Werne an der Lippe (Westphalian: Wäen) is a town in the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the Unna district in Germany. It is located on the southern edge of the Münsterland region near the Ruhrgebiet. The population of Werne is about 32,000.

Coat of arms of Werne
Coat of arms
Location of Werne within Unna district
Unna (district)North Rhine-WestphaliaEnnepe-Ruhr-KreisHagenDortmundRecklinghausen (district)Coesfeld (district)Warendorf (district)HammSoest (district)HochsauerlandkreisMärkischer KreisSchwerteHolzwickedeFröndenbergUnnaLünenBergkamenKamenBönenWerneSelmWerne in UN.svg
About this image
Werne is located in Germany
Werne is located in North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51°40′N 7°37′E / 51.667°N 7.617°E / 51.667; 7.617Coordinates: 51°40′N 7°37′E / 51.667°N 7.617°E / 51.667; 7.617
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionArnsberg
 • MayorLothar Christ (non-party)
 • Total76.08 km2 (29.37 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
 • Total29,717
 • Density390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0 23 89
Vehicle registrationUN


Middle Ages and early modern periodEdit

The Old Town Hall in Werne

The first Bishop of Münster, Liudger established Werne as a parish by erecting a chapel in the southern parts of the Dreingau ("in pago dreginni"). He acted on orders of Charlemagne who, having finally brought the region under the fold of Francia following the conclusion of the Saxon Wars, was eager to press on with Christianization. The Latin text of the oldest preserved document ("in villa quae dicitur werina"), which dates from 834 and is being kept at the Leiden University Library, indicates that by this time a village had already formed around the chapel.

Traders and peasants continued to accrete throughout the next three centuries. At some point between the years 1192 and 1195, the regional bishopric established a customs agency at Werne and put the place under its direct jurisdiction. The year 1253 found Werne in an alliance (the "Werner Bund") with the cities of Münster, Dortmund, Soest and Lippstadt to defend transit and trading rights relating to a bridge over the Lippe river. In 1470 Werne became a member of the Hanseatic League. A town hall was built from 1512 to 1561.

The first moves towards a fortification of Werne date to 1302 when a trench was dug around the church; this was improved and extended to protect the entire settlement in 1383, two years before it received town privileges in 1385. After Adolph I, Duke of Cleves had burned Werne to the ground in 1400, the full fortification of the city commenced in 1415. However, this did not prevent occupation, looting and torching of the city on several occasions during the Thirty Years' War and of course it was no help at all against the Black Death, which killed 313 people (out of a population of about 1,000) in 1636 and 1637 while the war still raged. (Parts of the city wall and some of the towers were pulled down in 1779; the last city gate (the "Neutor") was demolished in 1843.)

The Peace of Westphalia, signed in 1648 at the nearby cities of Münster and Osnabrück, had essentially expelled Protestantism from the Werne region. From 1671 to 1673 the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin erected a cloister and, from 1677 to 1681, the Catholic Church. (The Martin Luther Church at the Wichernstraße dates from 1904).

From the Napoleonic time to industrializationEdit

Werne, which had come under the administration of Prussia in 1803 when the Prince-Bishopric of Münster had been dissolved, was attached to the Grand Duchy of Berg by Napoleon in 1806. The Congress of Vienna restored the city to Prussia which incorporated it with other territories into its Province of Westphalia. In 1831 was granted a degree of administrative independence under the Prussian municipal code of 1831.

In 1873 and 1874 the search for coal produced a brine thermal spring, and the Werne Baths were established in 1878. The actual coal mine did not commence operations before 1899; it was operated until 1975. Today the buildings of the "Zeche Werne" have been converted to public meeting places, or are part of a business park.

The railway line Münster-Werne-Dortmund was opened in 1928. It had taken a significant amount of lobbying to get Werne a railway station, which was totally refurbished in 2005.

A repurposed building of the former "Zeche Werne"

World War IIEdit

During the war, 471 citizens of Werne died and 500 more disappeared without trace. The town accommodated nearly 4,000 refugees.


The population of the town of Werne (and the district of Stockum) increased from 1974 to 2003 by about 23%. The proportion of foreigners was about five percent in 2003. In the same year, the district Stockum with 4760 inhabitants presented 14.6% of the population of Werne. The proportion of the Catholic population amounted to 57.4%, the proportion of the Protestant population to 25.0%. 17.6% had no religious affiliation or belonged to another faith direction.

In 2012 Werne had a population of 29,482.[2]

Education and cultureEdit




  • Karl Pollender city museum

Famous People from WerneEdit

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Werne is twinned with:[3]


  1. ^ "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2019" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  2. ^ Census 2010 (German)
  3. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften". werne.de (in German). Werne. Retrieved 30 December 2019.

External linksEdit