Gesehen auf https://www.ostsee.de/baltic-sea-germany/history.html am 30.05.2023
History is alive in many parts along the Baltic coast. Explore long gone times by discovering Middle-Age
churches, architectural masterpieces of the 19th century and examples of a more recent past
including GDR times. Experience a piece of German history on guided tours and walks, round trips and
boat tours or start your very own exploration of the area. Below you will find an overview of the area's
history along and around the Baltic Sea.
Slavic people settle on the island of Fehmarn and name it "Vemorje" (meaning: in the sea).
First written records by chronicler Adam von Bremen tell about the island of Ruegen although other
people had already settled on the island before that: the Rugians 3rd-6th
century and Rani 7th-13th century.
The roots of today's Hanseatic city of Luebeck lie on the estuary of the river Schwartau into the
river Trave where the settlement "Liubice" was built as a princely site, settlement of craftsmen and
first trading site.
christianisation of Fehmarn
Rostock first mentioned by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus.
Island of Poel first mentioned in records
Settlers from Westphalia and Lower Saxony erect small hamlets, not inhabited by Slavic Wends, called
Brunshaupten and Arendsee on the area of today's seaside resort of Kuehlungsborn.
Inauguration of the Rude Monastery marks the start of the settlement in the area round Gluecksburg.
Heinrich Borwin I, sovereign of Mecklenburg and ruler of Rostock grants the city of Rostock its town charter.
The modern towns of Tarnewitz and Redewish are mentioned in a register in Ratzeburg and are known as
the roots of today's seaside resort of Boltenhagen.
Count Adolf IV gives orders for the town "Holstenstadt tom Kyle" to be built on the peninsula of a
part of the Firth of Kiel. Today it is know as "Kleiner Kiel".
Slavic Prince Witzlaw I of Garz awards the town charter to the little fishing village Stralow on the
Strelasund (today's city of Stralsund).
Alt Gaarz first mentioned. However, wind, waves and floods eroded this old fortress (today: seaside
resort of Rerik).
Flensburg first mentioned in records
Timmendorfer Strand founded by Slavic Wends and first mentioned as "Klein Timmendorf"
cities of Luebeck, Wismar, Greifswald, Rostock and Stralsund found the Hanseatic League. The cities
sign a treaty promising mutual aid on water and on land.
Luebeck is elected capital of the hanse.
Hanseatic League (Hanse is old German meaning union, league alliance)
The roots of the Hanse are to be found in the middle of the 13th century. It started from a union
of tradesmen and soon became an economic alliance of Low German cities which initiated a lively trade
between Western and Eastern Europe and therefore dominated the North of Germany and the whole of the
Baltic Sea area.
The aims of the Hanseatic League were securing trading paths across the Baltic, to extend their own
privileges in other countries and give aid in wars.
The Hanse consisted of 70 cities and another 100 to 130 members that stood in lose relation to
the alliance. From the southern part of the Baltic Sea the cities of Luebeck, Wismar, Rostock, Stralsund,
Greifwald, Demmin, Anklam, Stettin, Danzig and Riga were members of the Hanseatic League.
Rich merchants built impressive houses for themselves and supported the building of churches financially.
Today a number of witnesses of that period can still be explored.
The Court of Mueritz (today: Graal-Mueritz) is first mentioned in records. The word Mueritz is
Slavonic for "area by the sea".
Foundation of "Alma mater rostochiensis" (University of Rostock)
Rostock University is, apart from the British Isles, the oldest in the whole of Northern Europe. The
main building was constructed in 1870 in the style of Mecklenburg Renaissance to plans of the
architect Hermann Willebrand. Much earlier, in 1844, the south wing was built with then typical
arches according to sketches by G. A. Demmler.
Today Rostock University is the biggest in the whole of Mecklenburg-Prepomerania with around
Pirates (the Victual brothers) conquer the fortress of Glambeck on today's island of Fehmarn.
Nine cities meet for the last time in Luebeck. Only Luebeck, Hamburg and Bremen remained heirs of
the Hanseatic League until well into the 20th century. Luebeck, however loses its status of a
free city due to the elimination of imperial independency in 1937 by the National Socialists
Between 1600 and 1900
the coastal region is shaken immensely by power fights between Prussians, Danes, Swedes as well as
Brandenburgian and Wallenstein's troops. In its cause the island of Poel, Fehmarn and Ruegen but
also Stralsund and the peninsula Wustrow near Rerik are temporarily ruled by Danes and Swedes.
