Main Births etc
—  State of Germany  —


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 54°28′12″N 9°30′50″E / 54.47, 9.51389
Country Germany
Capital Kiel
 • Minister-President Peter Harry Carstensen (CDU)
 • Governing parties CDUWp globe tiny.gif / FDP
 • Votes in Bundesrat 4 (of 69)
 • Total 15,763.18 km2 (6,086.20 sq mi)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 • Total 2,834,259
 • Density 180/km2 (470/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-SH
GDP/ Nominal € 69 billion (2005) [2]

Schleswig-Holstein (pronounced [ˈʃleːsvɪç ˈhɔlʃtaɪn]  ( listen)) is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities are Lübeck, Flensburg and Neumünster.

The former English name was Sleswick-Holsatia, the Danish name is Slesvig-Holsten, the Low German name is Sleswig-Holsteen, the Dutch name is Sleeswijk-Holstein and the North Frisian name is Slaswik-Holstiinj. Historically, the name can also refer to a larger region, containing both present-day Schleswig-Holstein and the former South Jutland County (Northern Schleswig) in Denmark.


The Limes Saxoniae border between the Saxons and the Obotrites, established about 810 in present-day Schleswig-Holstein

Kiel is the state's capital and largest city.

The City of Lübeck was the centre of the Hanse, and its city centre is a World Heritage Site today. Lübeck is the birthplace of the author Thomas Mann.

A rapeseed field in Schleswig-Holstein — agriculture continues to play an important role in parts of the state.

Schleswig-Holstein's islands, beaches and cities are popular tourist attractions (here: Isle of Sylt).

The term "Holstein" derives from Old Saxon, Holseta Land, meaning "the land of those who dwell in the wood" (Holz and Holt means wood in modern Standardised German and in literary English respectively). Originally, it referred to the central of the three Saxon tribes north of the Elbe river, Tedmarsgoi, Holcetae, and Sturmarii. The area of the Holcetae was between the Stör river and Hamburg, and after Christianization their main church was in Schenefeld. Saxon Holstein became a part of the Holy Roman Empire after Charlemagne's Saxon campaigns in the late eighth century. Since 811 the northern frontier of Holstein (and thus the Empire) was marked by the river Eider.

The term Schleswig takes its name from the city of Schleswig. The name derives from the Schlei inlet in the east and vik meaning inlet or settlement in Old Saxon and Old Norse. The name is similar to the place-names ending in the "-wick" or "-wich" element along the coast in the United Kingdom.

The Duchy of Schleswig or Southern Jutland was originally an integral part of Denmark, but was in medieval times established as a fief under the Kingdom of Denmark, with the same relation to the Danish Crown as for example Brandenburg or Bavaria vis-à-vis the Holy Roman Emperor. Around 1100 the Duke of Saxony gave Holstein, as it was his own country, to Count Adolf I of Schauenburg.

Schleswig and Holstein have at different times belonged in part or completely to either Denmark or Germany, or have been virtually independent of both nations. The exception is that Schleswig had never been part of Germany until the Second War of Schleswig in 1864. For many centuries, the King of Denmark was both a Danish Duke of Schleswig and a German Duke of Holstein, the Duke of Saxony. Essentially, Schleswig was either integrated into Denmark or was a Danish fief, and Holstein was a German fief and once a sovereign state long ago. Both were for several centuries ruled by the kings of Denmark. In 1721 all of Schleswig was united as a single duchy under the king of Denmark, and the great powers of Europe confirmed in an international treaty that all future kings of Denmark should automatically become dukes of Schleswig, and consequently Schleswig would always follow the same line of succession as the one chosen in the Kingdom of Denmark.

The German national awakening following the Napoleonic Wars led to a strong popular movement in Holstein and Southern Schleswig for unification with a new Prussian-dominated Germany. However, this development was paralleled by an equally strong Danish national awakening in Denmark and northern Schleswig. It called for the complete reintegration of Schleswig into the Kingdom of Denmark and demanded an end to discrimination against Danes in Schleswig. The ensuing conflict is sometimes called the Schleswig-Holstein Question. In 1848 King Frederick VII of Denmark declared that he would grant Denmark a liberal constitution and the immediate goal for the Danish national movement was to ensure that this constitution would not only give rights to all Danes, i.e., not only in the Kingdom of Denmark, but also to Danes (and Germans) living in Schleswig. Furthermore, they demanded protection for the Danish language in Schleswig since the dominant language in almost a quarter of Schleswig had changed from Danish to German since the beginning of the 19th century.

