The history of Neu-Ulm
Its all down to Napoleon
The State Treaty of Paris, signed on February 28, 1810 after the Napoleonic Wars, formed the political basis for the development of Neu Ulm. On May 18, 1810 the treaty concluded in Compiègne between the Kingdoms of Bavaria and Württemberg established the boundary of Ulm in the centre of the Danube.
Ulm on the right bank of the Danube officially came into being a year later. To begin with, the small community was little more than a collection of gardens, farms, inns, a border post and a customs house, together with the village of Offenhausen.
In 1814 the name 'Neu-Ulm' first appeared in the documents.
The building of the Federal Fortifications
The development of the town received crucial impetus through the resolution of the Frankfurt Federal Conference of 1841 to build a Federal Fortification in Ulm. Neu-Ulm became the bridgehead of the “largest fortification complex in Europe”.King Ludwig I stipulated that planning for the fortifications on the Bavarian side should leave enough room for the development of a town.
Neu-Ulm becomes a garrison town
In 1853 the railway line connecting Neu-Ulm with Augsburg was opened. Shortly afterwards the 12th Infantry Regiment Prinz Arnulf, the Chevauxlegers and the infantry artillery was stationed in the town. Neu-Ulm became a garrison town.
Although Neu-Ulm was not officially a town, it was granted a town coat of arms by the royal government in 1857. The silver tower on the coat of arms is a symbol for the federal fortifications; the colours black and white are a reference to Ulm, while blue and white are the colours of Bavaria.
Neu-Ulm officially becomes a town
In 1869 King Ludwig II elevated Neu-Ulm to the ranks of the towns of the Kingdom of Bavaria “in the most gracious benevolence and in consideration of the rapid blossoming and significance of the community”.
Josef Kollmann (Mayor of Neu Ulm from1885 - 1919) was instrumental in the development of the town, so that in 1897 the tram line was opened between the stations of Ulm and Neu Ulm.
A further technical advance was the water supply. The water tower, the landmark of Neu Ulm, celebrated its 100th anniversary in July 2000. In 1906, the defortification treaty released the town from a “corset” which had become far too tight. The fortification ramparts were demolished in places to allow the urgently needed expansion of the town to go ahead. The first factories were built.
New beginnings after the two world wars
After the WWI the garrison at Neu Ulm was dissolved. For a town focussed around the military presence, this meant that the economy of Neu Ulm had to be reoriented. After 1919 Neu-Ulm experienced a continuous upward economic trend and was a wealthy town at the outbreak of WWII. The alteration work carried out on the Catholic Parish Church from 1922 – 1926 by Dominikus Böhm was interesting from a town-planning aspect. The church of St. Johann Baptist is an early example of modern church architecture.
In 1945 the town faced the prospect of a completely new beginning after the destruction in WWII. All the bridges across the Danube had been blown up; 80 % of the buildings were destroyed. Countless refugees arrived in search of a new home. Ideas for the complete rebuilding of the town were discussed and dropped again. Money was lacking for the rebuilding programme, and it also went against the Swabian spirit of economy, not to make the best use of whatever had survived.
The first renovations and new builds of the 1950’s were followed by the building boom of the 60’s and 70’s. New residential areas were built, the industrial zone grew. Schools, playgrounds and sports facilities were built; the Glacis was redesigned to make a park. The first State Flower Show took place in1980.
1977 saw the building of the 'Edwin-Scharff-Haus' cultural and conference centre and the Edwin Scharff Museum.
In the years between 1951 and 1991 Neu Ulm was an American base. During the local government reorganisation of the 1970’s the town boundaries were redrawn to include nine surrounding villages, so that today the town covers a total area of 80 km2.
Great tasks at the beginning of the 21st century
Neu-Ulm is currently undergoing a dynamic process of change. The restoration of the town centre, including traffic calming measures, and the redevelopment of the former US base for residential and commercial use have given the town a new profile. In addition, the railway line was lowered into a trough as part of the expansion of the rapid-transit ICE rail route between Stuttgart and Munich.
The choice of venue for the Bavarian State Flower Show in 2008 fell to Neu-Ulm. This gave the town a unique possibility for combining large-scale urban development with existing and new green areas from the very beginning of the project, thus creating a large network of green spaces.