Rostock (German: [ˈʁɔstɔk] (listen)), officially the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock (German: Hanse- und Universitätsstadt Rostock), is the largest city in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and lies in the Mecklenburgian part of the state, close to the border with Pomerania. With around 208,000 inhabitants, it is the third largest city on the German Baltic coast after Kiel and Lübeck, the eighth largest city in the area of former East Germany, as well as the 39th largest city of Germany. Rostock was the largest coastal and most important port city in East Germany.
|• Lord mayor||Claus Ruhe Madsen (Ind.)|
|• Total||181.44 km2 (70.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||13 m (43 ft)|
|• Density||1,200/km2 (3,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
Rostock stands on the estuary of the River Warnow into the Bay of Mecklenburg of the Baltic Sea. The city stretches for about 16 km (10 mi) along the river, that flows into the sea in the very north of the city, between the boroughs of Warnemünde and Hohe Düne. The city center lies further upstream, in the very south of the city. While most of Rostock's inhabitants live on the western side of the Warnow, the area east of the river is dominated by the port, industrial estates and the forested Rostock Heath. The city's coastline east and west of the river mouth is relatively undeveloped, with long sandy beaches prevailing. The name of the city is of Slavic origin and the river is of Lithuanian origin.
Rostock is the economic center of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the state's only regiopolis. The port of Rostock is the fourth largest port in Germany after the North Sea ports of Hamburg, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven, and the largest port on the German Baltic coast. The ferry routes between Rostock and Gedser in Denmark as well as Trelleborg in Southern Sweden are among the busiest between Germany and Scandinavia. Rostock–Laage Airport lies in a rural region southeast of the city.
The city is home to the oldest university in the Baltic region and one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Rostock, founded in 1419. The university's hospital, Universitätsmedizin Rostock, is one of two university hospitals in the state, along with Universitätsmedizin Greifswald of the University of Greifswald in Western Pomerania.
In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc (*ras-tokŭ, Slavic for "fork of a river"); the name Rostock is derived from that designation.
- Altstadt (Old Town) around the Alter Markt (Old Market), which had 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 (Hop Market, now University Square), with St. Jakobi (St. James's Church, demolished after World War II).
During the first partition of Mecklenburg following the death of Henry Borwin II of Mecklenburg in 1226, Rostock became the seat of the Lordship of Rostock, which survived for almost a century. In 1251, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League. In the 14th century it was a powerful seaport town with 12,000 inhabitants and the largest city in Mecklenburg. Ships for cruising the Baltic Sea were constructed in Rostock. The formerly independent fishing village of Warnemünde at the Baltic Sea became a part of Rostock in 1323, to secure the city's access to the sea.
15th to 18th centuries
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 subject 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 the city's economic and political power.
In 1565 there were further clashes with Schwerin that which had far-reaching consequences. Among other things, the nobility introduced a beer excise that favoured the dukes. John Albert I advanced on the city with 500 horsemen, after Rostock had refused to take the formal oath of allegiance, and had the city wall razed (slighted) in order to have a fortress built. The conflict did not end until the first Rostock Inheritance Agreement of 21 September 1573, in which the state princes were guaranteed hereditary rule over the city for centuries and recognizing them as the supreme judicial authority; this bound Rostock for a long time. The citizens razed (or slighted) the fortress the following spring.
From 1575 to 1577 the city walls were rebuilt, as was the Lagebusch tower and the Stein Gate, in the Dutch Renaissance style. The inscription sit intra te concordia et publica felicitas ("You enter a state of harmony and happiness"), can still be read on the gate, and refers directly to the conflict with the Duke. In 1584 the Second Rostock Inheritance Agreement was enforced, which resulted in a further loss of former city tax privileges. At the same time, these inheritance contracts put paid to Rostock's ambition of achieving imperial immediacy, as Lübeck had done in 1226.
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 in the early 19th century, the French, under Napoleon, occupied the town for about a decade until 1813. In nearby Lübeck-Ratekau, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who was born in Rostock and who was one of few generals to fight on after defeat at the Battle of Jena, surrendered to the French in 1806. This was only after furious street fighting in the Battle of Lübeck, in which he led some of the cavalry charges himself. By the time of the surrender, the exhausted Prussians had neither food nor ammunition.
