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Floor plan of the round village Köhlen in Wendland , 1830
Buildings around the village square in Rundling Lensian in Wendland, 1865

A Rundling (also Runddorf , Rundlingsdorf ) is a village form of settlement in which, in the early days of the country's expansion under German law, a predominantly Slavic population was settled or recombined by a local landlord in a planned process, with the farms wedge-shaped or sector-shaped around one round or oval square are grouped, which only had one access to the system.

The distribution of the Rundling is limited to a strip between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains , which runs in a medieval contact zone between Germans and Slavs . Within this distribution area, the Rundlinge have best preserved in the Hanoverian Wendland .

Attention! The demarcation of Rundling and Rundangerdorf is in need of improvement and is particularly important when it comes to distribution in other countries. This contradicts the introduction: "The distribution of the round is limited to a strip between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains ..."


Rounds are each located at an elevated point near a lowland with a body of water. The access road comes from the raised and dry arable land, the dead end is in the direction of the moist lowland with meadows.


Simplified example of a round with one access road

The Rundling is characterized by the fact that the courtyards of the village are grouped in the shape of a wedge or sector around a round or oval square, which only had one access road.

In terms of the shape of the building, there was no typical round house. Basically all traditional village house forms can be found in Rundlingen. However, the hall house in the gable position is predominant .

Due to the proximity to the lowland, there is no village pond within the Rundling. Churches or chapels are also not occupied for the time it is in the village square. These were later built in front of the village.

There is no other type of village among the established and planned rural settlement structures in the European landscape that offers such structural cohesion. The alignment of all courtyards with the gable of the main building facing the village square is a structurally particularly characterful expression of this rural living space.


A Rundling was initially created from a few courtyards, arranged in a horseshoe or semicircle, which eventually developed a radial shape by dividing or relocating further courtyards. Between three and ten farms are assumed for the start-up phase. The subsequent development of the gaps could extend over centuries. With the almost complete circle closure, so that the only gap that remained was the access road, the further development opportunities within the Rundling had expired. If, in such a case, additional farmsteads were laid out along the access road, a dead end village was created .

Time of origin

Little is known about the time when most rounds were made. The oldest rounds are mentioned by name in documents from the 9th century in the Ilmenau area of the Uelzen district, i.e. on the western border of the Slavic settlement area at that time. In Wendland, the first mentions date from the 11th and 12th centuries. Whether a round shape was already formed at this point in time cannot be found in the documents, nor is the exact settlement area. The first documentary mention of Rundlingen occurs over a large area in the 14th century, sometimes with references to the complex in a circular form. Generally today it is assumed that it was formed around the year 1150. The main argument for this dating is the complete lack of Slavic fragments found at the locations of the Rundlinge. The round pieces can only have been created at a time when Slavic ceramics were no longer used. That was the case at the earliest after the Wende Crusade .

Theories of origin

The special shape of the villages has led to various theses about their formation since the middle of the 19th century, the scientific discussion of which is not yet complete.

At first, the prevailing opinion was that the Rundling was a form of settlement from the early Germanic period. This turned out to be just as unsound as the assumption that it was a genuinely Slavic form of settlement. The assumption that this was an innovative form of settlement of the Franconian state colonization of the 9th century could not be proven. Based on the results of toponomics , settlement research, archeology and name research, there is essentially agreement today that the Rundling is a planned form of settlement from the early days of the high medieval state development . There is also agreement that the majority of the inhabitants were Slavs. It is disputed whether these have or have come together autonomously, for example in view of the economic methods practiced by German settlers, or only at the instigation of local landlords to form village communities under German law. The prevailing opinion clearly leans towards the latter view. After that, the Rundlinge were created under Saxon rule by Polabians , who had to leave their settlements in the neighboring lowlands of the Elbe and Jeetzel due to rising water levels. In contrast, the assumption that the Slavs who were prisoners of war were forced to settle by the Saxon counts has not been confirmed.

