The area of Halstenbek has been inhabited since the early Stone Age and excavations from the 1920’s and 1930’s have found urn graves from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages.
Truth be told, there’s not too much for sightseeing here in this suburb of Hamburg, but sleepy Halstenbek has a long rich (and sometimes dark) history. The village’s name wasn’t officially recognized until 1296 even though people had lived here millenia before.
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They once even belonged to Denmark! During the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648), Halstenbek had been continuously ravaged by the Danes. The Industrial Revolution helped maintain Halstenbek’s economy and the railroad made its way here in the 1880’s. By this time, though, Halstenbek had come under Prussian control.
Another resource that helped fuel Halstenbek’s economy were the forest nurseries. It was Halstenbek in the 1840’s that supplied the lumber from the forests for the rebuilding of Hamburg after a fire had destroyed most of the city.
The mid 20th century was a bit hard on the town as it was forced into allegiance with the Nazi Regime. The Neuengamme Concentration Camp is located near here. Since most of the buildings are preserved it serves as a memorial to 106,000 inmates (almost half died) of the camp.
During the Second World War, many of Halstenbek’s nurseries had to be converted into raising crops for food.
Today, Halstenbek is a thriving community of around 16,000. When you’re here you’ll have a chance for some beachside recreation at Krupunder Lake (which is fed by underground hot springs) with plenty of eateries, bathers, cabanas.
Halstenbek is also not too far from Wadden Sea National Park for some more beachside action. And, since Halstenbek is quite famous for its lumber you might like the chance to shop on its “Furniture Mile.” ;-)