Schwerin, Rostok, Germany | CruiseBe
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Schwerin, Germany
History and museums
city, historic site, sightseeing

Schwerin ([ʃvɛˈʁiːn] or [ʃvəˈʁiːn], Mecklenburgian Swerin, Latin Suerina) is the capital and second-largest city of the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The population is 91,583 (as of December 31, 2013).

Schwerin was first mentioned in 1018 and was granted city rights in 1160, thus it is the oldest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is known for its romantic Schwerin Palace, crowning an island in the Lake Schwerin. The city also has a largely intact old town, thanks to only minor damage in World War II.

Schwerin is located within the metropolitan region of Hamburg and close to that of Berlin, and to nearby regiopolises of Rostock and Lübeck.



Schwerin is surrounded by lakes. The largest of these lakes, the Schweriner See, has an area of 60 km2. In the midst of these lakes there was a settlement of the Slavic Obotrite (dated back to the 11th century). The area was called Zuarin (Polabian Zwierzyn), and the name Schwerin is derived from that designation. In 1160, Henry the Lion defeated the Obotrites and captured Schwerin. The town was subsequently expanded into a powerful regional centre. A castle was built on this site, and expanded to become a ducal palace. It is supposedly haunted by the small, impious ghost, called Petermännchen ("Peterman").

In 1358, Schwerin became a part of the Duchy of Mecklenburg, making it the seat of the duchy from then on. About 1500, the construction of the Schwerin Palace began, as a residence for the dukes. After the division of Mecklenburg (1621), Schwerin became the capital of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Between 1765 and 1837, the town of Ludwigslust served as the capital, until Schwerin was reinstated.

In the mid-1800s, many residents from Schwerin moved to the United States, many to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today Milwaukee and Schwerin are sister cities.

After 1918, and during the German Revolution, resulting in the fall of all the German monarchies, the Grand Duke abdicated. Schwerin became capital of the Free State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern thereafter.

At the end of World War II, on 2 May 1945, Schwerin was taken by U.S. troops. It was turned over to the British on 1 June 1945, and one month later, on 1 July 1945, it was handed over to the Soviet forces, as the British and American forces pulled back from the line of contact to the predesignated occupation zones. Schwerin was then in the Soviet Occupation Zone which was to become the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Initially, it was the capital of the State of Mecklenburg which at that time included the western part of Pomerania (Vorpommern). After the states were dissolved in the GDR, in 1952, Schwerin served as the capital of the Schwerin district (Bezirk Schwerin).

After reunification in 1990, the former state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was recreated as one of the Bundesländer. Rostock was a serious contender for state capital but the decision went in favour of Schwerin.

Sister Cities


City buses and trams are run by NVS (Nahverkehr Schwerin).

Schwerin Hauptbahnhof (central station) is connected by rail to Berlin, Hamburg and Rostock.

Main sights

  • The landmark of the city is the Schwerin Palace, located on an island in the lake of the same name (Schweriner See). It was, for centuries, the residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg and today is the seat of the Landtag (state parliament).
  • Schwerin Cathedral, built in 1260–1416 in Brick Gothic style.
  • The Alter Garten (Old Garden) square, surrounded by buildings such as the 18th-century Altes Palais (Old Palace), the neoclassical Staatliches Museum Schwerin (State Art Museum), built in 1877–1882, and the Staatstheater (City Theater), erected in 1886.
  • The town hall (18th century)
  • Schelfkirche (Saint Nicolai, originally built 1238, but rebuilt in 1713 after destruction by a storm)
  • Television mast Schwerin-Zippendorf


  • The Staatliches Museum Schwerin-Kunstsammlungen (State Art Museum) houses a remarkable collection of Dutch paintings from 16th centuries Dutch painter schools German art from medieval and renaissance masters up to the present day. There are also a collection of Greek vases, the notable collection of Paintings of Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a collection of sculptures of Houdon, German 18th-century court paintings, and works by such modern artists as Max Liebermann, Franz Stuck, Marcel Duchamp etc. The Graphic cabinet houses rich collections of Dutch and German drawings and prints (Jan van Goyen, Dürer, Cranach, Rembrandt, Merian etc.) and a notable collection of coloured graphics from the time of the GDR.
  • The State Museum of Technology (Technische Museum), housed in the former Marstall (Royal Stables). In 2012 the Technische Museum moved to the city of Wismar located 40km north of Schwerin.

Sons and daughters of the town

18th century

  • Konrad Ernst Ackermann (1712-1771), actor
  • Friedrich Ludwig Schröder (1744-1816), actor, theater director and playwright
  • Karl Albert von Kamptz (1769-1849), lawyer and Prussian State and Minister of Justice

19th century

  • Karl Lemcke (1832-1913), art historian, songwriter, rector at the University of Stuttgart
  • August Kundt (1839-1894), physicist
  • Hans von Koester (1844-1928), naval officer
  • Franziska Ellmenreich (1847-1931), actress
  • Friedrich Klockmann (1858-1937), mineralogist
  • Heinrich Friese (1860-1948), an entomologist and bee researcher
  • Heinrich Cunow (1862-1938), ethnologist, writer and politician (SPD)
  • Adolf Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg [-Schwerin] (1873-1969), Africa traveler, colonial politician and first president of the German Olympic Committee
  • Alexandrine, Duchess of Mecklenburg [-Schwerin] (1879-1952), Queen of Denmark
  • Paul Gosch (1885-1940), painter and architect, Nazi victims
  • Cecilie, Duchess of Mecklenburg [-Schwerin] (1886-1954), last Crown Princess of the German Empire
  • Bernhard Schwentner (1891-1944), Catholic priest and resistance fighter
  • Wilhelm Gustloff (1895-1936), Nazi party leader

20th century


  • Ludwig Bolkow (1912-2003), industrialist
  • Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse (* 1918), typographer and bookbinder
  • Gabriele Hinzmann (* 1947), athlete
  • André Brie (* 1950), politicians (Die Linke)

1951 - 2000

  • Anke Westendorf (* 1954), volleyball player
  • Detlef Kübeck (* 1956), Athlete
  • Rosemarie Kother (* 1956), Women's Swimming
  • Katrin Sass (* 1956), theater, film and television actress
  • Heidrun Bluhm (born 1958), politician (Die Linke)
  • Andrea Pollack (* 1961), swimming athlete
  • Matthias Stammann (born 1968), football player
  • Heike Balck (* 1970), athlete
  • Sylvia Roll (* 1973), volleyball player
  • Hanka Pachale (* 1976), volleyball player
  • Cathrin Schlüter (* 1980), volleyball player
  • Robert Müller (* 1986), football player
  • Stephan Gusche (* 1990), football player


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