Holstein (German: [ˈʃleːsvɪç ˈhɔlʃtaɪ̯n]; Danish:
Slesvig-Holsten) is the northernmost of the 16 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 and Flensburg.
Also known in more dated English as Sleswick-Holsatia, the Danish name
is Slesvig-Holsten, the
Low German name is Sleswig-Holsteen, and the
North Frisian name is Slaswik-Holstiinj. Historically, the name can
also refer to a larger region, containing both present-day
Holstein and the former
South Jutland County
South Jutland County (Northern
Schleswig) in Denmark.
1.1 Duchies in the Danish realm
1.3 Province of Prussia
1.4 Plebiscite in 1920
1.5 State of Federal Germany
7.1 Current executive branch
7.2 Recent elections
7.3 List of Minister-Presidents of Schleswig-Holstein
8 See also
10 External links
Main article: History of Schleswig-Holstein
The historic settlement areas in present-day Schleswig-Holstein
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
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site today.
Lübeck is the birthplace of the
author Thomas Mann.
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site German Wadden Sea
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, (Holz and
Holt mean wood in modern Standardised German and in literary English,
respectively). Originally, it referred to the central of the three
Saxon tribes north of the River Elbe: Tedmarsgoi (Dithmarschen),
Holstein and Sturmarii (Stormarn). The area of the tribe of the Holsts
was between the
Stör River and Hamburg, and after Christianization,
their main church was in Schenefeld. Saxon
Holstein became a part of
Holy Roman Empire
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 comes from the city of Schleswig. The name derives
Schlei inlet in the east and vik meaning inlet in Old Norse
or settlement in Old Saxon, and linguistically identical (cognate)
with the "-wick" or "-wich" element in place-names in Britain.
Duchy of Schleswig
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
Bavaria vis-à-vis the Holy Roman Emperor.
Around 1100, the Duke of
Saxony gave Holstein, as it was his own
Count Adolf I of Schauenburg.
Duchies in the Danish realm
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 Schleswig War
Second Schleswig War in 1864. For many
centuries, the King of
Denmark was both a Danish Duke of Schleswig and
a German Duke of Holstein. Essentially, Schleswig was either
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
Denmark should automatically become dukes of Schleswig, and
consequently Schleswig would always follow the same order of
succession as the one chosen in the Kingdom of Denmark. In the church,
following the reformation, German was used in the southern part of
Schleswig and Danish in the northern part. This would later prove
decisive for shaping national sentiments in the population, as well as
after 1814 when mandatory school education was introduced. The
administration of both duchies was conducted in German, despite the
fact that they were governed from
Copenhagen (from 1523 by the German
Chancellary which was in 1806 renamed Schleswig-Holstein
The German national awakening that followed the
Napoleonic Wars gave
rise to a strong popular movement in
Holstein and Southern Schleswig
for unification with a new Prussian-dominated Germany. This
development was paralleled by an equally strong Danish national
Denmark and Northern Schleswig. This movement 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-
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 (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 well known that the political élite of
Holstein were more conservative than Copenhagen's. Representatives of
German-minded Schleswig-Holsteiners demanded that Schleswig and
Holstein be unified and allowed its own constitution and that
Holstein as a member of the German Confederation. These
demands were rejected by the Danish government in 1848, and the
Holstein and southern Schleswig rebelled. This began the
First Schleswig War
First Schleswig War (1848–51), which ended in a Danish victory at
In 1863, conflict broke out again when Frederick VII died without
legitimate issue. According to the order of succession of
Schleswig, the crowns of both
Denmark and Schleswig would pass to Duke
Christian of Glücksburg, who became Christian IX. The transmission of
the duchy of
Holstein to the head of the (German-oriented) branch of
the Danish royal family, the House of Augustenborg, was more
controversial. The separation of the two duchies was challenged by the
Augustenborg heir, who claimed, as in 1848, to be rightful heir of
both Schleswig and Holstein. The promulgation of a common constitution
Denmark and Schleswig in November 1863 prompted Otto von Bismarck
to intervene and
Prussia and Austria declared war on Denmark. This was
the Second War of Schleswig, which ended in Danish defeat. British
attempts to mediate in the
London Conference of 1864
London Conference of 1864 failed, and
Denmark lost Schleswig (Northern and Southern Schleswig), Holstein,
Prussia and Austria.