A liberal constitution for Holstein was not seriously considered in Copenhagen, since it was a well-known fact that the political élite of Holstein had been far more conservative than Copenhagen's. This proved to be true, as the politicians of Holstein demanded that the Constitution of Denmark be scrapped — not only in Schleswig but also in Denmark. They also demanded that Schleswig immediately follow Holstein and become a member of the German Confederation, and eventually a part of the new united Germany. These demands were rejected and in 1848 the Germans of Holstein and Southern Schleswig rebelled. This was the beginning of the First War of Schleswig (1848–51) which ended in a Danish victory at Idstedt. Elements of this period were fictionalized in Royal Flash, the second of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman novels.

In 1863 conflict broke out again as King Frederick VII of Denmark died leaving no heir. According to the line of succession of Denmark and Schleswig, the crowns of both Denmark and Schleswig would now pass to Duke Christian of Glücksburg (the future King Christian IX); the crown of Holstein was considered to be more problematic. This decision was challenged by a rival pro-German branch of the Danish royal family, the House of Augustenborg who demanded, as in 1848, the crowns of both Schleswig and Holstein. The passing of a common constitution for Denmark and Schleswig in November 1863 then gave Otto von Bismarck a chance to intervene and Prussia and Austria declared war on Denmark. This was the Second War of Schleswig which ended in a Danish defeat. British attempts to mediate failed, and Denmark lost Schleswig (Northern and Southern Schleswig), Holstein, and Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria.

Following the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, section five of the Peace of Prague stated that the people in northern Schleswig should be granted the right to a referendum on whether they would remain under Prussian rule or return to Danish rule. This promise was never fulfilled by Prussia.

Following the defeat of Germany in World War I, the Allied powers arranged a plebiscite in northern and central Schleswig. In northern Schleswig (10 February 1920) 75% voted for reunification with Denmark and 25% voted for Germany. In central Schleswig (14 March 1920) the results were reversed; 80% voted for Germany and just 20% for Denmark, primarily in Flensburg. No vote ever took place in the southern third of Schleswig, although it was planned. For the referendum under authority of an international commission (CIS, Commission Internationale de Surveillance du Plébiscite Slesvig) two (primarily three) election-zones were created. Primarily three zones were planned, Zone III should involve the rest of Southern Schleswig. Denmark passed on an election in this zone. Just the votes for the whole zone were crucial, not the dissenting votes in a single Kreis (district) or city:[3]

Results of the 1920 plebiscites in North and Central Schleswig (Slesvig)

Electorate German name Danish name For Germany For Denmark
percent votes percent votes
Zone I (Northern Schleswig), 10 February 1920 25.1 % 25,329 74.9 % 75,431
District of Hadersleben Haderslev 16.0 % 6,585 84.0 % 34,653
Town of Hadersleben Haderslev 38.6 % 3,275 61.4 % 5,209
District of Apenrade Aabenraa 32.3 % 6,030 67.7 % 12,653
Town of Apenrade Aabenraa 55.1 % 2,725 44.9 % 2,224
District of Sonderburg Sønderborg 22.9 % 5,083 77.1 % 17,100
Town of Sonderburg Sønderborg 56.2 % 2,601 43.8 % 2,029
Town of Augustenburg Augustenborg 48.0 % 236 52.0 % 256
Northern part of District of Tondern Tønder 40.9 % 7,083 59.1 % 10,223
Town of Tondern Tønder 76.5 % 2,448 23.5 % 750
Town of Hoyer Højer 72.6 % 581 27.4 % 219
Town of Lügumkloster Løgumkloster 48.8 % 516 51.2 % 542
Northern part of District of Flensburg Flensborg 40.6 % 548 59.4 % 802
Zone II (Central Schleswig), 14 March 1920 80.2 % 51,742 19.8 % 12,800
Southern part of District of Tondern Tønder 87.9 % 17,283 12.1 % 2,376
Southern part of District of Flensburg Flensborg 82.6 % 6,688 17.4 % 1,405
Town of Flensburg Flensborg 75.2 % 27,081 24.8 % 8,944
Northern part of District of Husum Husum 90.0 % 672 10.0 % 75

On 15 June 1920, northern Schleswig officially returned to Danish rule. The Danish/German border was the only one of the borders imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles after World War I which was never challenged by Adolf Hitler.

In 1937 the Nazis passed the so-called Greater Hamburg Act (Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz), where the nearby Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg was expanded, to encompass towns that had formally belonged to the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein. To compensate Prussia for these losses (and partly because Hitler had a personal dislike for Lübeck), the 711-year-long independence of the Hansestadt Lübeck came to an end, and almost all its territory was incorporated into Schleswig-Holstein.

After the Second World War, the Prussian province Schleswig-Holstein came under British occupation. On August 23, 1946, the Military Government abolished the province and reconstituted it as a separate Land.[4]

Because of the Expulsion of Germans after World War II the population of Schleswig-Holstein increased 33 percent (860,000 people).[5]



Schleswig-Holstein lies on the base of Jutland Peninsula between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Strictly speaking, "Schleswig" refers to the German Southern Schleswig, whereas Northern Schleswig is in Denmark. The state of Schleswig-Holstein further consists of Holstein as well as Lauenburg, and the formerly independent city of Lübeck.

Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark (Region Syddanmark) to the north, the North Sea to the west, the Baltic Sea to the east, and the German states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to the south.

In the western part of the state, there are lowlands with virtually no hills. The North Frisian Islands, as well as almost all of Schleswig-Holstein's North Sea coast, form the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer) which is the largest national park in Central Europe. Germany's only high-sea island, Heligoland, is situated in the North Sea.

The Baltic Sea coast in the east of Schleswig-Holstein is marked by bays, fjords and cliff lines. There are rolling hills (the highest elevation is the Bungsberg at 168 metres or 551 ft) and many lakes, especially in the eastern part of Holstein, called the Holsteinische Schweiz ("Holsatian Switzerland") and the former Duchy of Lauenburg (Herzogtum Lauenburg). Fehmarn is the only island off the eastern coast. The longest river besides the Elbe is the Eider; the most important waterway is the Kiel Canal which connects the North Sea and Baltic Sea.


Schleswig-Holstein is divided into 11 Kreise (districts):


  1. Dithmarschen
  2. Lauenburg (formally Herzogtum Lauenburg or "Duchy of Lauenburg")
  3. Nordfriesland
  4. Ostholstein
  5. Pinneberg
  6. Plön
  1. Rendsburg-Eckernförde
  2. Schleswig-Flensburg
  3. Segeberg
  4. Steinburg
  5. Stormarn

Furthermore, there are four separate urban districts:

  1. KI   - Kiel
  2. HL   - Hansestadt ("Hanseatic town") Lübeck
  3. NMS - Neumünster
  4. FL   - Flensburg



Evangelical Church in Germany 54.3%,[6] Catholic Church 6%.[7]


Shared with the Danish neighbour: Rote Grütze served in Schleswig-Holstein with milk or custard

Schleswig-Holstein combines Danish and German aspects of culture. The castles and manors in the countryside are the best example for this tradition; some dishes like Rote Grütze are also shared.

The most important festivals are the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, an annual classic music festival all over the state, and the Nordische Filmtage, an annual film festival for movies from Scandinavian countries, held in Lübeck.

The annual Wacken Open Air festival is considered to be the largest heavy metal rock festival in the world.

The state's most important museum of cultural history is in Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig.


The coat of arms shows the symbols of the two duchies united in Schleswig-Holstein, i.e., the two lions for Schleswig and the leaf of a nettle for Holstein. Supposedly, Otto von Bismarck decreed that the two lions were to face the nettle because of the discomfort to their bottoms which would have resulted if the lions faced away from it.

The motto of Schleswig-Holstein is "Up ewich ungedeelt" (Middle Low German: "Forever undivided", modern High German: "Auf ewig ungeteilt"). It goes back to the Vertrag von Ripen or Handfeste von Ripen (Danish: Ribe Håndfæstning) or Treaty of Ribe in 1460. Ripen (Ribe) is a historical small town at the North Sea coast in Northern Schleswig. See History of Schleswig-Holstein.

The anthem from 1844 is called "Wanke nicht, mein Vaterland" ("Don't falter, my fatherland"), but it is usually referred to with its first line "Schleswig-Holstein meerumschlungen" (i.e., "Schleswig-Holstein embraced by the seas") or "Schleswig-Holstein-Lied" (Schleswig-Holstein song).

The old city of Lübeck is a world heritage site.


Heligoland island in the North Sea

German is the official language, Low German, Danish and North Frisian enjoy legal protection or state promotion.

Historically, Low German, Danish (in Schleswig) and Frisian (in Schleswig) were spoken. Low German is still used in many parts of the state, and a pidgin of Low and standardised German (Missingsch) is used in most areas. Danish is used by the Danes in Southern Schleswig, and Frisian is spoken by the North Frisians of the North Sea Coast and the Northern Frisian Islands in Southern Schleswig. The North Frisian dialect called Heligolandic (Halunder) is spoken on the island of Heligoland.

High German was introduced in the 16th century, mainly for official purposes, but is today the predominant language.


