Location, history, economy, politics, castles, other attractions and nature of the area

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Marktoberdorf Old Town Hall © Werner Thoma / IMAGO

The Ostallgäu district is located in the Munich metropolitan region and is a popular destination with its history, royal castles, mountains and lakes.

  • the Ostallgäu district is one of the nine adventure areas in the Allgäu.
  • Milk farming, tourism and international companies are the three solid pillars of the company economy in this region.
  • Rural Eastern Allgäu has some thriving industrial locations thanks to its excellent transport links.

Marktoberdorf – The district town of Marktoberdorf is a recognized tourist resort and, at 758 meters above sea level, is the highest district town in Germany and one of the highest towns in Bavaria and the Ostallgäu.

+++ All stories and news from all over Bavaria can be found on Merkur.de/bayern, for Augsburg and Swabia visit our brand new department of the same name. +++

Ostallgäu – the location of the district

The Ostallgäu is located at the foot of the Alps and therefore belongs to the Bavarian administrative region of Swabia. The district borders to the north with the Unterallgäu and Augusta, to the east with the districts of Landsberg am Lech, Weilheim-Schongau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. To the south, the mountain ranges of the Alps limit the Ostallgäu. They belong to the Austrian state of Tyrol. In the entire west, the Oberallgäu forms the border with this district.

The Ostallgäu district is the lowest in the northern part of Lamerdingen with an altitude of 587 meters above sea level. The central part reaches an average height of 800 meters, while the highest point is located at 2,082 meters on the Hochplatte in the Ammergau Alps.

The four main rivers flow through the Ostallgäu:

Wertach and Lech arise in Austria. Mindel and Günz have their source in the Allgäu. The Wertach flows into the Lech near Augsburg. This flows together with the Mindel and the Günz into the Danube.

Ostallgäu district – its history

Much of the present structure of the Ostallgäu belonged to the domain of the Prince-Bishop of Augsburg. This secular property of the Augsburg bishopric was confiscated by the state of Bavaria in 1803 as part of secularization. This is where the real story of the district begins.

In 1804, as part of this administrative reform, the regional courts were established:

  • libroloe
  • Kaufbeuren
  • feet
  • Oberdorf
  • Oberguenzburg

On January 1, 1939, the former regional courts under the National Socialist government received the Landkreise designation, which is still in use today. In the area of ​​today’s East Allgäu, the three courts have emerged:

  • feet
  • Kaufbeuren
  • Marktoberdorf

This order remained in effect until the great Bavarian territorial reform of 1 July 1972. At that time, the government converted the three individual districts and their municipalities into the new district of Marktoberdorf, with few changes and exceptions.

In 1973 the district was given the name Ostallgäu, which is still used today. Since then, Marktoberdorf has been the seat of the district council and thus the district city of the region.

The district license plate number is OAL for Ostallgäu since 1973.

Ostallgäu district – facts and figures on residents

Around 141,000 people live in the Ostallgäu district (as of December 2019), which corresponds to a population density of around 101 inhabitants per square kilometer. This makes the district the most sparsely populated district in southern Bavaria after Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

The most densely populated cities are:

  • Buchloe with 367 inhabitants per square kilometer
  • Füssen with 356 inhabitants per square kilometer
  • Marktoberdorf with 197 inhabitants per square kilometer

Population growth stagnated for several years between 2008 and 2013. But the population has been steadily increasing ever since. This is mainly due to the thriving economy and the high quality of life in the cities.

The rural communities of Kraftisried, Halblech, Stötten am Auerberg and Schwangau are the most sparsely populated. With 28 inhabitants per square kilometer, Halblech has the lowest population density in the district.

Ostallgäu District – city and community in the district area

The Ostallgäu district has a total of 45 municipalities. These consist of villages and hamlets as well as the district town of Marktoberdorf and the towns of Buchloe and Füssen. The 45 municipalities, hamlets and hamlets are divided into ten administrative municipalities (VG) in the district.

