The Imperial City of Aachen, Aachen, Oochen, Aken, Aix, Aoke, is an Imperial city-state in western Europe. It is bordered by United Netherlands to the West and Julich to the East. It has a population of around 215,000.
The official languages are German, Limburgish and Luxembourgoise. Most citizens are bilingual in one form or another and the languages are mutually intelligible in many respects. Triplication of signage however is enshrined in the constitution.
The currency is the Aachen Groschen (AAG) which is one of the smallest traded currencies in Europe.
Traditionally the western most city in Germany, Aachen has been occupied since Neolithic times. After the Romans withdrew from the area it fell under the sway of the Franks and Pippin the Younger built a castle there and Charlemagne may or may not have been born in the city in 742. He certainly spent most of his winters there and it became the political centre of his realm. Successive Holy Roman Emperors received the crown of Germany in the city until Albert chose to be crowned in Frankfurt in 1539. After that the city's political power fell away and repeated sackings during the Empire's religious wars led it to be annexed by the Archbishopric of Cologne, which imposed Catholism (albeit unsuccessfully) on the populace. It would revolt during the Fifty Years War and held out for a year against a Catholic army. The extreme leading to the Great Fire of 1654.
It would regain immediacy by the Treaty of Copenhagen in 1668, readopting its own currency as a snub to Cologne. It would regain some of its importance, not for being the centre of politics but rather for being a frontier city. Soon after the peace Luxembourg began to eat away at the territories surrounding it. In 1738 both France and Bavaria swore to uphold Aachen's independence, halting Luxembourg's expansion (and its ability to hold the Imperial office too). While this ensured continued investment in the city the political system was frozen. Horrible sanitary conditions caused by the limiting fortifications and garrisoned troops were accerbated by the government's corrupt powerlessness and an influx of Limburgers and Luxembourgoise as the city made tentative steps towards industrialisation only made things worse as the city's populace became divided.
The city seethed with tension during the Iberian Revolution and, temporarily empty of soldiers who were away fighting the Hispanic forces, it revolted. The so-called 'Aachen Civil War' raged between Limburgers and Germans for three weeks until a Cologne army division could be spared to put down the revolt. At a side conference to the Treaty of Milan in 1835 Aachen and various other imperial cities had their old medieval constitutions revoked by the incoming Emperor George in an attempt to lessen revolutionary zeal within the Empire and were allowed to elect republican councils. The thawing of relations within the Empire led to the dismantling of the growth-stifling walls and a reduction of the garrison.
Industrialisation received a boost as the old diseased slums were cleared and it has become famous for locomotives, silk and tobacco processing. It has also has been increasingly favoured as a spa resort by the well-to-do of the United Netherlands. However political instability continues to dog government and prevent the city from achieving its full potential.
Despite high-minded politicians' best efforts the politics of Aachen still tend to split along linguistic lines. The Germans historically have held property whilst the lower classes are Limburgish or Luxembourgoise.
The city council is elected every five years but in practice terms rarely last that long before a crisis, scandal or popular protest causes the governing party's collapse.
The current mayor is Marcel Frank.