Leichlingen is noted as a centre for growing apples and berries. It can trace its earliest history back to the 10th century and by the 12th century there were records of a parish seat at Leichlingen. It was once a fishing village and by the 14th century it was known for oil, corn and mills which were the forerunners of today’s metal and textile industries. Weaving, bleaching, dyeing and tanning were also recorded but into the 19th century Leichlingen still largely made its living from agriculture particularly fruit.
The construction of the Cologne-Wuppertal railway line created conditions for the first industrial centres and in 1856 Leichlingen was granted town rights. Notable buildings in the town and its area include Nesselrath House, a medieval knight’s castle, and Haus Vorst, a well-preserved hilltop castle. Vorst probably dates from the 11th century and became a knight’s seat, later burning down in 1795 after occupation by French troops. The painter Werner Peiner bought the castle in 1948 and restored it.
The town has indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as rowing while it is possible to explore the area via carriage or covered wagon. It is well known for its fruit market which is held annually in October and is nationally renowned for the annual Leichlinger City Festival. This was held for the first time in 1973 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of Leichlingen.
It has a population of about 27,000 people while its coat of arms is based on the old 17th century seal of Leichlingen. Its upper part shows the lion of the Counts of Berg while the lower part of the shield shows a fish which may be a symbol for the fisheries in the Wupper river.