Lübeck (// LOO-bek, German: [ˈlyːbɛk] (
Holstentor, emblem of the city
|Coordinates: 53°52′11″N 10°41′11″E|
|District||Urban districts of Germany|
|• Mayor||Jan Lindenau (SPD)|
|• Governing parties||CDU|
|• Total||214.13 km2 (82.68 sq mi)|
|Elevation||13 m (43 ft)|
|• Density||1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
|Dialling codes||0451, 04502|
|Vehicle registration||HL (1906–1937; since 1956)|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Aerial view of the old town
|Inscription||1987 (11th Session)|
|Buffer zone||693.8 ha|
The old part of Lübeck is on an island enclosed by the Trave. The Elbe–Lübeck Canal connects the Trave with the Elbe River. Another important river near the town centre is the Wakenitz. Autobahn 1 connects Lübeck with Hamburg and Denmark. Travemünde is a sea resort and ferry port on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Lübeck Hauptbahnhof links Lübeck to a number of railway lines, notably the line to Hamburg.
Around AD 700, Slavic peoples started moving into the eastern parts of Holstein, an area previously settled by Germanic inhabitants who had moved on in the Migration Period. Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor 800–814), whose efforts to Christianise the area were opposed by the Germanic Saxons, expelled many of the Saxons and brought in Polabian Slavs allies. Liubice (the place-name means "lovely") was founded on the banks of the River Trave about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of the present-day city-center of Lübeck. In the 10th century, it became the most important settlement of the Obotrite confederacy and a castle was built. In 1128, the pagan Rani from Rügen razed Liubice.
In 1143, Adolf II, Count of Schauenburg and Holstein, founded the modern town as a German settlement on the river island of Bucu. He built a new castle, first mentioned by the chronicler Helmold as existing in 1147. Adolf had to cede the castle to the Duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion, in 1158. After Henry's fall from power in 1181, the town became an Imperial city for eight years. Emperor Barbarossa (reigned 1152–1190) ordained that the city should have a ruling council of 20 members. With the council dominated by merchants, pragmatic trade interests shaped Lübeck's politics for centuries. The council survived into the 19th century. The town and castle changed ownership for a period afterwards and formed part of the Duchy of Saxony until 1192, of the County of Holstein until 1217, and of the kingdom of Denmark until the Battle of Bornhöved in 1227.
Around 1200, the port became the main point of departure for colonists leaving for the Baltic territories conquered by the Livonian Order, and later, by the Teutonic Order. In 1226, Emperor Frederick II elevated the town to the status of an Imperial free city, by which it became the Free City of Lübeck.
In the 14th century, Lübeck became the "Queen of the Hanseatic League", being by far the largest and most powerful member of that medieval trade organization. In 1375, Emperor Charles IV named Lübeck one of the five "Glories of the Empire", a title shared with Venice, Rome, Pisa, and Florence.
Several conflicts about trading privileges resulted in fighting between Lübeck (with the Hanseatic League) and Denmark and Norway – with varying outcome. While Lübeck and the Hanseatic League prevailed in conflicts in 1435 and 1512, Lübeck lost when it became involved in the Count's Feud, a civil war that raged in Denmark from 1534 to 1536. Lübeck also joined the pro-Lutheran Schmalkaldic League of the mid-16th century.
After its defeat in the Count's Feud, Lübeck's power slowly declined. The city remained neutral in the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648, but the combination of the devastation from the decades-long war and the new transatlantic orientation of European trade caused the Hanseatic League – and thus Lübeck with it – to decline in importance. However, even after the de facto disbanding of the Hanseatic League in 1669, Lübeck still remained an important trading town on the Baltic Sea.
Old traditions, new challenges
Franz Tunder was the organist in the Marienkirche. It was part of the tradition in this Lutheran congregation that the organist would pass on the duty in a dynastic marriage. In 1668, his daughter Anna Margarethe married the great Danish-German composer Dieterich Buxtehude, who was the organist at the Marienkirche in Lübeck until at least 1703. Some of the greatest composers of the day came to the church to hear his renowned playing.
In the course of the war of the Fourth Coalition against Napoleon, troops under Bernadotte (who would later become King of Sweden) occupied the neutral Lübeck after a battle against Blücher on 6 November 1806. Under the Continental System, the State bank went into bankruptcy. In 1811, the French Empire formally annexed Lübeck as part of France; the anti-Napoleonic allies liberated the area in 1813, and the Congress of Vienna of 1815 recognised Lübeck as an independent free city.
