St. Leon-Rot: Location and history
St. Leon-Rot is located in the Rhine plain, about 20 km south-west of Heidelberg and has very good connections to the supra-local road network via the motorways A5 (E35; Frankfurt – Karlsruhe exit no. 39 – Walldorf/Wiesloch or no. 41 – Kronau) and A6 (E50; Mannheim – Heilbronn exit no. 32 – Wiesloch/Rauenberg). It is also open to traffic by the federal roads B3 and B39.
The suburban railway stop Rot/Malsch situated on the railway line Heidelberg – Bruchsal – Karlsruhe guarantees the connection to the regional and national railway. The regularly running suburban railway provides good connections to Heidelberg and Bruchsal / Karlsruhe. The railway is supplemented by a functioning bus line, also to the centre of Wiesloch.
The community with a population of more than 12,500 inhabitants emerged, in the course of the community reform, from the two formerly independent villages of Rot and St. Leon. Their roots go far back, of which findings from the Mesolithic and Neolithic period up to the Roman times give evidence. In the year 853 a canonist seminary named St. Leo emerged from the mists of history. The monastery of St. Leo was mentioned in a deed (29. April 858) by Ludwig the German.
St. Leon was first mentioned by document in 1157 and Rot in 1289. Until the end of the 14th century both parts of the community had already formed a unity. However in 1397 an own mayor was mentioned for each of the two communities, which indicates that they both had their own independent administrations. The final separation took place on 23.2.1476 when the church of Rot was elevated to the parish church, consecrated to the patron saint Holy Mauritius. Both of the former communities had come through the Peasant War rather undamaged. However the Thirty Years’ War brought the villages to the verge of ruin. Only few inhabitants survived, not a single house withheld the destruction. The following centuries were not very peaceful either, the communities were constantly threatened by wars and plunders.
As from 1771 both communities were subordinated to the administration of Philippsburg. After the secularization of the diocese of Speyer, Emperor Napoleon integrated them into the duchy of Baden. In 1849 the noise of weapons once again came into the community when Prussian troops suppressed the rebellion by the irregular volunteer Hecker. Then an epoch of striving development began, especially due to the growth of tobacco and the construction of tobacco-processing factories (1870). Money was spent, vineyards were bought in the district of Rauenberg or money was invested at interest at the village-own savings bank. Two world wars interrupted the economic development of the villages, but could not stop it.
Since the amalgamation large sums of money have been invested in both parts of the community to improve the infrastructure. Modern new estates have been built which has made St. Leon-Rot to an attractive residential community. Water supply and waste water removal have also been improved; the residents profit from new sports and recreation facilities which are also used by the sports clubs and schools. Active club life allows everybody to spend their free time in a meaningful way. The community gained an attraction with a strong outward effect with the golf course consisting of two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course, which was realized near the industrial park in St. Leon-Rot and which is ideal for attractive golf tournaments. Until 2004 the European Championships for professional golfers took place every two years in St. Leon-Rot with the “SAP-Deutsche Bank Open”.
Besides the range of sports, residents can also pursue their musical inclinations in various culture-supporting organizations.
In the modern recreational area “St. Leoner See” permanent campers and day campers find relaxation as well as day guests. Fishing and bathing are possible in this area just as windsurfing, water-skiing, sailing and diving.
With the construction of the “Harres” conference and culture centre in the year 1986 the community established its new community centre according to the amalgamation contract. In 1998 the local administration, accommodated in the former town halls of St. Leon and Rot, moved into the new town hall next to the “Harres” and were unified under one roof. The protestant church complements the new community centre as well as a residential and trading estate opposite the new town hall.
Residents can purchase all types of goods of day-to-day needs in modern shopping centres. Furthermore a sheltered accommodation centre with a geriatric home supported by the Caritas Rhine-Neckar came into being in the area of the community centre. The future indoor swimming pool will be built behind the “Harres” in Laurentiusstrasse.
For more than 500 years there is evidence of a market in St. Leon; originally a hemp market, it is still held today as the so-called Sauerkraut market on the first Sunday after All Saints’ Day. The public spirit is obvious every year at the festivals. Not only at the Sauerkraut market, also at the Strassenkerwe (a fair in the main street) of Rot and the street fair held by the local clubs of St. Leon as well as at many club festivals the inhabitants of the community meet up with guests from near and far.
Handicraft businesses and service companies have healthy livelihoods in both parts of the community. In addition to this larger industrial companies have settled; in the past years more and more jobs have been created locally. SAP has concentrated its support in the industrial park of St. Leon-Rot. The training courses at the SAP university are daily visited by up to 450 participants. About 2,500 staff members support software users in the whole world. Meanwhile SAP has built a data-processing centre and further office buildings, thus creating approx. 800 jobs.
The successful efforts to create jobs at their place of residence are profited by the inhabitants, who distinguish themselves as being very hard-working. Besides their fulltime jobs, some of them have a secondary occupation mainly growing asparagus, with which they acquire a profitable additional income. This becomes evident in the new estates, in which new houses with modern quality of housing are built. Due to the local jobs the employees are interested in settling close to their working places. In order to meet these wishes and the building requests by the resident inhabitants the community has established development areas in both parts for a total of 2,000 inhabitants: buildings are in construction in both areas. Due to the community centre with its town hall, “Harres” conference and culture centre, the protestant parish centre, the sheltered accommodation centre, the supermarkets and the private high school the development area “Rosenstraße/ Tränkweg”, belonging to Rot, largely closes the former settlement gap between the two parts of the community.
On the cultural sector the adult education centre with the integrated children’s art school and the school for musical education offer a wide range of activities. Basic school education is provided by the two primary and secondary schools. At the beginning of the school year 2004/05 the private high school of St. Leon-Rot took up lessons. The new school building is situated opposite the protestant parish centre and is currently being supplemented by another wing. This became necessary due to the great demand. Other secondary schools in the neighbouring towns of Walldorf, Wiesloch and Heidelberg are easy to reach. There are attractive bus and railway connections to these towns, supplemented resp. improved by the telephone taxis. The public transport company ÖPNV also connects the community with the industrial park as well as the railway station Rot/Malsch and provides attractive intralocal connections.