The purpose of a settlement in a round shape is still completely unclear. Neither the concept of a military or cult place nor the classification as a cattle kraal could be proven so far. Addressing it as a fad is also rejected because the investment form is ineffective due to its finiteness. On the basis of the excavation results from Dessau-Mosigkau and the settlement at Machnower Krummen Fenn , it was therefore repeatedly discussed whether the Rundling can be traced back to the form-related forerunner of a Slavic Rundweiler and was granted by the landlord.

As a result, it is now assumed that the Rundling due to its almost entirely Slavic place name, the Slavic origin of the name of the majority of its residents in the name lists of the 15th century, the lack of Slavic ceramics from sites in Rundlingen, which in Wendland still up to The Polabian language spoken in the 17th century and the formation of a corridor geared towards grain production is a type of settlement that was created by local landlords from 1150 to intensify the lucrative grain production by bringing together the Slavic inhabitants who previously settled in the lowlands.


Site plan of Lensian with a street that cuts through the circular structure (colored later), 1831

The development of the rounds took a regionally different course. While in Schleswig-Holstein, for example, a major overheating occurred as early as the 13th century under the impression of a second wave of settlements, the rounds in the Wendland were further compressed. The population of the round villages there grew depending on soil quality and yield. Therefore, in the more fertile Lower Geest , resettlements occurred relatively early and the former semicircles developed into rounds, while in the high Geest with light soils, the semicircles were preserved. The group of the first settlers, the Vollhufner , were joined by resettlers ( Kossater ) who were equivalent to a quarter- hufner in most villages since the 14th century , and their settlement often ended the village square in a round shape. The division of full hooves into half, third and quarter hooves, which can be traced in the 15th to 17th centuries , meant that numerous main buildings had to be moved back to the courtyard. This also made it possible to create round pieces from small semicircles. Also to further compaction wore in the 15th to 17th centuries renewed Nachsiedlungen by Kossater and Brinksitzer , arrival and degrader in.

In contrast, medieval desertification processes also led to the complete abandonment of Rundlingen in Wendland. Numerous fires in the soft-roofed houses also had mostly devastating effects and led to the thinning of the narrow buildings, and in some cases to the partial or complete reorganization of the type of settlement.

In more recent times, but also in earlier centuries, the impasse-like structure of Rundlingen was disrupted by road construction. This often happened after fires, when there was room for road openings through burned-down buildings.

Distribution area

The distribution area of the winder extended in the Middle Ages of Ostholstein on the circuit Lauenburg and Westmecklenburg along the eastern parts of the counties Luneburg and Uelzen in the Lüchow-Dannenberg (= hannesther Wendland.); furthermore in the district of Gifhorn , in the Altmark , in northern Thuringia as far as Saxony .

Today, well-preserved rounds can be found mainly in the Hanoverian Wendland and the adjacent areas of the neighboring districts.

The westernmost Rundlingsdorf is Wendezelle in the district of Peine .

Rundlinge in Wendland

The classic Rundling in Wendland away from major traffic routes is originally very small with three to ten wedge-shaped full courtyard areas and usually only has a single entrance. The closely spaced Low German hall houses are grouped around a round or oval village square, with the commercial gables all facing this square.

Today's Lüchow-Dannenberg district is an almost closed distribution area of ​​the Rundlinge, which almost all have Slavic place names. The type of village layout has been well preserved in this area. The reason for this is primarily the natural delimitation of this Slavic settlement area, which was separated from the Saxon area by the wooded ridge of the Drawehn, which is difficult to surmount, and from the German-populated areas of the Altmark by the swampy land moat . It should also be just as important that the Hanoverian Wendland was not affected by any further waves of immigration or resettlement after the 12th century, so that the small-scale structure of the Rundlinge did not have to be converted into other, more economical forms of settlement. The current structural fabric of the Rundling villages, which dates from the 18th and 19th centuries, has largely been preserved because the Wendland has always been a structurally weak region away from the major trade routes since the Middle Ages.

Schreyahn village square

So far, it has not been possible to prove that fully developed round villages have occurred in Wendland since the first colonization processes. With the order of the Slavic small settlements by the German rulers, small semicircular dead-end-like structures often appear to have emerged. Slavs were resettled in them and later German immigrants were also appointed. In the entire German-Slavic border strip they developed into rounds when the proportion of the Slavic population was larger at the time of the German colonization. This is likely to be a form of settlement of the West Slavic population in what is now eastern Lower Saxony.


