Jutland and Northernmost Germany showing Schleswig and Holstein in today's German Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein.

The Counts of Schauenburg and Holstein were titles of the Frankish Empire. The dynastic family came from the County of Schauenburg near Rinteln (district Schaumburg) on the Weser in Germany. Together with its ancestral possessions in Bückeburg and Stadthagen, the House of Schauenburg ruled the County of Schauenburg and the County of Holstein. The comital titles of Holstein were subject to the liege lord, the Dukes of undivided Saxony till 1296, and thereafter the Dukes of Saxe-Lauenburg.

The counties of Schauenburg and Holstein

The County of Schaumburg originated as a medieval county, which was founded at the beginning of the 12th century. It was named after Schauenburg Castle, near Rinteln on the Weser, where the owners started calling themselves Lords (from 1295 Counts) of Schauenburg. Adolf I probably became the first Lord of Schauenburg in 1106. In 1110, Adolf I, Lord of Schauenburg was appointed by Lothair, Duke of Saxony to hold Holstein and Stormarn, including Hamburg, as fiefs.[1]

In a battle with Denmark, however, Adolf III became prisoner of the king Valdemar II, to whom he had to give Holstein in exchange for his freedom. In 1227 Adolf III's son, Adolf IV, recovered the lost lands from Denmark. Subsequently, the House of Schaumburg were also counts of Holstein and its partitions Holstein-Itzehoe, Holstein-Kiel, Holstein-Pinneberg (till 1640), Holstein-Plön, Holstein-Segeberg and Holstein-Rendsburg (till 1460) and through the latter at times also the dukes of Schleswig.

Partitions of Holstein

Holstein partitions of 1261 and 1273

After 1261 the previously jointly ruling brothers Gerhard I and the elder John I divided the Counties of Holstein and Schauenburg (Schaumburg). Gerhard I received the Counties of Holstein-Itzehoe and Schaumburg, whereas John received the County of Holstein-Kiel. After the death of John I, his sons Adolphus V and John II reigned jointly in Holstein-Kiel. In 1273 they partitioned Holstein-Kiel and John II continued ruling over Kiel; Adolphus V the Pomeranian then received Segeberg (aka County of Stormarn). After the death of Adolphus V, Holstein-Segeberg was reincorporated into Holstein-Kiel.

Holstein partition of 1290 and reversions of 1350 and 1390

After Gerhard I's death in 1290 his three younger sons partitioned Holstein-Itzehoe and Schaumburg into three branches, with Adolph VI the Elder, the third brother, getting Holstein-Pinneberg and Schaumburg south of the Elbe, the second brother Gerhard II the Blind getting Holstein-Plön, and the fourth Henry I receiving Holstein-Rendsburg. The eldest brother John was Canon at the Hamburg Cathedral.

After the death of Gerhard II his sons Gerhard IV and his younger half-brother John III the Mild inherited and ruled in Holstein-Plön together. In 1316 the brothers militarily seized the possessions of John II the One-Eyed (d. 1321) in Holstein-Kiel, whose sons had been killed. John III the Mild, before a second-born co-ruling count in Plön, then received Kiel from the deposed John II the One-Eyed, a cousin of his father Gerhard II the Blind. Gerhard IV continued ruling Holstein-Plön as sole count.

After the death of John III's nephew Gerhard V, Count of Holstein-Plön in 1350, who had succeeded Gerhard IV, the Plön line became extinct and John III re-inherited their possessions. In 1390 his son Adolphus IX (aka VII)[2] ruling since 1359 Kiel including Plön, died without issue and thus Nicholas (Claus) of Holstein-Rendsburg and his nephews Albert II and Gerhard VI (jointly ruling till 1397) succeeded to the territories of Holstein-Kiel and Holstein-Plön.

Holstein partition of 1397 and the extinction of the Rendsburg line in 1459

In 1390 the Holstein-Rendsburg line had assembled the larger part of the partitioned Holstein counties, to wit Kiel, Plön and Segeberg, but not Holstein-Pinneberg, which existed until 1640. Members of the Rendsburg family branch were often also simply titled as Counts of Holstein after 1390. For the Pinneberg family branch, usually residing in the County of Schaumburg, the titling after Schaumburg started to prevail.

