Historical facts and information on
the capital of Namibia. We have tried to emphasize on less known facts from the town's
Windhoek was founded in the valley that was most likely the bowl of the prehistoric lake which was proven by the vegetation layer found during the construction of the Sanlam building. Typical bottom of the lake deposits were found at the depth of 15 metres.
Name. Nama called Windhoek Aigams (''Hot water'' because of hot springs of Windhoek) and Herero used name Otjimuise (''Place of smoke'') but it was Nama's chief Jonker Afrikaner who gave the town its present name - '' windy corner''. There are two versions for the origin of the name: windy place (only 28% calm days a year) and name of farm Winterhoek in the Cape where Afrikaner's family originally was from.
Windhoek climate makes it a very nice place to live in: mostly dry but with a quite reliable rainfall with an average of 360 mm a year. Another reason for establishing a settlement here were several fountains with good healthy water. German colonists found morass in the Windhoek's valley that they drained later. Windhoek's altitude is around 1650 m above sea level (railway station: 1642 m, International airport: 1680-1720 m, Ausspannplatz: 1650 m). The highest mountain around the capital is Grossherzog at 2330 m above sea level (south of Windhoek on the way to Rehoboth with TV tower on top).
The settlement was founded in 1840 by Jonker Afrikaner who built his first house next to present South African High Commission (previously Berg hotel). For a long time Windhoek was a small settlement abandoned from time to time during Nama-Herero wars. 18 October 1890 Curt von Francois reached Windhoek with 32 men and commenced construction of Alte Feste establishing permanent German presence. Shortly after small fort was erected which forms part of Schwerinsburg castle now.
Sights and buildings. Alte Feste. The oldest building in Windhoek (1890). Built as a headquarters for Schutztruppe and later served for South African troops the building was later used as a hostel for Windhoek High School (from 1935). Became a museum in 1962.
Christus Kirche. Built in 1910.
Elisabeth house. Storch street. National Monument. Built as a maternity home in 1908 and named after the Duchess Elisabeth zu Mecklenburg who was the wife of the president of German Colonial company.
Some historical dates.
1893. First hotel (Gasthof zum Kaiser) built by Ernst Heyn.
1894. First German private school opened.
1897. The monument in the Zoo park to honour the soldiers killed in the battle of Naukluft opened.
1899. Main street officially named Kaiserstrasse (Independence Avenue).
1902. 19 June - State railway line (Staatsbahn) reached Windhoek.
1904. January. Herero uprising. First water pipes laid down. First traffic rules: no galloping in town and speed limit for trains in Windhoek: 10 km per hour.
1907. 11 August. Commencing of construction of Christus Kirche.
1909. Windhoek is an independent municipality with Gustav Voigts as the first Mayor. First Mayor of Klein Windhoek is Amandus Fritsche.
1911. 280 telephone connections in Windhoek.
1912. Raider Memorial is unveiled on 27 of January - Kaiser Wilhelm's birthday.
1913. Opening of ''Tintenpalast'' (''Palace of Ink'') - Government Building (National Assembly at present).
1915. Occupation by SA troops on 12 of May.
1917. Owambo Campaign Memorial is unveiled on 6 of February. First Jacaranda trees are planted in SWA.
1920. First flushing toilet is installed by Georg Pinsenschaum in Kaiserkrone hotel.
1921. Klein Windhoek falls under jurisdiction of Windhoek.
1924. First electric street lightning installed along Kaiser street.
1930. Construction of Avis dam.
1932. Establishments of gardens at ''Tintenpalast'' by city gardener Hugo Stoessel.
1950. Population of Windhoek is 20 463.
1953. First Windhoek carnival.
1959. 11 and 12 December. Shooting at Old Location. Black inhabitants forced to move to new township Katutura.
Opening of Kudu statue.
1964. Ondekaremba International airport is opened.
1975. First sitting of Turnhalle Conference.
1981. Commencing of the construction of new brewery in the Northern industrial area.
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Important telephone numbers (Windhoek code 061):
|FIRE BRIGADE||21 1111|
|WINDHOEK CENTRAL HOSPITAL||203 9111|
|MEDI CLINIC PRIVATE HOSPITAL||222687|
|RHINO PARK PRIVATE HOSPITAL||225434|
|CATHOLIC MISSION HOSPITAL||237237|