Province of Prussia
Contrary to the hopes of German Schleswig-Holsteiners, the area did
not gain its independence, but was annexed as a province of
1867. Also following the
Austro-Prussian War in 1866, section five of
the Peace of Prague stipulated that the people of Northern Schleswig
would be consulted in a referendum on whether to remain under Prussian
rule or return to Danish rule. This condition, however, was never
fulfilled by Prussia. During the decades of Prussian rule within the
German Empire, authorities attempted a germanization policy in the
northern part of Schleswig, which remained predominantly Danish. The
period also meant increased industrialisation of Schleswig-Holstein
and the use of
Flensburg as important Imperial German Navy
locations. The northernmost part and west coast of the province saw a
wave of emigration to America, while some
Danes of North Schleswig
emigrated to Denmark.
Plebiscite in 1920
Following the defeat of
Germany in World War I, the Allied powers
arranged a plebiscite in northern and central Schleswig. The
plebiscite was conducted under the auspices of an international
commission which designated two voting zones to cover the northern and
south-central parts of Schleswig. Steps were taken to also create a
third zone covering a southern area, but zone III was cancelled again
and never voted, as the Danish government asked the commission not to
expand the plebiscite to this area.
In zone I covering Northern Schleswig (10 February 1920), 75% voted
for reunification with
Denmark and 25% voted for Germany. In zone II
covering central Schleswig (14 March 1920), the results were reversed;
80% voted for
Germany and just 20% for Denmark. Only minor areas on
the island of
Föhr showed a Danish majority, and the rest of the
Danish vote was primarily in the town of Flensburg.
Results of the 1920 plebiscites in North and Central Schleswig
Zone I (Northern Schleswig), 10 February 1920
Northern part of District of
Northern part of District of
Zone II (Central Schleswig), 14 March 1920
Southern part of District of
Southern part of District of
Northern part of District of
On 15 June 1920, Northern Schleswig officially returned to Danish
rule. The Danish/German border was the only one of the borders imposed
Germany by the
Treaty of Versailles after
World War I
World War I which was
never challenged by Adolf Hitler.
In 1937, the Nazis passed the so-called Greater
(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
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
State of Federal Germany
After World War II, the Prussian province Schleswig-
under British occupation. On 23 August 1946, the military government
abolished the province and reconstituted it as a separate Land.
Because of the forced migrations of Germans in 1944 to 1950, the
population of Schleswig-
Holstein increased by 33% (860,000 people).
A pro-Danish political movement arose in Schleswig, with transfer of
the area to
Denmark as an ultimate goal. This was neither supported by
the British occupation administration nor the Danish government. In
1955, the German and Danish governments issued the Bonn-Copenhagen
Declarations confirming the rights of the ethnic minorities on both
sides of the border. Conditions between the nationalities have since
been stable and generally respectful.
See also: List of places in Schleswig-Holstein
Holstein lies on the base of
Jutland Peninsula between the
North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Strictly speaking, "Schleswig" refers to
Southern Schleswig (German: Südschleswig or Landesteil
Schleswig, Danish: Sydslesvig), whereas Northern Schleswig is in
Denmark (South Jutland County). The state of Schleswig-Holstein
further consists of Holstein, as well as
Lauenburg and the formerly
independent city of Lübeck.
Denmark (Southern Denmark) to the north,
North Sea to the west, the
Baltic Sea to the east, and the German
states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to the
In the western part of the state, the lowlands have virtually no
hills. The North Frisian Islands, as well as almost all of
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
Baltic Sea coast in the east of Schleswig-
Holstein is marked by
bays, fjords, and cliff lines. Rolling hills (the highest elevation is
the Bungsberg at 168 metres or 551 feet) and many lakes are found,
especially in the eastern part of
Holstein called the Holstein
Switzerland and the former Duchy of
Lauenburg (Herzogtum Lauenburg).
