Villingen-Schwenningen Black Forest town Click here for town website
Geography and climate Impression and attractions Villingen
A town to visit- activities Rural communities Schwenningen
Excursion A town to live in- Culture and Sport Business, Shopping, Transport


The town Villingen-Schwenningen, which is the regional headquarters for Schwarzwald-Baar is situated on the eastern edge of the Black Forest. Since the formerly separate towns are ideally situated, are charming and have a millennia-long history, they are a beautiful place both to live in or to visit.
The town gives many good chances to work, gives various leisure facilities to enjoy and for the visitor there are many sight-seeing attractions, museums etc to look at


GEOGRAPHY, LOCATION AND CLIMATE Situation of Villingen-Schwenningen
Villingen-Schwenningen is located in the southern part of Baden-Wurttenburg. It is across the Brigach Valley from the Black Forest, on its eastern side and is on the ridge of the Schwarzwald-Baar, which forms a natural watershed. The Neckar rises on the edge of Schwenningen and flows north to the Rhine. The Brigach flows south to where, in less than 10km it comes to the point in Donaueschingen where the River Danube is constituted by the confluence of the Breg and the Brigach. This is a beautiful area. The region, with chalk rock underlying is mainly between 750 and 850 meters amsl.. It is suited for farming, so that the countryside consists of farming, meadows and forest. Despite its altitude, the area's climate is pleasant. The lungs and circulation are stimulated by the clear air, the absence of Fohn wind and by the prolonged hours of sunshine. Up to the end of the 19th century, the Dukes of Baden came to Villingen every year to enjoy the summer freshness. In 1937 the state recognised Villingen as a "Kneipp" spa. top page


Today's town is busy, successful and prosperous. However, on account of their very different histories the towns developed very differently, which gives a very different impression of the two towns.
In the Middle Ages Villingen was a recognised state town under Austrian lordship. During the Protestant Reformation of the town remained catholic.In 1271 the only town-wide fire happened, and afterwards the town was never again destroyed either by fire or by military attack. In contrast, Schwenningen remained a village until the 19th century. As a village it was often destroyed. It also became protestant.
The Schwenningen town-centre is modern. The shops and businesses are newly built and the fact is nearly all the old farm-buildings have disappeared. Today the only remainders are the 17th century town church and the beautiful old half-timbered pastors's house. The streets are wide. In the outer suburbs there are many modern dwellings. It must be remembered that in the late Middle Ages the old village was destroyed by fire.
Villingen is quite different, because the old town walls still stand and the heart of the old town is still there. So it has been said, "Of the 670 houses in the Old town, 500 or maybe more exhibit buildings from the Middle Ages. Since 1270 neither fire nor destruction have happened. In the town centre two wide streets form a cross-roads, but the side streets are narrow. Even so, there are modern buildings at the town's edges On can say, as has been written, that Villingens's old town is one of the most beautiful in the Black Forest. Villingen-Schwenningen bring together nature and town, future and tradition.
Both town offer delightful and different attractions to see.


Town Wall

Up to the present the town walls and their towers still stand. During the centuries many sieges have been successfully defended. On the west side of the town is the oldest part of the walls, also the highest tower, at 34 meters high. It is the "Romaus Tower", named after the local hero Remigius Mans. His picture is still to be seen on the tower.

Benedictine Church

Nothing of the original monastery is left. The present church was built by the famous carpenter, Martin Hermann. The monastery, founded in the 11th century was removed on account of its expulsion. Despite a start in building in 1688, one can only see the church that was successfully built after the siege in the Spanish royal-succession war. It follows that today's church is in the Baroque style. It is to be found outside the town wall. The interior, with altar, choir stall, pulpit and choir-screen give a good view of an 18th-century church.

Minster of Our Lady

The Minster of Our Lady is found right in the town centre. Begun in the 12th century, the greatest part of today's church is in the Romanesque style. Only the chancel consists of the High Gothic style, because it was rebuilt after the Town Fire of 1277.
The exterior of the minster was built from Black Forest sandstone, and with the twin tower has a simple appearance. On going inside, one is attracted by the outstanding chancel. The beautiful carved pulpit, from around 1500 shows Christ's Way of the Cross, with figures of Christ, Mary and John, and on the back one can even find Isaiah. One can also note the finely carved rereodos top page.

One of the Villingen town gates
Villingen town centre
Old pastor's house, Schwenningen Schwenningen-pedestrain area in town centre


Town Church

The only example from the time of the Thirty Year War in Schwenningen is the church tower. The church nave was rebuilt in the early 18th century.


Near to the church, on its southern side is a fine half-timbered building from the 18th century. It was used as a teacher's house, then as pub and today as a home and clock museum.


The Mauthepark is a public park, laid out by the clock-maker family, Mauthe. With an aviary and a beautiful area of trees, invites you in to find peace. The church governors' house, which was built in 1797 is in the park.


