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Yesterday and today: Bocholt's town history

In the Bocholt Municipal Archives, legally and historically significant documents of the council, administration and citizens are permanently secured and made accessible for enquiries from all social groups. This makes the municipal archive the "memory" of the city. At the same time, it makes an important contribution to the city's culture of remembrance within the framework of active historical educational work.

Important dates in the history of Bocholt

  • 779
    According to the Frankish Imperial Annals, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, defeats the Saxons at "buocholt", for whose earlier existence there are already traces of settlement.

  • Around 800
    Foundation of the parish of Bocholt as one of the "original parishes" in Westmünsterland.

  • 1222
    Bocholt is granted Münster town charter by the sovereign Bishop Dietrich III of Isenburg. Since then, the beech tree has been used as a heraldic tree in the town seal.
  • 1415 - 1486
    Construction of St. George's Church. One of the largest Gothic hall buildings in Westphalia.

  • 15th century
    Late medieval heyday of the town. Israhel van Meckenem, today recognised as one of the most important engravers alongside Albrecht Dürer, lives and works in the town.

  • 1618 - 1624
    Construction of the historic town hall in Dutch Renaissance style.
    The textile industry shapes the image of the town with its then approx. 2,000 inhabitants and brings them some prosperity.

  • 1852
    First mechanical cotton spinning mill in Bocholt

  • 1852
    Industrialisation begins in Bocholt with the introduction of the steam engine. Subsequently, the textile industry is joined by metalworking companies.

  • 1878
    Opening of the Bocholt - Wesel railway line

  • 1923
    Bocholt becomes a free district.

  • 1945
    84% of Bocholt is destroyed in the Second World War. The town hall and St. George's Church are among the first buildings to be rebuilt: "Bokelt baut wer up" becomes a slogan for the whole town.

  • 1952
    The city centre is structurally restored.

  • 1972
    In recognition of its European efforts, Bocholt is awarded the European flag of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and the honorary title "Municipality of Europe". The French town of Aurillac becomes Bocholt's twin town. Bocholt celebrates its 750th anniversary.

  • 1975
    Bocholt loses its independence in the course of the municipal territorial reform - the town becomes part of the district of Borken. Among other things, the city receives 10 municipalities from the Liedern-Werth district.

  • 1977
    Completion of the town hall on Berliner Platz as an administrative and cultural centre. Rossendale (Great Britain) becomes Bocholt's twin town.

  • 1980
    Belgian Bocholt becomes Bocholt's twin town.

  • 1981
    Companies settle in the Bocholt Industrial Park for the first time. This is considered one of the largest contiguous and fully developed industrial areas in North Rhine-Westphalia.

  • 1983
    Completion of the Aasee leisure and recreation complex (32 ha of water and 42 ha of green area) with a wide range of sports facilities.

  • 1989
    Opening of the Westphalian Industrial Museum - Textile Museum in Bocholt. Here the oldest branch of industry in the city comes alive once again.

  • 1990
    Awarded the European Plaque by the Council of Europe.

  • 1992
    Opening of the City Museum as a place for history, art and culture; not only for the city but for the whole region. Bocholt becomes a university location. The University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen, Bocholt department, offers courses in economics, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering here.

  • 1993
    Opening of the Handicrafts Museum. In an old half-timbered house (built in 1770) the museum houses the workshops of 20 different crafts.
    Awarded the Europe Prize by the Council of Europe. This is the highest award at municipal level that the Council of Europe bestows each year on a city of its 44 member states.
    Opening of the BAHIA island baths. A new-generation bathing paradise with a large swimming area, giant slide, hot whirlpools, saunas, solariums and much more.

  • 1995
    The media and cultural centre in the old railway station is completed and occupied by the city library and the city picture gallery.
    The gallery moves from the New Town Hall to the Kunsthaus on Osterstraße.

  • 1997
    Bocholt celebrates its 775th anniversary with numerous events.

  • 2000
    Completion of the inner city redevelopment and the two large shopping centres Neutorplatz and Shopping-Arkaden.
    Bocholt presents itself as the shopping city in the entire region.

  • 2012
    The city of Bocholt celebrates its twinning anniversaries.

  • 2022
    Bocholt celebrates 800 years of city history - a year full of highlights.

Current news on the history of the city