Iserlohn with ca 100,000 citizens is the largest town in Märkischen Kreis.
Iserlohn, fondly known as the “forest town” is renowned for offering excellent living conditions and leisure opportunities. Iserlohn offers historical buildings, leisure and cultural facilities, attractive local excursions in wonderful natural setting, sport acitivities, shopping, good parking amenities and competitive industry and commerce.
The upper town church (Oberste Stadtkirche) with a gothic winged altar, the town wall dating back to the Middle Ages, Pankratius Church from 9th Century, the barock „Bürgerpalast” of the town museum, together with the half-timbered houses resulting from the late Middle Ages – all contribute to the outstanding historical buildings of Iserlohn.
Leisure and cultural amenities are in close proximity to the town center: the Alexanderhöhe (Park Theater, with additional function rooms,), Rupen Lake, town forest region and the Seilersee Lake area and facilities including skating rink, tennis courts, swimming pool, mini-golf, riding stables, cafes, pubs, hotels and two football stadiums which are also home to the largest international music parade during the shooting festival, an annual popular event within the region).
In the nearby town of Letmathe, one finds the Catholic Parish Church of St. Kilian and the Dechenhöhle – one of the largest and finest examples of dripstone (stalactite and stalagmite) caves in Germany.
In the vicinity is the picturesque village of Oestrich, which is well worth a visit, with a delightful and historical centre.
To the south of Iserlohn, still within the town´s wooded area, the natural countryside invites the observer to wonderful views from the Danzturm (tower).
The historical factory premises of Maste–Barendorf have developed into a particular attraction with artists´workshops, casting, cafeteria and to date, the unique to Germany Needle Museum. During the summer months, thousands of additional visitiors can take advantage of the attractive open-air cultural programme which is held at Barendorf.
Excursions in wonderful, natural setting – over 200 kms of country walks link the plateaux of Kesbern, the plains and slopes of Sümmern, Hennen, Kalthof, Lössel and Dröschede.
Of course, sport is very important in Iserlohn, 182 gymnastic and sport clubs with nearly 60 different types of sports on offer, ranging from badminton to ice-hockey, handball, gliding, taekwondo and riding – there is something to interest everyone. Besides the promotion of top atheletes in competitive sport, – most of all, importance is placed on youth work and the cultivation and encouragement of popular sport.
Not only the attractive geographical location but the varied cultural and leisure activities have helped to make Iserlohn an interesting town. Also shopping in the „forest town” is something special. The whole city area is pedestríanised. The large department stores, the new shopping center (Market Passage), top quality retailers and the small boutiques offer a wide range of articles to suit everyone´s taste and pocket. Not least, good parking amenities ensure that visitors from surrounding towns and the bordering Ruhr region are well catered for when visiting Iserlohn on a shopping spree.
And what would a town be without a competitive and strong economy! The service sector industry, alongside the metal working industry, (in particular , steel forming, steel and light metal industry) and mechanical engineering. Also long established here in Iserlohn are leading firms of the pharmaceutical industry, plastics manufacture, waste management and recycling.
Iserlohn is the location of the Technical College of the region (South Westphalia) which incorporates institutes for maintenance, waste management and environmental technology .– Also here is BITS – Business and Information Technology School –the main emphasis on business management, economics and media studies. The German center for Geronto technology, the Iserlohn trade and industry and the training college of the county trained craftsmen are just a few examples of the forward-looking significance of the positive development of the Iserlohn economy, mainly with regard to the training of qualified employees.
Additionally, the restructuring of four previous garrison locations within Iserlohn has opened up living and commercial possibilities for further positive town development. The concepts realised here are regarded as exemplary.
The Pancratius church (also called Bauernkirche) was founded in around 985, but the first written document mentioning lon dates only from 1150. In 1237 the Count of the Mark gave Iserlohn municipal rights. In 1975 the city, which had been an urban district before, incorporated the surrounding ex-municipalities of Letmathe, Hennen, Sümmern and Kesbern, and became part of the district “Märkischer Kreis”. As a larger mid-sized city, Iserlohn, however, still has a special status as compared to most other municipalities in the district. This means that the city takes on tasks more usually performed by the district (e.g. social and youth affairs) so that in some ways it is comparable to an urban district.
As an important industrial city in the Ruhr region, during the post-WWII era starting in 1953 Canadian and British military under NATO were garrisoned here and in surrounding municipalities (Hemer, where a large Canadian Army housing area was located to house Canadian Army personnel and their families, and Deilinghofen where two of the Canadian Army barracks were located (Fort Prince of Wales and Fort McLeod). There were also garrisons stationed at Werl and Soest/Bad Sassendorf).
Within Iserlohn itself the Canadian Army had barracks in former Panzer barracks and renamed the Barracks Fort Beausejour and Fort Qu’Appelle.
After 1970, following the transfer of Canadian troops to the Black Forest Region, these barracks in Iserlohn and Deilinghofen, as well as the barracks located in Werl and Soest, were either transferred to British, back to the Bundeswehr, or converted to civilian use. The Canadian housing in Hemer (Private Married Quarters or “PMQs”) was converted to civilian housing.