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Title: Lauenburg  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: October 30, Elbe–Lübeck Canal, Old Salt Route, List of cities and towns in Germany, Lüneburg, Lębork, Swedish Pomerania, Duchy of Saxony, Franco-Swedish War, First Schleswig War
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


"Lauenburg" redirects here. For other uses, see Lauenburg (disambiguation).


View from the Elbe

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 53°22′33″N 10°33′32″E / 53.37583°N 10.55889°E / 53.37583; 10.55889Coordinates: 53°22′33″N 10°33′32″E / 53.37583°N 10.55889°E / 53.37583; 10.55889

Country Germany
State Schleswig-Holstein
 • Mayor Harald Heuer
 • Total 9.54 km2 (3.68 sq mi)
Elevation 49 m (161 ft)
Population (2012-12-31)[1]
 • Total 11,150
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 21481
Dialling codes 04153
Vehicle registration RZ

Lauenburg/Elbe (Herzogtum Lauenburg and had a population of 11,900 as of 2002. The town is also known in German as Lauenburg an der Elbe.


The town was founded in 1182 by Bernard of Ascania, the ancestor of the Dukes of Lauenburg. Between 1181 and 1182 he erected the Lowenborch, named after the Polabian name of Lave for the river Elbe (compare modern Czech Labe). Lowenborch became eponymous for the place.

Saxe-Lauenburg was a duchy until 1 July 1876, when it was incorporated into the Royal Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein. Lauenburg served as the ducal capital until 1616, when the castle burnt down. In 1619 the capital moved to Ratzeburg. The area of the duchy was roughly identical with that of today's district. In medieval times Lauenburg was a waypoint on the Old Salt Route, while today it is the southern terminus of the Elbe-Lübeck Canal.

Following the Napoleonic Wars, Lauenburg was ceded by Prussia to Denmark in exchange for the region of Pomerania.

Between 1945 and 1982 Lauenburg served as West German inner German border crossing for cars travelling along Bundesstraße 5 between the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany (till 1949, thereafter the East German Democratic Republic, or West Berlin and the British zone of occupation (till 1949) and thereafter the West German Federal Republic of Germany. The traffic was subject to the Interzonal traffic regulations, that between West Germany and West Berlin followed the special regulations of the Transit Agreement (1972).

Culture and sights

Lauenburg is a notable old town with a number of historic buildings from the 17th century and earlier. In the past these houses were mostly the homes of sailors. Today, the area appeals to artists as well as tourists. Furthermore, the Maria-Magdalenen Church, built in the 13th century is another attraction of the old town of Lauenburg. The old town is nestled at the bottom of about 50 meter high bluffs. The picturesque narrow streets up the hill lead to the so-called "upper town" where Lauenburg Castle is located. The old Lauenburg Castle used to be the residence of the Dukes of Lauenburg and the political centre of the Dukedom. Over the century most parts where destroyed and replaced by modern buildings. Though, the old castle tower remains till today. Nowadays, the castles serves as city and municipal administration. A walk up to the castle is worth the effort though, because of the view. One cannot only see the beautiful river Elbe and the old town of Lauenburg, but also the flat marshland of Lower-Saxony on the southern shore of the Elbe, which used to belong to the duchy until it was ceded to the then neighbouring Kingdom of Hanover in 1814. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as Lüneburg, about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Lauenburg. Another historic sight of Lauenburg is the "Palmschleuse", a historic lock, originally built in 1398 and renewed in the 17th century. It is the oldest lock in Europe.

Notable residents

International relations

Lauenburg is twinned with:


External links

  • (German)
  • Altstadt-Lauenburg (German)
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