This town — now an affluent suburb of Frankfurt — was only called Soden until 1922, when it finally got state permission to use the highly coveted word Bad in its name.
The German word Bad means bath, so the towns that start with Bad are all spas. They all have naturally occurring mineral springs which are alleged to have medicinal or curative properties of some sort, so these are places where people can come to ‘take the waters’.
This was a lucrative business for about two hundred years, but towards the end of the twentieth century fashions changed, subsidies were reduced and most spas found themselves losing money. Many spas in outlying areas are still trying to keep the old traditions alive, but Bad Soden dissolved its Spa Corporation (Kur-GmbH) in 2001 and got out of the spa business entirely.
Evidently they are allowed to keep the name, however.
Bad Soden doesn’t really need the spa business, simply because it is the eighth most affluent town in Germany, as measured by something called the “purchasing power index”. Apparently the residents of Bad Soden have nearly twice as much money to spend as the average person in Germany.
Local merchants are dissatisfied, however, because a lot of this money tends to be spent outside the city limits of Bad Soden. Many residents work in Eschborn or Frankfurt and spend their money there. Others drive their fat gas-guzzling cars over to the neighboring town of Sulzbach, which has a particularly large and obnoxious shopping center.
The Old Spa Park (Alter Kurpark) has been here since 1823. It contains several mineral springs and fountains, and was for many years the center of the spa business in Bad Soden.
The former Bath House in the old Kurpark is now used for the city archives, the public library, the city art gallery and the city museum.
None of these are very big, so they all fit into the former Bath House without any crowding.
The museum has a few exhibits on local history including the districts of Neuenhain and Altenhein, which were independent villages until they were incorporated into the city of Bad Soden in 1977.
See if you young folks can guess what we used to use these for. (Hint: They were commonly found in places that didn’t have running water.)
My photos in this post are from 2013. I revised the text in 2022.
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