Leverkusen (German: [ˈleːvɐˌkuːzn̩] (listen)) is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on the eastern bank of the Rhine. To the south, Leverkusen borders the city of Cologne, and to the north the state capital, Düsseldorf.

Morsbroich Museum
Leverkusen within North Rhine-Westphalia
Coordinates: 51°02′N 06°59′E
StateNorth Rhine-Westphalia
Admin. regionKöln
DistrictUrban district
  Lord mayor (202025) Uwe Richrath[1] (SPD)
  Governing partiesCDU / SPD / Bürgerliste
  Total78.85 km2 (30.44 sq mi)
60 m (200 ft)
  Density2,100/km2 (5,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Dialling codes0214, 02171 & 02173
Vehicle registrationLEV and OP

With about 161,000 inhabitants, Leverkusen is one of the state's smaller cities. The city is known for the pharmaceutical company Bayer and its sports club Bayer 04 Leverkusen.


The heart of what is now Leverkusen was Wiesdorf, a village on the Rhine, which dates back to the 12th century.[3] With the surrounding villages which have now been incorporated, the area also includes the rivers Wupper and Dhünn,[4] and has suffered a lot from flooding, notably in 1571 and 1657, the latter resulting in Wiesdorf being moved East from the river to its present location.[3]

During the Cologne War, from 1583 to 1588 Leverkusen was ravaged by war. The entire area was rural until the late 19th century, when industry prompted the development that led to the city of Leverkusen, and to its becoming one of the most important centres of the German chemical industry.

The chemist Carl Leverkus, looking for a place to build a dye factory, chose Wiesdorf in 1860. He built a factory for the production of artificial ultramarine blue at the Kahlberg in Wiesdorf in 1861, and called the emerging settlement "Leverkusen" after his family home in Lennep. The factory was taken over by the Bayer company in 1891; Bayer moved its headquarters to Wiesdorf in 1912. After asset confiscation at the end of the First World War, it became IG Farben. The city of Leverkusen proper was founded in 1930 by merging Wiesdorf, Schlebusch, Steinbüchel and Rheindorf, and was posthumously named for Carl Leverkus.[4]

During the Second World War, the IG Farben factories were bombed by the RAF on 22 August 1943,[5] again by the RAF during bombing campaigns on 19/20 November, the USAAF Eighth Air Force on 1 December 1943,[6] and finally once again by the RAF on 10/11 December 1943.

In 1975, Opladen (including Quettingen and Lützenkirchen since 1930), Hitdorf and Bergisch Neukirchen joined Leverkusen. The present city is made up of former villages, originally called Wiesdorf, Opladen, Schlebusch, Manfort, Bürrig, Hitdorf, Quettingen, Lützenkirchen, Steinbüchel, Rheindorf and Bergisch-Neukirchen.[4]

On 27 July 2021, an explosion at the Chempark site in the city killed 2 people and injured 31 others.[7]


Population development since 1832:[8]

Historical population



The current Mayor of Leverkusen is Uwe Richrath of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2020. The most recent mayoral election was held on 13 September 2020, with a runoff held on 27 September, and the results were as follows:

Candidate Party First round Second round
Votes  % Votes  %
Uwe Richrath Social Democratic Party 28,016 46.1 29,438 70.0
Frank Schönberger Christian Democratic Union 14,198 23.4 12,619 30.0
Stefan Baake Alliance 90/The Greens 7,283 12.0
Roland Hartwig Alternative for Germany 3,132 5.2
Karl Schweiger Citizens' List Leverkusen 3,070 5.1
Monika Ballin-Meyer-Ahrens Free Democratic Party 2,613 4.3
Christian Alexander Langer Die PARTEI 1,377 2.3
Markus Beisicht Awakening Leverkusen 1,101 1.8
Valid votes 60,790 98.8 42,057 99.1
Invalid votes 744 1.2 362 0.9
Total 61,534 100.0 42,419 100.0
Electorate/voter turnout 126,846 48.5 126,801 33.5
Source: State Returning Officer

City council

Results of the 2020 city council election.

The Leverkusen city council governs the city alongside the Mayor. The most recent city council election was held on 13 September 2020, and the results were as follows:

Party Votes  % +/- Seats +/-
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 16,859 27.8 4.7 14 3
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 15,276 25.2 3.1 13 1
Alliance 90/The Greens (Grüne) 11,015 18.2 8.8 9 4
Citizens' List Leverkusen (Bürgerliste) 3,630 6.0 1.0 3 1
Opladen Plus (OP) 3,601 5.9 0.7 3 ±0
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 3,466 5.7 New 3 New
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 2,937 4.8 1.0 3 1
The Left (Die Linke) 2,092 3.4 0.4 2 ±0
Citizens' Forum Green Leverkusen – Climate List (Büfo) 909 1.5 New 1 New
Awakening Leverkusen (AUF) 876 1.4 New 1 New
Valid votes 60,661 98.6
Invalid votes 866 1.4
Total 61,527 100.0 52 ±0
Electorate/voter turnout 126,846 48.5 2.3
Source: State Returning Officer

