Bad Soden am Taunus can be found in a charming setting situated in the scenic, south-eastern foothills of the Taunus Mountains. This area ist sometimes also known as the Switzerland of Nassau. Bad Soden am Taunus itself is steeped in a colourful and chequered history, which inextricably bound up with the development of the health resort there.
The town quarter known as Altenhain was first mentioned in written documents over 750 years ago but in 1991 Bad Soden and Neuenhain were able to celebrate the 800th anniversary of their first appearing in a document issued on behalf of the then archbishop of Mainz. However, we know that settlements were in existence here long before that era, a fact which is proved by archaeological finds dating from approximately 600BC. It also must come as no surprise that the Romans were wellacquainted with the area.
Conclusive evidence showing that Soden, likewise the neighbouring location of Sulzbach, enjoyed the status of being a village endowed with the freedom of the realm can be found in the confirmation of privileges granted by Emperor Sigismund in 1434. It is quite possible that the area´s coat of arms also dates from this period.
Both villages were given to the duke of Nassau as a form of compensation for his foregoing of municipal office in Holland (1803): "Situated in the direction of Frankfurt, Sulzbach and Soden, once villages enjoying freedom of the realm, which experienced together both joy an sorrow ... now both belong to Nassau and there will be no end to their prosperity" (Taken from "Germany or Letters of a German Travelling in Germany" by Carl Julius Weber). After Nassau had formed an alliance during the Austrian-Prussian war of 1866 and in so doing had supported the defeated faction, it was inevitable that the Prussian flag would fly over the territories of Nassau. Soden consequently became part of the Prussian provice of Hessen-Nassau.
In 1867 a gasworks was set up in Bad Soden and, soon after the war of 1870/71, Soden became one of the first places in Germany to boast a street-lighting system.
Such were two milestones which played their part in elevating Soden to the status of township although it was only after the two World Wars that Soden in 1947 with the then population of 6,247 was officially granted town status and the accompanying municipal rights. Today, following the local district reforms of 1977 as well as the resulting incorporation of the areas of Altenhain and Neuenhain, Bad Soden has a population of approximately 21,500 inhabitants.
An integral chapter of the town´s history is its emergence as a spa resort and still today Bad Soden can attribute its reputation as a health and spa resort to over 30 thermal and mineral springs located in its vicinity. "The springs of Soden possess a revitalising power all of their own, a peculiar peculiarity. For not only do they have an extraordinary effect on the human body but these waters contain a wealth of microscopic organisms, the like of which is found in no other springs. Do I dare too much when I maintain that the one and the same power found in the spring water, which every moment brings life to millions of creatures, could employ the same force in the minutest cells of the human organism and in so doing arouse a fervent, vibrant energy?...(H.G. Dombrowski an T. Klosowska: Archives of Physical Therapy 1964)
As far back as the 16th century, one spoke of a warm bathing spring, a fountain of health, sometimes known as the milk spring. However there were times when these waters were said "to have disappeared". This was so for in the Thirty Years War the farmers of Soden stemmed the flow of the warm springs by covering them with a millstone and a thick layer of earth with the intention of preventing their home from becoming a place of pilgrimage for wounded, warlike mercenaries. In the confusion of war, knowledge about this valuable spring was then actually lost. It was only many years later, in the December of 1700, that a farmer re-discovered the fountain of health.
A few months later, the Frankfurt physician, Dr. Gladbach, published the findings of his research on "the warm fountain of health in Soden" and it was only a question of waiting until 1702 for the first spa visitors to arrive. Slowly but surely Soden began to be recognised as a spa resort, which reached its zenith in the 19th century. Amongst the famous persoalities who sought out the health-giving waters here were Leo Tolstoy, Felix Mendelsohn Bartholdy, Tschaikowsky an many more. The year of 1860 has even bee dubbed the "Year of the Russians" in the chronicles of the spa resort.
When the railway link between Höchst an Bad Soden became operational in 1847, the spa became all at once much more easily accessible for its visitors. The railway was built by the Soden Public Limited Company under the auspices of the von Bethmann family.
