Stadtteil of Dessau-Roßlau
Market square with fountain
Market square with fountain
Coat of arms of Dessau
Dessau is located in Germany
Coordinates 51°50′N 12°15′E / 51.83333°N 12.25°E / 51.83333; 12.25Coordinates: 51°50′N 12°15′E / 51.83333°N 12.25°E / 51.83333; 12.25
Country Germany
State Saxony-Anhalt
District Urban district
Town Dessau-Roßlau
Basic statistics
Area 182.81 km2 (70.58 sq mi)
Elevation 61 m  (200 ft)
Population 77,394  (31 December 2006)
 - Density 423 /km2 (1,096 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate DE
Postal codes 06811-06849
Area code 0340

Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland (Federal State) of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 (June 2006).



The river Mulde near Dessau

Dessau is situated on a floodplain where the Mulde flows into the Elbe. This causes yearly floods. The worst flood took place in the year 2002, when the Waldersee district was nearly completely flooded. The south of Dessau touches a well-wooded area called Mosigkauer Heide. The highest elevation is a 110m high former rubbish dump called Scherbelberg in the southwest of Dessau. Dessau is surrounded by numerous parks and palaces that ranks Dessau as one of the greenest towns in Germany.


Dessau was first mentioned in 1213. It became an important centre in 1570, when the principality of Anhalt was founded. Dessau became the capital of this state within the Holy Roman Empire. Anhalt was dissolved In 1603 it was split into four – later five – Anhalts, Dessau becoming the capital of the mini-state of Anhalt-Dessau until 1918. In 1863 two of the noble line died out, and became reunited.

Cavalierstrasse in 1900

Dessau is famous for its college of architecture Bauhaus. It moved here in 1925 after it had been forced to close in Weimar. Many famous artists were lecturers in Dessau in the following years, among them Walter Gropius, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. The Nazis forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1931, and it was not reopened until 1986.

The city was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids in World War II on March 7, 1945, six weeks before American troops occupied the town. Afterwards it was rebuilt with typical GDR concrete slab architecture (Plattenbau) and became a major industrial centre of East Germany. Since German reunification in 1990 many historic buildings have been restored.

The composer Kurt Weill was born in Dessau. Since 1993 the city has hosted an annual Kurt Weill Festival. Dessau was also the birthplace of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (in 1729), and Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (der alte Dessauer), a lauded field marshal for the Kingdom of Prussia.

Since January 7, 2005, Dessau has gained notoriety for the mysterious death of asylum seeker Oury Jalloh from Sierra Leone in his cell at a Dessau police station. According to local police, Jalloh, who was drunk and had been tied to his bed, set his own mattress on fire, causing his own death as he burned alive. A number of contradictions and inconsistencies as well as the disappearance of key evidence such as video tapes have led to allegations that the police and maybe even the local court may have been involved in Jalloh's death and subsequent cover-up efforts. A local court acquitted officers in 2008. In 2010, however, a higher federal court declared that ruling null and void, and ordered a new investigation and trial be launched.


Georgium Castle

Castles and gardens

  • Dessau-Wörlitzer Gartenreich with Landscape Garden Groß Kühnau, Oranienbaum, Sieglitzer Berg, Leiner Berg, Wörlitzer Park and numerous Monuments like the Drehberg (recorded in the UNESCO World Heritage)
  • Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve (protected by UNESCO)
  • Zoo at Mausoleumspark
  • Wallwitzburg
  • Rondell
  • remains of the City Castle (Johannbau)
  • Georgium Palace and Park
  • Kühnau Palace and Park
  • Mosigkau Palace and Park
  • Luisium Palace and Park
Bauhaus College in Dessau

The Bauhaus

There are several examples of Bauhaus architecture in Dessau, some of them included in the UNESCO World Heritage. The Bauhaus College itself was constructed after drafts by Walter Gropius.

