The largest part of the city archives consists of records from the City of Krefeld and the formerly independent towns and villages which are now part of Krefeld. Files, official ledgers, documents/certificates, minutes of council meetings, contracts, maps and plans from the administration are processed here.
Administrative records from Krefeld's authorities only exist from the 17th century onwards, earlier documents having been destroyed in 1584 during the Truchsessian War (a local war), but records from church institutions and nobility go back much further. There are separate archives for Linn, Bockum, Fischeln, Hüls and Uerdingen, which used to be independent but are now districts of Krefeld. The archives at Uerdingen deserve special mention as they possess the oldest documents, dating back to 1398.
The Second World War caused another gap. The entire school and housing records were lost in the bombing. Files from 1945 onward are now stored separately according to which office or department they are from. The records from Hüls have now been added, following the incorporation of Hüls into Krefeld in 1975. The work of the city administration is of course best documented in their own files. However, as this is only part of the picture of what goes on in our city, the city archives also collect private documents of historical importance to Krefeld. In the shape of bequests and family or company records, they are at the disposal of anyone interested in studying them. But not only families and companies have contributed, politicians, composers, architects, writers, genealogists and historians have also played a part in building up substantial and varied sources of great scope for research. Individual documents are filed with contemporary records in the appropriate department of the archives. In addition to this, the archives own a collection of more than 2,900 maps, some of them of historical importance, and a poster collection.
The city archives also have newspaper records which are almost complete from 1798 up to the present day. Large parts of these newspaper records are on film. The collection of newspaper cuttings provides quick access to press reports from after the war up to the 1990s.
The photo collection includes some 40,000 historical and more recent photos of the city of Krefeld. These photos show clearly how the face of the city has changed.
In addition to the archives' records, visitors can also take advantage of the specialized library of about 21,000 volumes on the local history of the Rhineland, with the emphasis on the city of Krefeld and the Lower Rhine area. We also collect unclassified literature, commemorative booklets, school programmes and occasional texts such as jubilee brochures from societies and companies. The library also offers further literature on general history and standard works on ancillary subjects (genealogy, chronology, numismatics, heraldry, sphragistics, palaeography). The library can only be used on our premises, it is unfortunately not possible to borrow books.
A summary of our records can be found on the website of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland at www.archive.nrw.de. It may not always be clear, however, whether the material is relevant to a particular query. It is therefore advisable to phone or write before visiting us.