Compulsory education starts for children who are six years old on June 30.[8] All children attend a "Grundschule", which is Germany's equivalent to primary school, for the first 4 years and then move on to a secondary school.[8] In Schleswig-Holstein there are "Gemeinschaftsschulen", which is a new type comprehensive school, as well as regional schools, which go by the German name "Regionalschule".[8] The option of a Gymnasium is still available.[8]

There are 3 universities in Kiel, Lübeck and Flensburg.[9] Also, there are 4 public Universities of Applied Sciences in Flensburg, Heide, Kiel, and Lübeck.[9] There is the Conservatory in Lübeck and the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts in Kiel. There are also 3 private institutions of high learning.[9]


Schleswig-Holstein has its own parliament and government which are located in the state capital Kiel.[10] The Minister-President of Schleswig-Holstein is elected by the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein.[10]

Current executive branch[]

Position Minister Party Source
Minister-President Peter Harry Carstensen CDU [11]
Minister of Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas Dr. Juliane Rumpf CDU [12]
Minister of Education and Culture Dr. Ekkehard Klug FDP [13]
Minister of Employment, Social Affairs and Health Dr. Heiner Garg FDP [14]
Minister of Finance Rainer Wiegard CDU [15]
Minister of the Interior Klaus Schlie CDU [16]
Minister of Justice, Equality and Integration Emil Schmalfuß Ind [17]
Minister of Science, Economic Affairs and Transport Jost de Jager CDU [18]

Last election[]

The last Schleswig-Holstein state election was held on 27 September 2009, and the result of it was a coalition of the conservative CDU and the liberal FDP under the leadership of CDU state premier Peter Harry Carstensen. It was an early election; after the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) grand coalition broke apart in Summer 2009, Minister-President Peter Harry Carstensen (CDU) provoked early elections by intentionally losing a vote of confidence.

Political Party Votes % +/- Seats
Christian Democratic Union (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) 31.5 -8.7 34
Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands) 25.4 -12.3 25
Free Democratic Party of Germany (Freie Demokratische Partei) 14.9 +8.3 14
Alliance '90/The Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) 12.4 +2.2 12
The Left (Die Linke) 6.0 +5.2 6
South Schleswig Voter Federation (Südschleswigscher Wählerverband) 4.3 +0.7 4
Pirate Party Germany (Piratenpartei Deutschland) 1.8 +1.8 -
Free Voters (Freie Wähler) 1.0 +1.0 -
National Democratic Party of Germany (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands) 0.9 -1.0 -

List of Minister-Presidents of Schleswig-Holstein[]

Minister-presidents of Schleswig-Holstein
No. Name Born-Died Party affiliation Begin of Tenure End of Tenure
1 Theodor Steltzer 1885–1967 CDU 1946 1947
2 Hermann Lüdemann 1880– 1959 SPD 1947 1949
3 Bruno Diekmann 1897–1982 SPD 1949 1950
4 Walter Bartram 1893–1971 CDU 1950 1951
5 Friedrich-Wilhelm Lübke 1887–1954 CDU 1951 1954
6 Kai-Uwe von Hassel 1913–1997 CDU 1954 1963
7 Helmut Lemke 1907–1990 CDU 1963 1971
8 Gerhard Stoltenberg 1928–2001 CDU 1971 1982
9 Uwe Barschel 1944–1987 CDU 1982 1987
10 Henning Schwarz 1928–1993 CDU 1987 1988
11 Björn Engholm *1939 SPD 1988 1993
12 Heide Simonis *1943 SPD 1993 2005
13 Peter Harry Carstensen *1947 CDU 2005 incumbent

See also[]

  • Schleswig-Holstein Question
  • First Schleswig War
  • Second Schleswig War
  • Schleswig
  • Holstein
  • Duchy of Schleswig
  • Holstein-Glückstadt
  • Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Norburg
  • Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön-Rethwisch
  • Coat of arms of Schleswig
  • Region Sønderjylland-Schleswig


  1. ^ "Statistikamt Nord: Bevölkerung in Schleswig-Holstein am 31. Dezember 2010 nach Kreisen, Ämtern, amtsfreien Gemeinden und Städten" (in German). Statistisches Amt für Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein. 31 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Schleswig-Holstein: Schleswig-Holstein Portal". Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  3. ^ Schwedler, Frank: Historischer Atlas Schleswig-Holstein 1867 bis 1945, Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster
  4. ^ Ordinance No. 46, Abolition of the Provinces in the British Zone of the Former State of Prussia and Reconstitution thereof as Separate LänderPDF (218 KB)
  5. ^ Flucht und Vertreibung at Haus der Geschichte (German)
  6. ^ EKD
  7. ^ chiesa cattolica
  8. ^ a b c d "Education in Schleswig-Holstein". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c "Institutions of Higher Education in Schleswig-Holstein". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Responsibilities of the Government". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Ministerpräsident Peter Harry Carstensen im Porträt" (in German). State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Ministry of Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Ministry of Education and Culture". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Health". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Ministry of Finance". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Ministry of the Interior". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "Ministry of Justice, Equality and Integration". State of Schleswig Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Ministry of Science, Economic Affairs and Transport". State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

External links[]

Template:Germany districts Schleswig-Holstein

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Schleswig-Holstein. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.