Town gate with history

Holsten Gate Lübeck — welcome home

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. The green spaces in front of the gate represent a wonderful place to relax in summer, offering the peace and quiet you need to plan your visit to Lübeck. You are sure to persuade the two iron, life-sized lions guarding the steps to the Holsten Gate with typically Lübeck serenity to join you in a casual selfie.


Home is not a place, it's an emotion.

Experience of life


That’s what it says 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 to the Lübeck way of life: joyful, lively and serene – and we’re glad you’re here, too!

Experience the power of trade

In its interior, the Holsten Gate invites you to the exhibition “The Power of Trade” which allows you to immerse yourself in the long history of the “Queen of the Hanseatic League” and its courageous long-distance traders. Take a look inside or explore the Holsten Gate in a 360 degree tour.

Did you know?

The Holsten Gate is not straight!

Don’t be surprised if the south tower of the Holsten Gate leans to one side like the leaning tower of Pisa! It was already clear when the Gate was built in the late 15th century that sooner or later it would start to lean with its walls measuring up to 3.5 metres in thickness. The reason is the boggy ground on the banks of the river Trave on which this massive brick building was constructed.


Could the Holsten Gate tip over?

Over the course of the centuries, both Holsten Gate towers have sunk unevenly into the ground in spite of its pile foundations, and only extensive restoration work in 1933/34 was able to halt the growing tilt. Comprehensive restoration measures were also carried out in 2005 and 2006. The German Foundation for Monument Protection and the Possehl Foundation contributed a considerable share to the costs.


Lübeck without its Holsten Gate?

Inconceivable! But there was a time when it was touch and go whether the dilapidated gate would be torn down or not. With a majority of just one single vote, the city parliament decided after a long, contentious debate in 1863 to restore this emblem of the Hanseatic city which enjoys such fame today. The reason for the plans to tear it down was the expansion of the rail connection to Hamburg and the construction of a new railway station to which the Holsten Gate was quite literally blocking the way. What a piece of luck!


Pretty in pink

The American artist Andy Warhol brought pop art to Lübeck in 1980 with his “Holsten Gate” in fluorescent pink. The painting was commissioned from the famous artist on the occasion of a Warhol exhibition in the then furniture store Reese, and the man himself travelled from New York for the vernissage. There was a choice of four colour variations for the Holsten Gate and Heiner Reese who had commissioned the painting decided on the version in pink. Today you can admire the famous work of art in Lübeck’s St. Anne's Art Gallery!




23552 Lübeck


Phone: 0451 1224129

Fax: 0451/ 1 22 41 83



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