Lennestadt (occasionally also die Lennestadt) lies in the Sauerland in southeast North Rhine-Westphalia and is a community in Olpe district. It is the district's most populous municipality. Lennestadt itself is not an actual town but a community which comprises several towns and villages.

Bilstein Castle
Bilstein Castle
Coat of arms of Lennestadt
Coat of arms
Location of Lennestadt within Olpe district
Olpe (district)North Rhine-WestphaliaMärkischer KreisHochsauerlandkreisOberbergischer KreisRhineland-PalatinateSiegen-WittgensteinOlpeFinnentropAttendornLennestadtDrolshagenKirchhundemWendenLennestadt in OE.svg
About this image
Lennestadt is located in Germany
Lennestadt is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51°7′25″N 8°4′5″E / 51.12361°N 8.06806°E / 51.12361; 8.06806Coordinates: 51°7′25″N 8°4′5″E / 51.12361°N 8.06806°E / 51.12361; 8.06806
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionArnsberg
 • MayorStefan Hundt (CDU)
 • Total135.06 km2 (52.15 sq mi)
410 m (1,350 ft)
 • Total25,503
 • Density190/km2 (490/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes02721, 02723, 02972 u. 02725
Vehicle registrationOE


Lennestadt lies at the common point of the Ebbegebirge (in the west), Homert and Rothaargebirge (in the east) Nature Parks and is crossed by the river Lenne, a tributary to the Ruhr. Besides the Hundem, which empties into the Lenne in the outlying centre of Altenhundem, the Veischede also feeds this river.

Lennestadt's position is 51° 03' to 51° 12' N, 7° 58' to 8° 15' E. The town's highest point is the Härdler (756 m), and its lowest is on the Lenne near Borghausen (239 m).

Neighbouring communitiesEdit

Lennestadt borders in the north on the communities of Eslohe and Finnentrop, in the east on Schmallenberg and Bad Berleburg, in the south on Kirchhundem, and in the west on the towns of Attendorn and Olpe.

Constituent communitiesEdit

View over Bilstein from the castle
Communities of Lennestadt

Within Lennestadt's municipal area lie the following centres:

Altenhundem, Altenvalbert, Bilstein, Bonzel, Bonzelerhammer, Brenschede, Bruchhausen, Burbecke, Elspe, Elsperhusen, Einsiedelei, Germaniahütte, Gleierbrück, Grevenbrück, Habbecke, Hachen, Haus Hilmecke,Haus Valbert, Halberbracht, Hengstebeck, Hespecke, Kickenbach, Kirchveischede, Kracht, Langenei, Maumke, Meggen, Melbecke, Milchenbach, Oberelspe, Obermelbecke, Obervalbert, Oedingen, Oedingermühle, Oedingerberg (formerly Berge), Saalhausen, Sporke, Stöppel, Theten and Trockenbrück.

The fact that there is not a physical town of Lennestadt, but that Lennestadt is an aggregation of the smaller towns listed above, often leads to confusion among visitors.


The town of Lennestadt was founded on 1 July 1969 as legal successor to the Amt of Bilstein out of seven former communities and outlying centres.

The earliest traces of settlers in the current municipal area date to the Early Middle Ages. The centres of Elspe and Oedingen were first mentioned in a document in 1000 that Emperor Otto III had issued. This makes them the oldest places in Olpe district.

In the 19th century, parts of the current town area were characterized by mining, ironworking and metalworking.


In 1975, Milchenbach was joined with Lennestadt. It had formerly belonged to the community of Lenne (now part of Schmallenberg).

Population developmentEdit

Year Population figure Population development graph
1998 27,846  
1999 28,013
2000 28,026
2001 28,046
2002 28,072
2003 28,084
2004 27,953
2005 27,831


Town councilEdit

Town Hall
Municipal election results, 25 May 2014
Party Votes ± as against 2009 Seats
CDU 50.6% -9.0% 20
SPD 30.5% +2.4% 11
Grüne 10.9% -0.2% 4
Free Voters 7.1% +7.1% 3
Other 0.9% -0.3% -

The current mayor is Stefan Hundt, of the CDU. The turnout was 49.2%.


Until 1997, Lennestadt's chief administrator bore the title Stadtdirektor (“Town Director”). The Bürgermeister, or Mayor, was an honorary office and was mainly ceremonial.

Time in office Chief administrator Honorary mayor (until 1997)
July 1969 to November 1969 Erwin Krollmann (CDU), Commissioner for the Fulfilment of the Town Director’s Duties Heinrich Hanfland (CDU), Commissioner for the Fulfilment of the Council Chairman’s Duties
December 1969 – 1989 Erwin Krollmann (CDU)
  • 1969–1983: Josef Beckmann (CDU), Namesake of Bürgermeister-Beckmann-Platz
  • 1983–1989: Wilhelm „Willi“ Soemer (CDU)
1989–1997 Dr. Franz-Josef Kaufmann (SPD) Hubert Nies (CDU)
1997–2009 Alfons Heimes (CDU)
2009–today Stefan Hundt (CDU)

National and regional electionsEdit

Party 2009 election 2013 election 2010 state election 2012 state election
CDU 42.3% 47.7% 46.2% 37.7%
SPD 27.2% 31.3% 32.0% 37.6%
FDP 13.5% 4.5% 5.4% 6.6%
Grüne 6.4% 4.2% 7.6% 4.8%
Linke 6.5% 4.3% 4.1% 1.6%
AfD - 3.9%
Pirate Party - - 0.8% 6.2%
Other 4.1% 4.1% 3.9% 3.5%

Coat of armsEdit

Lennestadt's arms

The town's arms were conferred on 31 December 1971. The gold and green bars in the background were taken from the arms formerly borne by the Amt of Bilstein. The wavy bend stands for the river Lenne, the town's namesake, and the rose comes from the outlying centre of Oedingen.

