpark Fauna” (a zoo) and the bird park , and star-gazers can visit the observatory. The Zöppkes market, the Bridge Party, the Knifemakers Trade Fair, the craft market at Burg Castle and a range of other evants are recurring attractions which draw countless guests to the “Blade Town”.
Elektrisch betriebene Oberleitungsbusse gibt es kaum noch auf der Welt - hier gehört der Obus, das „Stangentaxi“, zum Stadtbild dazu. Mit Schloss Burg und dem Brückenpark Müngsten liegen gleich zwei der beliebtesten Ausflugsziele der Region im Stadtgebiet. Doch gibt es noch weitere lohnende Ziele: Für Naturliebhaber die Sengbachtalsperre, für Fans das Laurel & Hardy-Museum, für Familien den Tierpark Fauna und den Vogelpark, für Sternen-Gucker die Sternwarte. Und Zöppkesmarkt, Brückenfest, MesserMacherMesse, Kunsthandwerkermarkt auf Schloss Burg und eine Reihe andere Veranstaltungen locken immer wieder zahlreiche Gäste in die Klingenstadt.