In the first half of the 19th century, Rostock regained much of its economic importance, due at first to the wheat trade, then, from the 1850s, to industry, especially its shipyards. The first propeller-driven steamers in Germany were constructed here.
The city grew in area and population, with new quarters developing 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 (Lloyd Railway Station, now Rostock Hauptbahnhof), was designed as a living quarter. It consisted mostly of large single houses, once inhabited by wealthy citizens.
- Kröpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt in the west, was designed to house the working population as well as to provide smaller and larger industrial facilities, such as the Mahn & Ohlerich's Brewery (now Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock). The main shipyard, Neptun, was nearby at the shore of the river.
In the 20th century, important aircraft manufacturing facilities were situated in the city, such as the Arado Flugzeugwerke in Warnemünde and the Heinkel Works with facilities at various places, including their secondary Heinkel-Süd facility in Schwechat, Austria, as the original Heinkel firm's Rostock facilities had been renamed Heinkel-Nord. The world's first airworthy jet plane prototype made its test flights at their facilities in what used to be named the Rostock-Marienehe neighborhood (today's Rostock-Schmarl community, along the west bank of the Unterwarnow estuary).
In the early 1930s, the Nazi Party began to gain among Rostock's voters, many of whom had suffered economic hardship during the 1920s. In elections in the summer 1932, when the Nazis achieved 37.3 percent, their greatest national showing in a free election, they polled 40.3 percent in Rostock. A year later, after the Nazi seizure of power and the suppression of other political parties, the Rostock city council (Stadtrat) was composed entirely of Nazis. During Kristallnacht on 10 November 1938, the synagogue in Rostock's Augustenstrasse was destroyed by arson and dozens of Jews were beaten and imprisoned.
Feverish rearmament by the Nazi regime boosted Rostock's industrial importance in the late 1930s, and employment soared at the Heinkel and Arado factories, and at the Neptunwerft shipyard. The city's population grew from 100,000 in 1935 to 121,192 in 1939.
During World War II, Rostock was subjected to repeated and increasingly heavy bombing attacks, especially by the British Royal Air Force. Targets included the Heinkel and Arado plants and the shipyard, but churches and other historic structures in the city centre were also heavily damaged, among them the 14th-century Nikolaikirche (St Nicholas Church) and Jakobikirche (St Jacob's Church). The ruins of the latter were torn down in 1960.
After the war, Rostock – now in the German Democratic Republic – became East Germany's largest seaport. The state expanded the national shipyards in the district of Warnemünde. The city's population, boosted in part by resettled ethnic German refugees who had been expelled from territories in the east, increased in the GDR years to a peak of 260,000. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, Rostock lost its privileged position as the No. 1 port of the GDR, and the city's population declined to about 200,000. However, after 2006, the population increased again. Today, Rostock and Warnemünde are significant tourist destinations on the Baltic Sea.
Since the late 20th century, migrants have come to Germany from Turkey and Africa seeking work. In response to high rates of joblessness and increased levels of crime, some Germans took part in the Rostock-Lichtenhagen riots which occurred from 22 to 24 August 1992 in protest.
- Depiction of Rostock in 1845
- Rostock bomb damage, 1942
- City hall, Market Square after war
- Rostock in 2011
- The 16th century Steintor city gate
- St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche), 2011
Rostock has had three different coats of arms, known as the Signum, the Secretum and the Sigillum. The Signum, which can be traced back to 1367, was developed last and is to this day the coat of arms of the city.
The Signum depicts a golden griffin on a blue background, with bars of silver and red, the colours of the Hanseatic League, below. It can be seen not only on flags and houses, and at bus stops, but also on bridges, gullies, fences, ships and restaurants.
Since the 13th century, the governing body of the city has been the city council (Rat), first consisting of ten, later of 24 elected aldermen (Ratsherren). The chairman of the city council was the city mayor. In the 19th century there were three mayors. Since 1925, the head of the city has borne the title of Lord Mayor. Having been elected by the city council for centuries, since 2002 this position is now elected directly by the citizens of Rostock, following a reform.
Roland Methling (Independent), was elected Lord Mayor of Rostock in the first round by 58.2% of the voters on 27 February 2005.
