Cottbus (German pronunciation: [ˈkɔtbʊs] (listen); Lower Sorbian: Chóśebuz, pronounced [ˈxɨɕɛbus]) is a university city and the second-largest city in Brandenburg, Germany. Situated around 125 km (78 mi) southeast of Berlin, on the River Spree, Cottbus is also a major railway junction with extensive sidings/depots. Although only a small Sorbian minority lives in Cottbus itself, the city is considered as the political and cultural center of the Sorbs in Lower Lusatia.

From top: View of Cottbus at sunset,
The Art-Nouveau façade of the State Theater (1905), The 14th cent. Spremberger Tower,
View on the Karl-Liebknecht Str, The library of the Brandenburg University of Technology

Coat of arms
Location of Cottbus/Chóśebuz
Coordinates: 51°45′38″N 14°20′03″E
DistrictUrban district
  Lord MayorHolger Kelch (CDU)
  Total164.28 km2 (63.43 sq mi)
70 m (230 ft)
  Density610/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0355
Vehicle registrationCB


Until the beginning of the 20th century, the spelling of the city's name was disputed. In Berlin, the spelling "Kottbus" was preferred, and it is still used for the capital's Kottbusser Tor ("Cottbus Gate"), but locally the traditional spelling "Cottbus" (which defies standard German-language rules) was preferred, and it is now used in most circumstances. Because the official spelling used locally before the spelling reforms of 1996 had contravened even the standardized spelling rules already in place, the Standing Committee for Geographical Names stress their urgent recommendation that geographical names should respect the national spelling standards. In this context it is to be noted that a citizen of the city may be identified as either a "Cottbuser" or a "Cottbusser".

Names in different languages:


Historical affiliations
March of Lusatia 965–1002

Duchy of Poland 1002–1025
Kingdom of Poland 1025–1032
March of Lusatia 1032–1367
Lands of the Bohemian Crown 1367–1445
Margraviate of Brandenburg 1445–1618
Brandenburg-Prussia 1618–1701
 Kingdom of Prussia 1701–1807
Kingdom of Saxony 1807–1815
 Kingdom of Prussia 1815–1871
 German Empire 1871–1918
 Weimar Republic 1918–1933
 Nazi Germany 1933–1945
 Allied-occupied Germany 1945–1949
 German Democratic Republic 1949–1990

 Federal Republic of Germany 1990–present

The settlement was established in the 10th century, when Sorbs erected a castle on a sandy island in the River Spree. The first recorded mention of the town's name was in 1156. In the 13th century German settlers came to the town and thereafter lived side by side with the Sorbs. In the Middle Ages Cottbus was known for wool, and the town's drapery was exported throughout Brandenburg, Bohemia and Saxony. In 1445 Cottbus was acquired by the Margraviate of Brandenburg from Bohemia. In 1514 Jan Rak founded the Universitas Serborum, a Sorbian gymnasium, in the city. In 1701 the city became part of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was also ruled by Saxony between 1807 and 1813. In 1815 the surrounding districts of Upper and Lower Lusatia were ceded by the Kingdom of Saxony to Prussia. During World War II, Cottbus was taken by the Red Army on 22 April 1945.

From 1949 until German reunification in 1990, Cottbus was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).


Cottbus: Population development
within the current boundaries (2017)[2]
YearPop.±% p.a.
1875 35,201    
1890 46,671+1.90%
1910 65,438+1.70%
1925 68,228+0.28%
1933 72,286+0.72%
1939 75,969+0.83%
1946 73,010−0.57%
1950 73,695+0.23%
1964 84,952+1.02%
1971 94,606+1.55%
1981 125,326+2.85%
1985 133,232+1.54%
1989 137,366+0.77%
1990 134,781−1.88%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1991 131,625−2.34%
1992 131,343−0.21%
1993 130,756−0.45%
1994 128,601−1.65%
1995 126,343−1.76%
1996 124,389−1.55%
1997 122,579−1.46%
1998 119,629−2.41%
1999 115,970−3.06%
2000 113,618−2.03%
2001 111,125−2.19%
2002 109,144−1.78%
2003 107,549−1.46%
2004 106,415−1.05%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2005 105,309−1.04%
2006 103,837−1.40%
2007 102,811−0.99%
2008 101,785−1.00%
2009 101,671−0.11%
2010 102,091+0.41%
2011 99,974−2.07%
2012 99,913−0.06%
2013 99,595−0.32%
2014 99,491−0.10%
2015 99,687+0.20%
2016 100,416+0.73%
2017 101,036+0.62%
2018 100,219−0.81%

Culture and education

Cottbus is the cultural centre of the Lower Sorbian minority. Many signs in the town are bilingual, and there is a Lower Sorbian-medium Gymnasium and a Sorbian Quarter, but Sorbian is rarely spoken on the streets.

Next to Cottbus is the famous Branitz Park, created by Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau after 1845. Schloss Branitz (Branitz Castle) was rebuilt by Gottfried Semper in a late Baroque style between 1846 and 1852, and the gardens Prince Hermann laid feature two pyramids. One of these, the Seepyramide, is in the middle of an artificial lake and serves as his mausoleum.[3]

Cottbus is also home of the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) and the maths/science-oriented Max-Steenbeck-Gymnasium, named after the physicist Max Steenbeck.

Every year Cottbus hosts the East European Film Festival.

Cottbus has a football team, Energie Cottbus, that plays in the 3. Liga. Their home matches are played at the city's Stadion der Freundschaft.

Power generation

There are several lignite-fired power stations in the area around Cottbus (Lausitz). The biggest stations are "Schwarze Pumpe" (1600 MW), "Boxberg" (1900 MW) and "Jänschwalde" (3000 MW).

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Cottbus is twinned with:[4]

Notable people

before 1800




Since 1976

See also


  1. "Bevölkerung im Land Brandenburg nach amtsfreien Gemeinden, Ämtern und Gemeinden 31. Dezember 2018". Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). July 2019.
  2. Detailed data sources are to be found in the Wikimedia Commons.Population Projection Brandenburg at Wikimedia Commons
  3. Udo Lauer, Fürst Pücklers Traumpark, Ullstein Verlag, 1996, Berlin
  4. "Städtepartnerschaften". (in German). Cottbus. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
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