Keetmanshoop is a town in southern Namibia, lying on the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Upington in South Africa. It is named after Johann Keetman, a German industrialist and founder of the city. Before the arrival of Europeans, the area was known as Nu-gouses, which means “Black Marsh” and indicated the presence of a spring in the area. In 1860 the Rhenish Missionary Society founded a mission there to spread their faith to the local Nama.
The first missionary, Johann Georg Schrader, arrived in Keetmanshoop on April 14, 1866, which is now marked as the founding date of Keetmanshoop. The mission station was named after the German trader Johann Keetman who supported the mission financially, but never actually visited the place himself. They found that even though some Africans converted to Christianity, taking away their tribal beliefs was another matter.
The Keetmanshoop Museum is located in the Rhenish Mission Church, a building dating back to 1895. The church was declared a national monument in 1978 and is a well-known landmark. Its unique combination of Gothic architecture cast in African stone makes it one of the architectural masterpieces in the country and a popular tourist attraction. Another notable building is the post office, dating from 1910.
The town is situated near two quiver tree forests and the Naute Dam and is an important center of the Karakul sheep farming community.