From top down, left to right: Schwerin Castle, Clergymen's Pond and Schwerin Cathedral, castle garden, Mecklenburg State Theater, view of Lake Schwerin from St Paul's Church, view over the city
Flag of Schwerin
Coat of arms of Schwerin
Location of Schwerin
Schwerin is located in Germany
Schwerin is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Coordinates: 53°38′N 11°25′E / 53.633°N 11.417°E / 53.633; 11.417
DistrictUrban district
Subdivisions18 boroughs
 • Lord mayor (2016–23) Rico Badenschier[1] (SPD)
 • Total130.46 km2 (50.37 sq mi)
38 m (125 ft)
 • Total95,740
 • Density730/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
19053, 19055, 19057, 19059, 19061, 19063
Dialling codes0385
Vehicle registrationSN

Schwerin (German: [ʃveˈʁiːn] (listen); Mecklenburgisch-Vorpommersch Low German: Swerin; Polabian: Zwierzyn; Latin: Suerina, Suerinum) is the capital and second-largest city of the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as of the region of Mecklenburg, after Rostock. It has around 96,000 inhabitants, and is thus the least populous of all German state capitals.

Schwerin is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Schwerin (Schweriner See), the second-largest lake of the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau after the Müritz, and there are eleven other lakes within Schwerin's city limits. The city is surrounded by the district of Northwestern Mecklenburg to the north, and the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim to the south. Schwerin and the two surrounding districts form the eastern outskirts of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The name of the city is of Slavic origin, deriving from the root "zvěŕ" (wild animal) or "zvěŕin" (game reserve, animal garden, stud farm).

Schwerin was first mentioned in 1018 as Zuarina and was granted city rights in 1160 by Henry the Lion, thus it is the oldest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. As main residence of the House of Mecklenburg, a dynasty with Slavic roots also known as the Obotrites or Niklotides, Schwerin was the capital of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1379 to 1815, of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (after the duke was elevated to the title of a grand duke) from 1815 to 1918, of the Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1918 to 1934, of the State of Mecklenburg (after it was merged with the Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz) from 1934 to 1952, and of the District of Schwerin from 1952 to 1990.

The romantic Schwerin Palace, situated on Castle Island between Lake Schwerin and Castle Lake, known for its golden dome, the Castle Church, the throne room, and the Niklot statue, used to be the seat of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and since 1990, it is the seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Schwerin's silhouette is completed by the towers of Schwerin Cathedral, St Paul's Church and St Nicholas' Church. Because of only minor damage in World War II, the city has a largely intact building structure, both in the Altstadt (Old Town) and Schelfstadt (Reed City) quarters.

Major industries and employers include high technology, machine building, healthcare, government agencies, railway supply, consumer goods and tourism. Schwerin has two academic colleges, the Schwerin campus of the "Fachhochschule des Mittelstands" (University of Applied Sciences of the Mittelstand), and the Schwerin campus of the "Hochschule der Bundesagentur für Arbeit" (University of the Federal Employment Agency). There is a regional airport in Parchim, southeast of the city, while Hamburg Airport serves as the city's main airport.


Early years

Schwerin is enclosed by lakes. The largest of these lakes, the Schweriner See, has an area of 60 km2. In the middle part of these lakes there was a settlement of the Slavic Obotrite (dated back to the 11th century). The area was called Zuarin (Polabian Zwierzyn), and the name Schwerin is derived from that designation. In 1160, Henry the Lion defeated the Obotrites and captured Schwerin. The town was later expanded into a powerful regional centre. A castle was built on this site, and expanded to become a ducal palace. It is supposedly haunted by the small, impious ghost, called Petermännchen ("Peterman").

In 1358, Schwerin became a part of the Duchy of Mecklenburg, making it the seat of the duchy from then on. About 1500, the construction of the Schwerin Palace began, as a residence for the dukes. After the division of Mecklenburg (1621), Schwerin became the capital of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Between 1765 and 1837, the town of Ludwigslust served as the capital, until Schwerin was reinstated.

Recent times

In the mid-1800s, many residents from Schwerin moved to the United States, many to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today Milwaukee and Schwerin are sister cities. After 1918, and during the German Revolution, resulting in the fall of all the German monarchies, the Grand Duke abdicated. Schwerin became capital of the Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin thereafter.

