Whilst the city of Rastatt is first mentioned in the Middle Ages, it was not until the Baroque period that the city began to expand. Many buildings still remain from the Baroque period, a fine example of which is Rastatt Palace, the residence of Margrave Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden. It was built between 1699 and 1705, and is a series of large palaces built as a replica of the Palace of Versailles.
Other fine examples are the Rathaus, the Town Hall, and the Pagodenburg, which was based on the Nymphenburg Park Pagoda in Munich and was built in the 18th century.
One of Rastatt's most notable residents was Carl Schurz, who participated in the revolutionary uprising in Germany in 1848 to 1849 and famously escaped from the Rastatt Fortress through the sewers. He later emigrated to America where he went on to become US Minister for the Interior.
Rastatt is also a large meadowlands area - the Rastatt Rheinau Meadowlands . These are ancient wetlands now legally protected to ensure that the wildlife, some of which is rare, remains protected.
The town has a population of 48,000. The central pedestrian area boasts local shops and rich Baroque architecture. There is also a colourful market to be explored, held three times a week.
Places to visit include the Memorial to the Freedom Movements in Germany, the Military History Museum and the Local History Museum.
There are many sporting facilities, with more than 20 halls available for schools and club sports and indoor/outdoor pools and an ice-rink. Nearby are lakes for swimming and diving, whilst white water canoeing can be enjoyed in the town centre at the Schachtelbach rapids!
Rastatt offers plenty of entertainment too, with a large cinema complex, theatre and concert halls. Every two years the town hosts its famous five day street theatre festival, the tête à tête, which attracts artists and performers from all over the world.
In 1984, Rastatt was awarded the Flag of Europa by the European Parliament/Senate in Strasbourg in recognition of its links with other European cities.
Link with Woking
Woking and Rastatt became twin towns in April 2001, when, following contacts first made in 1999, the Mayors signed a Charter of Friendship.
Rastatt is a vibrant city located in South West Germany, bordered by the Rhine and the Black Forest.
The city benefits from excellent road links, as it is on the A5 motorway from Basel to Karlsruhe. It is conveniently close to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport, about 15 minutes drive away. and both Strasbourg and Stuttgart airports ( each about an hour away by car). It also boasts an international rail link.
Nearby is the Baden wine growing district which produces Kaiserstuhl wine.
Rastatt, like Woking, is a popular location for businesses because of its excellent transport links. About 1,200 businesses have their headquarters based in Rastatt, such as Daimler AG, car manufacturers of the Mercedes A Class and B Class series, Siemens Building Technologies, Maquet Getting Group, the medical technologists, and Hauraton Drainage Systems.
How to get to Rastatt
Rastatt can be reached by air via London Heathrow to Stuttgart or Strasbourg airports, or via London Stanstead to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden. Flight times are approximately one and half hours.
If you are interested in finding out more about Rastatt and town twinning opportunities.
Phone: 01483 743 023
Write to: Woking Town Twinning Association, c/o Woking Borough Council, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey GU21 6YL