The city parliament (Bürgerschaft) represents the citizens. Representative are elected for five years. The number of representatives is currently 53.
The city parliament is presided by the Präsident der Bürgerschaft. He heads and prepares the sessions and, together with the Lord Mayor, represents the city.
Rostock is the first city region that defines itself not only as a city in its boundaries, but as a regiopolis, with a supra-regional sphere of influence. A regiopolis can be compared to a metropolis, but on a smaller scale. This is a sign for the inter-regional cooperation and economic dynamics that can be found in the Rostock area. A taskforce with different actors such as the hanseatic city of Rostock, the administrative district of Rostock, the Regional Planning Association Middle Mecklenburg/Rostock and the local business organisations are working on the promotion and advancement of the concept.
The seaside part of Rostock, Rostock-Warnemünde, is about 16 km (10 mi) to the north of the historic city centre. The west and the southeast are the most densely populated parts of town. The overseas port is to the east of Rostock. Rostock stretches 21.6 km (13.4 mi) from the Baltic Sea to the south and 19.4 km (12.1 mi) from east to west.
Rostock has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) with strong influence of the Baltic Sea, more similar with Denmark. The climate is considerably mild if you consider that it is not in direct contact with a warm current.
|Climate data for Rostock (Warnemünde), elevation: 10 m, 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.0
|Average high °C (°F)||3.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−17.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||47.6
|Average precipitation days||10.3||8.8||9.1||7.5||8.6||10.1||8.8||9.8||9.8||9.6||10.5||9.9||112.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||46.4||66.4||119.6||191.8||257.9||230.0||248.6||219.8||158.9||108.6||53.8||38.0||1,739.8|
|Source: Météo Climat|
|Climate data for Rostock (Warnemünde), elevation: 10 m, 1961-1990 normals and extremes|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.4
|Average high °C (°F)||2.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.9
|Record low °C (°F)||−17.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||46
|Average precipitation days||10||8||10||9||8||9||10||9||9||9||11||11||113|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||37.2||64.4||108.5||174||244.9||246||232.5||226.3||156||105.4||54||37.2||1,686.4|
|Source: HKO and NOAA|
One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the Neuer Markt (New Market Square), with the Town Hall - that was originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style, but extensively transformed in the 18th century, with the addition of a Baroque façade and a banqueting hall. The square also preserved six original, carefully restored gable houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. The other historical houses in Hanseatic style that once bordered the square were destroyed in an Allied air-raid in 1942, and rebuilt in a simplified manner.
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 lie at Universitätsplatz, near the middle of the street, in front of the lively fountain of zest for life (Brunnen der Lebensfreude), known colloquially as "Pornobrunn", for its prevalent nude sculptures.
The Kloster St Katharinen (Convent of St. Catherine), is 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, was built in the mid-13th century. Heavily damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, the building is now used as an exhibition centre and concert hall, due to its outstanding acoustics.
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's port.
The economy is mainly characterised by maritime industries (especially shipbuilding), high-tech industries (IT, biotechnology/life sciences, medical engineering), the University of Rostock, tourism and the service sector. Major companies include:
- Maritime Industry
- Caterpillar Inc., manufacturer of diesel engines for ships
- Deutsche Seereederei Rostock, transport, cruises, property and tourism holding
- F. Laeisz
- Neptun Werft, shipyard belonging to Meyer Neptun Group
- Nordic Yards Warnemünde, shipyard
- Schiffselektronik Rostock
- Tamsen Maritim shipyard
- Other engineering
- Nordex SE, a major producer of wind turbines
- Suzlon, world's 5th largest wind turbine manufacturer
- Liebherr, manufacturer of cranes
- Tourism industry
- AIDA Cruises, German company for cruises
- Scandlines, German-Danish ferry operator (by Scandferries Holding)
- Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock, German brewery belonging to the Oetker-Gruppe
- Rostock University Hospital (Universitätsmedizin)
- 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, and one of the oldest universities of the world. It also maintains a botanical garden, the Botanischer Garten Universität Rostock.