In 1397 after the death of their uncle Nicholas (Claus), with whom the nephews Albert II and the elder Gerhard VI had jointly ruled Holstein-Rendsburg, they partitioned Holstein-Segeberg (aka county of Stormarn) from Holstein-Rendsburg, with Albert receiving the new branch county in return for waiving his co-rule in Rendsburg. After Albert's death in 1403 Segeberg reverted to Rendsberg. In 1459, with the death of Adolphus XI (aka VIII),[2] the Rendsburg branch was extinct in the male line and the nobility of Holstein-Rendburg and of Schleswig then assigned the succession to his sister's son King Christian I of Denmark, House of Oldenburg.

The last Schauenburg line ruling Schaumburg and Holstein-Pinneberg till 1640

After King Christian I of Denmark, House of Oldenburg had been chosen as heir to the County of Holstein-Rendsburg Christian ascended to the comital throne in 1460. In 1474 Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor, elevated Christian I from Count of Holstein-Rendsburg to Duke of Holstein. For his succession in the Duchy of Holstein see List of rulers of Schleswig-Holstein#House of Oldenburg (1460–1544). The Schauenburg line in the Counties of Holstein-Pinneberg and Schaumburg persisted until its extinction in the male line in 1640. This line is also known as Holstein-Schauenburg. The Counts were elevated to Princes of Schaumburg in 1619/1620, however, the Dukes of Holstein opposed the transition of that title to the County of Holstein-Pinneberg.

Schaumburg partition of 1640

After the death in 1640 of Count Otto V without children, the rule of the House of Schaumburg ended in Holstein. The County of Holstein-Pinneberg was merged under Christian IV with his royal share in the Duchy of Holstein, which is now part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. For Christian IV and his successors see List of rulers of Schleswig-Holstein#House of Oldenburg (1640–1713)

The Principality of Schaumburg proper, however, was partitioned among the agnatic Schauenburg heirs into three parts, one incorporated into the Principality of Lüneburg of the Duchy of Brunswick and Lüneburg, the second becoming the County of Schaumburg-Lippe and the third continuing the name County of Schaumburg, ruled in personal union by Hesse-Cassel. All the three are now part of the state of Lower Saxony. The Sovereign Lordship of Gemen, in 1531 acquired for Schaumburg through marriage by Jobst I, and ruled by his second-born son of Jobst II (ca. 1520–1581, regnant since 1531), passed on to the family of Limburg Stirum. Gemen is in today's North Rhine-Westphalia.

House of Schauenburg

Partitions of Holstein and Schauenburg under Schauenburg rule

Counties of Holstein and Schauenburg[3]
       County of Itzehoe
(with Schauenburg)
County of

(1st creation)
County of

       County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
County of

County of

(2nd creation)
County of Rendsburg
(with Duchy of Schleswig in
1325–30 and 1375–1433)
Annexed by Denmark, forming
the Duchy of Holstein
       County of Gemen
Annexed to the
Duchy of Holstein

Table of rulers

Ruler Born Reign Death Ruling part Consort Notes
Adolph I c.1090?
Son of Adolf?
1106 – 13 November 1130 County of Schauenburg
(with Holstein since 1110)
before 1128
four children
13 November 1130
aged 39-40?
First count of Schauenburg, in 1110 becomes count of Holstein.
Regency of Hildewa (1128-1142) Between 1137 and 1143, Holstein fell under the control of Henry of Badewide, who married a relative of the King of Denmark. However, Adolph and his mother kept Schauenburg and made great efforts to recover Holstein, as much as, by 1139, Henry's domain was already restricted to Wagria.
Adolph II c.1128
Son of Adolph I and Hildewa
13 November 1130 – 6 July 1164 County of Schauenburg
(with Holstein)
Matilda of Schwarzburg-Käfernburg
one child
6 July 1164
aged 35-36
Regency of Matilda of Schwarzburg-Käfernburg (1164-1174) Count of Schauenburg and Holstein, ceded Holstein to Denmark in 1203 in order to be released from captivity. In 1208 Holstein passed to the Count of Weimar-Orlamünde, Albert I, who held residence at Stormarn. In 1227, Albert would be defeated by Adolph III's son, Adolph IV.
Adolph III 1160
Son of Adolph II and Matilda of Schwarzburg-Käfernburg
6 July 1164 – 3 January 1225 County of Schauenburg
(with Holstein until 1203)
Adelaide of Assel
no children