The so-called Schwenningen-Moos lies at a high point of the Baar watershed. The area of 127 ha, which today is a marshland was water-covered for millennia.
Being near the town the Moos is used by many people as a place for walking, and is also used by the spa guests from Bad Dürrheim. The Moos was badly damaged in the 18th century by drainage and by peat-cutting. Nowadays it has been restored and thus has become an area of scientific interest.
The Neckar rises in this park.
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Activity or peace and quiet, the town has much to offer as a holiday centre. It's an ideal centre for a family activity holiday, and it is a spa for fitness and health. Whether one is interested in art and culture, or for outings, whether one wants to go shopping or play sport you will find satisfaction in this town. You can also wander at free will through the town, or take part in an official guided trip.

For the family

The family can never get bored. There is too much to do!
If you want to swim, you can go to the fine "Tannheim Open-air Baths". One can also play mini-golf or go pony-riding on the "Feldner Mühle", and from autumn to the new year there is ice-skating in the "Art Ice Stadium". Whoever holidays in February can well enjoy the "D'Fastnet" in Villingen.
D'Fastnet , such is the name of the Shrove Tuesday procession in Villingen, which has been celebrated since 1326. In that year Duke Albrecht of Austria made his entry into Villingen. Thus the town gained its freedom from its Lord, as well as the right to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

Sport and Activity

There is a good offer for the participant at every season. Here one can take part in virtually every sport, since almost all forms of sport are played in the town. Apart from indoor and outdoor swimming-baths, apart from the tennis and squash facilities of the TC-Blue-WEhite, one can find a really great choice for one's favourite sport. There is also a Fitness Centre with sauna and solarium.
Another possibility is to wander either on foot on on cycle. In the area around the town there are over 200 km of marked footpaths and over 100km cycle tracks.


Whilst there are plenty of attractions for the visitor and holiday-maker as well as for the residents in Villingen-Schwenningen, there also a great choice of excursions.
One can by car, bus or train travel to many beautiful, picturesque of interesting Black Forest of Swabian places. Whoever feels like being strenuous can cycle
To make a round-trip of the Black Forest one could be recommended to travel the ' Clock Road '. This route, with a length of 320km goes through some of the most beautiful parts of the Black Forest and the Baar. A selection of the most worthwhile sight-seeing places is:
Titisee-Neustadt, a town between 800 and 1,200 meters amsl is a spa-resort. You can in particular visit the folk museum as well as the Honess Factory.
St Märgen. Like Titisee-Neustadt, this town is a spa, where there is a clock museum in the Town Hall. In the church is a richly-decorated reredos.

St Märgen - reredos

Schonach where you can see the largest cuckoo clock in the world
Triberg is a spa. Here most the most worthwhile sights are the Black Forest Museum and the clock factory.
St Georgen. This cure centre is well-known for its sound and clock museum.
On the weswtern edge of the Black Forest is the town of Freiburg , which had an agreement with Villingen during the Middle Ages. In the town is the famous minster. Not far away is the Feldberg , which at 1,494 meters is the highest point of the Black Forest

To the east one can make trips to the Swabian mountain region where there are a lot of gliding sites. A different choice is the Danube Valley where you will see very differnt scenery, and where the valleys are surrounded by limestone cliffs.

Danube valley

Whoever wants to visit and go sight-seeing in a big city, or who wants to go shopping can be recommended to visit Stuttgart .
There is a lot to see, a lot to do. Along the Königsstrsße one can either go shopping, or, except in winter sit eating and drinking outdoors. Thirsty at the end of a day, one can drink beer in the Calweck Brewery, which is the smallest in Germany!

To the south both Swiss town of Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen are worth seeing. Near to Schaffhausen are the Rhine Falls, which are Europe's largest waterfall, visited by many people.

Stein am Rhein
Rhine Falls
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A Kneipp Spa

Since 1937 Villingen has been recognised as a "Kneipp" spa. Whoever is health-conscious or seeks good health, whoever is critically ill can benefit from a stay here.
Villingen has a long tradition as a cure centre. George Pictorius wrote in 1560 about the Villingen "Hubenloch". "The water helps the tired member to gain strength, fever is cooled, the nerves, the liver used, the spleen and the stomach, impurity removed and cramp taken away. This knowledge had been forgotten about until 1861, in which year the "Town Park" was laid out around the source of the Romaus, and equally the walking path laid out in the Uhu-cliffs and the Kirneck ruins. The Kneipp-club was founded in the following year by Pastor Kneipp, who took over the patronage, until Villingen received official state recognition in 1937.
The climate, the location, the clear mountain air and especially the water which rises from many springs are all healthy and stimulating. Two recognised clinics handle various illnesses, like diabetes, rheumatism, gout undo nerodermatitis
For the spa and holiday guests a range of things are on offer, the well cared for flower decorated Spa park, walking paths, outings and concerts..