The Academy of Music and Theatre (Hochschule für Musik und Theater) offers graduate degrees in artistic fields. Founded in 1994, the institution combined Ernst Busch, the former drama school, and the outpost school of the Hanns Eisler Music School Berlin. Today, the combined 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 throughout the year.
Rostock also hosts the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis, as well as two branches of Fraunhofer Institutes, one for Computer Graphics and one for Large Structures in Production Technology.
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.
An annual jazz festival, Ostsee-Jazz ("Baltic Sea Jazz"), takes place in June.
The Lichtspieltheater Wundervoll is the art house cinema of Rostock. It opened in 1993 and offers a daily programme in two venues, the Metropol and the Frieda 23 with three cinemas. At Frieda 23 is the Institut für neue Medien (IFNM), Rostock's Institute for New Media, which includes a media workshop. Both Liwu and IFNM are active members of the Landesverband Filmkommunikation Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Special screenings for schools, educational programmes and special programmes are offered as well. It is the central venue for Rostock's Film Festival, the Festival im Stadthafen (FISH), the German Federal Festival for Young German Film.
Museums and zoo
- Rostock Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Rostock)
- Museum of Cultural History (Kulturhistorisches Museum)
- Stasi Museum (Dokumentations- und Gedenkstätte der Bundesbeauftragten für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik)
- Warnemünde Local History Museum (Heimatmuseum Warnemünde)
- Shipbuilding and Shipping Museum (Schiffbau- und Schifffahrtsmuseum)
- Rostock Zoo
- Walter Kempowski Archive
- Max-Samuel-Haus, Rostock Jewish Heritage Centre
Food and drink
Rostock manufactures its own local beer, called Rostocker Pilsner, manufactured at the Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock GmbH (Rostock Hanseatic Brewery Ltd.). The beer is well known throughout the city and is also sold in cities nearby. To celebrate Rostock's 800th birthday, a special light beer called Heller Freude was brewed to commemorate the occasion.
|Hansa Rostock||Football||1965||2. Bundesliga||Ostseestadion||Jens Haertel|
|Rostock Seawolves||Basketball||1994||ProA (2nd division)||Stadthalle Rostock||Dirk Bauermann|
|Rostocker FC 1895||Football||1895||Verbandsliga Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (6th division)||Sportpark am Damerower Weg||Jan Kistenmacher|
|HC Empor Rostock||Team handball||1946||3. Bundesliga||Rostocker Stadthalle||Maik Handschke|
|SV Warnemünde||Volleyball||1990||3rd league (men and women team)||Sporthalle Gerüstbauerring|
|Piranhas Rostock||Ice hockey||1953||Oberliga (3rd division)||Eishalle Rostock||Henry Thom|
|Rostocker Nasenbären||Skater hockey||2005||Inline-Skaterhockey-Bundesliga (1st league)||OSPA-Arena||Dimitri Kramarenko|
|HSG Warnemünde||Water polo||1971||Oberliga SH-MV (3rd league)||Neptun-Schwimmhalle|
Rostock is served by the Rostock tramway network, with six tram lines that serve the inner city as well as the suburbs. The city is also served by an extensive bus fleet, as well as a handful of ferries that cross the Warnow.
Rostock 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 number of cruise tourists in Germany every year.
Ferries leave for
The Rostock–Laage Airport offers connections to major German and international destinations; regular flights to e.g. Munich are offered. The nearest larger international airports are in Hamburg and Berlin. There are also a number of airfields for smaller aircraft, such as Purkshof.
Twin towns – sister cities
Rostock is twinned with:
- Antwerp, Belgium (1963)
- Aarhus, Denmark (1964)
- Bergen, Norway (1965)
- Bremen, Germany (1987)
- Dalian, China (1988)
- Dunkirk, France (2000)
- Gothenburg, Sweden (1965)
- Guldborgsund, Denmark (2014)
- Raleigh, United States (2001)
- Riga, Latvia (1961)
- Rijeka, Croatia (1966)
- Szczecin, Poland (1957)
- Turku, Finland (1959)
- Varna, Bulgaria (1966)
Rostock is a member of the international network New Hanse.
