Neuss was founded by the Romans in 16 BC as a military fortification, on the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Erft, with the name of Novaesium or Castra Novesia.
Later a civil settlement was founded a little further north during the 1st century AD. The city is one of three oldest Roman settlements in Germany. During the 10th century, the remains of Saint Quirinus of Rome had been relocated to Neuss and form the sacrament of Qurinus Munster, the city’s most famous landmark.
The city of Neuss underwent a period of extensive growth during the Middle Ages and was first documented as a town by Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire in 1138. In the 15th century, Neuss was scene of the siege of Neuss when the city resisted the attacks by Charles the Bold of Burgundy.
In 1586 more than two-thirds of the city were destroyed by fire Then several wars during the reign of King Louis XIV of France resulted in worsening finances for Neuss. A decline in trading activities followed because of the damaged infrastructure.
From 1794–1814 Neuss was under the rule of Napoleonic France. In 1815 after the Congress of Vienna, Neuss became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. The city had a population of 6,333 in those days. It was part of the Prussian Province of Jülich-Cleves-Berg during 1815–22 and its successor, the Rhine Province during 1822– 1946. Neuss regained its economic power with the expansion of the harbour in 1835 and increased industrial activity. The city’s boundaries were expanded in 1881.
Neuss became part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia in 1946. In 1968 the city’s official name was changed from Neuß to Neuss. Nowadays the Greater Neuss region has a population of 440,000 whereas some 152,000 people live in the city proper.