The district was created in 1834 when Prussia bought the Lichtenberg area from Saxony-Coburg. After the World War I, the Saar area came under special rulership of the League of Nations, and thus the Sankt Wendel district was split into two parts. The northern part, the Restkreis Sankt Wendel, was merged into the district Birkenfeld, the southern part stayed in the Saarland in its reduced size.
The district is located in the Saar-Hunsrück natural area, a hilly area with elevations between 200 and 600 meters. The main river in the district is the Nahe. The Bostalsee is the biggest tourist lake in the south-west of Germany, covering an area of about 1.2 km².
The German blazon reads: Im silber und blau geteilten Schild ein rot bezungter und rot bewehrter Löwe mit gewechselten Farben, belegt mit einem goldenen Herzschild, darin eine rote heraldische Lilie.
The district’s arms might in English heraldic language be described thus: Per fess argent and azure a lion rampant counterchanged armed and langued gules surmounted by an inescutcheon Or charged with a fleur-de-lis of the third.