Glückstadt is a town in the Steinburg
Steinburg is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Dithmarschen, Rendsburg-Eckernförde, Segeberg and Pinneberg, and by the Elbe River .-History:...

 district of Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein 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...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It is located on the right bank of the Lower Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

 at the confluence of the small Rhin river, about 45 km (28 mi) northwest of Altona
Altona, Hamburg
Altona is the westernmost urban borough of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until 1937...

. Glückstadt is part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region
Hamburg Metropolitan Region
The Metropolregion Hamburg is the compilation of 8 rural districts in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, 6 districts in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and the city-state of Hamburg in northern Germany...

 (Metropolregion Hamburg).


Glückstadt was founded in 1617 on the marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

 lands along the Elbe by the Duke of Holstein
The Duchy of Holstein in Glückstadt was the northernmost state of the Holy Roman Empire. It consisted of the part of Holstein that was ruled by the king of Denmark; its capital was Glückstadt on the River Elbe.-History:...

, King Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

, who had levee
A levee, levée, dike , embankment, floodbank or stopbank is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall, which regulates water levels...

s and fortifications built as well as a ducal residence. Its name translates to English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 literally as "Luck City" or "Fortune City". As Christian IV promised the settlers tax exemption and freedom of religion
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

, Glückstadt soon became an important trading centre, intended to compete with the Imperial city
Free Imperial City
In the Holy Roman Empire, a free imperial city was a city formally ruled by the emperor only — as opposed to the majority of cities in the Empire, which were governed by one of the many princes of the Empire, such as dukes or prince-bishops...

 of Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, located upstream on the Elbe. After the king had interfered in the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 the town in 1627/28 was besieged for fifteen weeks by the united Imperial
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 and Catholic
Catholic League (German)
The German Catholic League was initially a loose confederation of Roman Catholic German states formed on July 10, 1609 to counteract the Protestant Union , whereby the participating states concluded an alliance "for the defence of the Catholic religion and peace within the Empire." Modeled...

 troops under the command of Albrecht von Wallenstein
Albrecht von Wallenstein
Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein , actually von Waldstein, was a Bohemian soldier and politician, who offered his services, and an army of 30,000 to 100,000 men during the Danish period of the Thirty Years' War , to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II...

 and Count Tilly, though without success.
In 1649 Christian's son and successor King Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III of Denmark
Frederick III was king of Denmark and Norway from 1648 until his death. He instituted absolute monarchy in Denmark and Norway in 1660, confirmed by law in 1665 as the first in western historiography. He was born the second-eldest son of Christian IV of Denmark and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg...

 had the seat of the Holstein administration moved to Glückstadt, whereafter the duchy became known as Holstein-Glückstadt
The Duchy of Holstein in Glückstadt was the northernmost state of the Holy Roman Empire. It consisted of the part of Holstein that was ruled by the king of Denmark; its capital was Glückstadt on the River Elbe.-History:...

. In 1773 the town became the capital of all Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

 lands, when the lands of the Holstein-Gottorp
Holstein-Gottorp or Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp is the historiographical name, as well as contemporary shorthand name, for the parts of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein that were ruled by the dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp. Other parts of the duchies were ruled by the kings of Denmark. The...

 line were finally incorporated. During the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

 in 1814 Glückstadt was blockaded by the allies and capitulated, whereupon its fortifications were demolished. In 1830 it was made a free port.

Holstein-Glückstadt remained a possession of the Danish Crown
Kingdom of Denmark
The Kingdom of Denmark or the Danish Realm , is a constitutional monarchy and sovereign state consisting of Denmark proper in northern Europe and two autonomous constituent countries, the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland in North America. Denmark is the hegemonial part, where the...

 until its defeat in the Second Schleswig War of 1864. It was occupied by Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, but finally incorporated into the Prussian
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 Province of Schleswig-Holstein
Province of Schleswig-Holstein
The Province of Schleswig-Holstein was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1868 to 1946. It was created from the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, which had been conquered by Prussia and the Austrian Empire from Denmark in the Second War of Schleswig in 1864...

 in the aftermath of the 1866 Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...


Heinrich Gravert Schmidt, son of Jacob Gravert Kleinfinger and Gesche Schmidt, was the main "Schlachtermeister" (butcher) on Schleswig-Holstein, exporting processed meat to America since 1830 to 1886. This trade was continued until 1907 with the help of his son Captain Ferdinand Gravert Borchers, being involved in the nitrate ocean race from South America, where his descendant Captain Alex Gravert Salcedo keeps the maritime tradition managing tankers and offshore vessels.


In 1845 Glückstadt station opened on the Marsh Railway line from Elmshorn
Elmshorn is a town in the district of Pinneberg in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. It is located 32 km north of Hamburg at the small river Krückau, close to the Elbe river, is the sixth-largest city in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany...

, which in 1857 was continued to Itzehoe
Itzehoe is a town in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.As the capital of the district Steinburg, Itzehoe is located on the Stör, a navigable tributary of the Elbe, 51 km northwest of Hamburg and 24 km north of Glückstadt...

. Today trains run from Hamburg-Altona station to Westerland on Sylt
Sylt is an island in northern Germany, part of Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein, and well known for the distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia...

 island. Glückstadt also has a ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 service across the Elbe to Wischhafen
Wischhafen is a municipality in the district of Stade, in Lower Saxony, Germany.-History:It belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish and from 1715 on by the...

 in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

. It is a stop on the Deutsche Fährstraße
Deutsche Fährstraße
The Deutsche Fährstraße , established in May 2004, is a theme route similar to the American National Scenic Byways. It connects various places between Bremervörde and Kiel with relation to the history of ferries and crossing of rivers, like the historic transporter bridges in Rendsburg and Osten.It...

 theme road and the Elbe Cycle Route
Elbe Cycle Route
The Elbe Cycle Route is part of an international network of cycling routes all over Europe. It is integrated in the system of currently 37 river cycling routes in Germany and by far the most popular route for cyclists in this country.The Elbe Cycle Route starts in Prague on the Vltava, which joins...


Notable people

  • Christoffer Gabel, Danish statesman (1617–1673)
  • Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm
    Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm
    Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm was a German naturalist who served aboard the Challenger expedition.Willemoes-Suhm was born in Glückstadt, Schleswig-Holstein. After starting to study law at the University of Bonn, Willemoes-Suhm left Bonn to study zoology at Munich under Professor Karl von Siebold...

    , zoologist (1847–1875)
  • Willi Holdorf
    Willi Holdorf
    Willi Holdorf is a West German athlete who mainly competed in the decathlon.He competed for the United Team of Germany in the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan, where he won the gold medal in the men's decathlon event.-References:...

    , olympic gold medal winner (decathlon, 1964) (*1940)
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