Facts Bitterfeld-Wolfen

Selected Key Data



Bitterfeld-Wolfen emerged as a city in July 2007, amalgamated from the two cities of Bitterfeld and Wolfen and the previously independent municipalities of Greppin, Holzweißig and Thalheim. Bobbau, a further municipality, was added in September 2009.

In 1990, more than 75,000 peopled lived in the current city limits of joint Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 45,000 in Wolfen and 18,000 in Bitterfeld.

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


Roughly one million homes are empty in Eastern Germany, vacated through migration into the environs or to Western Germany. Since 2001 the government has begun to demolish vacant properties.

In 1996, the City of Wolfen joined with housing and municipal utilities firms to found the Erneuerungsgeselllschaft (EWN) for the large estate of Wolfen-Nord. Confronted with the constant erosion in population figures, this company started preparing urban redevelopment projects as early as 1999.

Despite this significant demolition process, the amount of surplus housing will remain high for the time being.

Housing Situation in Bitterfeld-Wolfen (2/2010):

Housing Stock: 25.800
Surplus Housing: 5.100 / 20 Percent
Housing Demolitian since 2001/02: 5.300



In 1990 already, companies belonging to the chemicals cooperative had been transferred to Chemie AG, while the main operations of the photochemical kooperative Wolfen had been absorbed by a Filmfabrik AG, a nationalised company owned by the Privatisation Agency. Here also, the Privatisation Agency had the task to privatise formerly nationalised companies according to the principles of the market economy and, for this purpose, to initiate their efficiency and competitiveness. If this was not possible, the companies were shut down and dismantled.

The diagram illustrates the radical economic structural reform: Large industrial combines were forced to close, and even where smaller companies came along and still produce today, the often significantly increased output figures require only a fraction of the workforce once needed. Part-time work, job creation, retraining and qualification measures, early retirement and redundancy packages offered by the former Federal Office for Work kept the unemployment level at below 10 percent in 1992. However, it rose to above 20 percent in the following years and still remains today at an average level of 16 percent.

Today, Bitterfeld-Wolfen presents itself as a green industrial, lakeside city. Over the last few years, one of Germany’s largest solar industry centres has emerged in the city’s northwest, known as “Solar Valley”. In the southeast, the former “Goitzsche” open cast lignite mine was transformed into the 13 ha Lake Goitzsche.

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 details: Raumbeobachtungssystem Sachsen-Anhalt (RABE); Ministry of Regional Development and Transport Saxony-Anhalt; Statistisches Landesamt Sachsen-Anhalt, ISEK 2002 City of Bitterfeld, ISEK 2002 City of Wolfen, GINSEK 2005/2006; 1989 GDR statistics; www.iba-monitor.de; Status 11/2009

Info: Bitterfeld-Wolfen

(Municipal Area of 2010)
1989: 76.147
2009: 46.355
2025: 35.859 (Future Prospect)

Municipal Area: 87,31 qkm

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