Krefeld, an attractive modern city in the Ruhr area of north-west Germany, became Leicester’s second twin in 1969.
Krefeld's history dates back to 69 AD, when Roman legions established the site as a military camp on one of the most critical north-south routes through the Rhineland.
During the religious wars that plagued Europe throughout the late Middle Ages, Krefeld emerged as a city known for its religious tolerance.
Krefeld owes its modern name to the Mennonites who came from France in the 17th century. These immigrants were recognised throughout Europe as skilled weavers of silk and velvet. The skill of Krefeld’s silk-weavers was so renowned that it is still reflected in the city’s official motto: “Stadt wie Samt und Seide” (City of Velvet and Silk). Even today, the vast majority of ties worn in Germany are manufactured in Krefeld.
Today, famous chemical and stainless steel works form Krefeld’s skyline accompanied by a growing service sector.
Krefeld’s population figure in 2010 was 240,304.
German is the spoken language but English, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and other languages are taught in schools. Besides numerous schools, Krefeld also has a University of Applied Science.
In 2009, the people of Krefeld broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest postcard. A total of 6,367 photographs were compiled into a 459 square foot, 661-pound final postcard displaying the beauty of Krefeld.
Leisure and culture
Krefeld offers a varied range of leisure and cultural activities, and hosts Krefeld Penguins, a popular and famous ice hockey team.
Krefeld has many parks and also a family-friendly zoo with over 1,200 animals and a forest with 107m high lookout in the middle of a game reserve with roe deer and wild boars. For more information, visit www.zookrefeld.de
Elfrather Lake, with its green watersides and fields is where you find numerous sports offers such as sailing, surfing, swimming and playgrounds.
Krefeld’s inhabitants love spending a summer evening in a great beer garden situated in a green park and forest, called Stadtwald, which is very close to Krefeld’s racecourse.
Krefeld’s citizens know how to enjoy themselves. There are often concerts, comedy shows, exhibitions, festivals and other events.
Several museums provide an inside into arts, landscape or history e.g. Niederrheinisches Landschaftsmuseum (Niederrheinisches landscape museum), Deutsches Textillmuseum (German textile museum), Haus der Seidenkultur (House of silk culture), Kaiser Wilhelm Museum (Art museum) and Haus Lange/Haus Ester (House Lange/House Ester).
Krefeld also has a popular theatre with a programme of performances including opera, ballet, orchestras and plays.
Castle Linn, surrounded by a moat, was built in the 12th century and still acts as a key venue in Krefeld. Every year on Pentecost the ‘Flachsmarkt’, a huge medieval craft market, takes place in the old surroundings.
In winter, ‘Karneval’ fills the streets with celebrations, music and fun. September brings the world’s biggest street fashion show with designer and fashion colleges showcasing their creations on open-air stages. It is known as "Größte Straßenmodenschau der Welt".
The city centre itself offers a wide variety of shopping arcades, specialist shops and a wide range of cafés, bistros and restaurants offering local and international specialties.
There is an active relationship between Leicester and Krefeld. Each year, students from Krefeld visit Leicester for work placements with leading employers in the city including Leicester City Council. Krefeld and Leicester sports clubs have also developed close links including exchanges and visits to their respective clubs.
For more information on Krefeld, visit www.krefeld.de
Link to City of Leicester Twinning Association.