Lübeck

Hanseatic City of Lübeck

Hansestadt Lübeck
Holstentor, emblem of the city
Holstentor, emblem of the city
Location of Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Hanseatic City of Lübeck is located in Germany
Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Hanseatic City of Lübeck is located in Schleswig-Holstein
Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Hanseatic City of Lübeck
Coordinates: 53°52′11″N 10°41′11″E / 53°52′11″N 10°41′11″E / 53.86972; 10.68639(2017-12-31)[1]
 • Total216,318
 • Density1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zoneCET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
23501−23570
Dialling codes0451, 04502
Vehicle registrationHL (1906–1937; since 1956)[2]
Websitewww.luebeck.de
Hanseatic City of Lübeck
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lubeck panorama.JPG
Aerial view of the old town
272
Inscription1987 (11th Session)
Area81.1 ha
Buffer zone693.8 ha
River Trave

Lübeck (k/, German: [ˈlyːbɛk] (About this soundlisten)) is a city in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. On the river Trave, it was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, it is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 2015, it had a population of 218,523.

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.

History

Humans settled in the area around what today is Lübeck after the last Ice Age ended about 9700 BCE. Several Neolithic dolmens can be found in the area.

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.[citation needed] 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.

Lübeck's seal, 1280

Hanseatic city

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.

Import/exports by sea: valued in 000s Lübeck marks, 18 Mar 1368–10 Mar 1369
Goods Principal origin Imports Exports Total
Cloth Flanders 120.8 39.7 160.5
Fish Scania 64.7 6.1 70.8
Salt Luneburg - 61.6 61.6
Butter Sweden 19.2 6.8 26
Skins, furs Russia, Sweden 13.3 3.7 17
Grain Prussia 13 0.8 13.8
Wax Russia, Prussia 7.2 5.8 13
Beer Wendish towns 4.1 1.9 6
Copper Sweden, Hungary 2.2 2.4 4.6
Iron Sweden, Hungary 2.4 2.2 4.6
Oil Flanders 2.7 1.5 4.2
Flax Livonia, North Germany 0.4 3 3.4
Foodstuffs passim 2.2 1.2 3.4
Silver Sweden 0.7 2 2.7
Wine Rhineland 1.3 0.9 2.2
Various 39.9 16.6 56.5
Unclassified 41 49 90
Total (rounded) 338.9 206.9 545.8[3]

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.

Movements of 680 ships entering/leaving port
Arrivals % Origin, destination Departures %
289 33.7 Mecklenburg-Pomerania 386 42.3
250 28.8 Skania 207 22.8
145 16.8 Prussia 183 20.1
96 11.2 Sweden 64 7
35 4.3 Livonia 43 4.7
28 3.2 Fehmarn 27 3
12 1.6 Bergen - -
3 0.4 Flanders 1 0.1
858 100 911 100[4]

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.

Exports of butter (tons) and copper (schiffspfund) from Stockholm to Lübeck and Danzig[5]
Butter Copper
Year Lübeck % Danzig % Lübeck % Danzig %
1368 2000 460
1369 900 530
1400 247 45
1492 76 1250
1493 - 2849
1494 - 1906
1495 - 435
1559 1254 89 150 11 -
1572 1350 74 252 14 564 94 3 0.5
1582 1224 86 105 10 803 85 59 6.2
1583 1133 77 165 11 2153 70 122 4
1584 909 74 177 14 2415 69 49 1.4
1591 742 74 170 17 1487 74 247 12
1600 - - 56 5 - - 1 0
1610 64 47 7 5 1411 83 18 1.1
1620 659 76 50 6 7434 86 12 0.1[6]

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.

Lübeck in 1493

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.

Lübeck, 16th century
Lübeck in 1641

In 1937, the Nazis passed the so-called Greater Hamburg Act, which merged the city of Lübeck with Prussia.

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.[7] 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.

The house after the fire

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.[8] The police and the local court were criticized at the time for ruling out racism as a possible motive before even beginning preliminary investigations.[9] But by 2002, the courts found all the Germans involved[10] not guilty; the perpetrators have not been caught.[11] -->

In April 2015, Lübeck hosted the G7 conference.[12]