- Before 19th century
- Henry Borwin I (?–1227), Lord of Mecklenburg
- Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), Danish astronomer
- Simon Paulli (1603–1680), Danish physician and naturalist
- Franz Aepinus (1724–1802), German-Russian natural philosopher
- Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus Walter (1734–1802), Baltic-German architect, working in Tartu
- Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819), Prussian field marshal
- Matthias Christian Sprengel (1746–1803), geographer and historian
- Christian Martin Frähn (1782–1851), German-Russian numismatist and historian
- 19th century
- Moritz Wiggers (1816–1894), politician, lawyer and notary
- Paul Tischbein (1820–1874), illustrator and painter primarily of landscapes
- Ferdinand von Mueller (1825–1896), German-Australian physician, geographer and botanist
- Johann Georg Noel Dragendorff (1836–1898), pharmacist and chemist
- Rudolph Sohm (1841–1917), jurist, Church historian and theologian
- Hermann von Maltzan (1843–1891), malacologist known for his work in the field of conchology
- Albrecht Kossel (1853–1927), biochemist and pioneer in the study of genetics, recipient of 1910 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for determining the chemical composition of nucleic acids
- Mathilde Mann (1859-1925), prominent German translator and editor
- Paul Walden (1863–1957), Latvian-German chemist
- Gustav Mie (1868–1957), physicist, worked on electromagnetic waves
- Carl Brockelmann (1868–1956), Semiticist and orientalist
- Heinrich Tessenow (1876–1950), architect, professor and urban planner
- Paul Wallat (1879–1964), landscape artist, draftsman and sculptor
- Hans Paasche (1881–1920), politician and pacifist
- Margarete Scheel (1881–1969), artist, specializing in sculpture and ceramics
- Ernst Heinkel (1888–1958), aviation pioneer
- Karl Leo Heinrich Lehmann (1894–1960), American art historian, archaeologist and professor
- Arthur R. von Hippel (1898–2003), German-American materials scientist and physicist
- 20th century
- Walter Hallstein (1901–1982), academic, diplomat and politician, authored the Hallstein Doctrine
- Erika Fuchs (1906–2005), translator
- Marianne Hoppe (1909–2002), actress
- Hans von Ohain (1911–1998), physicist and engineer
- Duchess Woizlawa Feodora of Mecklenburg (1918–2019), member of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
- Berndt von Staden (1919–2014), diplomat, Ambassador to the United States 1973–1979
- Peter Borgelt (1927–1994), actor
- Walter Kempowski (1929–2007), writer
- Peter Schulz (1930–2013), politician (SPD) and first Mayor of Hamburg 1971–1974
- Egbert Brieskorn (1936–2013), mathematician who introduced Brieskorn spheres
- Klaus Kilimann (born 1938), physicist, politician (SPD) and Mayor of Rostock 1990–1993
- Joachim Gauck (born 1940), politician, civil rights activist and President of Germany 2012–2017
- Sibylle Günter (born 1964), theoretical physicist
- Heinz Eggert (born 1946), theologian and CDU politician
- Franziska Knuppe (born 1974), fashion model
- Hinnerk Schönemann (born 1974), actor
- Marteria (born 1982), hip hop artist
- Friedrich Wilhelm Rahe (1888–1949), tennis and field hockey player
- Jan Ullrich (born 1973), cyclist, Tour de France winner and Olympic medalist
- Britta Kamrau (born 1979), long-distance swimmer
- André Greipel (born 1982), road bicycle racer
- Paul Martens (born 1983), road bicycle racer
- Stephan Krüger (born 1988), rower
- "Statistisches Amt M-V – Bevölkerungsstand der Kreise, Ämter und Gemeinden 2019". Statistisches Amt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (in German). July 2020.
- Regiopole Rostock (German)
- "Climate normals for Germany 1981-2010" (in French). Météo Climat. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "Weather extremes for Rostock" (in French). Météo Climat. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "Climate Statistics for Warnemünde, Germany". Archived from the original on 9 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Rostock-Warnemunde (10170) - WMO Weather Station". NOAA. Retrieved January 28, 2019. Archived January 28, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
- Bomben auf Rostock; H.-W. Bohl, B. Keipke, k. Schröder; Konrad Reich Verlag 1995
- Rostocker Nasenbären website
- "Partnerstädte". rostock.de (in German). Rostock. Retrieved 2021-03-16.