Alfeld town hall, behind St. Nicolai
|o Mayor||Bernd Beushausen (SPD)|
|o Total||72.86 km2 (28.13 sq mi)|
|Elevation||145 m (476 ft)|
|o Density||260/km2 (660/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Vehicle registration||HI, ALF|
Alfeld is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. Located on the Leine river, it is the second biggest city in the district of Hildesheim in southern Lower Saxony and part of the Metropolitan region Hannover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg. Alfeld is a member of the Leinebergland region and on the German Timber-Frame Road. With the Fagus Factory Alfeld has become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011.
The town was founded before 1214, with the name 'Alvelde' recorded in 1214, 1221, and 1233. The toponymic element "-feld" means "open area", "an undeveloped, open field", or "an untilled field". "Al-" likely derives from the Indoeuropean root "el-/ol-" meaning "water", "damp", or "flowing".
In 1426, Alfeld joined the Saxon League of Towns, thus becoming an indirect member of the Hanseatic League. The town was one of the smallest cities in the Hanseatic League, but had become prosperous in the fourteenth and fifteenth century through its trade in beer, hops, linen, and yarn.
Alfeld originally belonged to the Diocese of Hildesheim, but was transferred to the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel after the Hildesheim Diocesan Feud (1519-1523). In retrospect, this Brunswick period constituted Alfeld's Golden Age, its economy and culture flourishing before the Thirty Years' War.
Sights in Alfeld include the town hall (1586) with its octagonal tower, the church Saint Nicolai and the Fillerturm, a medieval watchtower, and the Fagus Factory of 1911, a fine example of early modernist architecture by Walter Gropius. More famous are the Seven Hills (German: Sieben Berge) in the north and the Lippoldshöhle ("Lippold's cave"), where a legendary robber-knight is said to have lived.
The assertion that the popular fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was born in Alfeld is false. Even though the miners who mined ore In the Seven Mountains believed in the existence of dwarfs, it is more likely that the cradle of the fairy tale is to be searched in France. The version the brothers Grimm heard and wrote down, as they travelled through the Seven Mountains, on the so-called Märchenstrasse (Street Of Fairytales) is just one of many.
The biggest employer of the city is the SAPPI (South African Pulp and Paper Industry) factory with its big chimney, which has become one of Alfeld's landmarks. Even more famous than SAPPI is the Fagus Werk, rebuilt in 1910-1915 after the blueprints of architect Walter-Gropius, what is said to be trend-setting for modern architecture.
Alfeld is twinned with: