Schwerin (UK: /ʃvɛˈrn/, US: /ʃvˈrn/, German: [ʃveˈʁiːn] (listen); Mecklenburgian Low German: Swerin; Latin: Suerina, Suerinum) is the capital and second-largest city of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as of the region of Mecklenburg, after Rostock. It has around 96,000 inhabitants, and is thus the least populous of all German state capitals.

From top down, left to right: Schwerin Palace (seat of the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Schelfstadt, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Schwerin Cathedral
Coat of arms
Location of Schwerin
Coordinates: 53°38′0″N 11°25′0″E
DistrictUrban district
Subdivisions18 boroughs
  Lord mayorRico Badenschier (SPD)
  Total130.46 km2 (50.37 sq mi)
38 m (125 ft)
  Density730/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
19053, 19055, 19057, 19059, 19061, 19063
Dialling codes0385
Vehicle registrationSN
County of Schwerin

Grafschaft Schwerin
Coat of arms
County of Schwerin during the time of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (circa 1250)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 Partitioned to Schwerin
    and Schwerin-Wittenburg
 Partitioned to create
 Inherited Tecklenburg
 Schwerin-Schwerin comital line
 Schwerin-Wittenburg-Boizenburg extinct
1349 1358
 Comital line extinct; sold
    to Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Saxony
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Bishopric of Schwerin

Bistum Schwerin
Bishopric of Schwerin during the time of the Hohenstaufen Emperors (circa 1250)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
 Gained territory
 Secularised to M-Schwerin
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Saxony
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Schwerin is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Schwerin (German:Schweriner See), one of the largest lakes of the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau, and there are eleven other lakes within its city limits. The city is surrounded by the district of Northwestern Mecklenburg to the north, and the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim to the south. Schwerin lies in the east of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The name of the city is of Slavic origin, deriving from the root zvěŕ (wild animal) or zvěŕin (game reserve, animal garden, stud farm).

Schwerin was first mentioned in 1018 as Zuarina and was granted city rights in 1160 by Henry the Lion, thus it is the oldest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. From 1379 to 1815, the city was, as main residence of the House of Mecklenburg, the capital of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and from 1815, when the duke was elevated to the title of a grand duke, to 1918, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The city is known for the romantic Schwerin Palace with its characteristic golden dome and its Niklot statue, that is situated on an island in Lake Schwerin. The dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin ruled from there, and since 1990, the palace is the official seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The city also has a largely intact old town, thanks to only minor damage in World War II.

Major industries and employers include high technology, machine building, healthcare, government agencies, railway supply, consumer goods and tourism. Schwerin has three academic colleges, the FHM, HdBA and the Design School.


Early years

Schwerin is enclosed by lakes. The largest of these lakes, the Schweriner See, has an area of 60 km2. In the middle part 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 later 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.

Recent times

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-Schwerin thereafter.

At the end of World War II, on 2 May 1945, Schwerin was taken by United States troops. It was turned over to the British on 1 June 1945, and one month later, on 1 July 1945,[2] 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.


The urban area of Schwerin is divided into 18 local districts,[3] each with a local council. The districts consist of one or more districts. The local councilors have between 5 and 15 members depending on the number of inhabitants.

They are determined by the city council for the duration of the election period of the city council after each municipal election. The local councilors are to hear important matters concerning the district and have a right of initiative. However, the final decisions are made by the city council of the city as a whole.

The eighteen current districts are the following:

  • District 1: Schelfstadt, Werdervorstadt, Schelfwerder
  • District 2: Altstadt (Old Town), Feldstadt, Paulsstadt, Lewenberg
  • District 3: Grosser Dreesch (former Dreesch I)
  • District 4: Neu Zippendorf (former Dreesch II)
  • District 5: Mueßer Holz (former Dreesch III)
  • District 6: Gartenstadt, Ostorf (formerly Haselholz, Ostorf)
  • District 7: Lankow
  • District 8: Weststadt
  • District 9: Krebsförden
  • District 10: Wüstmark, Göhrener Tannen
  • District 11: Görries
  • District 12: Friedrichsthal
  • District 13: Neumühle, Sacktannen
  • District 14: Warnitz
  • District 15: Wickendorf
  • Locality 16: Medewege
  • Locality 17: Zippendorf
  • Locality 18: Mueß


City buses and trams are run by NVS (Nahverkehr Schwerin).[4]

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 city hall (18th century).
  • Schelfkirche (Saint Nicolai Church), originally built 1238, but rebuilt in 1713 after destruction by a storm.
  • TV Tower Schwerin-Zippendorf.