Fehmarn is the only island off the eastern coast. The longest river
Elbe is the Eider; the most important waterway is the Kiel
Canal which connects the
North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Holstein is divided into 11 Kreise (districts):
Herzogtum Lauenburg or "Duchy of Lauenburg")
Furthermore, the four separate urban districts are:
KI - Kiel
HL - Hansestadt ("Hanseatic town") Lübeck
NMS - Neumünster
FL - Flensburg
Holstein has an aging population. Since 1972 the natural
increases have been negative. In 2015 the total fertility rate reached
1.512, highest value in 40 years (the average value being 1.4). In
2015 there were 23,549 births and 33,663 deaths, resulting in a
natural decrease of -10,114.
Religion in Schleswig-
Holstein - 2011
Other or none
The region has been strongly Protestant since the time of the
Protestant Reformation. Percentage-wise it is the most Protestant of
the 16 modern states. In 2015, members of the Evangelical Church in
Germany make up 47.8% of the population, while members of the Catholic
Church comprise 5.9%. 46.3% of the population is not religious or
adherent of other religions.
Shared with neighboring Denmark:
Rødgrød served in
Holstein with milk or custard
Holstein combines Scandinavian and German aspects of
culture. The castles and manors in the countryside are the best
example for this tradition; some dishes like
Rødgrød (German: Rote
Grütze, literal English "red grits" or "red groats") are also shared,
as well as surnames such as Hansen.
The most important festivals are the Schleswig-
Festival, an annual classic music festival all over the state, and the
Lübeck Nordic Film Days, an annual film festival for movies from
Scandinavian countries, held in Lübeck.
Wacken Open Air
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 Gottorf
Castle in Schleswig.
The Wagnerian tenor
Klaus Florian Vogt
Klaus Florian Vogt is from Schleswig - Holstein.
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
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
Holstein meerumschlungen" (i.e., "Schleswig-Holstein
embraced by the seas") or "Schleswig-Holstein-Lied"
The old city of
Lübeck is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Helgoland island in the North Sea
Low German and North Frisian are the official
languages of the state.
Low German (in
Holstein and the South of Schleswig),
Danish (in Schleswig), and North Frisian (in North Frisia in Western
Schleswig) were spoken. During the language change in the 19th century
some Danish and North Frisian dialects in
Southern Schleswig were
replaced by German. 
Low German is still used in many parts of the state, a pidgin of Low
and standardised German (Missingsch) is used in most areas, and a
pidgin of German and Danish (Petuh) is used in the Flensburg-Area.
Danish is used by the Danish minority in Southern Schleswig, and North
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
High German was introduced in the 16th century, mainly for official
purposes, but is today the predominant language.
Holstein is a leader in the country's growing renewable
energy industry. In 2014, Schleswig-
Holstein became the first
German state to cover 100% of its electric power demand with renewable
energy sources (chiefly wind, solar, and biomass).
Compulsory education starts for children who are six years old on 30
June. 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. In Schleswig-
Holstein there are
"Gemeinschaftsschulen", which is a new type of comprehensive school.
The regional schools, which go by the German name "Regionalschule"
have been done away with as of 1 January 2014. The option of a
Gymnasium is still available.
There are three universities in Kiel,
Lübeck and Flensburg. Also,
there are four public Universities of Applied Sciences in Flensburg,
Heide, Kiel, and Lübeck. There is the Conservatory in
the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts in Kiel. There are also three
private institutions of higher learning.
