From the Middle Ages to the Smart City

The first traces of settlement in the Linz area date back to the Iron Age. Linz was first mentioned in 874 and belonged to the Electorate of Cologne from 1250 onwards. The archbishops of Cologne promoted the town due to its strategically favourable location on the south-eastern border of the Cologne territory. Around 1320 Linz was granted city rights and a massive city wall with four city gates, and in 1365 the Zoll- und Zwingburg was built.

In the following centuries, Linz always suffered from the turmoil of war. The city had political significance since the 15th century as the head of the "Linz Union", a protective and defensive alliance of small towns and villages in the Middle Rhine region. Linz also played an important role during the Reformation riots under Archbishop Hermann von Wied in the 1540s. The city experienced its economic heyday in the 15th century. Wine, cloth, iron goods and fuller's earth were the most important trade goods since the Middle Ages, in addition to the income from the Rhine customs.

The end of the Electoral State in 1803 brought about a dramatic social and economic slump, which only improved with the connection to the railway network on the right bank of the Rhine in 1870 and the foundation of Basalt AG in 1888. Another important pillar of Linz's economy since that time has been tourism. The first steamships docked in Linz as early as 1858, and with the beginning of the uncovering of plastered half-timbered buildings at the beginning of the 20th century, Linz became the "Colourful Town at the Rhine".