Am Urseltersbrunnen 1-3, 65618Niederselters
Germany’s best-known fount of health.
In 1536 the Niederselters mineral fountain was documented for the first time, but it was in 1581 that the respected doctor Jakob Theodor Tabernaemontanus described the curative effects of Seltzer-water in detail in his book “Neuw Wasserschatz”. In 1606 the spring was curbed again, and afterwards entrepreneurs and visitors came to the fountain. In those days doctors praised the Seltzer spring as exquisite medicine, and Professor Friedrich Hoffmann called the Seltzer spring “a famous fount of health” in 1727, and that was confirmed at the end of the 19th century by Professor Remigius Fresenius.
Between 1700 and 1753 local Niederselters businessmen successfully managed the sale of the water. Then the Duchy of Trier took over the lucrative business as a state monopoly. More than 20 persons were employed there. Niederselters developed into a health resort, with a specialist doctor, hotels (Römischer Kaiser) and big restaurants (Zum doppelten Adler, Gasthof Send, Gasthof Zum Löwen). To protect the valuable property the Duchy of Trier had a small barracks built in classicist style from 1789-1792, which today still serves as town-hall.
In 1815 the most famous German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe visited the spring which by now was in the ownership of the Duchy o Nassovia and which contained the central sales outlet for all Nassovian mineral waters: the ducal Nassovian fountain comptoir.
Until 1866 every year millions of earthen jugs were filled with Seltzer-water and as Professor Hufeland wrote in 1815, sold all over the world because it was asked for as a remedy for many diseases, especially of lungs, asthma, kidney and bladder. At that time the Seltzer-water fountain was best-selling German mineral water with more than four million fillings annually.
Seltzer-water was sent to many European and American states. There were depots in London, New York and Paris, where it was spoken of as “Seltzer-water” respectively “l’eau de Seltz”. Austria and Russia also were important customers of the carbonated water. When in 1866 Prussia annexed the Duchy of Nassovia, the Seltzer-water spring became a royal Prussian state firm in state ownership. The buildings were modernized and in 1876 connected to the Limburg-Frankfurt railway line by a special connection. Between 1870 and 1914 glass bottles replaced the earthen jugs that had been produced for many centuries in the “Kannebäckerland” (Westerwald).
The industrial captain Friedrich Siemens leased the mineral fountain in 1894, where by now about 100 people worked. Between 1906 and 1912 the old buildings were demolished. Only the “Krugmagazin” survived. An imposing bottling plant was built together with a big storehouse and office building.
After the First World War, when the world market for Seltzer-water had broken down, the decline of the fountain began. Its leading position got lost and sales decreased rapidly.
In 1942, the Nazi SS took over the firm, where 30 Russian forced labour women worked. These women and their children, of whom eleven died in Niederselters, had to live in two barracks under inhuman conditions.
Between 1954 and 1999 the firms “Getränke Lehnig” from Eschwege, the brewery “Herrenhausen” from Hanover and the “Binding” brewery successfully traded Seltzer-water in the drinks market. In 2001, when the fountain was closed down for operational reasons, the community of Selters took over the fountain well-known for nearly 500 years.
Generously supported by the German Federal Republic, the State of Hesse and European Community resources, the Selters community restored the art nouveau buildings. The “Temple” got back its former appearance, the former storehouse now is used for the “Haustrunk” (free water for the local inhabitants), two lounges and a day nursery. The former office building now serves as local archive. Altogether € 6.7 million were used for restoration and changes.
In that way a German industrial and cultural monument was preserved, whose name SELTERS Wasser is well-known in Germany and abroad. Today Seltzer-water from the springs of Löhnberg-Selters and Bad Camberg-Oberselters is successfully offered on the mineral waters market.