Oil company road maps from Freiburg (Germany)

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Freiburg im Breisgau is an historic city of nearly 200,000 inhabitants on the edge of the Black Forest. It has a famous university, research institutes and diverse manufacturing. Over the past 70 years or so a number of petrol companies have published maps that include street plans of Freiburg. All map images on this page are at 50% of the original size (compared to a scale of 30% on most pages on this web site).

Pre-War Maps

1935 Shell map

Shell issued this detailed map of the city in 1935 as section 49 in its extensive series of city plans. As with other Shell maps of the era, it is interesting to see how quickly the Nazis had imposed their names onto some of the streets; Adolf-Hitler-Platz surrounds the Stadtgarten just NE of the city centre - today it is called Europa-Platz. It shows some 16 Shell stations plus a distribution depot and unusually at least one site (in Wilhemstr.) still sells Shell petrol today. Unlike the other maps on this page Shell's was solely of Freiburg and did not include any surrounding areas, although some of the pictures included inside did show the adjacent Black Forest. The cover, featuring the Münster, and the two illustrated panels from inside the map are shown immediately below.

Cover of 1935 Shell map of Freiburg Pictures inside 1935 Shell map of Freiburg Pictures inside 1935 Shell map of Freiburg

Extract from 1936 Shell touring map of Black Forest (S)
Above: Shell Schwarzwald (Südlicher Teil), ca1936
Top Right: BV-Aral, 1936 (from Sheet 11)
Right: Leuna, 1939 from Atlas of Germany
1936 BV plan of Freiburg
1939 Leuna plan of Freiburg

Top of PagePost-War Maps

ca1961 Aral (from sheet 6) 1974 Aral (from sheet 6)

Aral's 1961 offering (left) by Busche was still similar in feeling to the pre-war BV version. But by 1974 it has moved to showing a large area at a smaller scale, to help locate the new Aral stations that were being built in the suburbs to replace the old city centre ones. Much of the historic city centre is now shaded pink to show that it has reserved for pedestrians only. Note also that the autobahn creeps onto the NW corner of the map. Most of the locations were however still traditional Aral sites - acquiring Gasolin had not helped the brand much in Freiburg (as can be seen from there only being 5 Leuna sites in 1939; there were no Nitag sites in the city in that same year.)

Freiburg from a 1953 Viscobil atlas

In 1953, Freiburg was quite simply depicted on a Viscobil map (left), but by 1966, the Esso Schwarzwald Panorama map shows more detail and how Freiburg sits on the border of the mountains and the Rhine valley.

Freiburg as shown on 1966 Esso Schwarzwald Panorama map
1976 BP (from sheet 5)

As the city grew larger, so did the maps. BP's 1960s maps were relatively small with roadmaps on each side. By 1976, they were more generously proportioned maps from H. König allowing cities such as Freiburg to have a street plan shown. There were 6 BP outlets in 1976 - but the last of these filling stations closed 25 years later and was redeveloped as a site for the brand HEM. The red rings signified those open 24 hours, but all 6 also had coin operated pumps.

1998 Aral (from sheet 7) The 1998 Aral map had been expanded to include a larger scale street map of the city centre (below) as well as the overview map introduced in the 1970s. Both marked Aral locations, and it is perhaps surprising that there were still two in the central area (although one of these has since closed). Cartography was by Busche of Dortmund, as with most Aral maps.
Of course, these are just a selection of the petrol brands and maps that can be found in Freiburg. Most people living there will buy a detailed plan rather than rely on the small map included on a wider petrol company issue. And not every company sells either branded maps or maps with city insets. Today, Aral is the most common brand in Freiburg with 6 outlets out of around 39. But almost a third of the stations do not sell conventional brands of petrol, being either "Freie" or attached to supermarkets. The branded stations include Agip, Avia, BFT, DEA, Esso, Jet and Total, none of which are represented here, as well as smaller local names like ESG and Extrol. 1998 Aral (from sheet 7)

Top of PageMost recent maps of Freiburg

Shell and Aral continue to sell maps that show the city of Freiburg, at increasing levels of detail, although none of these maps show service station locations:
Photos from 2002 Shell atlas page for Freiburg
Extract from 2002 Shell map of Freiburg
Extract from 2002 Shell map of Freiburg
ca2002 Aral map of Freiburg Extract from ca2002 Aral map of Freiburg

The two left images are taken from the Shell Straßen & Reisen 2002/2003 atlas. Using Mairs cartography, it includes over 80 pages of city district maps (above, at 1:100,000) and city centre street plans (below, at 1:20,000). Unlike the older maps, only small extracts can be shown as each map is slightly larger than A4, and has a row of six local photographs heading each page.
Aral's equivalent atlas has fewer city plans, so omits Freiburg. However an enterprising dealer, Uwe Wewerka, with two of the six Aral stations in the city, has had their details overprinted onto the cover of the street map produced by Städt-Verlag E. v. Wagner & J. Mitterhuber. This map covers all of Freiburg at 1:18,000 and is marginally more up to date than the Shell atlas, based on the bus routes that both show! Städt-Verlag's street maps are widely sold in petrol stations along with the rival issues from ADAC. It is not common for individual dealers to arrange for overprinted or factory-stickered versions of these maps to be produced, but other examples are known from Aral in Germany and Austria, and the same Freiburg map can be found with an overprint from the Mahlberg West service area, although not indicating the brand of fuel (AVIA) on sale there.

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2002-4

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.