There are three museums worthy of a visit.
i. Villingen. Old Town Hall Museum. There are examples here from 12th to 19th centuries. Stone and art handwork are of especial interest.
ii. Villingen- Franciscan Museum. In the grounds of the monastery is the "Black Forest Collection", from the middle and south Black Forest. the victor will be interested by the clocks, furniture, ceramics and religious folk art as well as a Black Forest kitchen and pub from 1799.
iii. Schwenningen Home and Clock Museum. There are exhibits of Schwenningen history gathered here. One will also find a collection of farm furniture from the Thirty Year War and originally furnished living and community rooms.
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Cultural life and Sport

The cultural life of both towns is excellent. Whatever one sees or hears is performed in the theaters, the cinemas, in the churches and on the stage.
There is the Villingen-Schwenningen Orchestra, as well as the local brass band to be heard, both of which receive a great reception from the townspeople. In the Franciscan Hall, there is a presentation of the classical and melodical high-point by the internationally famed orchestra. On ecan hear concerts on the organ of Villingen Minster in the summer, and in the autumn the organ festival of Villingen. There's religious music to hear, eg the Christmas Gospel-concerts in the Franciscan Monastery and in the town church of Schwenningen the Masses by Bach.
Since 1977 the interantional Jazz Festival has been held, where European and Amerikan jazz bands are entered. The musical offering is completed by a Folk Club. Three or four times a month there are shows by Country, Blues, Irish, cabaret or live bands.
For the theatre-lover there is mainly the 'Theater am Ring'. Shows take place six or seven times monthly. One can see opera, operetta, musicals, plays or comodies Live theatre can be seen at the Schwenningen Muslen Centre with cabaret and pantomime.
Naturally for a spa-town, the population are sport-conscious, so that 'Keep-Fit', fitness, football, and tennis clubs are all available, not only in the towns but in the nearby villages. Handball, Judo, Karate, light athletics, gymnastics, shhoting-sport and table tennis are all well loved.


(left) Grammar School "am Deutenberg"
(right) Vogtshaus Beer house

Below (left)

Wohnhaus, Charlottenstrasse

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Business, Shopping, Transport

Historically and basically the industry of both towns was organised around clock-maunfacture. One could speak with pride about the 'Clock town on the Neckar' and equally the 'greatest clock-making town of the world'. The life of the populace was built around 'the factory'
A sustained business reorganisation took place during the last two decades. The driving force was threefold. In business the recession of the 1970s combined with the development of elctrical as well as electronic equipment and this development affected 20,000 people. At the same point in time the two towns were united as 'Villingen-Schwenningen.
In 1984 it was written that nearly 2,500 women and men are in daily employment of the town's social services, town works and health services. These working positions suggest there is an economic disadvantage in the towns' combination. About 120 DM (in 1984) are paid for the functionality as well as the maintaining of the joint union and the improvement of the people's way of life by the populace.
South-West Exhibiton
In Schwenningen there is the big exhibition area, where in the week after Whitsunday the 'South-West Exhibition' takes place every year. On one hand about 650 exhibitors take part in the exhibition, on the other about 180,000 visitors are attracted. The offers of the exhibiton area are completed by a mineral and fossil market, a comprssed-air and pneumatics exhibiton and a caravan demonstration.

In both towns one finds good shopping. There are shops which specialise in the sale of various types of goods. There are also supermarkets and in Schwenningen 'The City' which is a shopping precinct. There are also modern and homely cafés and restaurants.

On account of the town's position and of the natural pass between the Black Forest and the Swabian mountains the Baar has been used since Roman times as a route to and from the south. Nowadays the A81 motorway carrires the driver between Stuttgart and the west of Lake Constance and further south to Zurich. Modern roads link the town with the A81 to the east and the Black Forest to the west.

Weilersbach Obereschach
Villingen-Schwenningen consists not only of the regional head town, but also of nine rural communities which were included. To the more than 70,000 town inhabitants nearly 4,000 people are included; people who are deployed in agriculture or industry; proper who live in such a richly forested area. The smallest village is Herzogenweiler, which is a village of 210 inhabitants, and at up to 949 meters amsl is the nearest to the Black Forest. Travelling toward Villingen one comes to Pfaffenweiler. A nature reserve, delightful forests and the "Keltengrabhugel at Magdalenenberg" are the surroundings of this place. In the brigach valley south of Villingen is Rietheim on fertile ground and Marbach, the largest area with 2,000 inhabitants. There are three guest homes, as well as family-friendly holiday flats.
Tannheim lies south of Herzogenweiler. This is a naturtal holiday spot offering various sports and where the Zundelstein fort ruins as well as a former monastery are to be seen.
North of Villingen lies the holiday village of Obereschach and near to Schwenningen is Weilersbach, that is in a charming spot deep in the Ammersbach valley, from 700 to 760 meters amsl. With a guest house, as well as tennis and sport centre there a wealth on offer here.
One must also mention Mühlhausen and Weigheim