  • Bauhaus Dessau Museum, with audiovisual guidance
  • Masters' Houses
    • Feininger House (Kurt Weill Centre)
    • Muche-Schlemmer House
    • Klee-Kandinsky House
    • Gropius House (destroyed), now used for ticket sales, as a café and as a book-shop
  • Dessau-Törten Estate with co-op Building and House of Steel, Laubenganghouses and Fieger House
  • Grain House, constructed by Carl Fieger in 1930 as a restaurant, still in operation
  • Employment Office
St. Peter and Paul


  • St. Mary's Church
  • St. John's Church
  • Georgenkirche
  • Petruskirche
  • Auferstehungskirche
  • Pauluskirche
  • Christuskirche
  • Propsteikirche St. Peter and Paul
  • Dreieinigkeit
  • St. Josef
Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Other sights

  • Townhall, built in 1901
  • The Palaces of Waldersee and Dietrich, today they are used as libraries
  • General Post Office
  • New Water Tower
  • Umweltbundesamt (formerly Wörlitzer Bahnhof)
  • Footbridge crossing the river Mulde


Theatres and museums

  • Anhalt Theatre [1] including Gregor Seyffert & Compagnie [2]
  • City History Museum
  • Anhalt Art Gallery at Georgium Palace with Park
  • Mosigkau Palace Museum
  • Luisium Castle Museum with Park
  • Oranienbaum Palace Museum with Park
  • Museum of Natural- and Prehistory
  • Moses Mendelssohn - Zentre
  • Hugo Junkers Technical Museum
  • UCI Cinema Complex
  • Kiez-Cinema (one of the smallest Cinemas in Germany) [3]

Regional media

  • Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (daily newspaper, Monday-Saturday)
  • Wochenspiegel (free newspapper on Wednesday) and Supersonntag (free newspaper on Sunday)
  • REGJO (quarterly Economy Journal for the Region of Leipzig/Halle)
  • leo[4] (monthly, regional Event- and Culture Magazine)
  • local Studios of the MDR and SAW (Radiostations)
  • local TV Stations: RAN 1 and Offener Kanal Dessau


Public transport

Dessau owns a tramway system with three lines and several buses with numerous lines. The public transport is organized by a company named “DVG”, every year they transport around 6 million people.

The "Dessau-Wörlitzer-Eisenbahn" (DWE)

Railway stations

Dessau Hauptbahnhof (main station) has connections to Magdeburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Bitterfeld and Lutherstadt Wittenberg. The line from Berlin was opened on 1 September 1840. The Dessau-Bitterfeld line (opened on 17 August 1857) was electrified in 1911, the first fully electrified long-distance railway in Germany. Dessau was part of the InterCity long distance network until the year 2002. Regional trains also stop at the stations Dessau-Süd, Dessau-Alten, Dessau-Mosigkau and Rodleben. The Dessau-Wörlitzer-Eisenbahn (railway) connects Dessau to Wörlitz, a town situated 15 km to the east, and the Wörlitzer Park. Starting point of this railway is the main station. This train also stops at the stations Dessau-Waldersee and Dessau-Adria.


Bridge of the A9 near Dessau crossing the river Elbe

In 1938 the autobahn A9 (Munich-Berlin) was built southeast of the town area. The two exits to Dessau on the A9 are called "Dessau-Ost" and "Dessau-Süd". Dessau is also crossed by the "Bundesstrassen" (federal roads) B 184 and B 185.

The airfield

The airfield of Dessau is situated northwest of the town between the districts Kleinkühnau, Alten and Siedlung. A destination with a charter airplane is possible. The runway has a length of 1000m. The Hugo Junkers Technical Museum is situated in the neighbourhood (directly east) of the airfield, which has the eastern end of the modern runway almost directly abutting the historical World War II Junkers factory airstrip's western end.


Today the “Leopoldshafen” (harbour) is used for the annual international motorboat racings. The “Wallwitzhafen” is used as a private sportboat harbour and the “Elbehafen” near the Grain House is used for cruisers. The next harbour for goods is situated in Rosslau.


Dessau, with its flat landscape in the Saxon Lowland is very appropriate for biking. The bike roads have a length of about 146 km and lead to all the parks and sights.


Sports like soccer, cycling, handball, volleyball, gymnastics, table tennis and tennis have a long tradition and are very popular in Dessau. The former soccer team "SG Waggonbau Dessau" won the GDR soccer cup in 1949. The handball team played in the GDR "Oberliga" and since 1990 they are playing in the 1st and 2nd "Bundesliga". Currently, Dessau has around 80 sport clubs with over 13,500 members. Next to the traditional sports, Dessau has active sport clubs in the following disciplines: aikido, badminton, basketball, canoeing, chess, climbing, cycling, dancing, fishing, horse riding, karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, motorboat, rowing, speedskating, sailing, skittles, skydiving, squash, swimming, table tennis, water polo, wrestling and a few more.