Heiligendamm was founded.
Seaside resort of Heiligendamm
Friedrich Franz I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin founded on advice of his private doctor the first German
seaside resort, today Heiligendamm. It was build based on the examples of already existing English resorts.
Heiligendamm used to be a grand ducal summer residence and was very popular amongst the higher society.
At the beginning two ships, so-called "sloops", served as a bathing platform. They replaced the bathing
machines. Later a lido for ladies and gentlemen, of course strictly separated from each other, was opened.
Restoration of Germany's oldest seaside resort start in 1996 and is ongoing.
Count Bothmer of Kluetz and his family take the first bath in the Baltic Sea in today's Boltenhagen
from a bathing machine.
First visitors come to the coast of Groemitz to bath from bathing machines. This marked the start
of the little fishing village Groemitz becoming an important seaside resort.
Bathing tourism commences in Mueritz (today Graal-Mueritz) and gets into full swing from
The first horse race course opened.
Horse race course between Bad Doberan and Heiligendamm
In 1823 the first horse race course in Europe between Bad Doberan and the seaside resort of Heiligendamm
opened. The grand duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who used to come to Bad Doberan as a summer residence
donated the course.
Every year in August local people as well as kings and noblemen from all over the world met at the race
course to see and be seen. Thoroughbreds, half bloods and cold bloods competed for prices and trophies.
Unfortunately, this tradition was interrupted for many years. First because of the two world wars and
then again later after a few races (1956-1961) when money was exremely short to maintain the race course.
After it had to be closed it was used for agricultural purposes. Only at the beginning of August
in 1993, just in time for the 200th anniversary celebration of Germany's oldest seaside resort
of Heiligendamm, it was reopened. 12,000 fans celebrated the first thoroughbred horse race
since 1939. Ever since the "Ostsee-Meeting" races takes place every year.
Germany's first sea-going screw steamer is completed in Rostock in Wilhelm Zeitz' and Albrecht
Tischbein's shipyard and machine manufactory, which was founded in 1850.
Kiel acts war harbour of the German Reich.
A devastating storm tide works havoc in many places along the southern part of the Baltic coast and
destroys a lot of buildings and piers.
Merchant Leonhardt Tietz opened a haberdashery in Stralsund's Ossenreyerstrasse which proofed
to be the cradle of the Kaufhof Corporation.
Timmendorfer Strand expands into a seaside resort.
first steamboats appear off the coast of Boltenhagen. Passengers are brought by fisher boats to the
With a seed capital of 1,000 thalers Rudolph Karstadt opened his first clothes and fabric shop
in Wismar. It was Germany's first Karstadt department store.
the first beach chair was constructed.
Beach chair constructed by Wilhelm Bartelmann
Wilhelm Bartelmann, the then court basket maker, designed a beach chair on request of a woman suffering
from rheumatism who wanted to enjoy the healing sea air protected from the elements. Already one year
later, in 1883, a chair for two was built.
In the summer of 1883 Elise Bartelmann, wife to Wilhelm Bartelmann, ran the world's first ever beach
chair hire close to the lighthouse of Warnemuende.
The beach chair is enjoying an ever growing popularity. The wicker chair is available for up to
3 people in various widths and shapes. Choose the angular-shaped chair home in the North Sea area
or the round version typically found in the Baltic region. Even a model for dogs was constructed.
The wicker beach chair used for a "family" photo at the G8 summit is probably the most famous beach
chair across the world. It was constructed in Heringsdorf by Germany's oldest beach chair manufacturer
Korb Limited Company. The picture of the 6 metre wide chair offering space for 8 people went around
Doctor Carl von Mettenheimer opened the first children's hospital at the Baltic Sea in Graal-Mueritz.
First bathers arrive in Arendsee, a former part of today's seaside of Kuehlungsborn.
Opening ceremony of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Canal (today's Kiel Canal): It's roughly 100 kilometres
long and connects Brunsbuettel on the river Elbe just off the estuary into the North Sea and Kiel in
Completion of Germany's oldest pier in modern times in Ahlbeck.
Passengers' and goods' transports commence between Sassnitz on the island of Ruegen and Trelleborg
in Sweden. Since 1909 train ferries have been in operation.
Alt Gaarz (today's seaside resort of Rerik) starts becomming a seaside resort.
Piers are erected in the resorts of Graal and Mueritz.
The 300 metre-long pier in Boltenhagen is built.
