Wismar's Swedish Era
There is much in the town that recalls this historical era. The Thirty Years' War hit Wismar hard - Swedish troops had occupied the town as early as 1632, and under the terms of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the war it was retained by Sweden. Due to its strategic location and wealth it would however remain a constant object of dispute, subject to the vagaries of war - siege, conflagration and pillage. After the expiry of a 100-year pledge agreement by the Swedes for 1,250,000 riksdaler, Wismar was returned permanently to the Duchy of Mecklenburg in 1903, and the town's southern Swedes became Mecklenburger once again.
Schwedenköpfe - busts literally called 'Swedish Heads' in reference to the type of wig they wear - can be found in front of the Baumhaus in the Old Harbour, and are an emblem of the town. A fully preserved original is one of the many treasures to be found in the Civic History Museum Schabbellhaus.
Any visit to Wismar ought to include a look at the Alter Schwede, located on the market square and one of Wismar's oldest town houses dating back to c. 1380. The restaurant ‑ which itself dates back to 1878 ‑ serves as a reminder of the town's former owners. Once on the trail of the Swedes, there is a lot more to discover: the Swedish Commandant's house (and arsenal) the Zeughaus, the Baroque Provianthaus (victual house) and the 1903 Schwedenstein (Swedish stone), a 400 Zentner (40,000kg / 39 ton) heavy boulder engraved with the coats of arms' of Wismar, Mecklenburg and Sweden.