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Rheinböllen

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Jan 13, 2022

Rheinböllen is a town[3] in the Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis (district) in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the VerbandsgemeindeSimmern-Rheinböllen, whose seat is in Simmern. It was the seat of the former Verbandsgemeinde Rheinböllen.

Town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Rheinböllen

Coat of arms
Location of Rheinböllen within Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis district

Rheinböllen

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Rheinböllen

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Coordinates:

50°00′N07°40′E

Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis
Municipal assoc. Simmern-Rheinböllen
Government

  Mayor

(201924)

Bernadette Jourdant[1] (CDU)
Area

  Total 16.33 km2 (6.31 sq mi)
Elevation

409 m (1,342 ft)
Population

 (2020-12-31)[2]
  Total 4,103
  Density 250/km2 (650/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
55494
Dialling codes 06764
Vehicle registration SIM
Website www.rheinboellen.info
Rheinböllen regional locator map
Rheinböllen

. . . Rheinböllen . . .

Rheinböllen lies some 10 km as the crow flies southwest of the Middle Rhine at Bacharach in the southeast Hunsrück. The town is found in the transitional zone between (to the east) the Binger Wald (Bingen Forest) and (to the south) the Soonwald, a heavily wooded section of the west-central Hunsrück that since 2005 has belonged to the Naturpark Soonwald-Nahe.

Rheinböllen has two outlying Stadtteile: Kleinweidelbach and Rheinböllerhütte.

Yearly precipitation in Rheinböllen amounts to 695 mm. This falls into the middle third of the precipitation chart for all Germany. Only at 39% of the German Weather Service’sweather stations are lower figures recorded. The driest month is February. The most rainfall comes in June. In that month, precipitation is 1.6 times what it is in February. Precipitation varies only slightly. Only at 2% of the weather stations are lower seasonal swings recorded.

The prefix Rhein— suggests some kind of historical dependence on Bacharach, to whose Vogtei Rheinböllen may well once have belonged, before it passed to the Counts Palatine. The past teacher and local historian Junges traced Bollen to an old word meaning “hill” or “height”, leading to the interpretation of the name as meaning “Rhine Heights” (an apt description of the location, up on the Hunsrück). Through the ages, the name for Rheinböllen has taken many spellings: Rinbul, Rinbulle, Rynbuhel, Reynbullen, Rymbul, Rymbulen, Rynbule, Rinbelle, Bollen, Bullen, Rinbulde, Rheinbullen.

The Rheinböllen region was settled as early as the Stone Age. Shortly after 1900, workmen digging near the railway station found a sharpened, polished stone axe, the earliest evidence of human habitation in what is now the town. Archaeological finds in the area of the Altdorf (“Old Village”, a triangle formed by the streets Simmerner Straße, Poststraße and Bahnhofstraße) point to Celtic beginnings. The Romans later drove a road through the settlement.

Street names used today, such as Wehr (“Defence”) and Hinterster Graben (“Hindmost Moat”) bear witness to a girding wall that once stood around the village. Rheinböllen was secured with two wall moats. An illustration from 1620 shows palisades on the wall, which itself had a defensive tower built into it.

Rheinböllen was the main centre in the so-called “Old Court” (Altes Gericht), the ancient core of Comital-Palatine lordship on the Hundisrück. Ellern, Erbach (in part), Dichtelbach and Kleinweidelbach, too, might also have been part of it. This “Old Court” likely had arisen by 1142, when Hermann von Stahleck was awarded the County Palatine by his brother-in-law, King Conrad III. The places within this landholding all lay in the archdeaconry of the Mainz Cathedral Provost’s office, and thereby likely in the Nahegau. In the east, it bordered on Saint Peter’s Parish, Bacharach, to which Rheinböllen definitely belonged, at least ecclesiastically.

After Hermann von Stahleck’s death, Emperor Barbarossa transferred the County Palatine in 1156 to his stepbrother Konrad, who also held rights to estates in the Nahegau, to which Rheinböllen also almost certainly belonged.

The oldest known document about the town is a lease, dated 1 May 1309, concluded by Johann von dem Stein, serving as the Burgrave at Böckelheim, and the Schultheiß of Rheinböllen. The Burgrave held two fields in the Bischofsfeld as a Palatine fief, and transferred them to the municipality.

Rheinböllen was apparently a town once before. In 1316, the settlement was recorded as being an oppidum, the Latin word used in Roman times for any centre resembling a town, and in historical records made as late as the 13th and 14th centuries, it was still appearing in this meaning, describing mediaeval towns.

Emperor Louis the Bavarian and his elder brother Rudolf shared between themselves ownership of the Rhenish Palatinate. To curry the Rhenish princes’ favour, Louis pledged, right after his regency began in 1314, the Altes Gericht together with Castle Fürstenberg and the settlements of Diebach and Manubach to Archbishop of Mainz Peter. Two years thereafter, Louis transferred half the village to Archbishop of Trier Baldwin, and another four years later to King John of Bohemia, Baldwin’s nephew, whereupon the other half of the village was now given to the Archbishop. The settlement was a main centre in the County Palatine – and was likely at that time said to be a town – until 1359, through a pledge of 1,800 Florentine guilders, Simmern became part of the holding and was later raised to seat of the Amt.

