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History of the viking city of SchleswigBirth of the Viking town Hedeby

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From the Viking settlement to a trading centre

Heday as a trading centre

Schleswig's history started on the other side of the Schlei at the Haddebyer Noor. Already in the year 804, Schleswig became known as "Sliasthorp" in the documents of the Franconian Imperium. Yet, other sources document the name Hedeby at the same time. However, both names mean the same place – today's Hedeby (or Haithabu in German).

In the 9th and 10th century, the Viking settlement evolved into the most important trading centre of Northern Europe and was destroyed in 1066 by West Slavs. Just a few survivors escaped to the north shore during this conflict where other people presumably had settled and today the city of Schleswig is located. Another trading centre was established here but developing cities like Lübeck quickly outstripped Schleswig. In the 13th century, Schleswig's golden age as a trading city came to an end but it kept an important political centre for Schleswig's dukes.

From a trading place to the city of Schleswig

1.200 years of history

In the year 1200, Schleswig received its town charter and witnessed the climax of the Danish power with the coronation of prince Valdemar II in 1218. In addition, Schleswig became the centre of the Schleswig diocese with its cathedral and chapter.

In the 16th century, Lollfuß was just a small settlement of a few buildings along the connecting path to the Gottorf Castle. Under the influence of the castle, the settlement developed further. Especially servants, craftsmen and artists found their home here while in Schleswig's old town and Friedrichsberg rather senior officials settled down.

In the same time, the Friedrichsberg district developed near the Gottorf Castle to a great settlement and became the residence of some aristocrats working in the economic sector of the castle. A key element was the erection of the Gottorf dyke by Duke Adolf connecting Friedrichsberg and Lollfuß on the northern shore of the Schlei. In 1650, the Friedrichsberg settlement received its current name.
The settlements of Schleswig's old town, Lollfuß and Friedrichsberg were combined in 1711, yet, still retaining their own character to this day.

After the Great Northern War (1700–1721) and the victory of the Danes over the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf, the Danish king, who became Duke of Schleswig, received the Gottorf parts of the duchy.

From the year 1840 onwards, the German-Danish Conflict was the dominating topic of the city with its citizens mainly on the German part of Schleswig-Holstein. In that time, the Schleswig-Holstein anthem was forged and the first blue-white-red coloured oriflamme was shown (the colours of Schleswig-Holstein).

From the Danish to the Prussian rule

Rule change in Schleswig

Fischersiedlung Holm an der Schlei

In 1851, the war against the Danish rule was lost but in 1864 Prussia, with Austria on its side, was victorious. Schleswig became the seat of government and administrative capital of the new Prussian province Schleswig-Holstein. Only in the year 1935, the Holm – an island in the Schlei – became part of the city of Schleswig. In 1946, Kiel became the state capital and, as an offset, Schleswig has been given the residence of jurisdiction with its Higher Regional Court.

Concrete Tips for your holiday

How to spend a day, a weekend or a week in Schleswig

A day
A weekend
A Week

A day

24 hours of cultural impressions: Follow the steps of the vikings in and around Schleswig. Our experts have got useful tips for a perfect day in Schleswig.


A weekend

Our experts take care of your weekend in Schleswig. You'll discover the cultural and maritime part of Schleswig.


A Week

You'll spend a week in Schleswig? We have got some very exciting tips for you including cultural and adventural parts.


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Guest Feedback

My vacation at the viking city of Schleswig

I've already been a few times in the viking city of Schleswig for vacation. I'm still really impressed of the wonderful historic places round the castle of gottorf for example or the viking museum of Haithabu.

Theo B. from Berlin (Germany)

Thanks for your recommendation!

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