Kellenhusen gets a 420 metres long pier.
The first big pier is completed in Groemitz and passenger steamboats can now moor here too. In its
wake visitors' numbers jump up as 90 % of guests come by boat.
With the piers the dangerous change from the steamboats to the smaller boats to get on shore became
In Kiel, navy and workers mark the start of the German Revolution and foundation of the Weimar Republic.
Referenda in the German-Danish borderland brought important decisions.
- 89 % of the Gluecksburg's inhabitants decide to remain German.
- The modern-day German-Danish border is constituted.
- Nordschleswig becomes Danish and Flensburg a border city.
Start of the world economic crisis, the number of unemployed in Flensburg reaches approximately 9,000.
Kiel is an Olympic city for the first time.
completion of the Ruegendamm
The island of Ruegen is connected to the mainland for the very first time.
The aircraft manufacturer "Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke Warnemünde" is the pioneer of some important
technical creations. The immensely innovative and creative engineers helped the company to attain
1,352 patents in aviation and another 578 trademark rights for propulsion units.
Inventions of world importance are the development of the board catapults (tests started in 1927),
the world's first ever jets and the catapult seat (both 1939).
Ernst Heinrich Heinkel (1888 - 1958)
Already at a very young age Heinkel was impressed by a new, ground breaking means of transport – the
aeroplane. He worked his way from a designer to becoming a chief designer and later the technical
director of various aircraft manufactures.
He set up his first designer offer in Travemuende which on 12. December 1922 became the "Ernst
Heinkel Aircraft Manufacturer Warnemünde". Under Heinkel's management the company designed numerous
types of fast training, sporting, commercial and military aircrafts of world importance. Many of them
won or did extremely well in international water plane competitions.
The success of the company proofed the engineers' inventive talents and in 1981 the name "Ernst Heinkel"
was added to the list of the "International Aerospace Hall of Fame" in the USA. Although the past of
Heinkel looked at controversially, the inventions connected to his name, however, are undoubtedly worth
mentioning in line with other aerospace pioneers from across the world.
Rough sea and ice movements destroy the piers and promenade of the seaside resort of Graal-Mueritz.
Operation "Rose" dispossesses many hotel and guesthouse owners along the Baltic coast of today's
Federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The properties were handed over to the union of the
GDR (FDGB) for renting purposes.
GDR laws prohibited all water sports on the Baltic Sea.
First ever sex shop in the world opened by Beate Uhse in Flensburg. To start with it ran under the
name of "Speciality shop for marital hygiene".
The brigde "Fehmarnsundbruecke" connects the island of Fehmarn and the mainland.
Kiel is host for Olympic sailing competitions for the second time.
In the GDR most of the agriculture was run by the state. On the island of Poel the state-owned "Das
Volkseigene Gut Insel Poel" was in charge of the island's plant production. Primarily, crop farming
served the breeding and propagation of seeds. Rapeseed bred on the island of Poel covered 75 %
of the GDR's seed demand.
Fehmarn is cut off by snow.
Parts of Luebeck's old town are nominated UNESCO cultural world heritage. Its unique and distinctive
skyline, the completely preserved pre-industrial building structure and archaeological explorations
of Luebeck's Middle-Age were deciding factors.
With adding Stralsund and Wismar to the list of world heritage, UNESCO acknowledges the extensive
measures taken to protect and maintain the historic town centres.
Today's old town of Stralsund pretty much resembles the plans of its centre during the period of the
Hanseatic League (14th century).
Wismar on the other side is the biggest, well-kept Hanseatic city in the southern Baltic Sea area.
Germany's longest waterside promenade in Kuehlungsborn is reopened to the public after extensive
restoration and redevelopment. It is more than 3 kilometres long.
Diving gondolas in Zinnowitz on the island of Usedom take visitors under the sea. This worldwide
novel prototype is quickly followed by gondolas in Sellin on the island of Ruegen and in the seaside
resort of Groemitz in the summers of 2008 and 2009 respectively.
The American President George W. Bush visits the Hanseatic city of Stralsund on invitation of
chancellor Angela Merkel.
G8 summit in Heiligendamm
Russia and the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial nations in the world
meet on invatation of the German government.
Ruegen's new bridge, Germany's longest of its kind, creates a second connection from the island to the mainland.
The "European Museum of the Year Award" also known as "Oscar for Museum" is given to the German
Oceanographic Museum called "OZEANEUM" in Stralsund.
(no responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information)