Herzogtum Lauenburg, County

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This page is based on content from the old regional page www.genealogy.net/reg/SCN/Lauenburg/kreis-e.html. You can find the original content here. Comments and explanations form changes can be found on the discussion page of this article.

In 1864, after the victory over the Danish army at Düppel (North- Schleswig, now Denmark), the Prussian King became the Duke of Lauenburg. He took over this titel from the Askanier (noble family) - the Kings of Denmark, which had had this function since 1689. The Prussian chancellor Bismarck became Minister for this area and it was he, who 10 years later made the suggestion to speak of a "Herzogtum Lauenburg District".

(Since that time, the Bismarck family had maintained lands in this area around the Sachsen-Wald (Saxony Wood) in the southeast of Schleswig- Holstein between Hamburg and Schwarzenbek.)

The official opening of the "Elbe-Lübeck-Kanal" was celebrated in 1900. This new canal (for inland ships only) took over the function of the old "Stecknitz-Kanal", which was built in the 14th century and was, at that time the first man-made water way in Europe.

The Elbe-Lübeck-Canal is the shortest root from the Baltic-Sea to the economic centres in the Hamburg area, the Ruhr area (through the Mittelland Canal to North-Rhine-Westfalia) and also middle Europe (Berlin area and up the Elbe river to the Czech Republik). - But today the modern inland ships have too much draught. They must make their ways down the Elbe river, through the town of Hamburg and the Kiel- Canal or from the industrial area in western Germany down the Rhine river through the Netherlands, the North-Sea and the Kiel-Canal to the Baltic-Sea.

It wasn't until 1927 that the estate owners of Lauenburg submitted to Prussian law and integrated their lands into the parishes. Up to this time they had administered their land in a "patrimonial" form, without any influence from the outside!

The area of the disrict has hardley changed in more than 700 years. - The area of Geesthacht and the North of Ratzeburg - including the cathedral of Lauenburg - became part of the district by the "Groß- Hamburg-Gesetz" (territorial reform) in 1937. - (After 1945 small parts where chanced by the allied forces of Great Britain and the USSR between Mecklenburg and Schleswig-Holstein near Ratzeburg.) At first sight the economic situation of the district seems to be very good, because it is situated between the metropolis of Hamburg and the old Hanse-City of Lübeck. However if you travel to the southern and eastern parts, you'll find an economic and infrastructural slope. In the past (before 1990) the Lauenburg District had a 86 kilometres long border with the former GDR (German Demokratic Republic). Since the division of Germany in 1945 the district had to face economocal and psychological disadvantage because of the border situation, which became a little moderate after building the "Autobahn 24" (highway 24) from Hamburg to Berlin in the early 1980th.

About 23 % (30 000 hectare) of this land consists of various types of wooded areas. There are small farmer bush fences as well as the 6 000 hectar Sachsenwald (Saxony Wood, owned by the Bismarck family). Although 62 % of the district area is used for agriculture and 23 % for forestry. Only 6 % of the people work in these sector and 40 % of the population work in the production sector. Four fifths of the district area are conservation areas - most of them are around the 48 lakes. The works of Ernst Barlach and A. Paul Weber, two of the most important and controversial representatives of modern art are to be seen in Ratzeburg. In the Bismarck-Archive of Friedrichsruh (the country seat of the Bismarck-Family) the historian can find many undiscovered treasures.

(This is written well, but I know, that the Bismarck family does not allow everybody to do researchs about their ancestors. In the past too many, mostly Danish researcher did wrote things about the Prussian chancellor, which where not good to hear or which were really wrong! - I can understand, that the Danes want to find faults and mistakes in the life of Bismarck, because he was the "Iron Chancellor", who beat the danisch Army at Düppel in 1864. - But I think, we must also understand the Bismarck family!) Finally: In the "Kneip-Kurort" (Kneip cure health resort) Mölln you can find one of the best special clinics for diabetes from all over Germany.

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