The appearance of the Rundlinge in Wendland today is not only characterized by the type of settlement, but also by the type of house and its preservation. The culturally and historically appealing, uniquely preserved building fabric of today's Rundlinge was essentially built between 1680 and 1890. This was the time of the great agricultural reforms and intensive home-made linen production. After this relative economic heyday, in which a relatively wealthy peasant class could develop, there was never again a positive agricultural economy in Wendland and the lack of new building phases led to the preservation of the traditional pre-industrial settlement and building forms.

Around 1800 there are still just under 200 Rundling villages in Wendland on old maps. Today this type of settlement can only be seen in around 100 villages in Wendland . Intact and worth seeing rounds are Bussau , Diahren , Loge, Lübeln , Meuchefitz , Prießeck , Satemin , Schreyahn and Thunpadel .

Commitment to conservation

Rundlingsmuseum in Lübeln

In 1969, the Jameln- based Rundlingsverein was founded with the aim of preserving Rundlingen in the Hanoverian Wendland. The Wendlandhof Rundlingsmuseum in Lübeln emerged from this. In 2015 the Rundlingsverein was awarded the Europa Nostra Prize for its commitment .

In 2014 the association published an inventory of around 210 villages with a round history in Wendland. He classified the nine villages mentioned above, which make up four percent, as intact rounds, and considered 96 rounds to be worth preserving.

Application as a world heritage site

In 2012 the state of Lower Saxony nominated 15 distinctive round villages in the Hanoverian Wendland as a cultural landscape for the German tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage applications . In June 2014, however, the Standing Conference rejected the candidacy. A new application is planned for 2017.

The application was justified by the fact that the Rundlingsdörfer represent a selection of distinctive high medieval colonization settlements in the Lüchow-Dannenberg district. Its uniqueness press by the interaction of a distinctive local floor plan, a large density of gable constantly focused on the central square Low German hall houses out and a region-specific expression of this type of house. The state of Lower Saxony hopes that the application will target the under-represented categories of cultural landscapes and rural architecture within the World Heritage.

Imitated rounds

In 1939, to the west of the village of Tramm, a barracks with an ammunition plant in round construction was built as a Scheindorf , which was named in Neu Tramm . Seven half-timbered houses were built in a circle, which were clearly visible from the air. The construction served as a camouflage against an aerial reconnaissance . Another 74 military buildings were hidden in the forest. In it were from 1944 V 1 - cruise missiles mounted.

Another complex in the style of a Rundling is the Rundlingsdorf Sagasfeld near Metzingen , which was built in 1994 as a wellness hotel .

Rundlinge outside of the Wendland


Rundlinge in Brandenburg

The round villages in Brandenburg east of the Elbe are heavily shaped and have mostly already taken the form of dead-end villages. The entrance to the interior of the village is then shaped like the tip of a village green, so that the village has a teardrop shape. The houses almost always stand on the eaves. Often churches were built in the middle of the square. The villages were often only mentioned in the 14th century, while the classic Rundling was built between 1150 and 1250. So they deviate from the classic round in four main characteristics. The greatest commonality is the dead end shape. Most of these round dead end villages are located in the Prignitz , a landscape adjacent to the Wendland. Examples:

  • Buberow in the Oberhavel district (more like a dead end village)
  • Heiligengrabe -Jabel and Heiligengrabe-Glienicke in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district (both look more like a dead end village )
  • Klein Woltersdorf in the community of Groß Pankow in the Prignitz district (more like a dead end village)
  • Kuhblank in the Prignitz district
  • Läsikow in the municipality of Wusterhausen / Dosse in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district (more like a dead end village)
  • Neuendorf in Potsdam (heavily reshaped)
  • Paplitz in the Teltow-Fläming district (heavily shaped)
  • Putlitz- Porep in the Prignitz district
  • Reesdorf in the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark
  • Radeland in the Teltow-Fläming district
  • Schöneiche in the Teltow-Fläming district
  • Zehdenick- Wesendorf in the Oberhavel district

Rundlinge in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Engel reported in 1936 that "only real rounds can be found in the southwest of Mecklenburg, i.e. in the part of the country with a long proven Slavic population" and named the villages Wöbbelin , Fahrbinde and Lehmkuhlen, which have since been heavily transformed, as such . In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania there are no longer any rounds.

