Hameln , a town of Prussia, in the province and 24 m. S. W. of the city of Hanover, on the Hamel and the Weser; pop. in 1871, 8,530. Over the Weser, which here forms an island, is a suspension bridge more than 800 ft. long. The town has a gymnasium, some manufactures of woollens and cottons, distilleries, and breweries. It was formerly fortified, and near it, in 1633, the Swedes obtained a victory over the imperial troops. It is famous as the scene of the legend of the piper of Hameln, who ' offered to clear the town of rats for a certain sum of money which the authorities agreed to pay. The vermin followed him as he played on his pipe, and were all drowned in the Weser. The people, released from their torment, refused to pay the stipulated sum, and the piper vowed vengeance. On June 26,1284, the feast of Saints John and Paul, he reappeared in the streets playing his pipe, and all the children, charmed by his music, followed him into a cavern of the mountain, where they disappeared and were never afterward heard from. For a long time the town dated its public documents from this calamity.
The legend is the subject of a poem by Robert Browning.