Sternenfels, consisting of the villages of Diefenbach and Sternenfels,
is the most northern municipality in the
Enz (district) in
Baden-Württemberg in Germany. The town is located at the border of
Kraichgau and Stromberg regions.
Sternenfels is considered a
showcase village and was mentioned in several national and European
studies and competitions. It is about 20 km from
close to the UNESCO world heritage site of Maulbronn.
1 Role as showcase village
2 Geography and climate
5 Geology and local industry
6 Local politics
7 Sister cities
8 Culture and local activities
12 External links
Role as showcase village
Sternenfels (Translation: star rock—a meaning which inspired the
town coat of arms) has a peculiar location and citizens. The town has
a very active community with more than 25 different associations; from
different choruses, brass bands, a roaming pigeon club, a German
Turkish council, a tourist board, various sport associations,
political parties, winemaker and farmer associations. As well the
town website has been awarded for it is a very active web
community. The village has received several prizes in national
competitions for renovation projects, beauty and sustainability.
Sternenfels has been the subject of several studies, dealing with
regional and rural planning and sustainable development, as well as
teleworking and rural industrial development
Sternenfels has been used as a
Baden-Württemberg showcase village at
EXPO 2000 and various other congresses and conferences. The expo
participation is manifested in a monument on the main road.
Geography and climate
Precipitation in Sternenfels.
Sternenfels is located on an exposed western spur of the east-west
running Stromberg hills. The watershed between
Rhine and Neckar
rivers as well as the border between
Kraichgau and Stromberg passes
near Sternenfels. The Village of Diefenbach is the site of the Metter
spring which runs via the
Enz River to the Neckar, while the Kraich
Sternenfels ends in the
Sternenfels is at the
crossroads of four different counties - (Karlsruhe, Heilbronn,
Ludwigsburg und Enzkreis). It is the starting or end point for several
hiking or walking trails as well as part of
Württemberg Wine route
Weikersheim to Metzingen. The former
Roman road between Stettfeld
Bad Cannstatt probably crossed Sternenfels. The municipality
became a local tourist destination with several inns and (former)
breweries located around the town center.
The climate of
Sternenfels is generally mild due to the influence of
Kraichgau hills. The castle hill, with a height of
about 400 m (1,300 ft), allows portions of
overlook the neighboring Kraichgau. The major rain storms generally
happen earlier in the year than in the rest of the region, though this
helps the local vineyards. Generally the local soil is comparatively
poor and is mainly used for forestry.
Public Transport is provided by several bus lines. The closest train
connection are the Karlsruhe Tram Train system in neighboring
Flehingen. A revival of the
Zabergäu Railway is under planning.
Coat of Arms of von
Sternenfels noble family, in Johann Siebmacher's
book of coat of arms (Wappenbuch).
Sternenfels castle was probably founded at the start of the
11th century by the von
Sternenfels family. In 1232, Sternenfels
community was mentioned in a deed the first time, since the community
has been destroyed and resettled several times, e.g. in the Thirty
Years' War, it did not develop into a bigger settlement. However
the peculiar site and a vibrant community life make
today an outstanding municipality. During the 14th century,
Sternenfels became part of Württemberg. The
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War left
the village in shambles. Immigrants from Switzerland repopulated the
area and 'Schweitzer' is still an important local family name. Near
the end of the 17th century, some of the Eppingen Line fortifications
were built around and integrated Sternenfels. These fortifications
are still visible. The Protestant parish church in
built in the 18th century, the Diefenbach church 1621 according plans
of Heinrich Schickhardt.
Sternenfels was the main site of the
Sternenfels noble family.
Derived from high German nobility they were related with the
Kürnbach and mentioned as early as the 12th century. A
Cunradus liber de Sterrenvils  took over the realm of
well. 1252 two sons of Cunradus, Cunradus und Wernherus nobiles de
Sternvels joined the fatal last voyage of Conradin to Italy.
Geology and local industry
Wooden framework house of 1674 in Diefenbach.
