The Schwentine - a North German river with a Swiss atmosphere

The name Schwentine is based on the Slavic “Sventana” or Baltic “Sventa” and means “holy”. In the early and high Middle Ages, this little river marked the boundary between the German (Saxon) area, which extended as far as Kiel on the Baltic coast, and the Slavic territories in what is now East Holstein.

The Schwentine is 62 kilometres long, making it one of Schleswig-Holstein’s longest rivers. It rises from several springs at the highest point in the landscape - the Bungsberg - at a height of almost 120 metres. It fl ows through a very varied landscape and through locations including Eutin, Bad Malente, Plön, Preetz and Schwentinental before reaching the sea at Kiel. Along its course are 16 natural lakes and a reservoir.

The natural course of the Schwentine
The natural course of the Schwentine

The river flows through unspoiled meadows and woods. At certain points along its course, it creates the kind of panorama more usually associated with mountainous regions. Meltwater from the last ice age, around 15,000 years ago, has created a number of steep gullies, whose “Swiss atmosphere” has fascinated visitors to the region for two hundred years.

Anemones and fumewort by the roadside
Anemones and fumewort by the roadside
A hillside near the
A hillside near the "Oppendorfer Mühle" mill

Before the Schwentine became a popular visitor attraction, it was, like most rivers, utilised for economic purposes. Due to its shallow, undulating course, however, it was unsuitable for trade and transport. Instead, eel weirs and mills were built on its middle and lower reaches.

Picture credit: Werner Schumacher

Where can you find this point?
Link to the city map