Writer Thomas Mann was a member of the Mann family of Lübeck merchants. His well-known 1901 novel Buddenbrooks made readers in Germany (and later worldwide, through numerous translations) familiar with the manner of life and mores of the 19th-century Lübeck bourgeoisie.
During World War II (1939–1945), Lübeck became the first German city to suffer substantial Royal Air Force (RAF) bombing. The attack of 28 March 1942 created a firestorm that caused severe damage to the historic centre. This raid destroyed three of the main churches and large parts of the built-up area; the bells of St Marienkircke plunged to the stone floor. Germany operated a prisoner-of-war camp for officers, Oflag X-C, near the city from 1940 until April 1945. The British Second Army entered Lübeck on 2 May 1945 and occupied it without resistance.
On 3 May 1945, one of the biggest disasters in naval history occurred in the Bay of Lübeck when RAF bombers sank three ships: the SS Cap Arcona, the SS Deutschland, and the SS Thielbek – which, unknown to them, were packed with concentration-camp inmates. About 7,000 people died.
Lübeck's population grew considerably, from about 150,000 in 1939 to more than 220,000 after the war, owing to an influx of ethnic German refugees expelled from the so-called former eastern provinces of Germany in the Communist Bloc. Lübeck remained part of Schleswig-Holstein after World War II (and consequently lay within West Germany). It stood directly on what became the inner German border during the division of Germany into two states in the Cold War period. South of the city, the border followed the path of the river Wakenitz, which separated the Germanys by less than 10 m (32.81 ft) in many parts. The northernmost border crossing was in Lübeck's district of Schlutup. Lübeck spent decades restoring its historic city centre. In 1987, UNESCO designated this area a World Heritage Site.
Lübeck became the scene of a notable art scandal in the 1950s. Lothar Malskat was hired to restore the medieval frescoes of the cathedral of the Marienkirche, which were discovered after the cathedral had been badly damaged during World War II. Instead, he painted new works, which he passed off as restorations, fooling many experts. Malskat later revealed the deception himself. Günter Grass featured this incident in his 1986 novel The Rat.
On the night of 18 January 1996, a fire broke out in a home for foreign refugees, killing 10 people and severely injuring more than 30 others, mostly children. Most of the shelter's inhabitants thought it was a racist attack, as they stated that they had encountered other overt hostility in the city. The police and the local court were criticized at the time for ruling out racism as a possible motive before even beginning preliminary investigations. But by 2002, the courts found all the Germans involved not guilty; the perpetrators have not been caught. -->
In 2015, the city had a population of 218,523. The largest ethnic minority groups are Turks, Central Europeans (Poles), Southern Europeans (mostly Greeks and Italians), Eastern Europeans (e.g. Russians), Arabs, and several smaller groups.
Population development since 1227:
Much of the old town has kept a medieval appearance with old buildings and narrow streets. At one time, the town could only be entered by any of four town gates, two of which remain today, the well-known Holstentor (1478) and the Burgtor (1444).
Built in 1286, the Holy Spirit Hospital at Koberg is one of the oldest existing social institutions in the world and one of the most important buildings in the city. The Holy Spirit Hospital is in parts an old-folk and nursing home. Historic parts can be visited.
Other sights include:
- the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall)
- St. Catherine's Church, a church that belonged to a former monastery, now the Katharineum, a Latin school
- Thomas Mann's house
- Günter Grass' house
- Church of St Peter Petrikirche (Lübeck)
- Church of St Lawrence, located on the site of a cemetery for people who died during the 16th-century plague
- Church of St Jacob Lübecker Jakobikirche, 1334
- Church of the Sacred Heart (Propsteikirche Herz Jesu)
- Church of St Aegidien
- the Salzspeicher, historic warehouses where salt delivered from Lüneburg awaited shipment to Baltic ports
Like many other places in Germany, Lübeck has a long tradition of a Christmas market in December, which includes the famous handicrafts market inside the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit), located at the northern end of Königstrasse.
