Facts Merseburg

Selected Key Data



In the 20th century Merseburg was to a large degree shaped by the chemicals industry. The structural changes in the industry that started in the 1990s led to massive unemployment and emigration. While Merseburg had a population of 43,000 in 1990, it numbered only 34,600 inhabitants in 2008. At the same time, the proportion of over 75-year-olds grew by almost one third while the proportion of pre-teenage children decreased by more than 40 per cent in the same period.

Municipal Boundaries


Because of increased suburbanisation from the early 1990s, the cities have lost a considerable proportion of their inhabitants and tax revenues to the surrounding communities. In order to dilute the impact of these losses, a gradual process of incorporation has increased the municipal areas in size, sometimes significantly so.

The coloured shape on the map symbolises the expansion of the city in 1990, the outer line shows the boarder of the municipal area of 2010.

Housing Situation


The development in the stock of empty housing reflects the demographic changes. According to the urban development plan, the stock of empty housing was 18 per cent in the year 2000. 2003, one year after the start of the federal/state Urban Redevelopment Programme for the eastern states, the Merseburg housing association had torn down more than 650 dwellings. In the course of this project, the GAGFAH residential estate in Merseburg-Nord, built in 1927 under city building officer Friedrich Zollinger, was demolished.

Housing Situation in Merseburg (2/2010):
Housing Stock: 19,500
Surplus Housing: 2,200 / 11 Percent
Housing Demolitian since 2001/02: 3.100



The structural upheavals that followed German reunification were accompanied by high unemployment. Lignite mining in Geiseltal ceased and many workers at the former collectivised chemical plants in Leuna and Buna-Schkopau lost their jobs. In the 1990s, the construction of the “Saalepark” shopping centre (today called “nova eventis”) on the A9 motorway had a significant impact on the town centre of Merseburg, drawing purchasing power away from the town and the surrounding area.

At the same time there were also positive developments such as the successful reconstruction of the chemical works at Leuna to become a modern chemicals production facility and the development of the former Buna plant as part of the global DOW Chemical group, the founding of the university of Merseburg (University of Applied Sciences) on the campus of the former Carl Schorlemmer Technical University (1992) and restoration of the open-cast mine at Geiseltal from 1993 onwards. The redevelopment of the mine and the flooding of the former open-cast lignite mine pit will create Lake Geiseltal to the west of Merseburg, the largest lake in Saxony-Anhalt.

Relocating and Commuting

Bildschirmfoto Pendler und Umzüge

In the 1990s, suburbanisation affected all the IBA cities. At the same time, people, especially those from the former industrial centres, began to move to West Germany. The populations of the large cities of Halle (Saale) and Magdeburg have increased minimally in recent times, mainly due to migration from Saxony-Anhalt. In the meantime, the improved transportation network allows for longer journeys to and from work and the number of commuters is climbing.

The interactive tool "Relocating and commuting" visualises this range of topics for all IBA cities.

Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig 2010 Data: Günter Herfert, design/programming: Sebastian Specht

Sources for the statistical information: Ministry of Regional Development and Transport Saxony-Anhalt; Raumbeobachtungssystem Sachsen-Anhalt (RABE); Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt; Merseburg Urban; Development Plan 2001; GDR statistics from 1989; www.iba-monitor.de; Status 11/2009

Info: Merseburg

(Municipal Area of 2010)
1989: 47.232
2009: 35.894
2025: 28.704 (Future Prospect)

Municipal Area: 54,73 qkm 

IBA-Website of Merseburg