Town patronEdit

Town council decided in 1995 to name Sir Thomas More as the town's patron. Since 2001, the town has been awarding the Thomas-Morus-Preis to citizens “who in their acts have let themselves be led by the convictions of their conscience and who without regard to possible personal disadvantages through bravery and moral courage have thereby become examples to the good of others and our society.”[2]

Town partnershipEdit

The town of Lennestadt entered into a partnership with the town of Otwock in Poland in 1992. In May 2006, a cycling tour was held which saw 32 participants ride from Lennestadt by way of Berlin and Warsaw to Otwock as a symbol of solidarity.

Culture and sightseeingEdit


The Kulturgemeinde Hundem-Lenne, founded in 1946, offers a cultural programme in the Pädagogisches Zentrum (PZ, “Educational Centre”), a venue with 480 seats at the Anne-Frank-Hauptschule in Meggen.


In Grevenbrück is found the town museum, the Museum der Stadt Lennestadt in whose building the town's homeland and regional studies library and the town archive are also to be found.

Since 1998, the Förderverein Bergbaudenkmäler Lennestadt (“Lennestadt Mining Monument Development Association”) has run the Bergbaumuseum Siciliaschacht (“Sicilia Mineshaft Mining Museum”) in Meggen, which recalls the town's mining tradition.


Among well known buildings in Lennestadt are Bilstein Castle (Burg Bilstein), the Peperburg castle ruins, many timber frame houses, the so-called Sauerlandpyramiden, the Sicilia Mineshaft and the Hohe Bracht viewing tower. On Bundesstraße 55 between Oedingen and Eslohe, the Madonna der Straße (“Madonna of the Road”) roadside shrine is to be found.


A spa is to be found in the outlying centre of Saalhausen, which is a recognized Luftkurort (“air spa resort”).

Regular eventsEdit

Among the town's regular events is the traditional Schützenfest (“fair featuring shooting matches”) that is held in all of the bigger centres each year. Furthermore, every August there is a town festival lasting several days which since 2005 has been held together with the Sauerländer Straßenmusiker-Festival (“Sauerland Street Musicians’ Festival”) in Altenhundem.

Economy and infrastructureEdit


Lennestadt is home to a variety of small and middle-sized businesses, mainly in the manufacturing field. Most prevalent are companies in the metal-working, machine building, automotive parts supply, and electrical industry.

Public institutionsEdit

Lennestadt's town hall is located in the central constituent community of Altenhundem.

The local court, the Amtsgericht Lennestadt, is located in the outlying centre of Grevenbrück.


Local public transportEdit

With its Altenhundem, Grevenbrück (Westf.) and Lennestadt-Meggen stations, Lennestadt lies on the Ruhr-Sieg line from Hagen to Siegen.

Furthermore, buslines of the Verkehrsbetriebe Westfalen-Süd (VWS, “Westphalia-South Transport Services”) and Busverkehr Ruhr-Sieg (BRS, “Ruhr-Sieg Bus Transport”) run to Kirchhundem, Olpe, Hilchenbach, Finnentrop, Schmallenberg, Meschede and Attendorn.


Until 1944 there was another railway connection to Erndtebrück by the Altenhundem–Birkelbach railway line, whose bridges, however, were blown up by retreating units of the German army in the Second World War. Parts of the tunnels are still preserved.

The line to Wenholthausen was still run until the mid-1960s. At this time, Altenhundem was said to be a railway village.

Private transportEdit

The Federal Highways (Bundesstraßen) B 55 and B 517 run through the town.

Cycle transportEdit

Lennestadt is connected to the North Rhine-Westphalia Cycle Transport Network (Radverkehrsnetz NRW) and furthermore lies on the Lenneroute running from the Lenne's source on the Kahler Asten down to its mouth at the Hohensyburg (castle).


The Westfalenpost and the Westfälische Rundschau each have a local edition in Lennestadt and appear as daily newspapers. As well, the advertising sheets Sauerlandkurier and Sauerländer Wochenanzeiger come out on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Lennestadt belongs to the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Siegen studio area. News from the South Sauerland is broadcast on WDR 2 and in local broadcasts on WDR Fernsehen.


Lennestadt is home to many elementary schools, one special school whose emphasis is on learning, Hauptschulen, Realschulen and two Gymnasien. Both the Gymnasium der Stadt Lennestadt as well as the Gymnasium Maria Königin are located in Altenhundem. Moreover, there is a folk high school and a professional college. Lennestadt furthermore lies in the feeder area of the University of Siegen.

Famous peopleEdit

Honorary citizensEdit

  • Paul Tigges, writer

Sons and daughters of the townEdit

  • Johannes Becker, politician, Member of the Reichstag
  • Reinhold Bicher, (1895-1975), painter
  • Harry Blum, (1944-2000), politician and former Chief Mayor of Cologne
  • Christel Frese, athlete
  • Adolf Hennecke, (1905-1975), “Activist of the first hour” in East Germany
  • Theo Kruse, politician, Member of the Landtag
  • Benjamin Mikfeld, politician
  • Walter Schneider (born 1949), District Administrator of the Landkreis Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg
  • Helmut Schulte (born 1957), football coach
  • Karl Joseph Cardinal Schulte (1871-1941), Archbishop and Cardinal
  • Peter Soemer, theologian and poet
  • Margareta Wolf, politician
  • Thomas Hebbeker, professor RWTH Aachen

People connected with the townEdit

  • Helmut Körschgen, amateur exhibitor
  • Josefa Berens-Totenohl, writer

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2018" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  2. ^ Thomas Morus – Stadtpatron von Lennestadt Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine