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Märkischer Kreis

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State:North Rhine-Westphalia
Adm. Region:Arnsberg
Area:1,058.92 km²
Inhabitants:457,465 (2001)
pop. density:432 inh./km²
Car identification:MK

The Märkische Kreis is a Kreis (district) in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Unna, Soest, Hochsauerland, Olpe, Oberbergischer Kreis, Ennepe-Ruhr, and the district-free city Hagen.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Partnerships
3 Geography
4 Coat of arms
5 Towns and municipalities
6 External links


The district was created in 1975 as one of the reorganization of the districts in North Rhine-Westphalia. The name was chosen as part of the territory belonged to the earldom Mark.

In 1975 the former districts of Lüdenscheid and Iserlohn, the previously district-free city Iserlohn, and the area around Balve which belonged to the district Arnsberg were added together to form the new district. The district Lüdenscheid itself was created just few years earlier in 1968 when the district-free city Lüdenscheid was merged with the Altena district - which was created in 1753 already.


The partnership with the Wrexham County Borough (Wales, United Kingdom) dates back to 1970 and was started by the precursor district Iserlohn. In 1992 a partnership with the district Finsterwalde in Brandenburg, Germany was officially started, even though it had connections since the german reunification in 1990. After the district Finsterwald was merged into the district Elbe-Elster, the partnership was reconfirmed in 1996 with the new district. In 2001 a partnership with the polish district Racibórz was officially established.


Geographically it covers the northern-western part of the Sauerland mountains, starting with the Ruhr river valley in the north, and the highest elevation at the Nordhelle of 683m. The main river through the district is the Lenne. Even though most of the area is covered by forests and it's rather sparsely occupied, it had a long industrial tradition. It was exactly the obundant wood which made steel working possible before coal was accessible in the ruhr area.

Coat of arms

The lion in the top as well as the checked bordure derive from the old arms of the district Altena, which take it from the coat of arms of the earls of Mark. The lion comes from the city of Jülich which was one of their possessions. The black cross in the bottom comes from the Cologne coat of arms, as part of the area did belong the Bishops of Cologne.

Towns and municipalities

  1. Altena
  2. Balve
  3. Halver
  4. Hemer
  5. Iserlohn
  6. Kierspe
  1. Lüdenscheid
  2. Meinerzhagen
  3. Menden
  4. Neuenrade
  5. Plettenberg
  6. Werdohl
  1. Herscheid
  2. Nachrodt-Wiblingwerde
  3. Schalksmühle

External links

Official website (German)
Touristical website for the Märkische Kreis (German)\n