During World War II, Schwerin was hit by bombs in July 1940, on 7 April 1945 and 19 April 1945.[3] At the end of World War II, on 2 May 1945, Schwerin was taken by United States troops. It was turned over to the British on 1 June 1945, and one month later, on 1 July 1945,[4] it was handed over to the Soviet forces, as the British and American forces pulled back from the line of contact to the predesignated occupation zones.

Schwerin was then in the Soviet Occupation Zone which was to become the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Initially, it was the capital of the State of Mecklenburg which at that time included the western part of Pomerania (Vorpommern). After the states were dissolved in the GDR, in 1952, Schwerin served as the capital of the Schwerin district (Bezirk Schwerin).

After reunification in 1990, the former state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was recreated as one of the Bundesländer. Rostock was a serious contender for state capital but the decision went in favour of Schwerin.


Historical population
Population size may be affected by changes in administrative divisions.

Schwerin has a population of about 95,000 and is the smallest state capital of Germany. In East Germany era, Schwerin was a industry city known for its leather productions. In 1991, when Schwerin became the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state, it had a population of 126,000. After the German Reunification, Schwerin's population started to decline and fell below 100,000 in 2000, so that it lost its official status as a major city. Schwerin is also the only state capital that has no universities.

Rank Nationality Population (31.12.2022)
1  Syria 2,142
2  Ukraine 1,785
3  Afghanistan 713
4  Russia 541
5  Vietnam 503


Schwerin on Lake Schwerin (Schweriner See), subdivided into Outer Lake (Außensee) and Inner Lake (Innensee) by Paul's Dam (Paulsdamm).
The 26 boroughs of Schwerin


The 12 lakes within Schwerin's city limits and their size in km2:



The urban area of Schwerin is subdivided into 17 local districts,[5] each with a local council. The districts consist of one or more boroughs. The local councilors have between 5 and 15 members depending on the number of inhabitants. They are determined by the city council for the duration of the election period of the city council after each municipal election. The local councilors are to hear important matters concerning the district and have a right of initiative. However, the final decisions are made by the city council of the city as a whole.

The 17 districts and 26 boroughs:

There is a small enclave between the boroughs of Neumühle and Görries, belonging to the neighbouring municipality of Klein Rogahn.

Schwerin clockwise borders the municipalities of Klein Trebbow (N), Seehof (Mecklenburg), Leezen (Mecklenburg) (lake border and border on Paul's Dam (Paulsdamm) only), Raben Steinfeld (E), Plate, Banzkow, Lübesse (S), Holthusen, Pampow, Klein Rogahn (W), Wittenförden, Brüsewitz, and Pingelshagen.


City buses and trams are run by NVS (Nahverkehr Schwerin).[6]

Schwerin Hauptbahnhof (central station) is connected by rail to Berlin, Hamburg and Rostock.

Main sights


Crime rate

According to the official 2007 Crime Report for Germany, Schwerin was the only German city with a crime rate over 17,000 total offenses committed per 100,000 inhabitants;[7] thus being 1st in the list of Germany's most dangerous cities. The larger cities, such as Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, or Bremen, all have crime rates ranging from 14,000 to 16,000 total offenses committed per 100,000 people. However, Schwerin is the only city where riding a bus (or tram) without a ticket and social security fraud is counted towards the crime rate, significantly boosting the numbers.[8]

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany

Schwerin is twinned with:[9]

Notable people


Panoramic view of Schwerin's historic city centre


  1. ^ Kommunalwahlen in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Ergebnisse der Bürgermeisterwahlen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Landesamt für innere Verwaltung, accessed 2 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerungsstand der Kreise, Ämter und Gemeinden 2021" (XLS) (in German). Statistisches Amt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 2022.
  3. ^ "April 1945: Bomben auf Schwerin".
  4. ^ Some evidence[citation needed] calls into doubt the date on which the British withdrew to the predesignated occupation zone. Local residents claim that the British forces did not relinquish control of Schwerin until later in the year, probably November, following a brief artillery exchange across lake Schwerin between the British and the Soviets. Allegedly there were no deaths.
  5. ^ "Stadtteile". (in German). Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  6. ^ NVS (Nahverkehr Schwerin)
  7. ^ Official Police Report for Germany, cf. p. 17.
  8. ^ "19.05.07 / Aufgeklrt: Das wilde Rubernest Schwerin". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften". (in German). Schwerin. Retrieved 2021-03-24.