Lübeck has many small museums, such as the St. Anne's Museum Quarter, Lübeck, the Behnhaus, the European Hansemuseum, and the Holstentor. Lübeck Museum of Theatre Puppets is a privately run museum. Waterside attractions are a lightvessel that served Fehmarnbelt and the Lisa von Lübeck, a reconstruction of a Hanseatic 15th century caravel. The marzipan museum in the second floor of Café Niederegger in Breite Strasse explains the history of marzipan, and shows historical wood molds for the production of marzipan blocks and a group of historical figures made of marzipan.
Food and drink
Lübeck is famous for its marzipan industry. According to local legend, marzipan was first made in Lübeck, possibly in response either to a military siege of the city or a famine year. The story, perhaps apocryphal, is that the town ran out of all food except stored almonds and sugar, which were used to make loaves of marzipan "bread". Others believe that marzipan was actually invented in Persia a few hundred years before Lübeck claims to have invented it. The best known producer is Niederegger, which tourists often visit while in Lübeck, especially at Christmas time.
The Lübeck wine trade dates back to Hanseatic times. One Lübeck specialty is Rotspon (
Lübeck has three universities, the University of Lübeck, the Technical University of Applied Sciences Lübeck, and the Lübeck Academy of Music. The Graduate School for Computing in Medicine and Life Sciences is a central faculty of the University and was founded by the German Excellence Initiative. The International School of New Media is an affiliated institute of the university.
- Laurentius Surius (1522-1578), Carthusian monk and hagiograph
- August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), pedagogue, theologian, founded the Francke Foundations
- Adam Brand, (before 1692-1746), German merchant and researcher
- Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1693–1755) German Lutheran church historian
- Christian Friedrich Heinecken (1721-1725), "the infant scholar of Lübeck", a child prodigy
- Kurd von Schlözer (1822-1894), diplomat and historian
- John Rugee (1827-1894), politician in Wisconsin, USA
- Hermann von der Hude (1830-1908), architect
- Ephraim Carlebach (1879-1936), rabbi and founder of the Higher Israelite School in Leipzig
- Friedrich Ranke (1882-1950), Germanist and ethnologist
- Joseph Carlebach (1883-1942), rabbi, victim of the Holocaust
- Hermann Pister (1885-1948), Nazi SS commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp
- Walter Ewers (1892-1918), flying ace of WWI
- Felix Carlebach (1911-2008), rabbi
- Hans Blumenberg (1920-1996), philosopher
- Jörg Ziercke (born 1947) chief commissioner of the Federal Criminal Police Office 2004/2014
- Sandra Völker (born 1974), swimmer
- Johann Wittenborg (1321– (beheaded 1363) Mayor of Lübeck, lost the Battle of Helsingborg (1362)
- Jürgen Wullenwever (c.1492–1537) was burgomaster of Lübeck from 1533 to 1535
- Friedrich Krüger (1819-1896) diplomat, served the Hanseatic cities of Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen
- Gustav Radbruch (1878-1949), legal scholar and politician
- Hermann Lüdemann (1880-1959), politician (CDU)
- Otto-Heinrich Drechsler (1895–1945) Mayor of Lübeck 1933 to 1937, set up the Riga ghetto
- Haim Cohn (1911-2002) an Israeli jurist and politician.
- Willy Brandt (1913-1992), politician, German chancellor (SPD)
- Björn Engholm (born 1939), politician (SPD)
- Robert Habeck (born 1969) writer and politician of the Alliance '90/The Greens
- Beatrix von Storch (born 1971) Alternative for Germany politician, former MEP
- George Wulweber, 16th-century Protestant who was tortured on the rack
- Benjamin Block (1631–1690) German-Hungarian Baroque painter
- Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), court painter of several British monarchs
- Catharina Elisabeth Heinecken (1683–1757), German artist and alchemist
- Carl Heinrich von Heineken (1707–1791), German art historian
- Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869), painter and head of the Nazarenes
- Johann Wilhelm Cordes (1824-1869) landscape painter.