In 1849 a Swiss-style Pump House (Kurhaus) was erected at the upper end of the Old Spa Park (Alter Kurpark), a building which was both altered and renovated on several occasions, in 1884, 1897/98 and in 1927. Later changes and improvements could unfortunately not be justified and in 1971 this building had to be taken down.
Following in its footsteps, however, came the spacious Spa and Congress Centre on 14 august 1982, today the Ramada-Hotel. This hotel has a large concert hall and is also able to offer various conference facilities in smaller rooms. In addition, it houses an extraordinary collection of Meissen porcelain which is well worth a visit.
The Municipal Museum (Stadtmuseum) should also not be missed. Interesting exhibitions are often staged here and it offers the opportunity of gaining an insight into various, impressive aspects of the town`s history. There are always new displays to admire within these walls: e.g. replicas of salt springs and salt pits, proof enough that Bad Soden has long been associated with the extraction of mineral salts. By 1567 four sources of mineral salts had already been located, one of which was in the centre of the village and the other three were situated outside the village boundaries. In 1605 and then in 1609 the salt springs witnessed the building of the Old Works and the New Works and these installations remained unchanged for more or less 200 years. After this lengthy period of operation, however, work came to an end here. But the name Bad Soden am Taunus - the Salt Lands - still recalls the past history of the area.
The Museum in the Centre of Culture (Kulturzentrum) - the former bath-house - can be found in the Old Spa Park. This park has also played its part in turning Bad Soden into a green oasis within greenery, just like the Neue Kurpark, the Quellenpark an the Wilhelmspark on the periphery of the wonderful and beautifully restored Old Town Quarter (Altstadt). This is where one can see the famous Hundertwasserhaus, constructed of the austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
A quarter of the famous Soden springs are located within the parkland and nobody should miss sampling "the Fountain of Champagne" in Wilhelmspark. This park, the smallest in the spa resort, is also the starting point for those wishing to view Art in the Park (Kunst im Park).
But it is not only these wonderful parks which offer lovely walks. The immediate countryside surrounding Bad Soden, e.g. the Eichwald forest or the valley known as Altenhainer Tal are the perfect settings for peaceful and relaxing trips. The thermal pools are inviting with their pure, warm salt waters at a temperatur of 32-34°C. For the sports people amongst the visitors, the open-air swimming pool (FreiBadSoden) in the Altenhainer Tal is available for their enjoyment in the summer months.
For those people who enjoy all kinds of celebrations and entertainments, Bad Soden is the place to be. The Bad Soden Midsummer´s Night Festival (Sommernachtsfest), enjoys a very good reputation for miles around and is to be thoroughly recommended. It always takes place on the third weekend in August. Another highlight on the Bad Soden social calendar is the Wine Week (Bad Sodener Weintage), which is always held in May. One must also not forget the series of jazz concerts (Jazz am Quellenpark) taking place every year in the summer months from June to September. These concerts are held outside the museum´s barn on Saturday mornings and they are always a source of good spirits and top entertainment.
Rueil-Mailmaison - Kitzbühel - Franzensbad - Yoro-cho
Since 1975 Bad Soden am Taunus has been twinned with the French town of Rueil-Malmaison. In the many years since the beginning of the official twinning, the two towns have succeeded in forging strong links. Regular school exchanges have taken place - sometimes involving individual pupils, other times complete classes - and it cannot be denied that such encounters have not only strengthened the town´s connections but they have also made a valuable contribution to international relations.
In 1984 Bad Soden am Taunus set up a partnership with the town of Kitzbühel in Austria, known throughout the World for its cockerel crest races. As Kitzbühel for its part was already twinned with Rueil-Malmaison, a twinned-town circle was born, which is still going strong up until today.
And moreover, since 17 January 1992, Bad Soden has been twinned with the spa resort of Franzensbad (Frantiskovy Lazne) in the Czech Republic.
In 2004, after a special relationship over many years with the exchange of the sport and the culture delagations from both cities, an official "Partner-city" agreement was made with the Japanese city Yoro-cho, in the vicinity of Nagoya.