Main article: Politics of Schleswig-Holstein
Holstein has its own parliament and government which are
located in the state capital Kiel. The
Holstein is elected by the Landtag of
Current executive branch
Minister of Education, Science and Cultural Affairs
Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and
Minister of Finances
Minister of Interior, Rural Areas an Integration
Minister of Justice, European Affairs, Consumer Protection and
Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Youth, Family and Senior Citizens
Minister of Economic Affairs, Transport, Employment, Technology and
Bernd Klaus Buchholz
See also: Schleswig-
Holstein state election, 2017
The most recent Schleswig-
Holstein state elections were held on 7 May
2017. The governing parties consisting of the Social Democrats, the
Green Party, and the
South Schleswig Voters' Association
South Schleswig Voters' Association lost their
List of Minister-Presidents of Schleswig-Holstein
Main article: List of Ministers-President of Schleswig-Holstein
European Union portal
Outline of Germany
Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp
Coat of arms
Coat of arms of Schleswig
^ "Statistikamt Nord – Bevölkerung der Gemeinden in
Holstein 4. Quartal 2016] (XLS-file)". Statistisches Amt
Hamburg und Schleswig-
Holstein (in German).
^ By the federal vehicle registration reform of 1 July 1956 distinct
prefixes were given for every district.
^ "Regional GDP per capita in the EU28 in 2013". Retrieved
^ "State population".
Portal of the Federal Statistics Office Germany.
Retrieved 25 April 2007.
^ German Chancellary (in Danish), The Great Danish Encyclopedia
^ Schwedler, Frank: Historischer Atlas Schleswig-
Holstein 1867 bis
1945, Wachholtz Verlag, Neumünster
^ "Lübeck: The town that said no to Hitler", Simon Heffer,
www.telegraph.co.uk, Retrieved 2010-06-28.
^ Ordinance No. 46, "Abolition of the Provinces in the British Zone of
the Former State of
Prussia and Reconstitution thereof as Separate
Länder" (PDF). (218 KB)
^ Flucht und Vertreibung at
Haus der Geschichte
Haus der Geschichte (in German)
^ Cite error: The named reference autogenerated1 was invoked but never
defined (see the help page).
^ Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland - Kirchemitgliederzahlen Stand
31.12.2015 EKD Januar 2017
^ Nygaard, Jørgen (14 May 2015). "Dansk er blevet officielt sprog i
Slesvig". tvsyd.dk (in Danish).
^ Bock, Karl N. (1948). Mittelniederdeutsch und heutiges Plattdeutsch
im ehemaligen Dänischen Herzogtum Schleswig. Studien zur Beleuchtung
des Sprachwechsels in Angeln und Mittelschleswig. Det Kgl. Danske
^ Hinrichsen, Manfred (1984). Die Entwicklung der Sprachverhältnisse
im Landesteil Schleswig. Wachholtz.
^ Gero Rueter (2013-09-10). "Northern
Germany spearheads energy
transition". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2015-08-21.
^ Lisa Waselikowski (2015-01-08). "Highlight of the Month: The First
German State Achieves 100% Renewable Energy". Worldwatch Institute.
^ a b c d "Education in Schleswig-Holstein". State of
Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
^ a b c "Institutions of Higher Education in Schleswig-Holstein".
State of Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
^ a b "Responsibilities of the Government". State of
Schleswig-Holstein. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
^ a b c d e f g h "State Government". Retrieved 28 June 2017.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Schleswig-Holstein.
Official government portal
Holstein Plebiscite Paper Money - 1919, 1920 Issues
360° Panoramas of Schleswig-Holstein
Geographic data related to Schleswig-
Holstein at OpenStreetMap
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Schleswig-Holstein". Encyclopædia
Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
States of the Federal Republic of Germany
Baden-Württemberg (since 1952)
Bavaria (since 1949)
Brandenburg (since 1990)
Hesse (since 1949)
Lower Saxony (since 1949)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (since 1990)
North Rhine-Westphalia (since 1949)
Rhineland-Palatinate (since 1949)
Saarland (since 1957)
Saxony (since 1990)
Saxony-Anhalt (since 1990)
Holstein (since 1949)
Thuringia (since 1990)
Berlin (since 1990)
Bremen (since 1949)
Hamburg (since 1949)
South Baden (1949–1952)
Urban and rural districts in the state of Schleswig-
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