Schwetzingen is a German town situated in the northwest of Baden-Württemberg, around southwest of Heidelberg and southeast of Mannheim. Schwetzingen is one of the 5 biggest cities of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis district and it is a medium-sized centre including the cities and municipalities of Altlußheim, Brühl, Hockenheim, Ketsch, Neulußheim, Oftersheim, Plankstadt and Reilingen near the higher ranked city of Mannheim.
Schwetzingen was mentioned as "Suezzingen" for the first time in 766, recorded in the late twelfth-century Codex Aureus of Lorsch, but there are already traces of settlement from the Stone Age. Originally it consisted of two settlements, Ober- and Unterschwetzingen, that grew together in the course of the 17th and 18th century. Originally the town belonged to the diocese of Worms, but later passed to the Counts of the Palatinate in the 12th century.
Schwetzingen Castle began as a simple aristocratic fishing retreat (much like Versailles which began as a hunting lodge) and had an eventful architectural history, in several phases of construction, especially during the reigns of the Elector Karl III Philip and Karl IV Theodor (1742–1799) who, as their answer to Versailles, embellished the castle gardens with some of the finest and most elaborate formal water parterres in Germany gardens.
As it evolved, the high central Baroque block of the Castle was extended to either side (from 1747 onwards) in matching curved ranges of glazed arcades that were punctuated by pavilions which followed the arc of the vast garden circle. They partly enclose the circle bisected by a wide gravel axis flanked by parterres which centers on a spring-fed water-basin inspired by the bassin of Diana at Versailles, but here expressing the more appropriately water-centered Greek myth of the poet Arion and the dolphins.
On the other side at the entrance, a mulberry-tree allée stretched from the centre of the Castle to the city of Heidelberg, 10 km away on the horizon, truly a remarkable feat of autocratic landscaping.
The curving outbuildings of Schwetzingen inspired the smaller Rococo perfections of Schloss Benrath, with its quarter arcs of matching corps de logis embracing a formal sheet of water, built for Carl Theodor near Düsseldorf, 1756–1770.
In 1759 Schwetzingen received permission to host markets and was developed into a baroque city through the 18th century. In 1803 all the territories of the Palatine electorate east of the Rhine, including Schwetzingen were absorbed into the Grand Duchy of Baden and the castle became a residence of the Grand Dukes of Baden. In 1833 Schwetzingen was elevated to city status by Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden. The beginning of industrialization in Schwetzingen in the year 1850 made the city an important seat of cigar factories and canneries. Also, the cultivation of asparagus gained importance and has remained one of Schwetzingen's claim to fame.
For more information visit: www.schwetzingen.de
These figures are estimates only, official census results (¹) or statistics of the resident's registration office.
¹ official census results