village history

 Mountain Freedom (the literal translation of “Bergfreiheit”) – the name says it all! On 14 Sept. 1561 Count Samuel von Waldeck issued an edict on the “Miner freedoms in the valleys of Urf”, which was to give the miners’  settlement its name. Iron ore was initially mined here, later also copper ore. As an incentive for the heavy and dangerous work underground or in huts and hammer mills, the sovereign granted the miners these extraordinary “freedoms”, including the felling of timber, firewood and coal “free of any tax” for three years, and the Count allowed permanent “shaft and gallery rights” as well as freedom of trade and free lower jurisdiction in courts.

In contrast to the state constitution, the “Free Men” were allowed to elect their own Mayor and Town Council. Pub rights, an open weekly market, bathrooms, mills, breweries, salt crates, and meat factories were among the rights and freedoms “most graciously granted” to the miners.

The first documented iron church bell was cast here by Johann Sonneborn and accompanied the miners through the centuries. Ore mining ceased as early as 1590. Between 1732 and 1744 as well as at the end of the 19th century, some excavations were carried out again, but with little success. The former copper mine can now be visited as an exhibition mine. The local gemstone cutting company still has mining rights. There you will find treasures from all over the world as well as the semi-precious stone Kellerwald agate, the “gemstone of the Kellerwald”.