Technically, Leverkusen is only 78 years old, but records show that nine of today's 13 administrative districts existed in the 12th and 13th centuries. Excavations also indicate the area was settled in Roman times, but the city of Leverkusen as it is today first came into being on 1 April 1930 with the incorporation of Schlebusch, Steinbuchel and Rheindorf into the town of Wiesdorf.
Leverkusen is named after Dr Carl Leverkus, a pharmacist who established a dye factory in Wiesdorf in 1860 and gave the name Leverkusen to the estate which grew up around the plant. In 1891, Friedr. Bayer & Co moved from Wuppertal to Leverkusen and took over Carl Leverkus' business. More and more workers set up home in the vicinity of the factory complex.
In 1903, Prussian Railways opened a main engineering works in Opladen, later to become the Opladen repair depot. Until its closure in 2003, it was one of the major employers alongside Bayer AG. Leverkusen had a population of 43,000 at its official incorporation in 1930. It was designated a borough in 1955 with 79,000 inhabitants, before the population passed the 100,000 mark in 1963.
As part of local government reforms effective 1 January 1975, the communes of Opladen, Bergisch Neukirchen and Hitdorf were incorporated into Leverkusen which also received a new coat of arms. Leverkusen today is a city of 162,000.
Leverkusen is a borough city in the south of North Rhine-Westphalia, extending from the Rhine in the west to the Bergische Land foothills, and also belonging to the Rhineland conurbation. Leverkusen is a multi-faceted city, its 160,000 citizens spread between urban areas and more rural districts.
Village-like charm and pulsating city life are often separated by only a few kilometres, or can indeed be found nestling next to one another. Shaped by industry and specifically the global power of Bayer AG, Leverkusen is well-known in international business circles, but it also offers extensive recreational facilities with plenty of wide open green spaces, especially in the Bergische Land region, and the romantic Rhine beaches in the north.
The city boasts 8.4 kilometres of riverbank along the Rhine. Sandwiched between the metropolises of Cologne and Dusseldorf, Leverkusen has developed its own distinct personality, even in its own short history. Theatre in Leverkusen is amply served by KulturstadtLev and the Bayer cultural foundation. A host of smaller theatre groups make productive use of their own premises. The Leverkusen jazz festival, staged annually since 1980, is an international highlight on the city's cultural calendar. Every year, the festival attracts numerous greats from the jazz, blues and World Music scene.
Another summer treat is the annual open-air Street Life Festival in Wiesdorf old town. Local and travelling jazz, blues and rock musicians provide colourful entertainment on three stages. Among Leverkusen's varied museums, Morsbroich Castle has housed a municipal museum of modern and contemporary art since 1985. The Kolonie Museum in Schlebusch preserves a typical Bayer workers' village in the style of the 1930s.
- Japanese Garden
- Morsbroich Castle
- Neuland Park
- Villa Romer
- Water tower
The 22,500-capacity state-of-the-art Bayer 04 Leverkusen stadium rates as a jewel of the Bundesliga. The capacity is set for expansion to 30,000 in time for the 2009-10 season. Bayer Leverkusen won the UEFA Cup in 1988. In 2001-2, Bayer finished runners-up in the Bundesliga, were beaten German Cup finalists, and made it to the Champions League final, where even the likes of Michael Ballack, Bernd Schneider and Lucio were unable to overcome the Galacticos of Real Madrid.
President OC Venue
- Alfred Vianden (President Middle Rhine Football Association)
- Britta Heidemann
- Bernd Schneider
- Carsten Ramelow