brief survey through history

Culture plays a very important part in the life of the Hohwacht Bay population in a wide variety of different areas. Or where do you think our somewhat leisurely lifestyle comes from? A classic expression of our culture.

Have we made you curious? Then read on - you can find out a lot more here. Have fun on your historical and cultural stroll through history....

Sea robbers

It wasn't just the merchants and fishermen who appreciated using Hohwacht Bay for their purposes. According to legend, all kinds of sea robbers and crooks hung out here.

The story goes that Margarete of Denmark who struck fear and terror into the hearts of the merchants in the North Sea and the Baltic under her name "Black Greta", anchored off Hohwacht and frequently went ashore and always took her horse with her. The post which "Black Greta" tied her horse to was used for firewood at the end of the war as times were so hard.

Even the man who was probably the Baltic's best known pirate, Klaus Störtebeker, is said to have gone into hiding here. The Großer Binnensee lake gave him the ideal terrain in which to do so. And when you look over the water, you can vividly imagine how Störtebeker celebrated raucously and drunkenly with his crew, always ready to capture the ship of a rich merchant.

The Störtebeker legend

Karte Binnensee

Until 130 years ago, the Großer Binnensee between Behrensdorf and Hohwacht was a lagoon open to the Baltic. There is a push moraine from the last ice age between Stöfs and Lütjenburg where today's forest, the so-called "Old Castle", stands. The river Kossau flows in the depression between the town of Lütjenburg and the "Old Castle". In earlier times Lütjenburg even had a harbour. In the 14th century the valley slowly turned to land, and Lütjenburg gave up its harbour. For a long time the "Old Castle" forest formed a peninsula between two arms of the sea. 

According to an oral tradition, the "Old Castle" forest frequently served as a hideout for the famous sea robber, Klaus Störtebeker (also known as Klaas Störtebeker).  He is said to have hidden there with his ships when the fleets of the Hanseatic League towns were after him in this part of the Baltic Sea.

Störtebeker probably came from a small castle in Emsland and joined the "Victual Brothers" band of pirates.  They distributed their booty equally among all their members. Störtebeker soon became their leader along with Gödeke Michels, and he terrorised the Hanseatic merchants.

Störtebecker Versteck

The Großer Binnensee lake offered a passage to the Baltic Sea, the "River", in Störtebeker's time. This access slowly silted up and the merchants forgot about it, but not the sea robbers.

Their hideout was on the north side of the "Old Castle" forest. A slowly rising gully was dug into the steep slope from the landing stage into which the ships could be pulled on wooden slides or rollers with the aid of pulleys. The bushes and trees were able to hide 4 to 6 ships from the sea. Störtebeker and his pirates were thus able to disappear without trace.

Klaus Störtebeker was caught in 1402 and executed



A lot of very old and regionally different traditions are cultivated with a passion in Schleswig-Holstein. One of the oldest and most significant of such traditions are the guilds.

They were created as insurance against all kinds of emergencies which were liable to occur. Hence names such as the cow or pig guild. But the most well-known of them are doubtless the death guilds. This has nothing to do with some kind of heathen sacrificial rite.

You joined a death guild in order to be sure of having a decent burial when you died. For at the time when the guilds came into being, only the very few were able to afford such a thing. To obtain this security, you paid a fee on joining the guild and thereafter you paid a certain premium into the guild's coffers every year.