|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2012)|
|Town subdivisions||7 districts|
|Mayor||Lutz Brockmann (SPD)|
|Area||71.58 km2 (27.64 sq mi)|
|Elevation||20 m (66 ft)|
|Population||26,729 (31 December 2011)|
|- Density||373 /km2 (967 /sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Imperial City of Verden
|Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||Massacre of Verden||782|
|-||Gained Reichsfreiheit||15th century|
|-||Annexed to Principality
of Verden (Swed. fief)
May 15, 1648
Verden an der Aller, also called Verden (Aller) or simply Verden (German pronunciation: [ˈfeːɐ̯dən]), is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the river Aller. It is the administrative centre of the district of Verden. Verden is famous for the massacre of Saxons in 782, committed on the orders of Charlemagne (the Massacre of Verden), for its cathedral, and for its horse breeding.
In the Middle Ages there was a massacre of allegedly 4,500 Saxons, by order of Charlemagne because of their involvement in a preceding uprising. Verden was then within the Duchy of Saxony. After in 1180 a coalition of Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and his allies had defeated the then Saxo-Bavarian Duke Henry the Lion. He was subsequently stripped of his duchies. Saxony was divided among the imperial coalitionaries and so the Catholic Bishop of Verden gained for parts of his diocesan territory imperial immediacy, thus establishing the Prince-Bishopric of Verden.
On 12 March 1259 Prince-Bishop Gerhard of Verden granted the place town privileges following the Bremian version of German town law. In the 15th century Verden gained considerable independence as a Free Imperial City, immediately under the emperors (imperial immediacy), circumventing its former overlords the prince-bishops, who still held the cathedral and pertaining premises in town as an immunity district.
By the Peace of Westphalia the city of Verden was mediatised as regular city again within the Prince-Bishopric of Verden, which was transformed by the same contract into the Principality of Verden in May 1648. The northern city (with the town hall and St. John's church) and the southern town (with the proto-cathedral) were then united to form one city.
The Principality of Verden was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown - interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) - and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. The Kingdom of Hanover incorporated the principality in a real union and the princely territory, including Verden upon Aller, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.
Until the Second World War, Verden was renowned for its trade and crafts and also its mounted division. During the Nazi Regime forced-labourers were used in a furniture factory in Verden. Between 1945 and 1949 Verden was part of the British zone of occupation. Refugees from the formers Prussian provinces of East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia, settled in and around the town.
With the labour immigration from the East German Democratic Republic inhibited by the Berlin Wall foreign workers (Gastarbeiter) started to arrive from southern Europe and Anatolia in the 1960s. After the fall of Communism more immigrants arrived from Eastern Europe.
From 1945 until 1993 the 1st Armoured Division of the British Army of the Rhine was stationed in Verden. One of the former British Barracks is now used to house the District administration and a new sporting stadium has been erected opposite.
Running through the town is the river Aller which is 263 km long and is one of Germany's longer rivers. The town is situated in close proximity to the towns of Bremen (35 km) and Hannover (90 km). The picturesque old town is east of the Aller where the spectacular Lutheran cathedral (German: Dom) towers above the pedestrianised high street, with its cafés and shops. This proto-cathedral, consecrated to Ss. Mary and Cecilia, served the former Catholic Diocese of Verden as episcopal church and was built between the 12th and 15th centuries. Also other buildings are noteworthy, such as the Lutheran churches of St. John (Johanniskirche) and of St. Andrew (Andreaskirche), as well as the town hall and the Domherrenhaus (House of cathedral canons).
Verden is further renowned for horse racing and sport horse auctions and is thus also called the (horse) riding town (German: Reiterstadt). East of Verden, there is the 225 metre tall radio transmitter, Kirchlinteln transmitter, used by Deutsche Telekom primarily for TV and mobile phone broadcasting.
in 2009, the derelict fodder silo towering over the city won the prize of being "The ugliest wall in North Germany" in a Radio Bremen Vier competition. The prize was to be decorated with a large mural by Graffiti Artists Markus Genesius and Stefan of WOW123. The mural can now be seen above the city skyline
Verden is twinned with: