Uerdingen was originally a separate city, east of Krefeld. It got its charter as a city as early as 1255, well before Krefeld and in medieval times was larger and more important than Krefeld. However, during the Thirty Years' War troops from Hesse completely destroyed Uerdingen and it almost ceased to exist. Conversely, Krefeld was one of few towns in Germany spared the horrors of the Thirty Years' War, with the result that thereafter, that what was left of Uerdingen was overshadowed by Krefeld.
Uerdingen was merged with Krefeld in 1929, after which the term “Krefeld-Uerdingen” was used, until, eventually, the use of the term “Uerdingen” fell away altogether.
Until the reapportionment in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1975, Uerdingen, as a part of the city of Krefeld, had a fairly unusual special status within Germany. The former Rhine city had special rights and privileges. One sign of this can still be seen today in Krefeld’s city coat of arms (“Wappen”), which still has the Uerdinger arms in its right half.
The most important employers in Uerdingen, as well as in Krefeld, are the Bayer concern, which has its second largest plant in Uerdingen, and Lanxess (in 2004 most of the chemical and approximately a third of synthetics activities were spun off from Bayer AG), aside from the rail car manufacturer DUEWAG (today Siemens Transportation Systems). After the local “Uerdinger” brand of gin, Uerdingen is perhaps best known for its tradition-steeped football team F.C. Bayer 05 Uerdingen, now known as KFC Uerdingen 05.
Uerdingen is bounded on its west by the Krefeld city districts of Bockum, Gartenstadt, and Elfrath; on the northwest by Traar; on the north by Duisburg-Rumeln-Kaldenhausen; and on the northeast by Hohenbudberg in the direction of Duisburg-Rheinhausen. To the east of Uerdingen, across the Rhine, lies Duisburg-Mündelheim, and on the south lies the Krefeld city district of Linn.
The arms of Uerdingen show the keys of Saint Peter in gold upon a divided background, blue above and red below. Blue and red are said to be the colors of Saint Peter, whereby blue would be said to represent heaven and red to symbolize hell. The colors of Uerdingen are likewise blue and red.
A dialect of Low German is still spoken in Uerdingen, a variety known locally as “Oedingsch Platt,” oedingsch signifying “of Uerdingen” in the dialect, and Platt being a northern German term for the varieties of Low German in general. Oedisch Platt should not be confused with Krieewelsch Platt, the Krefeld Platt variety of Low German, as there are small, subtle differences between the two. The best known Uerdingen song in Platt is “Oeding blievt Oeding (os Städtche am Rhien)” by Andreas Otto Kickers, sometimes considered to be the Uerdinger Hymn. The song describes life and history of the city and of its inhabitants. The “Rhienstädter” sing this at all occasions, and thereby cultivate the local Oedingsch Platt dialect a bit longer. At the northeastern edge of the city runs the isogloss known as the Uerdingen Line.
Uerdingen voters after World War II were overwhelmingly inclined towards the SPD, the Social Democratic Union. At both of the most recent municipal elections, however, the CDU, the Christian Democratic Union, received the most votes.
Uerdingen accounts for the largest part of the Bezirksvertretung Uerdingen (“District Representation of Uerdingen”), but the area of the electoral district reaches beyond Uerdingen proper.
District representation since 2004: Total, 15 seats / 100%
- CDU (Christian Democrats) (6 seats / 38.78%)
- SPD (Social Democrats) (5 seats / 34.32%)
- Alliance '90/The Greens (2 seats / 10.58%)
- FDP (liberal) (1 seat / 7.72%)
- UKB (1 seat / 5.30%)
- KWG (0 seats / 3.30%)
District manager: Elmar Jakubowski (CDU)
The economic life of Uerdingen is dominated by the large chemical plants of Bayer AG, which produce synthetics, pigments, and chemical feedstock here. Another important branch of local industry is the assembly of vehicles. The vehicle producer Uerdingen Waggonfabirk, founded in 1898, later a part of DUEWAG, produced here the Uerdingen railbus, a type of light locomotive largely for passenger service on side rail lines. The plant today belongs to Siemens Transportation Systems. The name “Waggonfabrik,” referring to the Uerdinger Waggonfabrik works, still comes up in everyday conversation among locals.
- Sankt Peter Kirche, Saint Peter’s Church (Catholic)
- Sankt Heinrich Kirche, Saint Henry’s Church (Catholic)
- Sankt Paul Kirche, Saint Paul’s Church (Catholic)
- Sankt Matthias Kirche, Saint Matthew’s Church (Catholic)
- Michaelskirche, Michael’s Church (Evangelical)
- Information and addresses (https://web.archive.org/web/20070911024930/http://www.uerdingen.de/)
- Uerdingen information on the official home page of the City of Krefeld