Infobox German Location
Art = Stadt
image_photo = Rostock_Giebelhäuser_Markt.jpg
image_caption = New Market (Neuer Markt) in Rostock
Wappen = Rostock Wappen.svg
lat_deg = 54 | lat_min = 5 | lat_sec=0
lon_deg = 12 | lon_min = 8 | lon_sec=0
Lageplan = Rostock Verwaltungsgliederung.pngLageplanbeschreibung = Administrative divisions of Rostock
Bundesland = Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Kreis = urban
Höhe = 13
Fläche = 181.44
Einwohner = 200414
Stand = 2006-06-30
PLZ = 18001–18147
PLZ-alt = 2500–2550
Vorwahl = 0381
Kfz = HRO
Gemeindeschlüssel = 13 0 03 000
Gliederung = 21 boroughs
city rights = 1218
Adresse = Neuer Markt 1
18050 Rostock
Website = []
Bürgermeister = Roland Methling
Bürgermeistertitel = Oberbürgermeister
Partei = parteilos
pop_ref = [cite web |url= |title=Population of the districts "Ämter" and Municipalities, 30.06.2006 |author=Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Statistical Office |language=German]

Rostock (pronounced|ˈʁɔstɔk, from Polabian Roz toc, literally "to flow apart") is the largest city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rostock is located on the Warnow river; the quarter of Warnemünde 12 km north of the city centre lies directly on the coast of the Baltic Sea.


Rostock is located nearly centrally on Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Baltic Sea coast. The city is crossed by the Warnow.

The seaside part of Rostock, Rostock-Warnemünde, is about 16 km to the north of the historic city centre. The west and the south-east are the most densely populated parts of town, the overseas port is in the east of Rostock. Rostock stretches 21.6 kilometres from the Baltic Sea to the south and 19.4 km from east to west.


Early history

In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called "Roztoc" (which means "broadening of a river"); the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.

Afterwards the place was settled by German traders. At the beginning there were three separate cities:

# "Altstadt" (Old Town) around the "Alter Markt" (Old Market) with St. Petri (St. Peter's Church),
# "Mittelstadt" (Middle Town) around the "Neuer Markt" (New Market) with St. Marien (St. Mary's Church) and
# "Neustadt" (New Town) around the "Hopfenmarkt" (Hops Market, now University Square) with St. Jakobi (St. James's Church, now demolished).

Hanseatic League

The rise of the city began with its membership in the Hanseatic League. In the 14th century it was a powerful seaport town with 12,000 inhabitants and the biggest city of Mecklenburg. Ships for cruising the Baltic Sea were constructed in Rostock. In 1419 the oldest university in Northern Europe, the University of Rostock, was founded.

15th to 18th century

At the end of the 15th century the dukes of Mecklenburg succeeded in enforcing their rule over the town of Rostock, which had until then been only nominally subjugate to their rule and essentially independent. They took advantage of a riot known as "Domfehde", a failed uprising of the impoverished population. Subsequent quarrels with the dukes and persistent plundering led ultimately to a loss of economic and political power.

The strategic location of Rostock provoked the envy of its rivals. Danes and Swedes occupied the city twice, first during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) and again from 1700 to 1721. Later, the French, under Napoleon, occupied the town for about a decade until 1813. It was here that Blücher, who was actually born in Rostock and who was one of few generals to fight on after the battle of Jena, surrendered to the French in 1806. This was only after furious street fighting in which he led some of the cavalry charges himself; the exhausted Prussians had, by the time of the surrender, neither food nor ammunition.

19th century

In the first half of the 19th century Rostock regained much of its economic importance, at first due to the wheat trade, and, from the 1850s, to industry, especially to its shipyards. The first propeller-driven steamers in Germany were constructed here.

The city grew in size and population, with new quarters emerging in the south and west of the ancient borders of the city. Two notable developments were added to house the increasing population at around 1900:
#"Steintor-Vorstadt" in the south, stretching from the old city wall to the facilities of the new "Lloydbahnhof" Railway Station (now Hauptbahnhof). It was designed as a living quarter and consists mostly of large single houses, once inhabited by wealthy citizens.
# "Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt" in the west, designed to house the working population as well as smaller and larger industrial facilities such as "Mahn & Ohlerich's Brewery" (now Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock). The main shipyard, "Neptun" was just nearby at the shore of the river.

