Oath Day

Esslingen Oath Day - a tradition of the Imperial City

The oath day was the principal political and constitutional event in Esslingen am Neckar, right up to the end of the era of imperial immediacy. A few years ago, the city revived this tradition.

The Esslingen Oath Day

Johan Jakob Keller described precisely the order of events on Oath Day in six letters that he wrote to a friend. The letters were published in 1789, along with a copper engraving depicting the Oath Day ceremony.

On the left side of the engraving are the residents of Esslingen, gathered under the guild banners in the Schwörhof. The unmarried soldiers lined up on the right. The council has taken up position in the background in a covered gallery.

In the bay of the ”oath balcony”, the new mayor takes an oath adhering to the statutes of the city in the presence of the director of the chancery, after which the municipal authorities and the city’s inhabitants take an oath on the constitution.

The oath day was held on the Sunday following Jakobstag (the 25th July).

The meaning and purpose of the Esslingen Oath Day today

The Oath Day marks the official start of the traditional Esslinger Bürgerfest, and takes place each year on the first Friday in July. Esslingen am Neckar expects tens of thousands of visitors at the Bürgerfest that follows immediately after Oath Day.

The Esslingen Oath Day harks back to a tradition dating from the time when Esslingen was an Imperial Free City, and was revived in 1990. For Lord Mayor Jürgen Zieger, the purpose of the Oath Day is to present Esslingen to its residents as a community with local responsibility and a broad identity, and to reinforce awareness of the city’s sustainable development based on its economy, ecology and social issues.


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