Adelaide of Querfurt
Before 10 May 1189
four children
3 January 1225
aged 64-65
Adolph IV c.1200
Son of Adolph III and Adelaide of Querfurt
3 January 1225 – 1238 County of Schauenburg
(with Holstein from 1227)
Heilwig of Lippe
four children
8 July 1261
Count of Holstein by military victory over Valdemar II; In fulfilment of an oath taken before this same victory, Adolph withdrew in 1238 to a Franciscan friary and in 1244 was ordained a priest in Rome.
Regency of Heilwig of Lippe and Abel of Denmark (1238-1243) Children of Adolph IV. John and Gerhard ruled jointly on their first years of rule, under regency. They had to wait their abdicated father's death, because only that would explain their late division of the inheritance. After Gerhard's death in 1290 his sons partitioned Holstein-Itzehoe and Schaumburg into three branches. Matilda received property in Schleswig that she left to her brothers after her death.
John I
First son of Adolph IV and Heilwig of Lippe
1238 – 20 April 1263 County of Kiel
(co-rulership in Schauenburg-Holstein until 1261)
Elisabeth of Saxe-Wittenberg
1249 or 1250
four children
20 April 1263
aged 33-34
Gerhard I
Second son of Adolph IV and Heilwig of Lippe
1238 – 21 December 1290 County of Itzehoe
(co-rulership in Schauenburg-Holstein until 1261)
Elizabeth of Mecklenburg
eleven children

Alexia of Montferrat
no children
21 December 1290
aged 57-58
Daughter of Adolph IV and Heilwig of Lippe
1238 – 1288 County of Holstein
(at Stapelholm, Fræzlæt and Swania)
Abel of Denmark
25 April 1237
four children

Birger Jarl
1261br/>no children
aged 57-58
Regency of Elisabeth of Saxe-Wittenberg (1263-1267) Sons of John I, divided officially their inheritance in 1273. After Adolph V's death without descendants, Segeberg went to a son of John I. In 1316, John II was deposed in a coup led by his cousin John III, from Plön.
Adolph V the Pomeranian
First son of John I and Elisabeth of Saxe-Wittenberg
20 April 1263 – 11 November 1308 County of Segeberg Euphemia of Pomerania-Wolgast
1273 or 1278
one child
11 November 1308
aged 55-56
John II the One-Eyed 1253
Second son of John I and Elisabeth of Saxe-Wittenberg
20 April 1263 – 1316 County of Kiel Margareta of Denmark
two children
aged 67-68
Gerhard II the Blind
First son of Gerhard I and Elizabeth of Mecklenburg
21 December 1290 – 28 October 1312 County of Itzehoe,
County of Plön
Ingeborg of Sweden
12 December 1275
four children

