1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Helmstedt

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HELMSTEDT, or more rarely Helmstadt, a town of Germany, in the duchy of Brunswick, 30 m. N.W. of Magdeburg on the main line of railway to Brunswick. Pop. (1905) 15,415. The principal buildings are the Juleum, the former university, built in the Renaissance style towards the close of the 16th century, and containing a library of 40,000 volumes; the fine Stephanskirche dating from the 12th century; the Walpurgiskirche restored in 1893-1894; the Marienberger Kirche, a beautiful church in the Roman style, and the Roman Catholic church. The Augustinian nunnery of Marienberg founded in 1176 is now a Lutheran school. The town contains the ruins of the Benedictine abbey of St Ludger, which was secularized in 1803. The educational institutions include several schools. The principal manufactures are furniture, yarn, soap, tobacco, sugar, vitriol and earthenware. Near the town is Bad Helmstedt, which has an iron mineral spring, and the Lubbensteine, two blocks of granite on which sacrifices to Woden are said to have been offered. Near Bad Helmstedt a monument has been erected to those who fell in the Franco-German War; in the town there is one to those killed at Waterloo. Helmstedt originated, according to legend, in connexion with the monastery founded by Ludger or Liudger (d. 809), the first bishop of Munster. There appears, however, little doubt that this tradition is mythical and that Helmstedt was not founded until about 900. It obtained civic rights in 1099 and, although destroyed by the archbishop of Magdeburg in 1199, it was soon rebuilt. In 1457 it joined the Hanseatic League, and in 1490 it came into the possession of Brunswick. In 1576 Julius, duke of Brunswick, founded a university here, and throughout the 17th century this was one of the chief seats of Protestant learning. It was closed by Jerome, king of Westphalia, in 1809.

See Ludewig, Geschichte and Beschreibung der Stadt Helmstedt (Helmstedt, 1821).