Glückstadt on the Elbe – a king’s dream come true

“Dat schall glücken und dat mutt glücken, un dann schall se ok Glückstadt heten” (“We shall have luck and we need to have luck and therefore I name the town Glückstadt [German for ‘Lucky Town’].”) – It was with these optimistic words that King Christian IV of Denmark laid the first foundation stone for our lovely town in 1617. He had a dream: to found a town on the Elbe river, that would become a grand and powerful rival to Hamburg along this important trading route.

Several centuries later, the king’s ambitious dreams have resulted in the idyllic little town of Glückstadt. Its approx. 12,000 inhabitants take great pride in their lovely town, which was awarded the title of ‘health resort’ in 2011, and with good reason. Its picturesque atmosphere, romantic little alleys, historic town centre and location on the Elbe amidst the wondrous marsh landscape of the ‘Elbmarschen’ give a unique character to the historical monument that is the town of Glückstadt.

The citizens of Glückstadt are particularly proud of their young, vibrant arts scene. With their regularly changing exhibitions, the town’s numerous art galleries and ateliers, the Detlefsen Museum and the Palais für aktuelle Kunst (Contemporary Art Gallery) form a large part of Glückstadt’s cultural scene.

And if you get tired and hungry of all that culture, you can relax in one of Glückstadt’s cosy hotels and restaurants. Most of all, you can try the local delicacy: the original Glückstadt Matjes (soused herring). Known far beyond the region, this tasty seafood even has its own annual celebration – a four day-long spectacular in mid-June, taking place throughout the town centre.

The Matjes, however, is not the only maritime feature of Glückstadt: there’s also the charming row of houses along the harbour, as well as the harbour’s new panoramic stairs (a great place to while away the time), the ‘Rigmor’ of Glückstadt (Germany’s oldest sailing ship still in operation) and, last but not least, the breathtaking view from the dyke on the Elbe river.

And although the large ships pass us by without a further look, a part of the king’s dream came true – and is visible in Glückstadt every day.

Welcome to Glückstadt!

Karte Glückstadt