The history of Giessen

The first evidence of Giessen as a town dates back to 1248. A few years later, the landgraves of Hesse acquired possession of the town. Around 1450, the town hall was built at the present site of the market place. In 1560, a blazing fire consumed almost 200 buildings in Giessen. Some of them were not rebuilt, as a result of which the “Brandplatz” we know today came into existence. In 1607, Giessen became a university town. Two years later the Botanical Garden, the oldest of its kind in Germany, was opened. In 1907, the city theatre was inaugurated. In 1944, heavy air raids destroyed 75 percent of Giessen. As a consequence, the historical structure of the town was lost. In 2014, Giessen hosted the 5th Hessian State Horticultural Show.

Giessen Today

These days, Giessen has approx. 84,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest town in Hesse. Places of interest include the theater, the mathematicum as well as the Liebig Museum. Furthermore, the Botanical Garden and the Armory are always worth a visit. Located 5 km outside of Giessen, Schiffenberg is a popular tourist attraction. Its former monastery complex has a restaurant catering to day trippers. Schwanenteich, the site of the 2014 state horticultural show, lends itself to a pleasant walk.

Celebrated Public Characters

In addition to all that, Giessen is associated with several illustrious personages:

  • Justus Liebig lectured and carried out research in Giessen from 1824 to 1852.
  • In 1843, Georg Büchner and other revolutionists met to discuss the “Hessischen
    Landboten”.
  • Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen worked at the Giessen University from 1879 to 1888. He is buried at the old cemetery “Alter Friedhof”.
  • Between 1911 and 1927, Kurt Koffka was a professor at the Giessen University. He is the eponym of the annually awarded Kurt Koffka Excellency Award presented to international scientists for research on perception and/or developmental psychology at the Department of Psychology and Sports Sciences of the Giessen University.
  • Frank Walter Steinmeier studied Law and Political Sciences in Giessen.