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600 years of Helmbrechts

Tradition and modernity

Helmbrechts is a middle-sized Upper Franconian centre with around 8,500 inhabitants and is located between the two upper Franconian centres of Hof and Bayreuth at the foot of the Franconian Forest. Helmbrechts was first mentioned in a document in 1232. The 600th anniversary of the city refers to the year 1422, when Helmbrechts was officially granted town rights. The anniversary was duly celebrated by residents of the town and its surroundings for a whole weekend.

The road to modernity

In the centuries-long history, the population had to accept some setbacks. In 1555 the plague raged in Helmbrechts. Subsequently, several major fires repeatedly destroyed parts of the city. The construction of a road from Münchberg to Helmbrechts in 1817 and finally the inauguration of the railway line between the two cities in 1887 were positive milestones and, among other things, stimulated economic development in the long term.

From textiles to plastics cluster

The less productive climate combined with the barren gneiss soil forced the originally agricultural population to reorient themselves early on. A sideline opportunity was found in hand weaving, which in turn is considered to be the origin of the textile industry in Helmbrechts. In its heyday, there were more than 80 local textile companies that made Helmbrechts nationally known as the centre of the textile industry and earned the city the nickname “Wardrobe of the World”.

In recent history, Helmbrechts has increasingly developed into a plastics cluster. Numerous companies – including international and global ones – that make important contributions within the value chain of various plastic products are located in just a few square kilometres. Thus, the plastics processing industry and its suppliers secure important jobs for an entire region. From automotive to medicine: Many plastic products that are useful or even indispensable in everyday life originate in Helmbrechts.

Together with all the other Helmbrechts residents, also the companies celebrated their city’s anniversary last weekend.