Program - Sightseeing - Luebeck - Germany
The Town Gate with History

The Holsten Gate in Lubeck

The Holsten Gate is Lübeck’s famous landmark and one of the most popular motifs for photos in the whole of Northern Europe. It decorates countless postcards, marzipan cakes, stamps, and 2-Euro coins with its thick red-brick walls and massive twin towers. This impressive Gothic city gate was once a symbol of power and formed an important part of the town’s fortifications designed to protect this rich Hanseatic city from enemy attacks. Together with the old city center (Altstadt) of Lübeck, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Built in 1464, the Brick Gothic construction is one of the relics of Lübeck's medieval city fortifications and one of two remaining city gates. The Holsten Gate is composed of a south tower, a north tower, and a central building. It has four floors, except for the ground floor of the central block, where the gate's passageway is located. The side facing west (away from the city) is called the "field side", the side facing the city the "city side". The two towers and the central block appear as one construction when viewed from the city side. "Concordia domi foris pax" its written in golden letters above the outer arch of the Holsten Gate. Translated from Latin, it means "Harmony within, peace outside". This is testimony to the great need for harmony felt by the city fathers as they always had to protect their rich Hanseatic city against hostile attacks. In doing so, they relied more on their negotiating skills than on military conflict. The 30 cannons which once lined the loopholes in the Holsten Gate but which tradition has it were never fired, can also testify to this. And to this day, this golden inscription speaks of the Lübeck way of life: joyful, lively, and serene.

In 1950 the Holsten Gate became a museum, for municipal history. Relics from historic Lübeck were presented, the development of medieval Lübeck was shown by using models and pictures, and models of the ships of the Hanseatic League and the flagship "Eagle of Lübeck" were exhibited.