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Schmalkalden 1900.jpg
Schmalkalden about 1900
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Coat of arms
Location of Schmalkalden within Schmalkalden-Meiningen district
Schmalkalden in SM.png
Germany adm location map.svg
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Thuringia location map.svg
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Coordinates: 50°43′N10°27′E / 50.717°N 10.450°E / 50.717; 10.450 Coordinates: 50°43′N10°27′E / 50.717°N 10.450°E / 50.717; 10.450
Country Germany
State Thuringia
District Schmalkalden-Meiningen
   Mayor Thomas Kaminski (SPD)
  Total105.35 km2 (40.68 sq mi)
295 m (968 ft)
 (2019-12-31) [1]
  Density190/km2 (480/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes 03683
Vehicle registration SM

Schmalkalden (German pronunciation: [ʃmalˈkaldən] ) is a town in the Schmalkalden-Meiningen district, in the southwest of the state of Thuringia, Germany. It is on the southern slope of the Thuringian Forest at the Schmalkalde river, a tributary to the Werra. As of 31 December 2010, the town had a population of 19,978.



First mentioned in an 874 deed, Smalcalta in the Frankish duchy of Thuringia received town privileges about 1180. When Landgrave Henry Raspe of Thuringia died without issue in 1247, it passed to the House of Henneberg-Schleusingen, while the major part of the landgraviate fell to the House of Wettin in Meissen. To secure their acquisition the Counts of Henneberg allied with the Landgraviate of Hesse, including the conclusion of an inheritance treaty. In 1360, together with Landgrave Henry II of Hesse they paid off Frederick V, Burgrave of Nuremberg, son of Elisabeth of Henneberg.

Schmalkalden, Matthaus Merian, Topographia Hassiae, engraving, 1655 Schmalkalden De Merian Hassiae.jpg
Schmalkalden, Matthäus Merian, Topographia Hassiae, engraving, 1655

In 1531 the town hall of Schmalkalden was the site of the establishment of the Schmalkaldic League by Protestant princes under the lead of Landgrave Philip I of Hesse, in order to protect religious and political interests within their domains. In 1537 the Smalcald Articles were drawn up by Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and other reformers.

When the Counts of Henneberg became extinct in 1583, their share was inherited by William IV, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. William made the town a residence and had Wilhelmsburg Castle erected, finished in 1590. The Lordship of Schmalkalden remained an exclave of Hesse, from 1868 on it was part of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau until it was incorporated into the Province of Saxony in 1944 and in 1945 became part of the State of Thuringia.

The town sustained heavy bomb damage in World War II. From 1949 on, with Thuringia, it formed part of East Germany. After reunification it attained its present political configuration. In July 2018 the former municipality of Springstille was merged into Schmalkalden.

Lordship of Schmalkalden

Herrschaft Schmalkalden
Status State of the Holy Roman Empire
Historical era Middle Ages
 Acquired by Henneberg
 Joint rule with Hesse
 To Hesse-Kassel
 To Thuringia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Thuringia.svg Landgraviate of Thuringia
Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel Flag of Hesse.svg

Notable people

International relations

Schmalkalden is twinned with:


  1. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden, erfüllenden Gemeinden und Verwaltungsgemeinschaften in Thüringen Gebietsstand: 31.12.2019". Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik (in German). August 2020.

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