  • The Staatliches Museum Schwerin-Kunstsammlungen (State Art Museum) houses a remarkable collection of 17th-century Dutch paintings and 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) 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 40 km north of Schwerin.

Crime rate

According to the official 2007 Crime Report for Germany, Schwerin was the only German city with a crime rate over 17,000 total offenses committed per 100,000 inhabitants;[5] thus being 1st in the list of Germany's most dangerous cities. The larger cities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, or Bremen, all have crime rates ranging from 14,000 to 16,000 total offenses committed per 100,000 people. However, Schwerin is the only city where riding a bus (or tram) without a ticket and social security fraud is counted towards the crime rate, significantly boosting the numbers.[6]

Twin towns – sister cities

Schwerin is twinned with:[7]

  • Odense, Denmark
  • Piła, Poland
  • Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Vaasa, Finland
  • Växjö, Sweden
  • Wuppertal, Germany

Notable people

  • Konrad Ernst Ackermann (1712–1771), actor
  • Friedrich Ludwig Schröder (1744–1816), actor, theatre director and playwright
  • Karl Albert von Kamptz (1769–1849), lawyer, Prussian Minister of Justice
  • Heinrich von Bülow (1792–1846), diplomat and Prussian statesman
  • 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), entomologist and bee researcher
  • Heinrich Cunow (1862–1938), politician (SPD) and writer
  • Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg (1873–1969), duke, Africa traveler, colonial politician and first President of the German Olympic Committee
  • Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1879–1952), duchess
  • Hermann Baranowski (1884–1940), Nazi SS concentration camp commandant
  • Paul Gosch (1885–1940), painter and architect, Nazi victim
  • Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886–1954), duchess, last Crown Princess of the German Empire
  • Bernhard Schwentner (1891–1944), Catholic priest and resistance fighter
  • Wilhelm Gustloff (1895–1936), Nazi party leader
  • Rudolf Metzmacher (1906–2004), cellist
  • Ludwig Bölkow (1912–2003), industrialist
  • Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse (1918–2019), typographer and bookbinder
  • Verena Keller (born 1940), mezzo-soprano
  • Gabriele Hinzmann (born 1947), athlete
  • André Brie (born 1950), politician (The Left)
  • Anke Westendorf (born 1954), volleyball player
  • Detlef Kübeck (born 1956), sprinter
  • Rosemarie Kother (born 1956), swimmer
  • Katrin Sass (born 1956), actress
  • Heidrun Bluhm (born 1958), politician (The Left)
  • Andrea Pollack (born 1961), swimmer
  • Matthias Stammann (born 1968), footballer
  • Heike Balck (born 1970), athlete
  • Oliver Riedel (born 1971), musician of band Rammstein
  • Sylvia Roll (born 1973), volleyball player
  • Hanka Pachale (born 1976), volleyball player
  • Robert Müller (born 1986), footballer
  • Stephan Gusche (born 1990), footballer
Panoramic view of Schwerin's historic city centre


  1. "Statistisches Amt M-V – Bevölkerungsstand der Kreise, Ämter und Gemeinden 2019". Statistisches Amt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (in German). July 2020.
  2. Some evidence calls into doubt the date on which the British withdrew to the predesignated occupation zone. Local residents claim that the British forces did not relinquish control of Schwerin until later in the year, probably November, following a brief artillery exchange across lake Schwerin between the British and the Soviets. Allegedly there were no deaths.
  3. "Stadtteile". (in German). Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  4. NVS (Nahverkehr Schwerin)
  5. Official Police Report for Germany, cf. p. 17.
  6. "19.05.07 / Aufgeklrt: Das wilde Rubernest Schwerin". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  7. "Städtepartnerschaften". (in German). Schwerin. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
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