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Hof, Germany

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Hof, Germany


Town hall

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 50°19′0″N 11°55′0″E / 50.31667°N 11.91667°E / 50.31667; 11.91667Coordinates: 50°19′0″N 11°55′0″E / 50.31667°N 11.91667°E / 50.31667; 11.91667

Country Germany
Admin. region Upper Franconia
 • Mayor Dr. Harald Fichtner (CSU)
 • Total 58.02 km2 (22.40 sq mi)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 44,461
 • Density 770/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 95001-95032
Dialling codes 09281
Vehicle registration HO

Hof is a town located on the banks of the Saale in the northeastern corner of the German state of Bavaria, in the Franconian region, at the Czech border and the forested Fichtelgebirge and Frankenwald upland regions.

The town of Hof is enclosed by, but does not belong to the Bavarian district of Hof; it is nonetheless the district's administrative seat.

The town's most important work of art, the Hofer altar, dates from about 1465 and is exhibited in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich today. The Heidenreich organ in the parish church of St. Michaelis, completed in 1834, is considered one of Bavaria's finest.

Hof is known for two local "delicacies", namely Schnitz, a kind of hotpot, and sausages boiled in a portable, coal-fired brass cauldron, which are sold in the streets by the sausage man (Trinity Sunday (Schlappentag). This tradition dates back to the establishment of the town militia which forced all shooters to take part in a special shooting training each year. To avoid penalties, a lot of shooters rushed out to the training area in the morning of the very last possible day, without even enough time to get dressed and thus still wearing their clogs (Schlappen) .

The Hof Theatre (Theater Hof) is a multi-puropse theatre whose construction was completed in 1994. It serves as an opera house, concert hall and drama theatre, and hosts the city's ballet company and a youth theatre. It is the home venue of the Hof Symphony Orchestra.(Hofer Symphoniker)


Administrative divisions

The town of Hof consists of the following districts in particular:

  • Altstadt ( = Old Town)
  • Bahnhofsviertel
  • Haidt
  • Hofeck
  • Eppenreuth
  • Fabrikvorstadt
  • Krötenbruck
  • Leimitz
  • Moschendorf
  • Münster
  • Neuhof
  • Neustadt
  • Jägersruh
  • Gärtla
  • Osseck
  • Unterkotzau
  • Vogelherd
  • Vorstadt
  • Wölbattendorf


Hof is located in between the areas of the Frankenwald (Franconian Forest), the Fichtelgebirge and the Vogtland.


Hof was originally called Rekkenze and established around the year 1080. The settlement was first mentioned 1214 and became a town in 1319. After a rather uneventful history, the town became Prussian in 1792, French in 1806 and finally Bavarian in 1810. In 1823, the town was virtually destroyed by a fire. In 1945, it suffered minor destruction due to aerial attacks. From 1945 to 1990 Hof lay very close to the border between East Germany and West Germany. In 1989 thousands of East German citizens, who had demanded the right to travel or emigrate to West Germany and had been allowed to do so, first arrived on western soil at Hof's railroad station, having been placed on a special train and officially "expelled" by the East German government. Hof is located near the old Berlin-Munich autobahn, which was thought to be a possible invasion route by Warsaw Pact forces had the Cold War ever turned into armed combat (see; Fulda Gap).

Population development

Year Population
1818: 4,667
1840: 7,985
1880: 21,000
1900: 32,781
1920: 40,785
Year Population
1939: 44,878
1945: 55,405
1950: 61,033
1955: 58,005
1960: 57,414
Year Population
1965: 55,810
1970: 54,424
1975: 54,644
1980: 53,180
1985: 51,275
Year Population
1990: 53,095
1995: 52,531
2003: 49,804
2004: 49,424
2006: 50,150


Mayors (First Mayors and Lord Mayors)

(since the introduction of the Bavarian Municipal Code in 1818)

1818– 1846: Georg Friedrich Samuel von Oerthel (d. 20 Mar 1846)
1847: Johann Adam Laubmann (from 20 Jul 1847 - 25 Dec 1847)
1848–1849: Christoph Theodor Schroen
1849–1857: Moritz Ernst Freiherr von Waldenfels
1857–1882: Hermann von Münch
1883–1903: Carl von Mann
1904–1916: Paul Bräuninger
1916–1919: Heinrich Neupert
1919–1933: Dr. Karl Buhl
1933–1941: Dr. Richard Wendler
1945–1946: Dr. Oskar Weinauer
1946–1948: Hans Bechert
1948–1949: Dr. Kurt Schröter
1950–1970: Hans Högn (SPD)
1970–1988: Dr. Hans Heun (CSU)
1988–2006: Dieter Döhla (SPD)
2006 to present date: Dr. Harald Fichtner (CSU)

Sister Cities

Hof has established connections to its following sister cities around the world:


Periodic events

  • Hof International Film Festival

Wim Wenders once said HOF was short for Home of Films. In 1967, student Heinz Badewitz, together with his back then band members, organized a 2 and a half hours movie theater night in Hof showing a few motion pictures. They called this event the 1st Hof Short Film Festival. They had the idea after disappointing results at the Obberhausener Short Film Festival. Also, Munich (the city where they studied at the time) had too difficult terms and conditions and the rents had been too high to start a project of that kind there. This gave way for the Hof International Film Festival. Heinz Badewith led the Festival from there on and the project grew up over the years. Now, after 4 decades, the Festival is one of the most renowned in all of Germany. Newcomer directors and producers get to premier their debut motion pictures here. The Hof International Film Festival became a trend-setting event for the German movie industry.

