The historic boundary column

From here you can see a light coloured column on a vineyard wall beside the road in the far distance. That is the historic boundary column marking the boundary between Nassau and Prussia.  Political boundaries may be moved, but the boundary stones survive these changes.

Hochheim belongs to Nassau

Originally the column marked the boundary of the the Duchy of Nassau formerly on territory belonging to the archbishopric of Mainz. The boundary existed here between 1803 and 1866.  French emperor Napoleon I was intent on making the Rhine the boundary between France and Germany. To this end he confiscated the land on the left side of the river including that belonging to Nassau. 

At the same time the Dukes of Nassau received land on the right side of the Rhine as compensation  for church properties lost during secularisation. So Hochheim came under the rule of the Dukes of Nassau.

The boundaries remained for 63 years until the Austrio-Prussian war in 1866. Nassau supported Austria who lost the war. As a result Prussia annexed the Duchy of Nassau and Hochheim became Prussian.

Eagle replaces lion

The marble boundary column was re-used by the new rulers. The column with its carving of the Nassau Lion was simply converted by adding the inscription „Königreich Preußen“ (Kingdom of Prussia) and replacing the lion with a cast iron plate depicting the Prussian Eagle. Long after the downfall of Prussia, the column survived WWII and several acts of vandalism relatively intact. It is a stone document of an eventful territorial and town history.

The boundary column was restored with the active help of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alt-Hochheim.


In German, the word Nassauer (Verb: “nassauern”) describes a person who pretends to be something else for his own benefit.

The duchy of Nassau did not have an own University. In order to attract students to study at the University of Göttingen, the Duke of Nassau awarded grants in form of free food. The scholars could eat eat for free at one of the licensed inns in Göttingen. Often, when a student relinquished his free meal, a stranger would take his place and pretend to be a Nassauer to obtain the free meal. 

The “unauthorised claiming of benefits” was always perpetrated by non-Nassauers and not Nassauers.  

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