Agnes of Brandenburg
one child
28 October 1312
aged 57-58
Children of Gerhard I, divided the land. Gerhard II received his father's capital at Itzehoe, but changed it to Plön, while Adolph VI received, with his portion at Pinneberg, the original Schauenburg. Henry I, the younger son, received a portion of the inheritance in Rendsburg.
Adolph VI the Elder
Second son of Gerhard I and Elizabeth of Mecklenburg
21 December 1290 – 13 May 1315 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Helen of Saxe-Lauenburg
14 February 1294
seven children
13 May 1315
aged 58-59
Henry I
Third son of Gerhard I and Elizabeth of Mecklenburg
21 December 1290 – 5 August 1304 County of Rendsburg Heilwig of Bronckhorst
four children
5 August 1304
aged 45-46
Regency of Heilwig of Bronckhorst (1304-1306) Profited from the minority of the duke of Schleswig to take over the duchy to himself, but handed it over in 1330. However, his career and profit rose up to the point where he can be called the de facto ruler of Denmark during the Interregnum of 1332-40.
Gerhard III the Great
Son of Henry I and Heilwig of Bronckhorst
5 August 1304 – 1 April 1340 County of Rendsburg
(with Schleswig 1326-1330, and major Denmark 1332-1340)
Sophia of Werle
four children
1 April 1340
aged 47-48
Adolph (VII) c.1276
Son of John II and Margareta of Denmark
11 November 1308 – 1315 County of Segeberg Luitgard of Mecklenburg
no children
aged 38-39
Succeeded his uncle Adolph V at Segeberg. Died assassinated and without heirs.
Segeberg re-absorbed in Kiel; in 1316 it was divided between Pinneberg and Rendsburg
Gerhard IV
Son of Gerhard II and Ingeborg of Sweden
28 October 1312 – 1323 County of Plön
(from 1314 only in a small part of the county)
Anastasia of Schwerin
30 July 1313
two children
aged 45-46
Sons of Gerhard II, ruled jointly. On 7 June 1314 Gerhard sold most of his inheritance part to his brother, who in 1316 also deposed John II of Kiel. Ruling over two main parts of Holstein, John III also served, alongside Gerhard III, as lord ruling in guardianship the Danish Duchy of Schleswig 1332–1340.
John III the Mild
Son of Gerhard II and Agnes of Brandenburg
28 October 1312 – 1316

22 September 1350 – 27 September 1359
County of Plön Catherine of Głogów
25 December 1317 or 27 January 1319
three children

Miroslawa of Schwerin-Wittenburg
three children
27 September 1359
aged 61-62
1316 – 27 September 1359 County of Kiel
Adolph VII 1297
Son of Adolph VI and Helen of Saxe-Lauenburg
13 May 1315 – 9 October 1354 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Hedwig of Schwalenberg
by 1301
no children

Heilwig of Lippe
eight children
9 October 1354
aged 56-57
Regency of Anastasia of Schwerin (1323-1329) Ruler of only a small part of Plön, after the sell his father made to his uncle. After his death, the aforementioned uncle reunites effectively the entirety of both Plön and Kiel.
Gerhard V
Son of Gerhard IV and Anastasia of Schwerin
1323 – 22 September 1350 County of Plön Unmarried 22 September 1350
aged 34-35
Plön definitively annexed to Kiel
Henry II of Iron
First son of Gerhard III and Sophia of Werle
1 April 1340 – 1384 County of Rendsburg
(with Schleswig 1375-1386)
Matilda of Lippe
one child

Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
before 1374
four children
1384 Nicholas and Henry ruled jointly as sons of Gerhard III. In 1375 they inherited the Duchy of Schleswig from the House of Estridsen. In 1384, with the death of his brother, Nicholas associated his nephews (Gerhard and Albert, sons of Henry) to power. In 1386 he abdicated of Schleswig to his older nephew Gerhard, who assumed alone this lands. In 1390 Nicholas inherited Holstein-Kiel. After Nicholas' death in 1397, the co-ruling nephews, Gerhard and Albert, divided the land.
Nicholas I
Second son of Gerhard III and Sophia of Werle
1 April 1340 – 8 May 1397 8 May 1397 Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
one child
Adolph VIII the Younger
First son of Adolph VII and Heilwig of Lippe
9 October 1354 – 13 October 1370 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Unmarried 13 October 1370
aged 44-45
Adolph IX the Mild
Son of John III and Catherine of Głogów
27 September 1359 – 26 January 1390 County of Kiel Anne of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
4 December 1362 or 21 September 1365
no children
26 January 1390
aged 62-63
After his death in 1390 without descendants, Kiel and its patrimony was divided between Holstein-Pinneberg and Holstein-Rendsburg.
Otto I
Fourth son of Adolph VII and Heilwig of Lippe
13 October 1370 – 1404 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Matilda of Brunswick-Lüneburg
25 June 1368
ten children
Gerhard VI
First son of Henry II and Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
8 May 1397 – 5 August 1404 County of Rendsburg
(in Schleswig since 1386)
Catherine Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
six children
5 August 1404
aged 36-37
Co-rulers in Rendsburg with their uncle Nicholas since 1384. After the abdication of Nicholas in Schleswig, Gerhard took over the duchy, and assumed Rendsburg only after the former's death. Gerhard's brother Albert revived in 1397 the duchy of Segeberg, making official the new division, but after his death in 1403, Segeberg merged again in Rendsburg, still in hands of Gerhard, who died in the following year. The brothers also co-ruled with their cousin, Elisabeth, who had received property in Rendsburg.
Albert II
Second son of Henry II and Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
8 May 1397 – 28 September 1403 County of Segeberg Agnes of Saxe-Lauenburg
before 23 March 1399
no children
28 September 1403
aged 33-34
Elisabeth 1360
Daughter of Nicholas I and Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
8 May 1397 – 25 January 1416 County of Rendsburg
(at Åbenrå, Sønder-Rangstrup Herred and Rise Herred)
Albert IV, Duke of Mecklenburg
no children

Eric V, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
no children
25 January 1416
aged 55-56
Henry III
Third son of Henry II and Ingeborg of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
1404 – February 1421 County of Rendsburg Unmarried February 1421
aged 48-49
Also Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück as Henry I (1402–1410), and regent in Schleswig.
Adolph X 1375
Son of Otto I and Matilda of Brunswick-Lüneburg
1404 – 9 October 1426 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Helen of Hoya
three children
9 October 1426
aged 50-51
Regency of Catherine Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Henry III, Count of Holstein-Rendsburg and Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück (1404–1413), in Schleswig only Died without descendants. Passed the land to his brothers.
Henry IV 1397
First son of Gerhard VI and Catherine Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
February 1421 – 28 May 1427 County of Rendsburg
(in Schleswig since 1404)
Unmarried 28 May 1427
aged 29-30
Otto II
Son of Adolph X and Helen of Hoya
9 October 1426 – 2 June 1464 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Elisabeth of Hohenstein
ten children
2 June 1464
aged 63-64
Adolph XI
Second son of Gerhard VI and Catherine Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
28 May 1427 – 4 December 1459 County of Rendsburg
(with Schlewig)
before 1433
no children

Margareta of Mansfeld
no children
4 December 1459
Bad Segeberg
aged 57-58
Sons of Gerhard VI, ruled jointly in Holstein-Rendsburg. As Gerhard also wanted to rule in Schleswig he claimed (unsuccessfully) this duchy for himself against his brother. Adolph was the mightiest vassal of Danish crown at his time, gaining royal Danish recognition in 1440. After Adolph's death his patrimony is annexed by Denmark.
Gerhard VII
Third son of Gerhard VI and Catherine Elisabeth of Brunswick-Lüneburg
28 May 1427 – 24 July 1433 Agnes of Baden
2 June 1432
ten children
24 July 1433
Emmerich am Rhein
aged 28-29
Rendsburg and Schleswig were annexed to Denmark; with the Rendsburg patrimony the Danish formed the Duchy of Holstein
Adolph XII 1419
First son of Otto II and Elisabeth of Hohenstein
2 June 1464 – 9 October 1474 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Irmgard of Hoya
no children
9 October 1474
aged 54-55
Children of Otto II, succeeded each other, and leaving no descendants. John IV, the eighth son, was the one who left a successor.
Eric I 1420
Second son of Otto II and Elisabeth of Hohenstein
9 October 1474 – 25 March 1492 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Heba of East Frisia
no children
25 March 1492
aged 71-72
Otto III
Fifth son of Otto II and Elisabeth of Hohenstein
25 March 1492 – 1510 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Unmarried 1510
aged 83-84
Anton I 1439
Sixth son of Otto II and Elisabeth of Hohenstein
1510 – 22 December 1526 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Sophia of Saxe-Lauenburg
29 November 1492
no children