  • Numerous Sports Fields (more than 10)
  • Skittle Alleys (6)
  • Tennis Courts (3)
  • Boathouses (3)
  • Indoor Swimming Pools (2)
  • Paul-Greifzu-Stadion (for 22.000 viewers)
  • Speedskating Course
  • Climbing Tower Zuckerturm
  • Anhalt Arena Dessau (for 3.600 viewers)
  • Airfield Dessau
  • Rifle Range


Town Hall

The borough of Dessau is mentioned first in 1372. The Head of the Town called "Schultheiss" was constituted by the Earl. Together with a few assessors the "Schultheiss" formed the Town Council. As of 1372 the Town Council was divided in 2 agencies. As of 1600 in three agencies and as of 1785 again in two agencies. The "Schultheiss" of Dessau changed nearly every year until the Town Council Constitution was cancelled in 1832. Afterwards Dessau became a Town Council and a Town Delegation Constitution. Since 1852 the Head of the Town is called Mayor. During the National Socialism the Mayor was constituted by the party (NSDAP). After the 2nd World War the Soviets formed an Executiv Council with a Mayor. The Town Council Constitution was elected by the people. Since the German reunification this committee is elected free. And since 1994 it's called "Stadtrat" (Town Council). The Mayor is directly elected by the people since 1994.

The Town Council (Stadtrat)

Consists of the following parties: (Local Elections from April 22, 2007) [5]

  • Lord Mayor: 1 Seat
  • CDU: 13 Seats
  • Die Linke: 10 Seats
  • SPD: 8 Seats
  • FDP: 4 Seats
  • Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: 2 Seats
  • Bürgerliste: 3 Seats
  • Freie Wähler: 1 Seats
  • DVU: 1 Seat
  • Neues Forum: 3 Seats
  • WG Pro Dessau-Rosslau: 5 Seats

Sister Cities


  • Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (Architecture, Facility Management, Design and Geoinformatics) [7]
  • Learning Centre from the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Halle/ Dessau)
  • Anhalt Vocational School Centre Hugo Junkers I, II and III (Chapon-School)
  • Grammar School "Walter Gropius"
  • Grammar School "Liborius"
  • Grammar School "Philantropinum"

European subsidies

Dessau is part of the EU-URBAN programme. This programme is based on the integrated approach that is used for tackling the environmental, economical and social problems, affecting the deprived urban areas. There are several projects in Dessau sponsored via this subsidy.



  1. ^ [1], Anhalt Theatre (German)
  2. ^ [2], Gregor Seyffert Company (English and German)]
  3. ^ [3], Kiez Cinema Website (German)
  4. ^ [4], leo Magazine (German)
  5. ^ [5], Results of Local Elections from
  6. ^ [6], Twin Towns from
  7. ^ [7], Anhalt University Website

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • DESSAU (P.) — DESSAU PAUL (1894 1979) Compositeur allemand né à Hambourg, Paul Dessau occupe, après la Première Guerre mondiale, divers postes à Hambourg, à Cologne, à Mayence et à Berlin. En 1933, il émigre à Paris puis aux États Unis, et revient après 1945… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Dessau — Dessau, Haupt und Residenzstadt des Hzgt. Anhalt, an der Mulde, (1900) 50.849 E., Garnison, Land , Amtsgericht, Handelskammer, Gymnasium, Realgymnasium, höhere Handels , höhere Mädchenschule mit Lehrerinnenseminar, Stadt und Schloßkirche (1554),… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Dessau — Dessau, Haupt u. Residenzst. des Herzogth. Anhalt D., an der Mulde und der Eisenbahn nach Berlin, in einer durch Anlagen freundlichen Umgebung, hat 13500 E., ziemlichen Gewerb und Handelsverkehr. D. hat ein herzogl. Schloß; ist Sitz der… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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  • Dessau — Blick auf Dessau von der Aussichtsplattform „Alter Räucherturm“ (bearbeitetes HDR Bild) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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