As early as the 12th century, Rheinböllen supposedly had a marketplace within its walls. There is evidence that Rudolf II, Count Palatine of the Rhine granted market rights between 1314 and 1347. Markets have been part of Rheinböllen ever since. Livestock markets were still being held at the outbreak of the Second World War on the “Sauwasen” (the plot of land where the primary school now stands), and each year, there is still a craft market on Kermis Tuesday.

Rheinböllen’s landholders changed often in the 14th and 15th centuries. Under the 1338 Palatine Partition among Rudolf II, Rupert the Younger and Rupert the Elder, the lordship over Rheinböllen changed once again: the two Ruperts – their name was “Ruprecht” in German – became the new lords. In the same year, King Louis forwent all claims to, among other things, the “half” of Rheinböllen, referring the pledgeholders, John of Bohemia and Archbishop Baldwin, to Count Palatine Rudolf and the two Ruperts. In 1352, Rupert I, Elector Palatine enfeoffed the Electorate of Trier with half of Rheinböllen.

The court at Rheinböllen existed already by 1359 and was held on the plot of land where the Catholic church now stands. On the neighbouring “Henkersbitz” (Henker is German for “hangman”) stood the gallows. In 1886, when excavation was being done for the church that was to be built there, workers unearthed, among other things, bones and skulls – all that was left of those hanged on the “Henkersbitz”.

About 1400, the Counts Palatine had enfeoffed several knightly families with parts of their Rheinböllen holdings, namely the families Knebel von Katzenelnbogen, von Crampurg, von Leyen, Futtersack von Steeg, Breitscheit von Richenstein and Hune von Bacharach. Even a family called the Knights of Rymbulle (Rheinböllen) crop up in documents from 1361 to 1389, although it is unknown whether or in what way they were linked with the town. Squire Dietrich von Rymbulle was also the fiefholder of the Sponheim Castle Kastellaun.

Two centuries later, Rheinböllen belonged to the Electorate of the Palatinate and had 48 hearths (for which, read “households”). At that time in history, about 1600, many Palatinate lordships owned meadows within town limits: Anthonius Kratz von Scharfenstein, Antonius Waldbott zu Bassenheim, Friedrich Hundt von Seilen, Christoph von Stein, Hans Henrich von Schmidtburg zu Gemünden, Michel von Kallenfels, Hans Knebel von Katzenelnbogen, Hans Christoph von Grorode, the family von Koppenstein and Hans Caspar von Sponheim.

At the end of the Middle Ages, Rheinböllen was a postal station on the route between Innsbruck and Mechelen, nowadays in Austria and Belgium respectively. An 18th-century geographical description explains that the road coming from Bacharach went through the market town. The reader furthermore learns something about the Palatinate woodlands, the iron-ore mining in the Ledenwald (forest) and the Guldenbach (brook), which has this name only from Rheinböllen on down, being called the Volkenbach farther upstream.

By the late 17th century at the latest, Rheinböllen was a Schultheißerei together with Dichtelbach and Erbach. In the 18th century, Electorate of the Palatinate posted the local tollkeeper who collected the road tolls.

In 1794, Emperor Napoleon annexed the Rhine‘s left bank, which would remain French for two decades. The Bürgermeisterei (“Mayoralty”) of Rheinböllen thereby became the Mairie (also “Mayoralty”) of Rheinböllen. The brewer and innkeeper Johann Jakob Mades served as maire (mayor). In 1804, the French emperor visited the Hunsrück in person, and young citizens from Rheinböllen, Dichtelbach, Ellern, Mörschbach and Kleinweidelbach had to ride out to meet him.

When allied troops crossed the Rhine on New Year’s Night 1813–1814 near Kaub, France’s hegemony in the region fell, and the Rhineland became Prussian. On the day that followed, New Year’s Day 1814, Prince William, Field Marshal Blücher and Field Marshal Gneisenau rested at the Evangelical rectory for a few hours.

After the Congress of Vienna, the earlier Mairies of Argenthal and Rheinböllen, along with Liebshausen, were merged to form the Prussian Amt of Rheinböllen. Friedrich Mades, Johann Jakob Mades’s son, became the mayor and served in that capacity until his death in 1851 – 35 years all together.

Less than a century later, the village lived the blackest day in its history. On 16 March 1945, the Second World War was in its death throes, at least in Europe. On this morning, a handful of SS men rather ill-advisedly decided to try to hold off the American advance on Rheinböllen, and to that end, destroyed an American tank. By way of response, the remaining tanks, supported by artillery, let loose a furious barrage on Rheinböllen. Some 25 properties did not survive the onslaught and were utterly destroyed. All that was left standing of the Evangelical church was the surrounding wall. The Catholic church’s tower, too, was struck, but somehow managed to stay standing. Amazingly, only one citizen was killed, but thirty families were left homeless on this day.

After the war, Rheinböllen’s skyline changed lastingly owing to steady growth. In rapid succession, one building zone after another sprang up, and the population rose sharply. In 1946, the year when Rheinböllen became part of the then newly founded state of Rhineland-Palatinate, there were 1,283 inhabitants. By 1985, this had risen threefold (3,661). The figure is now just under 4,000.[4]

On 1 January 1969, one section of the municipality of Daxweiler with 70 inhabitants was transferred to Rheinböllen. On 17 March 1974, the hitherto self-administering municipality of Kleinweidelbach with 113 inhabitants was amalgamated with Rheinböllen. On 5 September 2009, Rheinböllen was raised to town by the Rhineland-Palatinate state government.

. . . Rheinböllen . . .

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