- Gotthardt Kuehl (1850-1915), painter
- Maria Slavona (1865-1931), impressionist painter, sister of Cornelia Schorer
- Erich Ponto (1884-1957), actor
- Walter D. Asmus (born 1941) theatre director
- Justus von Dohnányi (born 1960), actor
- Jonas Nay (born 1990), actor
- Joachim Jungius (1587-1657), mathematician, physicist, and philosopher
- Heinrich Meibom (1638-1700), medical expert, discovered the Meibomian gland
- Hermann von Fehling (1811-1885) chemist
- Robert Christian Avé-Lallemant (1812-1884), physician and research traveler
- Ernst Curtius, (1814-1896), classical archaeologist and historian
- Georg Curtius (1820–1885) philologist
- Friedrich Matthias Claudius (1822-1869), anatomist
- James Behrens (1824-1898), entomologist
- Friedrich Matz (1843-1874), archaeologist
- Friedrich Wilhelm Gustav Bruhn (1853-1927) invented the taximeter
- Heinrich Lüders (1869-1943) Orientalist and Indologist
- Justus Mühlenpfordt (1911–2000) nuclear physicist
- Erasmus Finx (1627-1694), polyhistorian, author and church writer
- Christian Adolph Overbeck (1755-1821), mayor and poet
- Johann Bernhard Vermehren (1777-1803), romanticist and lecturer
- Emanuel Geibel (1815-1884), poet
- Gustav Falke (1853-1916), author
- Heinrich Mann (1871-1950), novelist (Professor Unrat)
- Thomas Mann (1875-1955), novelist, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929
- Jörg Wontorra (born 1948), German sport journalist
The city of Lübeck is divided into 10 zones. These again are arranged into altogether 35 urban districts. The 10 zones with their official numbers, their associated urban districts and the numbers of inhabitants of the quarters:
- 01 City centre (~ 12,000 Inhabitants)
The Innenstadt is the main tourist attraction and consists of the old town as well as the former ramparts. It is the oldest and smallest part of Lübeck.
- 02 St. Jürgen (~ 40,000 Inhabitants)
- Hüxtertor / Mühlentor / Gärtnergasse, Strecknitz / Rothebek, Blankensee, Wulfsdorf, Beidendorf, Krummesse, Kronsforde, Niederbüssau, Vorrade, Schiereichenkoppel, Oberbüssau
Sankt Jürgen is one of three historic suburbs of Lübeck (alongside St. Lorenz and St. Gertrud). It is located South of the city centre and the biggest of all city parts.
- 03 Moisling (~ 10,000 Inhabitants)
- Niendorf / Moorgarten, Reecke, Old-Moisling / Genin
Moisling is situated in the far South-West. Its history dates back to the 17th century.
- 04 Buntekuh (~ 10,000 Inhabitants)
Buntekuh lies in the West of Lübeck. A big part consists of commercial zones such as the Citti-Park, Lübeck's biggest mall.
- 05 St. Lorenz-South (~ 12,000 Inhabitants)
Sankt Lorenz-Süd is located right in the South-West of the city centre and has the highest population density. The main train and bus station lie in its Northern part.
- 06 St. Lorenz-North (~ 40,000 Inhabitants)
- Holstentor-North, Falkenfeld / Vorwerk / Teerhof, Großsteinrade / Schönböcken, Dornbreite / Krempelsdorf
Sankt Lorenz-Nord is situated in the North-West of Lübeck. It is split from its southern part by the railways.
- 07 St. Gertrud (~ 40,000 Inhabitants)
- Burgtor / Stadtpark, Marli / Brandenbaum, Eichholz, Karlshof / Israelsdorf / Gothmund
Sankt Gertrud is located in the East of the city centre. This part is mainly characterized by its nature. Many parks, the rivers Wakenitz and Trave and the forest Lauerholz make up a big part of its area.
- 08 Schlutup (~ 6,000 Inhabitants)
Schlutup lies in the far East of Lübeck. Due to forest Lauerholz in its West and river Trave in the North, Schlutup is relatively isolated from the other city parts.
- 09 Kücknitz (~ 20,000 Inhabitants)
- Dänischburg / Siems / Rangenberg / Wallberg, Herrenwyk, Alt-Kücknitz / Dummersdorf / Roter Hahn, Poeppendorf
North of river Trave lies Kücknitz. It is the old main industrial area of Lübeck.
- 10 Travemünde (~ 15,000 Inhabitants)
- Ivendorf, Alt-Travemünde / Rönnau, Priwall, Teutendorf, Brodten
Travemünde is located in the far North-East of Lübeck at the Baltic Sea. With its long beach and coast line, Travemünde is the second biggest tourist destination.
Lübeck is twinned with:
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- In 2015, another fire occurred at a refugee home, this time at Troglitz.
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