Rundlinge in Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, bordering the Wendland, more or less strongly shaped rounds can be found in the eastern district of Uelzen with Bockholt , Groß Ellenberg , Katzien , Növenthien or Kölau , in the Wolfsburg districts on the Vorsfeld Werder , such as Wendschott , Brackstedt , Ränen and in other places in nearby like Barwedel and Velpke .

Rundlinge in Saxony

Village of Radebeul (left), map detail from Saxon Äquidistantenkarte 1893

In Saxony, the Slavic Rundling is used to distinguish it from the elongated Angerdorf Franconian-Saxon settlement.

Rundlinge in Saxony-Anhalt

Rundlinge in Schleswig-Holstein

In 1960 there were no more rounds in Schleswig-Holstein. The proven rounds of the 13th – 15th centuries Century count for example Fitzen , Holstendorf , Lanze (Lauenburg) or Talkau . The settlement structure is most likely to be seen in Kankelau .

Rundlinge in Thuringia

In Thuringia there are numerous rounds between the Ilm in the west and the Weisse Elster in the east as well as many villages between Weimar and Jena .

The following locations are examples of this:

Rounds in other countries

Attention! The demarcation of Rundling and Rundangerdorf is in need of improvement. There is a contradiction to the introduction: "The distribution of the round is limited to a strip between the Baltic Sea and the Ore Mountains ..."

Rounds in Poland

Rounds in the Czech Republic

Round village
Byšičky in Lysá nad Labem , Czech Republic

Rundlinge in Austria

Rounds in Slovenia

  • Noršinci pri Ljutomeru (Urschendorf) - a semicircular round shape
  • Babinci (Wagendorf) - semicircular round
  • Žepovci (Schöpfendorf)

See also


  • Herbert Röhrig : Rescue of Rundlingen in the Hanoverian Wendland , with the supplement by Ernst Preising: The landscape of the Wendland and its peculiarities , from: "Lower Saxony". Magazine for home and culture . 1969, issue 4, Lax, Hildesheim 1969
  • Rundlinge and Slavs, contributions to Rundlingsforschung , Ed .: Wolfgang Jürries , Lüchow 2004, ISBN 3-9806364-0-2
  • Wolfgang Meibeyer : Rundlinge and other villages in Wendland , Weddel, 2005, ISBN 3-9810610-0-4
  • Wolfgang Meibeyer: Rundlinge, Wendland-Lexikon, Volume 2, Lüchow 2008, ISBN 978-3-926322-45-6 , pages 306-312.
  • Rundlinge im Hannoversche Wendland from the Association for the Preservation of Rundlinge im Hannoversche Wendland e. V.
  • The Rundlinge in Wendland from the Rundlingsverein - association for the promotion of the Wendlandhof Lübeln and the Rundlinge e. V., 2014
  • Settlement landscape Rundlinge in Wendland. The way to the world heritage application. in the series Arbeitshefte für Denkmalpflege in Niedersachsen 50 , Ed .: Lower Saxony State Office for Monument Preservation , Michael Imhof Verlag , 2018