Coat of arms

The coat of arms consists of the two-tailed rampant red lion of the Bergisches Land with a blue crown on a silver background and an embattled line in front.[4]

Main sights and places of interest

Japanese Garden in front of the Bayer tower
  • BayArena is the home stadium of Bayer Leverkusen, with a capacity of over 30,000.
  • The Bayer Cross Leverkusen is one of the largest illuminated advertisements in the world.
  • Freudenthaler Sensenhammer is an industrial museum.
  • Schloss Morsbroich – moated castle in the Baroque style, now a museum for contemporary art.
  • Water Tower Leverkusen-Bürrig – 72.45-metre-high (237.7 ft) water reservoir containing an observation deck.
  • Neuland Park – large park beside the Rhine.
  • Japanese Garden – a 1913 garden extended by Carl Duisberg in 1923.[9]
  • Colony of workers – historical area in the form of houses and other buildings constructed for employees and families of the chemical works at the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century.[10]
  • Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit – historical boat bridge next to the Rhine, between Wiesdorf and Rheindorf.
  • Mausoleum of Carl Duisberg – mausoleum in the centre of the Carl Duisberg Park, next to the Casino.
  • NaturGut Ophoven – educational centre for nature in Leverkusen-Opladen.
Largest groups of foreign residents[11]
NationalityPopulation (2018)
 North Macedonia1,956


The city is home of the football team Bayer 04 Leverkusen and the basketball team Bayer Giants Leverkusen, which is the German record holder of national basketball championships. As of 2019, the team plays in the German ProA league and plays its home games in the Ostermann-Arena.

The Ostermann-Arena, previously known as Wilhelm Dopatka Halle and Smidt-Arena, was one of the host arenas for the FIBA EuroBasket 1985 (the official European Basketball Championship).

Twin towns – sister cities


Leverkusen is twinned with:[12]

Notable people

  • Lothar Rohde (1906–1985), scientist and founder of Rohde & Schwarz Messtechnik
  • Heinrich Lützenkirchen (1909–1986), mayor of Leverkusen
  • Paul Janes (1912–1987), footballer
  • Wolf Vostell (1932–1988), sculptor, painter and happening artist
  • Ileana Jacket (born 1947), telenovela actress
  • Bärbel Dieckmann (born 1949), politician (SPD), mayor of Bonn 1994–2009
  • Wilfried Schmickler (born 1954), comedian
  • Andreas Hedwig (born 1959), archivist
  • Dietmar Mögenburg (born 1961), athlete
  • Detlef Schrempf (born 1963), basketball player
  • Sabine Moussier (born 1966), Mexican telenovela actress
  • Uta Briesewitz (born 1967), cinematographer
  • Ralf Schmitz (born 1974), actor and comedian
  • Jörg Bergmeister (born 1976), racing driver
  • Ji-In Cho (born 1976), heavy metal singer
  • Danny Ecker (born 1977), pole vaulter
  • Felix Sturm (born 1979), middleweight boxer
  • Thomas Fleßenkämper (born 1981), classical composer and pianist


  1. Wahlergebnisse in NRW Kommunalwahlen 2020, Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, accessed 19 June 2021.
  2. "Bevölkerung der Gemeinden Nordrhein-Westfalens am 31. Dezember 2021" (in German). Landesbetrieb Information und Technik NRW. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  3. Braun, Detlef (2012). Leverkusen. Erfurt: Sutton. p. 17. ISBN 978-3866809703.
  4. Braun, Detlef (2012). Leverkusen. Erfurt: Sutton. p. 6. ISBN 978-3866809703.
  5. WW2 People's War - A Bedfordshire Bomb Aimer - Part Two. BBC. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  6. 322nd Dailies from 1943 - 91st Bomb Group (H). 91st Bomb Group. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  7. Grieshaber, Kirsten (27 July 2021). "At least 2 killed in German chemical blast; 31 injured". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  8. "Aktuelles". Stadtgeschichte Leverkusen (in German). Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  9. Braun, Detlef (2012). Leverkusen. Erfurt: Sutton. p. 12. ISBN 978-3866809703.
  10. Braun, Detlef (2012). Leverkusen. Erfurt: Sutton. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-3866809703.
  11. http://www.leverkusen.com/newsbild/151127/Stadt01.pdf
  12. "Partner in aller Welt". leverkusen.de (in German). Leverkusen. Retrieved 2021-02-18.


  • Blaschke, Stefan (1999): Unternehmen und Gemeinde: Das Bayerwerk im Raum Leverkusen 1891-1914 Cologne: SH-Verlag, ISBN 3-89498-068-0 (German)
  • Archive of Leverkusen (2005): Leverkusen. Geschichte einer Stadt am Rhein. Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalgeschichte, ISBN 3-89534-575-X (German)
  • Franz Gruß (1987): Geschichte und Porträt der Stadt Leverkusen. Leverkusen: Verlag Anna Gruß, ISBN 3-930478-03-X (German)
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