20th century

In the 20th century, important airplane manufacturing facilities were situated in the city, such as the Arado Flugzeugwerke in Warnemünde and the Heinkel Works with facilities at various places. It was at their facilities in Rostock-Marienehe where the world's pioneering jet plane made its test flights. Aeroplane construction ceased at the end of the Second World War.

Large parts of the central city were destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing in 1942 and 1945. Through reconstruction and subsequent extension, the city became a major industrial centre of the German Democratic Republic with the port being developed as the primary gate to the world.

Following the reunification of Germany in 1989/1990, Rostock lost its prior privileged position as the principal overseas port of the former GDR and became one of several German ports, now located in one of the least industrialised regions of reunited Germany. Despite large infrastructure investments, the city's economy declined in the 1990s but is now growing again.

Rostock's population dropped from nearly 260,000 in 1989 to about 200,000 today, primarily due to suburbanisation but also due to emigration to more prosperous western regions of Germany.



In Rostock's long history, the city carried three different coat of arms known as the "Signum", "Secretum" and "Sigillum". The Signum, which can be traced back to 1367, was developed last and is to this modern day the coat of arms of the city.

The flag depicts a golden griffin on blue background as well as the colours of the Hanseatic League, silver and red.

The coat of arms can not only be seen on flags, houses and bus stops, but also on bridges, gullies, fences, ships and restaurants.


Since the 13th century, the governing body of the city is the city council ("Rat"), first consisting of ten, later of 24 aldermen ("Ratsherren"). The chairman of the city council was the city mayor. In the 19th century there were even three mayors. Since 1925, the head of the city bears the title Lord Mayor. Having been elected for centuries by the city council, he is now elected directly by the citizens of Rostock, after a reform in 2002.

The city parliament ("Bürgerschaft") represents the citizens. Representative are elected for five years. The number of representatives is currently 53.

* 13 CDU
* 13 PDS
* 11 SPD
* 6 Greens
* 3 FDP
* 3 Rostocker Bund
* 4 othersThe city parliament is presided by the "Präsident der Bürgerschaft". He heads and prepares the sessions and, together with the Lord Mayor, represents the city.

Roland Methling (Independent), was elected Lord Mayor of Rostock in the first round by 58,2% of the voters on 27 February 2005.

Partner cities

Rostock has signed partnership agreements with the following cities:

Moreover, Rostock is a member of the international network New Hanse.



One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the "Neuer Markt" (New Market Square), with the Town Hall (originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style, but extensively transformed in the 18th century, with the addition of a Baroque facade and a Banqueting Hall. The square also preserved six original, beautifully restored, gable houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. (The rest of the old houses in Hanseatic style that once bordered the square were destroyed in an Allied air-raid in 1942.)

The 15th-century "Kerkhofhaus" (at Große Wasserstraße, behind the Town Hall) is considered the best preserved brick Gothic house in Rostock.

St. Mary`s Church "Marienkirche", on Ziegenmarkt, is an imposing Brick Gothic church. Built in the 13th century, it was enlarged and modified at the end of the 14th century into the present cross-shaped basilica. The huge tower was not completed until the end of the 18th century. Inside there is an astronomical clock built in 1472 by Hans Düringer.

The main pedestrian precinct is "Kröpeliner Straße", that runs east from the Neuer Markt to the 14th-century "Kröpeliner Tor", a former town gate. The main buildings of Rostock University, the oldest university in Northern Europe, lie at Universitätsplatz, near the middle of the street, in front of the lively fountain of "zest for life (Brunnen der Lebensfreude)".

The "Kloster St Katharinen" (Convent of St. Catherine), an old Franciscan monastery founded in 1243, and extended several times during the 14th and 15th centuries. Now used as the seat of the [ Academy of Music and Theatre (HMT-Rostock)] .

The Brick Gothic "Nikolaikirche" (St. Nicholas Church), which is the oldest church in Rostock, built in mid-13th century. Heavily damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, the building is now used as an exhibition center and concert hall, due to its outstanding acoustics.

Some parts of the medieval city wall, with four town gates, still remain.


Warnemünde is the seaside part of Rostock and a major attraction of the city. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the maritime flair of old houses, a large beach, a lighthouse and the old fisherman port.


