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Church in Geesthacht
Church in Geesthacht
Coat of arms of Geesthacht
Coat of arms
Geesthacht   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 53°26′N 10°22′E / 53.433°N 10.367°E / 53.433; 10.367Coordinates: 53°26′N 10°22′E / 53.433°N 10.367°E / 53.433; 10.367
Country Germany
State Schleswig-Holstein
District Lauenburg
 • Mayor Olaf Schulze
 • Total 33.18 km2 (12.81 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2015-12-31)[1]
 • Total 30,030
 • Density 910/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 21498–21502
Dialling codes 04152
Vehicle registration RZ

Geesthacht (German pronunciation: [ɡeːstˈhaxt]) is the largest city in the District of the Duchy of Lauenburg (Herzogtum Lauenburg) in Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany, 34 km southeast of Hamburg on the right bank of the river Elbe.


  • Around 800: A church is documented.
  • 1216: First documentary mention of the settlement as Hachede, then a part of Saxony.
  • A change in the course of the Elbe cuts the settlement into two: Geesthacht and Marschacht (in today's Lower Saxony).
  • 1296: Geesthacht becomes part of the Durchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, partitioned from Saxony
  • 1370: Duke Eric III pawns Geesthacht - as part of the Herrschaft of Bergedorf - to Lübeck
  • 1401: Duke Eric IV retakes the pawned area with force
  • 1420: Geesthacht is ceded as part of a condominium to the Hanseatic cities Hamburg and Lübeck by the Peace of Perleberg.
  • 1811: Geesthacht is annexed to France as part of the Bouches de l'Elbe département
  • 1813: The condominium is restored
  • 1865/66: The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel establishes a glycerin factory in Geesthacht (on Krümmel hill) and invents dynamite. Krümmel becomes the first dynamite factory in the world.
  • 1868: Lübeck sells its share in the condominium to Hamburg, Geesthacht becomes a part Hamburg's state territory
  • 1906: Opening of the Bergedorf-Geesthachter Railway(BGE).
  • 1918–1933: Geesthacht is a hotbed of radical leftist parties (USPD, KPD and SAPD) and acquires the nickname Little Moscow.
  • 1924: Granted town privileges by the Hamburg state order of 2 January.
  • 1928: Destruction of the historical town centre by a fire.
  • 1937: In the context of the territorial reorganization of the State of Hamburg (Greater Hamburg Act), Geesthacht is transferred to the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, there becoming part of the district (Kreis) of Duchy of Lauenburg.
  • 1953: Suspension of passenger service on the Bergedorf-Geesthachter Eisenbahn (a railway line).


At present, the city council is composed as follows:

CDU SPD GRÜNE FDP Linke Offensive D Total
2009 12 10 5 4 2 0 33
2003 17 12 3 2 0 2 36

Independent Mayor Dr. Volker Manow, who replaced Ingo Fokken after his unexpected death on June 29, 2009, was elected on December 13, 2009.

Twin towns[edit]

Economics and transportation[edit]

Information table about the pumped storage
Pump tubes and solar panels

Geesthacht is a major energy and scientific research center. It has the Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant (closed 2011 after Fukushima - "Atomausstieg"), a boiling water nuclear reactor on the River Elbe, and a 120 MW pumped storage hydroelectrical plant situated within a few hundreds metres of the nuclear power plant. It consists of an artificial lake 80m above the river, where the water is pumped up from, and 600 MWh storage for later use in generating electricity when demand is high.[2] Small wind and solar plants also produce electricity or pump water.

State institutions[edit]

Leisure and sports sites[edit]

  • Open-air swimming pool at the Elbe


  • Kleines Theater Schillerstrasse - small art meetings and cinema


  • Krügersches Haus - a permanent exhibition relating the history of the city

Born in Geesthacht[edit]

Honorary citizen[edit]

  • Rudolf Basedau (1897–1975), politician (SPD), member of the Schleswig-Holstein parliament


The conservative politician Uwe Barschel, who was later involved in the "Waterkantgate" scandal, took his Abitur at the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Geesthacht and as a student representative invited former Nazi admiral Dönitz to give a presentation on the topic of 'The Modernisation of History Classes' ("Aktualisierung des Geschichtsunterrichts"). Following the scandal, his principal committed suicide under the ensuing pressure.[3]



  • Heinz Bohlmann: Fäuste, Führer, Flüchtlingstrecks. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Städte Geesthacht und Lauenburg/Elbe 1930–1950. Schwarzenbeck 1990. ISBN 3-921595-15-0
  • Bernhard Michael Menapace: "Klein-Moskau" wird braun: Geesthacht in der Endphase der Weimarer Republik (1928–1933). Kiel 1991. ISBN 3-89029-923-7
  • August Ziehl: Geesthacht - 60 Jahre Arbeiterbewegung 1890–1950. Geesthacht 1958.


External links[edit]