Explore the Hanseatic City of Uelzen
Hanseatic City of Uelzen timbered houses

The modern Hanseatic City of Uelzen looks back on a turbulent past. Four major fires are recorded in the 800-year history. Diseases and wars were to be overcome. At the beginning even the location was changed.


The founding of a monastery in today's district Oldenstadt in the year 973 formed the starting point for the development of the city of Ullessen, which had developed into a market settlement in the year 1200. There must have been some weighty reasons for the fact that a large part of the inhabitants decided to relocate to the opposite bank of the neighboring river Ilmenau in 1250. Henceforth they were no longer subordinate to the monastery, but to the Count of Schwerin. The place, initially Loewenwolde or also called Neu-Ullessen, developed rapidly. As early as 1270, Duke Johann of Braunschweig-Lüneburg granted him the city rights.

Trade, diseases and disasters

The early importance as a trading and merchants' city is reflected in the Hanse membership, which was first mentioned in 1374. Although Uelzen played only a minor role in the powerful economic alliance, the trade with Livonia and Spain has been established. At the market place Schnellenmarkt a London trading house bought Uelzen linen, clay jugs were offered and the brewery trade prospered. On October 21, 1470, Uelzen was the site of a Hanseatic Day. A special honor, as these resolutions of the town league took place only once a year, usually in Lübeck.

After the plague of 1350, which killed about 500 inhabitants, in 1597 again 510 citizens (one third of the population) died. Worse still, however, in 1646, a firing up of the area affected the development of Uelzen. “The greatest and best part of the town, which, besides Lüneburg and Hanover, was one of the most important of the duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg, was miserably cremated”, an eyewitness reported.

Although Uelzen was rebuilt in half-timbered construction, it was unable to recover economically and lost much of its importance. With the opening of the railway line Harburg-Lehrte (1847) and later the development to a railroad node, a new period began. In 1884 the appointment to the district town and the construction of the sugar factory (today one of the largest and most modern plants in Europe) took place.

Uelzen today

Today, Uelzen is a lively city which offers itself to living  and working because of its favorable location between Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen and Braunschweig. Nestled in the delightful meadow landscape of the Ilmenau and surrounded by three nature parks, the region is a popular leisure and holiday destination in the natural environment of the Lüneburger Heide. The railway, the Elbe-Seiten-Kanal (Elbe lateral canal) and several federal roads ensure a very good accessibility. A motorway connection is planned.
During a city tour the history can still be felt in many places: half-timbered houses, market streets, small alleyways, chapels and modern buildings characterize the inner city. Present and future combine to form a harmonious whole.

Art and culture

In Uelzen, one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world was built in the course of Expo 2000, following the plans of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Hundertwasser train station is also the starting point for the "Route of the Stones" - 21 colorful painted rock fragments by the Swedish artist Dagmar Glemme, which line the path from the railway station to the city center. A pedestrian zone, traffic-calmed shopping streets and the art at the edge of the street make the city stroll a special experience. Cozy cafes and restaurants invite you to linger.

The cultural offer is surprisingly large and diverse, measured by the size of the city. The cinema, the theatre “Theater an der Ilmenau”, the Jabelmann event hall and the theatre at the Rosenmauer are attractions for cultural lovers from near and far. In the late summer, the Holdenstedt Palace, with a museum and a unique collection of glass, is center of the Holdenstedter Schlosswochen (castle week), a cultural event with concerts, exhibitions and lectures. The grand musician of Uelzen, Friedrich Kuhlau, is honored every two years with a flautist competition with international participation. In the summer, the OpenR Festival with international music acts is also a special experience. The Uelzen Christmas Magic, the twice weekly Vitalmarket in the inner city as well as the wine market are further event highlights.

In the Church of St. Mary the visitor meets the Golden Ship, the city's landmark. The origin of the medieval goldsmith work is still a mystery. For a long time the table-top in the form of a hanseatic cog was connected with the former trade-gate in London. The Uhlenköper monument, which is both Uelzen's history and tourist attraction, is located very close to the church.

Tourist offers and information about history, culture and leisure in Uelzen can be found on the Internet at www.hansestadt-uelzen.de.

Pictures of the Hanseatic City of Uelzen


Stadt Uelzen
Stadt- und Touristinformation
Herzogenplatz 2
29525 Uelzen