Exceptions are the cities of Füssen and Marktoberdorf, the markets of Ronsberg and Nesselwang and the municipalities:

  • Germaringen
  • Mauerstetten
  • half sheet
  • Lechbruck am See
  • Pfronten
  • Schwangau

These municipalities do not belong to an administrative community and each acts independently.

Ostallgäu district and its infrastructure

Despite the rural area, the Ostallgäu has an excellent infrastructure. This includes above all the well-developed road network with the federal motorways A7 and A96 as well as the federal roads B12, B16, B17, B309 and B472.

In addition, three major railway lines run through the district: Marktoberdorf-Füssen, Marktoberdorf-Kempten and Kempten-Reutte. The Buchloe railway hub provides quick connections to the cities of Memmingen, Augsburg and Munich.

The internationally connected Allgäu Airport in Memmingen is an additional offer for individuals and business people, from where travelers can reach the Ostallgäu by train, car or shuttle bus in about 45 minutes.

Ostallgäu – economy and industry in the district

The economy in the Ostallgäu district is divided into two areas: while tourism and the hotel and restaurant industry thrive in the south, the center and north are predominantly home to small and medium-sized businesses and agriculture.

The farmers are mainly active in the dairy sector. This is also demonstrated by the Karwendel factories in Buchloe, one of the largest dairies in the region.

In the eastern Allgäu, farmers work 76,750 hectares. Of this area, 86% is made up of meadows and pastures. The rest goes to agriculture.

In addition, some international companies are based in Ostallgäu. These include, among others:

  • AGCO Fendt special vehicle manufacturer
  • Packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki Germany
  • Nestlé food producer
  • Mechanical engineer Deckel Maho

Another special feature of the regional industry is the company Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH & Co. KG based in Buchloe. This company has been known for its excellence in BMW tuning and motorsports since the 1960s. Alpina has been producing automobiles based on BMW vehicles since 1978 and was recognized as an independent car manufacturer in 1983. In 2014, the Ostallgäu plant had more than 200 employees.

Ostallgäu district – politics is worth knowing

District policy is determined by the district administrators elected by the people. These are the highest administrative officials of a municipality and at the same time assume the presidency of the district council. The term of office for this post is six years.

In the Ostallgäu district, Maria Rita Zinnecker of the CSU is the acting district administrator. She has been in office since 2014 and was re-elected in the 2020 municipal elections.

The district council decides on all basic matters of the district at the municipal level and determines the administrative tasks. Members are also elected by the citizens of a district. In Bavaria, the district council consists of 60 members and the respective district administrator. The two strongest parties in the Ostallgäu district council include the Free Electors and the CSU, closely followed by the SPD and the Greens.

District Ostallgäu – the attractions of the region

With the “Schlosspark”, the Ostallgäu has one of the nine adventure areas in the Allgäu. Visitors experience a variety of impressions through majestic buildings, romantic cities and a picturesque landscape, for example during a stroll through a large park. Highlights include attractions such as:

  • the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau
  • historic city centers
  • numerous castle ruins
  • crystal clear lakes
  • gorges and mountain rivers
  • towering mountains and ridges

The region is a true paradise for cyclists and hikers. Those interested can take well-marked routes for individual tours to discover the Ostallgäu.

Other popular excursion destinations in the district include:

  • the Forggensee
  • the royal crystal spa of Schwangau
  • the Alpspitz bathhouse in Nesselwang
  • the forest rope route in Pfronten
  • the Pöllat gorge and the Reichenbach gorge

For children, the Ostallgäu is a treasure chest for a wide variety of adventures. In addition to summer bathing fun in the numerous lakes of the region or wonderful winter sports days in the snow, there is a lot to experience in the nature experience center in Füssen or on the summer toboggan run in Nesselwang. There is a lot to discover for young and old alike on an excursion to the ruins of Falkenstein Castle.

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