Napoléon Bonaparte waged wars of conquest throughout the whole of Europe. After the defeat of the Prussians he founded the Kingdom of Westphalia. Braunschweig was occupied by the French and received a new constitution. This met with quite some resistance. During the wars of liberation Braunschweig troops entered the city in 1813 and restored the old Dukedom of Braunschweig.
The industrial revolution in Braunschweig began in the year 1838 with the building of the first German State Railway. The railway industry developed into one of the most important economic factors of the city. Sugar industry, mechanical engineering and the optical industry also added considerably to the boom of the city.
The new factories not only changed the face of the city but also the working life for its citizens as the plants urgently needed workers. Working conditions compared to the ones of today were rather bad. Labour times of ten hours a day for six days a week were very common. The position of the workers slowly started to improve at the beginning of the 20th century through labour agreements, social installations by the employers and the commitment of the trade unions.
After World War I approximately 830.000 returning soldiers and refugees arrived in the city. There was not enough living space for so many people. In order to cope with the acute housing shortage the company ‘Nibelungen Wohnbau’ was founded. It built new residential areas like the ‘Siegfriedviertel’ and with those set a course of innovations, not only of the architectural kind. Even the interior design was far ahead of its time: Each flat had a bathroom with a toilet, warm running water and heating.