Freiberg (German Free State of Saxony)
Twin City since 1990
"Glück auf" – this miners' greeting recalls the history of silver mining that was carried out for more than 800 years along the "Freyen Berg" (Free Mountain) at the foot of the Ore Mountains. It is true that the town owes its name to the argentiferous ore, discov-ered in the 12th century by salt carters on their way to Bohemia, but the historic silver mine has been transformed – after the definitive end of mining in the year 1969 – into a model mine for teaching purposes and for visitors.
The old part of the town with its Patrician houses – still almost completely preserved – is a sign of the former wealth of the mining town rich in tradition. For ceremonial occa-sions like the Bergstadtfest at the end of June and the Christmas market in December, the parade Freiberger Bergparade with its magnificent costumes reminds the town's long mining tradition.
The university of technology Bergakademie Freiberg, founded in 1765, was the first university on coal, iron and steel technology in the world, and still today it is of excel-lent standing worldwide. The mining school originally had the task of training the nec-essary personnel for the mining industry.
The architectural centre of the town – Obermarkt – counts among the most beautiful market places in Germany. You can see there the Renaissance Town Hall, built in 1414, with chimes in porcelain, as well as the statue of Margrave Otto – named "Otto the Rich" –, the founder of the town.
In the historic Old Part you find one of the most important cultural monuments of the town, St. Nikolai's Church, built around 1175. After many years of reconstruction and reshaping, the church was reopened in 2002 as a hall for concerts and meetings.
Besides that, the Freiberg Cathedral at Untermarkt is worth a visit. The late Gothic hall church, first built as a Romanesque basilica, boasts numerous pieces of art: the great Silbermann Organ, created between 1711 and 1714 by the famous Saxon organ builder Gottfried Silbermann, the Romanesque Golden Gate, as well as the Tulip Pulpit. Organ concerts with international soloists are regularly organized here.
Freiberg is situated right in the heart of the Free State of Saxony and is a very conven-ient starting point for trips to Dresden, Meißen, or Seiffen. The charming surroundings invite for hiking and winter sports.
The university town with its about 43,500 inhabitants, twinned with Darmstadt since 1990, celebrated its 800th anniversary in 1986.
The transfer from the centrally administered economy to the social market economy probably represented the greatest change and the hardest challenge for the town. For centuries, mining and the iron and steel industry had been the dominant economic branches. Meanwhile, the site of Freiberg has been refurbished and became the home for innovatory enterprises, for instance from the field of paper manufacturing, non fer-rous metal engineering, recycling, and semiconductor materials. Several businesses in the field of solar technology have now also settled successfully in Freiberg. Based on today's dominance of this economic branch, the technological transformation at Freiberg is put under the motto "from silver to silicon".