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The Ludwigskirche (Saint Louis Church)
The Ludwigskirche (Saint Louis Church)
Flag of Saarlouis
Coat of arms of Saarlouis
Location of Saarlouis within Saarlouis district
FranceFranceSaarbrücken (district)Neunkirchen (German district)Sankt Wendel (district)Merzig-WadernRehlingen-SiersburgWallerfangenÜberherrnDillingenSaarlouisWadgassenBousEnsdorfSchwalbachSaarwellingenNalbachSchmelzLebachSaarlouis in SLS.svg
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Saarlouis is located in Germany
Saarlouis is located in Saarland
Coordinates: 49°19′0″N 6°45′0″E / 49.31667°N 6.75000°E / 49.31667; 6.75000Coordinates: 49°19′0″N 6°45′0″E / 49.31667°N 6.75000°E / 49.31667; 6.75000
 • Mayor (2017–) Peter Demmer[1] (SPD)
 • Total43.27 km2 (16.71 sq mi)
181 m (594 ft)
 • Total34,409
 • Density800/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes06831
Vehicle registrationSLS

Saarlouis (German: [ˌzaːɐ̯luˈiː]; French: Sarrelouis, [saʁlwi]; formerly Sarre-Libre and Saarlautern) is a town in Saarland, Germany, capital of the district of Saarlouis. In 2017, the town had a population of 34,758. Saarlouis, as the name implies, is located on the river Saar. It was built as a fortress in 1680 and was named after Louis XIV of France.


Historical affiliations

Kingdom of France 1680–1792
French Republic 1792–1804
French Empire 1804–1815
 Kingdom of Prussia 1815–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
Territory of the Saar Basin 1920–1935
 Nazi Germany 1935–1945
French occupation zone 1945–1947
Saar Protectorate (France) 1947–1956
 West Germany 1957–1990
 Germany 1990–present

The Fortress of Saarlouis in 1693
Fortress of Saarlouis in 1750
Fortress of Saarlouis with staging area 1753

With the Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen in 1678/79, Lorraine fell to France. In 1680, Louis XIV of France gave orders to build a fortification (to defend the new French eastern frontier) on the banks of the river Saar which was called Sarre-Louis. Notable French military engineer, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, constructed the town, which would serve as the capital of the Province de la Sarre. The plans were made by Thomas de Choisy, the town's first Gouvenour. In 1683, Louis XIV visited the fortress and granted arms. The coat of arms shows the rising sun and three Fleur-de-lis. The heraldic motto is Dissipat Atque Fovet: He (the Sun) dispels (the clouds) and heats (the earth).

In 1697, the Treaty of Ryswick made most parts of Lorraine independent again, but Saarlouis and the surrounding areas remained a French exclave. During the French Revolution, the town was renamed Sarre-Libre, but it returned to its original name in 1810. With the Treaty of Paris in 1815, Saarlouis (and the whole region later known as the Saargebiet) became Prussian.

Marshal Michel Ney, who was born in Saarlouis, was arrested and tried for treason after the failure of Napoleon I's Waterloo Campaign. Ney's attorney tried to use the Prussian annexation to save his client's life, arguing that Ney was no longer a French citizen and therefore exempt from the court's jurisdiction. Ney refused to cooperate, declaring himself to be French, and so was convicted and later executed.

After World War I, French troops occupied Saarlouis. The Saargebiet became a protectorate of the League of Nations for 15 years. In 1933, a considerable number of anti-Nazi Germans fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany left outside the Third Reich's control. As a result, anti-Nazi groups campaigned heavily for the Saarland to remain under control of League of Nations as long as Adolf Hitler ruled Germany. However, long-held sentiments against France remained entrenched, and very few sympathized openly with France. When the 15-year-term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on 13 January 1935: 90.3% of those voting wished to rejoin Germany.

From 1936 till 1945, Saarlouis was named as Saarlautern (-lautern being a common ending of town and village names in Germany) in an attempt by the Nazis to Germanise the town name.

After World War II, the region (then called the Saarland), was again occupied by France. In a plebiscite in 1955, most of the people in the Saarland opted for the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany, and on 1 January 1957, it became the 10th federal state of West Germany.

In 1980, Saarlouis celebrated its 300th anniversary.

Incorporated districts[edit]

Over time, the following districts have been incorporated into Saarlouis:


Even today, the fortress dominates the town's hexagonal floor plan. Beside the buildings made by Vauban, there are also some constructions left from the 19th century when the Prussians got control over the town. After 1887, some parts of the fortress were slighted, but many buildings and places, e.g. the casemates, some barracks and the Great Market with the Commander's Office and the Vauban island, a former ravelin with a memorial for Michel Ney can still be seen today.

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

Saarlouis was famous for its nearby steel and iron ore production and its nearby mining facilities. Today, the Ford Motor Company's Saarlouis Body & Assembly is the town's largest employer, producing the Ford Focus and Ford Kuga. The plant in the Roederberg suburb is one of Ford's most efficient facilities worldwide.[citation needed]

Inland Port Saarlouis/Roden

The industrial port in Saarlouis-Roden is Germany's 8th largest inland port.[citation needed] Saarlouis is also a manufacturer of chocolate.[3]


Saarlouis is part of the Saarlouis (electoral district) in the Bundestag, represented by Peter Altmaier.


Saarlouis has a station on the Saar railway that provides hourly connections to Saarbrücken and Trier.

It is connected to Saarbrücken by the A 620 and with Luxembourg by the A 8.

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Saarlouis is twinned with:[4]

Notable people[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gewählte Ober-/Bürgermeister*innen, Landrät*innen und Regionalverbandsdirektor*in im Saarland, accessed 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ " – Amtliche Einwohnerzahlen Stand 31. Dezember 2020" (PDF). Statistisches Amt des Saarlandes (in German). June 2021.
  3. ^ "Saarlouis – Germany".
  4. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften". (in German). Saarlouis. Retrieved 18 March 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Saarlouis at Wikimedia Commons