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Jülich (in old spellings also known as Guelich or Gülich, cf. , cf. ) is a town in the district of Dürenmarker, in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphaliamarker, Germanymarker. Jülich is well known as location of a world-famous research centre, the Forschungszentrum Jülichmarker and as shortwave transmission site of Deutsche Welle. As a border region between the competing powers in the Lower Rhinemarker and Meusemarker areas, the town and the Duchy of Jülichmarker played a historic role from the Middle Ages up to the 17th century.


Jülich is situated in the Rur valley on the banks of the river Rurmarker. The town is bordered by the town of Linnichmarker in the north, the municipality of Titzmarker in the north-east, the municipality of Niederziermarker in the south-east, by the municipality of Indenmarker in the south and the municipality of Aldenhovenmarker in the west. Its maximum size is 13,3 km from east to west and 10,9 km from north to south. The highest point in Jülich is in Bourheim and is 110 m above sea level (except Sophienhöhemarker, an extensive artificial mountain made up of overburden of a nearby open-pit lignite mine, the Tagebau Hambachmarker), the lowest point is 70 m above sea level and is found in the borough of Barmen.


The town of Jülich comprises 16 boroughs:

  • Town centre
  • Altenburg
  • Barmen
  • Bourheim
  • Broich
  • Daubenrath
  • Güsten
  • Kirchberg
  • Koslar
  • Lich-Steinstraß
  • Mersch
  • Merzenhausen
  • Pattern
  • Selgersdorf
  • Stetternich
  • Welldorf (including Serrest)


Maximum extent of the French fortification of Jülich

Jülich is first mentioned in Roman times as Juliacum along an important road through the Rurmarker valley. Fortified during the late Roman period, it was taken over by the Franks and grew to be the centre of a county which became the nucleus of a regional power. The counts and dukes of Jülich extended their influence during the Middle Ages and granted Jülich city status in 1234 (Count Wilhelm IV). During battles with the Archbishop of Cologne, Jülich was destroyed in 1239 and again in 1278. In 1416, the city was granted fiscal independence by Duke Rainald of Jülich-Geldern. Following a fire in 1547, the city was rebuilt as an ideal city in the Renaissance style under the direction of the architect Alessandro Pasqualini. The citadel of Jülich was later visited by the French military engineer Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban and was rated exemplary. After the ducal family line was extinguished in 1609, the Duchy of Jülichmarker was divided. The city later belonged to Palatinate-Neuburgmarker, then the Palatinate (1685) and Bavaria (1777).

From 1794 to 1814, Jülich was part of France under the name of Juliers. The French added the Napoleonic bridge head to the fortifications. In 1815, Jülich became a Prussian fortification and district town. The town was subsequently administered within the Prussian Province of Jülich-Cleves-Bergmarker (1815) and then the Rhine Provincemarker (1822). The fortification was razed in 1860.

Jülich destroyed

On 16 November 1944 (World War II), 97% of Jülich was destroyed during Allied bombing, since it was considered one of the main obstacles to the occupation of the Rhineland, although the city fortifications, the bridge head and the citadel had long fallen into disuse. The ruined city was subject to heavy fighting for several months until the Allies eventually managed to cross the Rur on 23 February 1945. Newsreel footage exists of Supreme Commander Eisenhower at the southern entrance to the citadel.

Jülich became part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphaliamarker after the war. From 1949 to 1956, the town centre was rebuilt along the plans of the Renaissance town.

In 1998, the state garden fair took place in Jülich. This made the extensive restoration of the bridge head fortifications and the establishment of a large leisure park, the bridge head park, possible.

Today, Jülich is mainly known for its world-famous research centre (established in 1956) and the satellite campus of the Fachhochschule Aachen (established in 1970). The town's landmark is the Witchtower, a city gate and remnant of the medieval city fortifications. The most impressive remnants from the past are, however, both the Napoleonic Bridgehead and the Citadel.

Population history

Population growth of Jülich since 1800

Population history

Year Population   Year Population   Year Population
300 1.500   1860 3.119   12/31 1960 14.339
1533 1.300   1900 4.964   12/31 1970 20.778
1647 1.300   1920 7.688   12/31 1980 30.433
1735 1.520   1931 10.051   12/31 1990 31.149
1795 2.025   1939 12.000   12/31 2000 33.434
1802 2.429   12/31 1951 10.182   12/31 2004 34.022

Town twinnings

Since 1964, Jülich is twinned with the French town of Haubourdinmarker in the Nordmarker département.


  • BAB 4 (Düren / Jülich Interchange)
  • BAB 44
    • (Jülich Ost (East)/ Mersch Interchange)
    • (Jülich West (West)/ Koslar Interchange)
  • Rurtalbahn, literally the Rurmarker Valley Railway (Linnich - Jülich - Düren - Heimbach)

Culture and landmarks


  • Historical Town Museum ( Website)


Particularly notable:
  • the Witchtower (Hexenturm)
  • the Citadel
  • the Napoleonic Bridgehead
  • the church of St. Mariä Himmelfahrt
  • the Aachener Tor (lit. Aachen Gate)
  • aerial towers of shortwave broadcasting facility

Shortwave broadcasting facility

In 1956 the WDR broadcaster established the first short wave transmitter near the borough Mersch. In the subsequent years this site was expanded. On September 1, 1961 this site was handed over to the German Federal Post for establishing the German foreign broadcasting service, "Deutsche Welle". In the course of time 10 transmitters of 100 kilowatts were installed, whereby as transmitting antennas enormous dipole arrays between free standing steel framework towers were installed. Today these transmitters are rented to the predominant part to non-German broadcasting organisations. In the 90's on the area of the shortwave transmission facility also a transmitting plant for medium wave was installed, using a long wire antenna which is spun at a tower on the transmitter site. It was intended to be used for transmission of the programme of radio Viva on 702 kHz, but it never went into regular service for this broadcaster.Since December 6, 2004, the mediumwave transmitter is used to broadcast the programme of the German commercial broadcaster "TruckRadio" on 702 kHz.


The reliquaries of Christina von Stommeln.


The most successful and well-known Jülich-based sports teams are TTC Jülich (table tennis, which competes in the Bundesliga, the domestic premiere league) and the SC Jülich 1910, an amateur football club that won the German national amateur championships in 1969, 1970 and 1971.


Famous citizens


This page is mostly a translation of the article in the German language Wikipedia.

External links


  1. The Roer Offensive; A Nazi City Dies; Bataan Prisoners 1945/3/15;

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