Web links

Commons : Rundling  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Definition based on Matthias Hardt : Rundling. In: RGA , Volume 25, Berlin / New York 2003, pages 493-495
  2. ^ Matthias Hardt, Hans K. Schulze: Altmark and Wendland as a German-Slavic contact zone. In: Hans K. Schulze (Hrsg.): Settlement, economy and constitution in the Middle Ages. Selected essays on the history of Central and Eastern Germany. (Sources and research on the history of Saxony-Anhalt, Volume 5), Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2006, page 90
  3. Wolfgang Meibeyer, Rundlingsdörfer in the Hanoverian Wendland and in other areas in: Roderich Schmidt (Hrsg.): Wendland and Altmark in historical and linguistic point of view , Lüneburg 1992, page 66f. with a graphic representation of the development of the Belitz round (page 71)
  4. Anneliese Krenzlin : The Rundling Problem. Epilogue to the 2nd edition by Anneliese Krenzlin: The cultural landscape of the Hannoversche Wendland. (Research on German regional and folklore volume 28), Stuttgart 1931 (1969, page 107); Wolfgang Meibeyer: The Rundling - a colonial form of settlement of the high Middle Ages. In: Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte Volume 44 (1972), page 27 ff .; Matthias Hardt, Hans K. Schulze: Altmark and Wendland as a German-Slavic contact zone. In: Hans K. Schulze (Hrsg.): Settlement, economy and constitution in the Middle Ages. Selected essays on the history of Central and Eastern Germany. (Sources and research on the history of Saxony-Anhalt, Volume 5), Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2006, page 90 f.
  5. ^ Matthias Hardt: The "Slavic village" and its transformation during the colonization period according to written and historical-geographical sources. In: settlement research. Archeology - History - Geography 17 , 1999, page 283 f.
  6. Overview of the status of the discussion in 2003 in: Matthias Hardt: Rundling. In: RGA , Volume 25, Berlin / New York 2003, page 494
  7. H.-J. Nitz: Border zones as innovation areas in settlement planning - illustrated using the example of the Franconian-German northeast border in the 8th – 11th centuries. Century. In: Siedlungsforschun. Archeology-History-Geography 9 , 1991, 124
  8. ^ Matthias Hardt: Slavs. In: Michael Borgolte : Migrations in the Middle Ages. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014 pp. 171–181, here p. 179
  9. Rundlinge and Slavs, contributions to Rundling research : "The Slavic Rundweiler ... as a forerunner of the ... Rundlings of the medieval ... colonization"
  10. ^ Matthias Hardt, Hans K. Schulze: Altmark and Wendland as a German-Slavic contact zone. In: Hans K. Schulze (Hrsg.): Settlement, economy and constitution in the Middle Ages. Selected essays on the history of Central and Eastern Germany. (Sources and research on the history of Saxony-Anhalt, Volume 5), Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2006, page 85
  11. ^ Matthias Hardt: The "Slavic village" and its transformation during the colonization period according to written and historical-geographical sources. In: settlement research. Archäologie - Geschichte - Geographie 17, 1999, page 290 with the reference to a comparable situation in the Jabelheide
  12. On the history of the Rundlingsverein
  13. Rundling Day on September 12, 2015 - Local Award Ceremony for the Rundlingsverein in Lübeln
  14. Rundlinge in Wendland. Final report of the project: inventory of all rounds in Lüchow-Dannenberg. October 2012 – April 2014 of the Rundlingsverein, (pdf)
  15. 96 rounds are worth preserving in Elbe-Jeetzel-Zeitung of April 28, 2014 (pdf)
  16. Press release: "Altes Land" and "Rundlingsdörfer des Hannoversche Wendlandes" are registered for the German tentative list of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture on June 18, 2012
  17. Rundlingsverein: The way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site , accessed on December 16, 2014
  18. Who will be World Heritage? in: Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung from June 18, 2012
  19. ^ Franz Engel: Archaeological Methods in Medieval Settlement Research: New Paths to Research into Eastern Colonization In: Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher, Volume 100 (1936), p. 258 weblink
  20. Röhrsdorf village with its districts @ (accessed August 24, 2014)
  21. So for the Duchy of Lauenburg , Wolfgang Prange : Settlement history of the state of Lauenburg in the Middle Ages (= sources and research on the history of Schleswig-Holstein. Vol. 41, ISSN  0173-0940 ). Wachholtz, Neumünster 1960 (also: Kiel, Universität, Dissertation, 1958) p. 166
  22. Formerly Wendisch Pogeez : The Slavic farmers were resettled in exchange for compensation and Holsteiners were appointed
  23. ^ Werner Budesheim: Rundlinge in Lauenburg? In: ders. (Ed.): Festschrift 20 years of the Free Lauenburg Academy for Science and Culture. Articles for Science and Culture, Vol. 10 , Wentorf near Hamburg 2011