Anna of Schönburg
before 25 September 1497
no children
22 December 1526
aged 86-87
John IV 1449
Eighth son of Otto II and Elisabeth of Hohenstein
22 December 1526 – 30 March 1527 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Cordula of Gehmen
one child
30 March 1527
aged 77-78
Jobst I 1483
Son of John IV and Cordula of Gehmen
30 March 1527 – 5 June 1531 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Maria of Nassau-Siegen
eight children
5 June 1531
aged 47-48
Adolph XIII
19 January 1511
Second son of Jobst and Maria of Nassau-Siegen
5 June 1531 – 1544 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Unmarried 20 September 1556
aged 45
Children of Jobst, divided their inheritance. The elder brothers ruled jointly in Pinneberg; Jobst II inherited Gemen alone. Adolphus abdicated in 1544, and became Archbishop of Cologne as Adolph III (1547–1556). In 1559 the Reformation officially began in Schauenburg and Holstein-Pinneberg.
John V 1512
Fourth son of Jobst and Maria of Nassau-Siegen
5 June 1531 – 10 January 1560 Elisabeth of East Frisia
no children
10 January 1560
aged 47-48
Otto IV
Fifth son of Jobst I and Maria of Nassau-Siegen
5 June 1531 – 21 December 1576 Maria of Pomerania-Stettin
before 1545
four children

Elisabeth Ursula of Brunswick-Lüneburg
three children
21 December 1576
aged 58-59
Jobst II 1520
Seventh son of Jobst I and Maria of Nassau-Siegen
5 June 1531 – 29 May 1581 County of Gemen Elisabeth of Pallant
three children
29 May 1581
aged 60-61
Adolph XIV
27 February 1547
Son of Otto IV and Maria of Pomerania-Stettin
21 December 1576 – 2 July 1601 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Elisabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
6 May 1583
one child
2 July 1601
aged 54
Henry V 21 February 1566
Son of Jobst II and Elisabeth of Pallant
29 May 1581 – 15 October 1597 County of Gemen Matilda of Limburg-Styrum
4 August 1592
one child
15 October 1597
aged 61
24 September 1569
Son of Otto IV and Elisabeth Ursula of Brunswick-Lüneburg
2 July 1601 – 17 January 1622 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Hedwig of Hesse-Kassel
11 September 1597
ten children
17 January 1622
aged 52
He was elevated to "Prince of Schaumburg" in 1619.
Jobst Herman 6 October 1593
Son of Henry V and Matilda of Limburg-Styrum
15 October 1597 – 17 January 1622 County of Gemen Catherine Sophia of Brunswick-Harburg
no children
5 November 1635
aged 42
Inherited the main County of Pinneberg after his cousin Ernest died without descendants. He too died childless.
17 January 1622 – 5 November 1635 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Gemen annexed to Pinneberg
Otto V 1 March 1614
Son of George Herman of Holstein-Gemen and Elisabeth of Lippe
5 November 1635 – 15 November 1640 County of Pinneberg
(with Schauenburg)
Unmarried 15 November 1640
aged 26
Nephew of Henry V and cousin of Jobst Herman. Died unmarried.
Pinneberg annexed to the Duchy of Holstein

See also


  1. ^ Lemma Schauenburg/Schaumburg. In: Klaus-Joachim Lorenzen-Schmidt, Ortwin Pelc (Hrsg.): Schleswig-Holstein Lexikon. 2. Aufl., Wachholtz, Neumünster, 2006.
  2. ^ a b The numbering varies; some authors count all namesakes within the House of Schauenburg, here put in front, others count only the namesakes within any branch line, here given in parentheses.
  3. ^ Holstein was lost first to Henry of Badewide in 1137-43, and later to Denmark, in 1203-27. In both times the ruling family could reclaim back their land.