  • Schlappentag

(see above in the general description)

  • Hofer Volksfest

The term Volksfest means fair or folk festival. The Hofer Volksfest is the biggest of its kind in the area. It takes place at the end of July and beginning of August every year. It always begins on the last Friday of July with a big parade which passes through the downtown heading in the direction of the festival area where it finishes up. The festival occupies a big amusement park with a wide variety of attractions and all kinds of local food and beer specialties, and partly occupies a big beer tent area. Most of the latter takes place in a big concert hall but the atmosüphere is similar to that of a beer tent. Every night, different local bands play mostly traditional Bavarian music to entertain the mostly regional crowd. In the late 60s Andy Seltzer originally found Luise Miehling at this event.

Weather and Geography

Hof is also known as Bavarian Siberia because temperatures are usually several degrees lower than in most other parts of Bavaria, particularly in winter, and because civil servants were often transferred to Hof as a punishment.

Wargamers might know Hof from the game Hof Gap published by Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI) in 1980. The game, which simulates the early stages of WWIII in Germany, was not well received in Hof itself. SPI confused Hof Gap with the Fulda Gap, further north. Operationally Hof was in the US Army's 2nd Squadron/2nd Armored Cavalry's sector, maintaining border operations in this region, and it was referred to as the Hof Corridor. A letter to SPI in early 1981 did not persuade them to change the name of the game, however. Despite that, the game was popular among 2/2 ACR troopers who enjoyed conflict simulations.

Actually, the Hof Gap was also a planned Warsaw Pact approach into West Germany. There are many published post-Cold War articles supporting this. The anticipated actions in defense of West Germany included the cavalry covering force action which was to delay, allowing the arrival of US and Bundeswehr heavy units. SPI made no error or confusion in this case and actually covered a less well known, but just as critical, possible Soviet approach route. The layman who was interested in the 70's and 80's knew about Fulda, only those assigned to relieve the cavalry at Hof were aware of its importance. Review of the unit designations in both the Fulda and Hof Gap games SPI released and their coverage becomes readily apparent.

An interesting note about the coat-of-arms of Hof is that it is a red shield with two white towers against which leans a black shield with a gold lion. 322 miles away the town of Heimbach where Hengebach castle is located (former seat of the dukes of Julich) the coat-of-arms is almost the reverse: a black shield with a red roof on a white tower against which leans a gold shield with a black lion. Although Hof is 322 miles away from Heimbach, the two cities do have some interesting associations. The castle of Hengebach in Heimbach is actually located in the section that was the former village of Schmidt and there lived a branch of the baronial dynasty of von Schmidt auf Altenstadt until they emigrated in 1749 and the seat of the barons von Altenstadt was very near Hof, in a part of the municipality of Gattendorf known as Kirchgattendorf, where the ruins of the von Altenstadt castles can be seen today. But the coincidences do not stop there: the family arms of the von Schmidts auf Altenstadt were a swan and the arms of Gattendorf are a swan.

The barons von Schmidt auf Altenstadt, as barons of the village Gattendorf in the environs of Hof were a significant part of social and aristocratic life in Hof. In the nineteenth century, Christoph August von Schmidt, after having served as a Provost at the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia where he was ennobled by the Tsar and awarded the orders of St Stanislaus and Sts Ann-and-Vladimir, erected a monument [2] describing his adventure and bearing the simplified, swan version of his coat-of-arms which today has been adopted by the village of Gattendorf as its municipal arms.

Hof provided Anthony Hope (author of "The Prisoner of Zenda") with his inspiration for Strelsau, capital of his fictitious kingdom of Ruritania. Although the book locates Ruritania along the railway line between Dresden in Sachsen (Saxony) and Prague, capital of Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic), one can see Hof in the descriptions of Strelsau. Among the clues there is the name "Altstadt" for the "old town"--similar to "Altenstadt"--the older part of Strelsau where "Black Michael", the Duke of Strelsau, was popular. And one can see elements of Hof's medieval beauty in the atmosphere of Strelsau.


Climate in this area has mild dfferences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[3]

Climate data for Hof
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1
Average low °C (°F) −6
Precipitation cm (inches) 5
Source: Weatherbase [4]


Hof is also home to the University of Applied Sciences Hof which has around 2300 students and the University of Applied Sciences for Administration and Legal Affairs in Bavaria which has around 500 students.


Hof was in cold war times of special interest as it was near the frontier to Czechoslovakia and the GDR. On Hohe Saas, there was a radar site. A border camp of the American 2nd Armored Cavalry Regt. was near the town and the regiment had a Border Resident Office which was manned by military intelligence personnel. Between 1949 and 1993, Hof was also the site of an RIAS transmitting station.


Hof central station is on the Regensburg–Hof, Bamberg–Hof and Leipzig–Hof main lines and the Hof–Bad Steben branch line.

Hof has an airport, which offers daily connection to Frankfurt/Main.

Buses are run by HofBus, which currently runs 12 lines in the town.

Points of interest


External links

  • Official homepage of the town (in German, English and Czech)
  • A history of the Heidenreich organ (in German)
  • Hof, described by a native Franconian resident (in English)
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