Sternenfels has a long industrial history. The local quarries were
used to produce masonry and "stubensand", an early abrasive which was
very popular for household cleaning in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The town castle, built by the von
Kürnbach family and later used by
the von Sternenfels, was completely demolished and used to produce
stubensand by 1778. In 1866 an observation tower was built and
triggered local tourism.
Sternenfels image was coined by the
"sandbauern", farmers that produced stubensand and wove baskets
besides farming. The intensive stubensand production led to damages in
the local forests and ongoing conflicts between the community and the
sandbauern, which were entitled to excavate stubensandstone in the
local forests. The last sand mill was closed in 1935, however
sandbauern costumes are still worn sometimes and the sandbauern image
is used to promote the village. The site of the castle is still
visible in the center of the village. The 14 m high Water tower on the
former castle hill was built during 1967 as part of the Lake of
Constance Water supply system and styled as a keep. The tower is open
for the public and allows an excellent view both over
Stromberg. It includes as well an historic exhibition about the local
nobility and geology.
Late Triassic Stuben
Sandstone formation (German: Stubensandstein,
the source of Stubensand) around
Sternenfels contains as well small
amounts of gold. Christopher Bechtler—a citizen and jeweler of
Pforzheim—demonstrated a gold sluice, he had invented. The
two-day trial caused major public attraction since Bechtler invited
the farmers to have huge amount of stubensand washed. Bechtler was not
very successful in
Sternenfels but later became a millionaire in the
United States— Bechtler invented and coined the first Gold
Sternenfels has attracted several companies in electronics, mechanical
instruments and machinery and is still an industrial village. After
World War I, a local tobacco and cigar manufacturer played an
important role in the local job market. As well the Schweitzer
factory, an industrial complex founded around 1900 producing
measurement devices provided over hundred work places but closed
down 1995. The site was converted in an innovation center allowing
small companies sharing basic facilities and as well teleworking work
Sternenfels Workers Guild founded 1875 was one of the first social
democratic local organizations in the German southwest. Bismarcks
Anti-Socialist Laws and as well
Sternenfels reputation as a "red
village" during the Nazi regime made the villagers evade into non
political associations as the Volkschor (people chorus) and the
Badverein (water park pool association).
During the last free elections to the German Reichstag 1932 the SPD
reached 33.7%, the communist party 45% and NSDAP 15.2%. However a
common list of SPD and KPD was never achieved. The SPD in Sternenfels
tried as early as 1922 to reach out to local farmers and artisans.
The first free elections after the war 1947 gave the SPD 4 of 12 seats
in the city council, KPD 3 and free voters 5 seats.
The local elections on 13 June 2004 lead to the following
The election of the mayor is not done by the magistrate but according
Gemeindeordnung in southern
Germany via a direct election. From
1974 til 2006 Helmut Wagner was mayor. Since 2006 Sigrid Hornauer, the
first female mayor, is in office.
Typical for the pragmatic
Sternenfels way, a touch of suebian avarity,
pietist pragmatism and strong sense of community is the setup of the
municipal hall close to Freibad, Kraich fountain, Kindergarten and
cemetery. The highly modern and prized architecture of the
multipurpose hall is used for sports, local events and—via a
separate entry to the cemetery—to convene for burial services. The
neighboring parish center, built in the 1980s is named after the
pietist preacher and famous 19th-century labour delegate Christoph
Sternenfels has a partnership with
Nöbdenitz in Thuringia.
Culture and local activities
Protestant parish church of Sternenfels.
Sternenfels water storage.
Sternenfels has a variety of local associations. The most important is
Sternenfels Freibadverein (Pool association) with more than 600
members. The Badverein takes care of Sternenfels' local water park,
the "Freibad". The first pool was built 1939 and the whole site
completely renovated 1969. It is a very peculiar institution in a
village of less than 3,000 inhabitants and it is said to be among the
most beautiful public swimming pools in the area. The pool guards,
ticket sales, concerts and night activities and a recently installed
beach volley field are managed on a non commercial base.
Sternenfels has attracted some painters and photographers living and
working in the village. Kräuterhexe (herbology witch)
Gabriele Bickels lives in
Sternenfels and provides training courses
and field tours in herbology.
