The Archaeological Border Complex Hedeby and Danewirke

The trading post of Hedeby and the ramparts of the Danevirke secured the border between Scandinavia and the European mainland at the narrowest point between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the Schleswig Isthmus. This special location enabled intensive trade and exchange between the regions.

Between the 8th and 11th centuries, many people in northern Europe sailed across the seas as Vikings – robbers, traders and conquerors. Hedeby was connected with the Danevirke which served as a border fortification and was repeatedly expanded by Danish kings over the centuries. In this border region, Hedeby flourished and developed into the central trading and traffic junction in Northern Europe.

Here, man-made structures and contemporary natural landscape are inextricably linked with the unique geographical location. The ramparts of the Danewerk connected the sea trading center on the Schlei with Hollingstedt on the Treene and, via this river, with the North Sea.

It is therefore a kind of “gateway between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea”.

Today, Hedeby is for us a prime example of an early urban trading centre. The extraordinarily well preserved archaeological material serves scientists as a source for many important findings concerning the Viking Age.

Over time, Haithabu was repeatedly attacked by enemies and became less important as a trading center. In the 19th century, the Danewerk was again expanded and used as a defensive wall during German-Danish conflicts.

The Archaeological Border Complex Hedeby and Danewirke

UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2018

From the selection criteria

  • Hedeby could only flourish thanks to the Danevirke“ and „thus exemplifies an urban trading centre protected by a large-scale defence system.
  • The Archaeological Frontier Complex Hedeby and Danevirke provides exceptional evidence of exchange between communities of different cultural traditions in Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries.

Information and Contact

Ostseefjord Schlei GmbH
Touristinformation Schleswig
Plessenstraße 7 (gegenüber dem St.-Petri-Dom)
24837 Schleswig
Tel.: +49 (0)4621-8500 56
Fax: +49 (0)4621-8500 55