Minden - Rampenloch

Although prostitution can be traced back further, the establishment of the Prussian garrison at the beginning of the 19th century brought the trade into being in a big way.

The Rampenloch originally lay outside the city boundary and was considered a disreputable area to be avoided by most of the population. In the middle ages there was a cemetery there for women who had been sentenced to death for murdering their children, a fairly common occurrence at the time during to unwanted pregnancies. Since the reformation, the area became a public dumping grounds and it is from this time that the name 'Rampenloch' stems, although the origin of the name is not clear. From the 16th century, the district became an area for people too 'poor' to be tolerated within the city.

In the wake of a long occupation by the French, Minden was re-constructed as a garrison town. Because of the ensuing problems with street prostitution (namely the spread of sexual diseases) and also taking note of a court judgement in neighboring Paderborn that prostitution was allowed as long it took place under state supervision, plans were set in place to institute a more regulated system in Minden.

In 1817, the military commander Schwichow persuaded the city authorities to introduce a system where the only allowed prostitution required regular health checks. Although the city council were resistance to the actual establishment of brothels, these were eventaully introduced under encouragement from the Ministry of the Interior.

According to legend, the first brothel was opened in the Heidemannsche Haus Nr. 575 (later Königswall 87) in 1817, which remained open until 1846. Other brothels were opened in different locations, e.g. 'Deichhof', 'Königswall' (again), 'Soodgasse' and 'Am Weingarten'. Street prostitution still continued however, at the 'Wallanlagen am Simeonstor', and even the 'Wache am Wesertor'.

Brothels opened in the Rampenloch at the end of the 19th. century. Although 2008 marked the centenary of Rampenloch being a red-light district, the withdrawal of British troops is reported to be causing difficulties.

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