City portrait Rüsselsheim


6th – 8th century

The Franconian settlement of Rüsselsheim comes into being in the first half of the 6th century. The first written record of the place is “Rucile(n)sheim”, Home of Ruciles or Rucilin in Lorscher Reichs-Urbar. The citizens are directly under the rule of the king and have to pay taxes.


12 – 14 century

Goods and rights concerning Rüsselsheim are given by the king as fief to various lords. The farmers are now mostly serfs of the various secular or church lords. 



A “Festes Haus” (“solid house”) of Earl von Katzenelnbogen is mentioned, the foundations of which are in the inner yard of the Rüsselsheim fort. The towns of Mainz and Frankfurt protest to the Reich against the construction which they say is a putative customs house.



An invoice from a Rüsselsheim wine producer is evidence of the cultivation of the vine type Riesling. Up to now this shows the earliest known mention of this type of vine.



Kaiser Sigmund grants the Earl von Katzenelnbogen the privilege to build a castle. The citizens have to help finance the building and fortification by paying taxes. At the same time the Landlord is granted the privilege to classify Rüsselsheim as a town although he does not follow this through. Only from 1686 are the market rights renewed being one of the main criteria for the status of town.



Rüsselsheim becomes Hessian. The castle is gradually built up to a fortress and fitted out with large storage containers for fruit and flour.



The fort is razed because of the defeat of Landgrave Phillips des Großmütigen (Phillips the Magnanimous) of Hesse in the Schmalkaldischen War.



The market rights are renewed, a provisions market and a cattle market are now held twice a year in Rüsselsheim.



Final destruction of the fort


19th century

Many factories appear. The population of the town increases intensely.



Incorporation into the District Groß-Gerau



Opening of a new Rüsselsheim synagogue, a previous building already existed considerably earlier.



The Choral Society “Liederkranz” becomes the first society or club to be founded.



After his “travels” the Rüsselsheim fitter’s son Adam Opel settles in his hometown as mechanic and begins the manufacture of sewing machines.



The railway line Frankfurt-Mainz is completed, Rüsselsheim receives a railway station.



Adam Opel has his first factory with steam engine built next to the railway and leaves the old town centre with his workshop. He introduces to Rüsselsheim the mass production of sewing machines, which he learnt about in Paris while on his “travels”. Barely 20 years later with a growing labour force, bicycles are also produced in his factory



The Rüsselsheim Electricity Works begins its supply.



The first car, built using the “Lutzmann system” and still called “motorwagen” leaves the Opel workshop – now under the leadership of the four Opel sons. But not until four years later were a mentionable amount of vehicles produced in cooperation with the French company Daraq.



A great fire destroys several of Opel’s workshops and draws the sewing machine production to a close.



Mobilization for World War 1; among other things the Opel firm produces airplane engines for the German army.



After the end of World War 1, Rüsselsheim is under French occupation.



Opel’s first assembly line is set up.



A bridge is built over the River Main to Flörsheim; it is called “Opel Bridge”.



Opel is bought in two steps by the American automobile concern General Motors.



Rüsselsheim celebrates its 500 years town jubilee; the town charter is renewed.



During the Reich’s pogrom night the Rüsselsheim synagogue is devastated by National Socialists.



Walter Rietig, a member of an anti-fascist resistance group within the Opel works is executed in Berlin.



During the allies’ heavy air raids of oil storage facilities and the airplane industry, many of the Opel firm’s buildings, producing mainly airplane parts for the armed forces, are destroyed. Further parts of the town are also hit.



On 25th March US troops occupy the town.

In September the “Burgerrat”, Rüsselsheim citizen’s council, meets for the first time. To support the mayor six committees are formed which deal voluntarily with the organisation of finance, welfare, construction, housing, economy, sport and schooling.



Hassloch is incorporated.



Königstädten is incorporated



Evreux (France) becomes Rüsselsheim’s first twin town.



Bauschheim is incorporated.



Rüsselsheim receives an independent court of law.



Rugby (Great Britain) becomes Rüsselsheim’s second twin town.



Varkaus (Finland) becomes Rüsselsheim’s third twin town.



Kecskemét (Hungary) becomes Rüsselsheim’s fourth twin town.



Establishment of the “Bürgerstiftung Festung” (Citizen’s Fort Foundation) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Adam Opel.

Establishment of the Elinor Kirchner von Opel Foundation

Establishment of the Adam Opel Foundation


Opening of “Martin Niemöller House” the senior citizens’ care home.



Establishment of the Opel Villas Trust.



Opening of the Opel Villas as Art Centre with exhibitions and cultural events.



Five brands of automobile have development centres located in Rüsselsheim.



The Printing Centre Rhine-Main gets established in the industrial area “Blauer See”. It is one of the most modern printing centres of the time.