"University town of the North-East" Greifswald by Sileas

Greifswald Travel Guide: 40 reviews and 68 photos

I have been living in the town of Greifswald since 2002 now - time to show you VT members a bit of my part of the world.

The town dates back to the 12th century when Danish monks built a monastery close to the Baltic sea in what is today the village of Eldena. The monastery prospered and the town of Greifswald (lit. forest of the gryff) became a centre of regional importance with many merchants and people rich enough to build the three big trademark churches that until today mark the skyline of the town.

When you come to Greifswald you will be welcomed to the Hanse- und Universitätsstadt Greifswald - a title telling about both the towns past and present focus.


The Hanse was a medieval trading company who dominated trading not only along the Baltic Sea coast but also in Russia, England, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.
Many merchants got really rich trading with cloth, fur, wood, fish or beer. Of course it was just as easy to loose all your money on a single trip.

Greifswald was member of the Hanse during the early years of it's existence until the 15th century. Many old buildings still show the typical architectural features also to be seen in places like Rostock, Lübeck or even Brügge or Antwerp. It is even marked down on the Greifswald number plates which begin all with HGW (Hansestadt Greifswald)! Being really pround of the membership in this first European trading Company, Greifswald University even has a Professor for Hanse History and still keeps it`s old (and new) contacts to various cities around the Baltic sea...


The University of Greifswald was founded in 1456 as one of the oldest in northern Europe. This year we are celebrating it's 550 year jubilee and there are celebrations the whole year.

Founder was the mayor of Greifswald, Heinrich Rubenow who saw his chance when some professors of Rostock university fell out with the others and came to the town. It is his achievement that Greifswald left the Hanse and became the centre of education in the area. The University still exists today and has about 10.000 Students, making it the smallest full university in Germany. When Greifswald became part of Sweden during the 30 years war in the 17th century, it even became Sweden's oldest University for almost 200 years.

Being in an area luckily unharmed by WWII, many old buildings are still preserved and the town has managed to keep it's old character, with the students giving it this much needed modern edge!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice university town near the Baltic Sea, loads of beautifully restored old buildings
  • Cons:Quite a lot off the beaten track!
  • In a nutshell:Study where others are on holiday (The University's motto!)
  • Last visit to Greifswald: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (6)

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2007 at 9:19 AM

    Hallo Julia, sehr schöne Greifswald-Seite! War vor 2 1/2 Jahren mal im Sommer da und habe mir die Füße an den superscharfen Steinen an irgendeinem Ostseestrand aufgeschnitten... das fehlt noch bei deinen Warnings & Dangers! :)

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2007 at 1:52 AM

    Hi Julia, thanks for the comment on my Berlin page. Enjoyed reading your Greifswald page but must confess I had never heard of the town before now! I like the University's motto.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 2, 2006 at 8:15 AM

    Interesting little page about this north-east German gem... :o)

  • masc4s's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2004 at 2:11 AM

    Excellent start Julia. Great tips, lets see MORE photo's! I want to visit this place :))!

  • GrantBoone's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2004 at 4:56 AM

    A nice place to live Julia. When are your Poland photos coming??

  • Kristina1701's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2004 at 7:24 AM

    sounds great! will be in greifswald in june; let me know when this page is up! ;-)

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