Diefenbach has a separate community house hosting various exhibitions
and a permanent exhibition about fire fighting and fire pump
systems, the earliest one of 1808. The local fire fighter brigade
still plays a part in the community life.
Besides a municipal kindergarten and a state primary school, the Freie
Schule Diefenbach provides primary to middle education based on Rudolf
Steiners Waldorf education.
Theodor Schweitzer (1875–1953), local industrialist, founder of
Theodor Schweitzer company
Franz Walter Stahlecker
Franz Walter Stahlecker (1900–1942), Nazi and mass murderer, born in
Sternenfels (he moved away in 1903)
Friedrich Veit (1871–1913), linguist
Horst Krautter (1932–1996), administrative expert and peace movement
^ "Gemeinden in Deutschland nach Fläche, Bevölkerung und
Postleitzahl am 30.09.2016".
Statistisches Bundesamt (in German).
^ List of associations in
Sternenfels web access 10/2008 (in German)
Sternenfels was awarded "Best Web Community" in the 1997
competition for village web pages in Baden Württemberg, web access
^  List of Prizes and Medals for Sternenfels, web access 10/2008
^ Ministerium für Ländlichen Raum, Landwirtschaft und Forsten
Baden-Württemberg (Hrsg.) (1987): Dorfentwicklung - Landschafts- und
siedlungsökologische Grundsätze. Modellplanung - Holländere in
Sternenfels.- Stuttgart. (Rural development - Basic assumptions for
landscape ecology and settlements, Holländere model planning in
^ Glaser, W.R./ Glaser, M.O./ Kuder, T.: Bevölkerungsbefragung zum
Innovationszentrum "Fabrik Schweitzer" und zu Telearbeit in
Sternenfels; Abschlußbericht.(Sondage about teleworking and a local
innovation center) 2004 (in German)
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on
2011-07-19. Retrieved 2008-03-30. europäisches Modelldorf und
ausgezeichnete Erfahrungen mit Telearbeit (European Village Role
Model, excellent experiences with teleworking), web access 10/2008 (in
Baden-Württemberg - positive showcases for sustainable
development, around 2000, web access 10/2008 (in German)
^ a b c d e f g h i Um Stromberg und Mittlere Enz. Heimatkundliche
Beiträge aus dem Kreis Vaihingen, Landkreis Vaihingen, Vaihingen/Enz,
^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelslexikon Band XIV, Band 131
der Gesamtreihe, C. A. Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 2003,
^  Coat of arms, Augsburg 1515 - 1650, in German, web access
^ Gerhard Köbler: Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder. C.H.
Beck, München 2007; ISBN 978-3-406-54986-1.
^ Württemberger Urkundenbuch 3, S. 305
^ Württemberger Jahrbuch 1866, S. 291
^ a b  Sandbauern Costumes and History in Sternenfels, in German,
web access 10/2008
^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-11.
Retrieved 2008-07-24. Goldrush in
Sternenfels 1818], in German,
web access 10/2008
^ a b c d  Speech for the 125 Anniversary of the Arbeiterverein
resp. the local SPD, in German, web access 10/2008
^  Overview about the historical background of Schweitzer
^ Staff. "Industry in Sternenfels" (in German). municipal web page.
^  multipurpose hall in Sternenfels, in German, web access 10/2008
^  Basic data and activities of the Freibadverein, in German, web
^  Overview about artists living in Sternenfels, in German, web
^  Gabriele Bickels herbology Witchcraft in
Sternenfels, in German, web access 10/2008
^  Diefenbach Fire Pump Museum, in German, web access 10/2008
^  Educational facilities in Sternenfels, in German, web access
Um Stromberg und Mittlere Enz. Heimatkundliche Beiträge aus dem Kreis
Vaihingen, Landkreis Vaihingen, Vaihingen/Enz, 1972 (local history,
folklore and geology and a report about the end of WWII in the
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sternenfels.
Internetpräsenz der Gemeinde Sternenfels
Towns and municipalities in