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. The population is about 32,530.
The church of St Lawrence, dating from the 12th century, and the building in which the Holstein estates formerly met, are noteworthy. The town has a convent founded in 1256, many schools, a hospital and other benevolent institutions. Itzehoe is a busy commercial place.
Itzehoe is the oldest town in Holstein. Its nucleus was a castle, built in 809 by Egbert, one of Charlemagne's counts, against the Danes. The community which sprang up around it was variously called Esseveldoburg, Eselsfleth and Ezeho. In 1201 the town was destroyed, but it was restored in 1224. The new town was granted the Lübeck rights by Adolphus IV in 1238, and the old town in 1303. During the Thirty Years' War Itzehoe was twice destroyed by the Swedes, in 1644 and 1657, but was rebuilt on each occasion. It passed to Prussia in 1867, with the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein.
Itzehoe is listed as a garrison depot (Wehrkreis X, Hamburg) of the former Infanteriedivision 225. which was implicated in the 1940 Vinkt Massacre in Belgium.
During the period up to and including the Wacken Open Air festival, many festival goers chose to depart for the festival from Itzehoe using the 'Metal Shuttle Bus' which departs from near Itzehoe station. During this time, the town can become very overcrowded and traffic; slow.