Glassworks in Schleswig-Holstein

It is known from written sources that since 1575 glassmakers mainly from Hesse and southern Lower Saxony came to Holstein, especially Ostholstein, since here the raw material necessary for glass production, especially beech wood, was still abundant and at the same time the landowners were anxious to expand their yard fields at the expense of the forest. As a result, a large number of glassworks have been built in this area, and their locations and products are thus much more well-known than for other trades. Northern Germany plays a rather marginal role in previous glassworks research.


After the war, glassworks research was carried out in the Plön area in particular by the Plön museum director and archaeologist Hucke. In the 1970s to 1990s, the Plön Museum in particular under its director Kruse as well as numerous honorary collectors systematically visited sites, especially in the East Holstein area and the regions between Neumünster and Rendsburg.  In 2009, the "Peter Besel Collection" was acquired by the State Archaeological Museum. These are flat and hollow glass, glass seals, glass fragments, glass slag, vascular ceramics and technical ceramics, which were recovered during site visits focusing on the eastern hilly region of East Holstein and the Lower Geest. Thus, not only is extensive find material available, which offers a unique insight into the forms and functions of early modern glass in northern Germany, but the collection also provides a deep insight into the glassworks landscape of eastern Schleswig-Holstein. Although the distribution of the sites reflects the catchment area of the collector, it must also be seen as evidence of the importance of the glass industry in eastern Schleswig-Holstein.