Bad Gandersheim is a town in southern Lower Saxony, Germany, located in the district of Northeim. As of December 2008, it had a population 10,572. The town includes the following surrounding villages: Ackenhausen, Altgandersheim, Clus, Dankelsheim, Dannhausen, Ellierode, Gehrenrode, Gremsheim, Hachenhausen, Harriehausen, Heckenbeck, Helmscherode, Seboldshausen, Wolperode, Wrescherode. Bad Gandersheim has many half-timbered houses and is located on the German Framework Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße).
The town dates back to 852, when Gandersheim Abbey, a house of secular canonesses, was created in nearby Brunshausen by Liudolf, Duke of Saxony and his wife Oda. The first abbey church (Stiftskirche) in the town proper was begun in 856. In 990 the abbey received the market and tax rights. During the 10th century, Gandersheim was one of the most important towns of Saxony; the first German poet Hrosvit lived and worked here until 973. In 1159 Gandersheim was first mentioned as a city. When a mineral spring was discovered in 1240, Pope Gregory IX initiated the erection of the Holy Spirit hospital. Around 1330, the Dukes of Brunswick built a castle as a secular counterbalance to the abbey church. This building serves today as the magistrates’ court and youth correctional facility. In the late 19th century, the city began to become known for the curative powers of its mineral springs and in 1932 the Gandersheim received the official right to call itself a spa town, thus ‘Bad’ Gandersheim, on account of these springs.
In the summer of 1926 there was a three-day “Roswitha Memorial Celebration in 1000-year old Gandersheim”. This was the first time the medieval author was used as a symbolic figure for the city. Similar celebrations took place in 1930 and 1933; these had clear national-socialistic themes — ‘German Culture’ versus ‘Jewish-Communist Decadence’. In 1952, the city celebrated the 1100 year jubilee of the founding of the monastery by Liudolf. A history play “The Song of Gandersheim” was presented on the market square. This was the unofficial prelude to the summer festival Gandersheimer Domfestspiele, which has been presented yearly on the plaza in front of the Stiftskirche since 1959. Since this time, it has established itself as Lower Saxony’s largest professional summer theatre festival.