Adolf II of Holstein

Adolf II of Holstein (c. 1128 – 6 July 1164) was the Count of Schauenburg and Holstein from 1130 until his death, though he was briefly out of Holstein from 1137 until 1142. He succeeded his father Adolf I under the regency of his mother, Hildewa.

Adolf II of Holstein
Bornc. 1128
Died(1164-07-06)6 July 1164
Noble familyHouse of Schauenburg
Spouse(s)Mechthild of Schwarzburg-Käfernburg
FatherAdolf I of Holstein

After the death of the Emperor Lothair II (1137), the new king, Conrad III, granted the Duchy of Saxony to Albert the Bear. Adolf was consequently deprived of Holstein because he was a Welf supporter and refused to recognise Albert as duke. He only received it back in 1142 when Conrad and Henry the Lion were reconciled.

In 1143, Henry and Adolf divided the rule of the conquered Slavic lands to their east. Adolf received Wagria with its chief city, the castle of Sigberg, built by Lothair, and Henry received Polabia with Ratzeburg as its capital. Sigberg became Adolf's chief fortress and most regular seat. Adolf promoted Christianity in his new lands, especially through the missionary work of Vicelinus. Adolf, encouraged by Lothair, promoted German colonisation of his Slavic territories, especially with colonists from not only his own lands but also from Westphalia, Flanders, Holland, Utrecht, and Frisia.

In 1143 or 1144, Adolf built Lübeck, the first German port on the Baltic Sea. Adolf also built the first castle (1143) in Lübeck: a wood and earth construction. In 1157, Lübeck was burned and rebuilt by Henry the Lion, to whom Adolf transferred it in 1159.

Adolf supported Sweyn III of Denmark against the claimant Canute V in a dispute over the Danish throne. Canute, with the help of Etheler von Dithmarschen, attacked Holstein and burned Oldenburg in Holstein, devastating the German north coast.[citation needed]

In 1159, Adolf accompanied the Emperor Frederick I into Italy and in 1164 he aided Henry the Lion against the Obotrites, dying in the Battle of Verchen. He was buried in Minden. He was succeeded by his son, Adolf III, under the regency of his widow, Mechtild of Schwarzburg-Käfernburg.


  • Thompson, James Westfall (1928). Feudal Germany, Volume II. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Manuel Talaván (2010). Relaciones germano eslavas en el contexto de cruzada: la cruzada venda. Intus-Legere Historia. Vol. 4, Nº 2; pp. 19-44
Adolphus of Schauenburg
Born: c. 1128 Died: 6 July 1164 in Verchen
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Adolf I
Count of Holstein
Succeeded by
Count of Schauenburg
Succeeded by
Adolf III
Preceded by
Count of Holstein