The economy is strongly influenced by tourism, the University of Rostock and maritime industries (especially shipbuilding) and the service sector. Major companies include:

* Aker Warnow Werft, shipyard belonging to Aker Yards
* Neptun Werft, shipyard belonging to Meyer Neptun Group
* Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, transport, cruises, property and tourism holding
* Nordex, a major producer of wind turbines
* Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock, German brewery belonging to the Oetker-Gruppe
* Liebherr, manufacturer of cranes
* Caterpillar, manufacturer of dieselengines for ships
* Scandlines, German-Danish ferry operator
* Inros Lackner AG, Architects, Engineers, Consulting company
* Yara International, supplier of plant nutrients


Rostock is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Founded in 1419, the University of Rostock is the third oldest university in Germany in continuous operation, the second oldest in Northern Europe (after St Andrews) and the oldest university in continental northern Europe. It offers graduate and postgraduate degrees in evangelical theology, philosophy and arts, natural sciences and mathematics, law, engineering and naval architecture, agriculture and environmental science, medicine, state, political and social science.

The [ Academy of Music and Theatre] , "Hochschule für Musik und Theater", offers graduate degrees in artistic fields. Founded in 1994, the institution combined the former drama school "Ernst Busch" and the outpost school of the Hanns Eisler Music School Berlin. Today, the school is a member of the Association of Baltic Academies of Music (ABAM), a union of 17 music conservatories at the Baltic Sea and Israel. Unique in Europe is the postgraduate degree in piano duo performance. The school possesses a large opera stage (Katharinensaal) and two chamber music halls. There are concerts every day through the whole year.

Rostock hosts also the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.



The city is home to the annual Hanse Sail festival, during which many large sailing ships and museum vessels are brought out to sea, drawing over 1.5 million visitors.

There is an annual Jazz festival taking place in June called "Ostsee-Jazz".

Further events include:
* Kurfilmfestival FiSh
* Rostocker Kulturwoche
* Sommer der Kulturen
* Rostocker Hafenfest
* Boulevardfest
* Warnemünder Woche

Museums and Zoo

* Kunsthalle Rostock (art gallery)
* Kulturhistorisches Museum
* Dokumentations- und Gedenkstätte der Bundesbeauftragten für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik
* Heimatmuseum Warnemünde
* Schiffbau- und Schifffahrtsmuseum
* Rostocker Zoo
* Walter-Kempowski-Archiv

Music and theatre

* Volkstheater Rostock
** Norddeutsche Philharmonie
** Rostocker Singakademie
* Niederdeutsche Bühne Rostock
* Compagnie de Comédie
* Kleine Komödie Warnemünde
* Mechaje
* Bühne 602
* Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
* Ostsee Big Band (Jazz)




Rostock can be reached by motorway ("Autobahn") A 1 from Hamburg via Lübeck on A 20 and by A 19 from Berlin and A 20 from Stettin in Poland.

Public transport

"Rostock Hauptbahnhof" (Rostock Central Station) offers fast track train connections to Hamburg and Berlin and from there to almost any other European city.

Within the city a wide network of trams, buses and ferries is available. The first privately financed tunnel in Germany crosses the Warnow river and thus connects the eastern part of Rostock with the western part.

Ferry / Ship

Rostock's port is Germany's largest Baltic port. Rostock is also home to a large ferry port. It is a main base for ferry operators Scandlines and TT-Line, which both connect Rostock with major Scandinavian destinations. Furthermore, Rostock receives the highest numbers of cruise tourists in Germany per year.

The city is served by major ferry companies such as Scandlines or Tallink. Ferries leave for
* Tallinn, Estonia
* Helsinki, Finland
* Gedser, Denmark
* Trelleborg, Sweden
* Ventspils, Latvia


The nearest international airports are in Hamburg and Berlin. There are connecting flights via Munich to Rostock Laage Airport. There are also a number of airfields for smaller aircraft, e.g. Purkshof.

Notable people

This is a, naturally, incomplete list of notable people that were born, lived or contributed to the welfare of the City of Rostock:

* "people who studied or did research in Rostock":
**Heinrich Schliemann, finished his PhD
**Albert Einstein, received his first Doctor honoris causa in Rostock
**Fritz Reuter, writer
**Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophy
**Uwe Johnson, writer
* Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prussian Generalfeldmarschall
* John Brinckman, writer
* Walter Kempowski, writer
* Ernst Heinkel, aviation pioneer
* Joachim Gauck, vicar, first responsible for the BStU
* Jan Ullrich, cyclist
* Britta Kamrau, swimmer
* Paul Walden, scientist

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ at a glance]
* [ Rostock City Panoramas] - Panoramic Views and Virtual Tours
* [ images]
* [;90/4 European Route of Brick Gothic: Rostock]


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