Szczecin Lagoon

Szczecin Lagoon, Stettin Lagoon, Bay of Szczecin, or Stettin Bay (Polish: Zalew Szczeciński, German: Stettiner Haff), also Oder lagoon (German: Oderhaff), is a lagoon in the Oder estuary, shared by Germany and Poland. It is separated from the Pomeranian Bay of the Baltic Sea by the islands of Usedom and Wolin. The lagoon is subdivided into the Kleines Haff (Polish: Mały Zalew, "small lagoon") in the West and the Wielki Zalew (German: Großes Haff, "great lagoon") in the East. An ambiguous historical German name was Frisches Haff, which later exclusively referred to the Vistula Lagoon.[1]

Oder Lagoon - Landsat satellite photo (circa 2000)
Altwarp aus der Luft
The German fishing village of Altwarp on the Lagoon
Lagoon of Szczecin seen from Karsibór Island
Szczecin Lagoon, view from Polish island of Karsibór


0905 Zalew Szczeciński ZP
The lagoon
0901 Zalew Szczecński ZP 33
Seagulls on the lagoon in winter

From the South, the lagoon is fed by several arms of the Oder river and smaller rivers like Ziese, Peene, Zarow, Uecker, and Ina.[2] In the North, the lagoon is connected to the Baltic Sea's Bay of Pomerania with the three straits Peenestrom, Świna and Dziwna, which divide the mainland and the islands of Usedom and Wolin.

The lagoon covers an area of 687 km², its natural depth is an average 3.8 metres, and 8.5 metres at maximum.[3] The depth of shipping channels however can exceed 10.5 metres.[3] Thus, the lagoon holds about 2.58 km3 of water.[4] The annual average water temperature is 11 °C.[4]

94% of the water loads discharged into the lagoon are from the Oder river and its confluences, amounting to an average annual 17 km3 or 540 m3 per second.[5] All other confluences contribute a combined annual 1 km3.[5] Since no reliable data for an inflow from the Baltic Sea exist, the combined inflow is an estimated 18 km3 from a catchment area of 129,000 km2, residing in the lagoon for an average 55 days before being discharged into the Pomeranian Bay.[4] The nutrients thereby transported into the lagoon have made it hyper(eu)trophic to eutrophic.[6] The straits Peenestrom, Świna and Dziwna are responsible for 17%, 69%, and 14% of the discharge, respectively.[7]

The average salinity is between 0.5 and 2 psu, yet at times more salt water penetrates through the Świna locally raising the salinity to 6 psu.[5]

Towns around the Lagoon


Szczecin Lagoon/Stettiner Haff area, city of Stettin/Szczecin not included

In 1880, the Kaiserfahrt ("Emperor's passage") channel on Usedom was opened, a water route with a depth of 10 metres connecting the lagoon with the Baltic Sea by bypassing the eastern part of the Swine, allowing large ships to enter the lagoon and the seaport of Stettin quicker and safer.

The canal, approximately 12 km long and 10 metres deep, was dug by the German Empire between 1874 and 1880, during the reign of the first Kaiser Wilhelm (1797–1888) after whom it was named. Also, the work resulted in a new island named Kaseburg (Karsibór) being cut off from Usedom.

After 1945, the areas east of Oder Neisse line became part of Poland, including the former German seaport cities of Stettin (Szczecin) and Swinemünde (Świnoujście) on the western bank of the river Oder. The Kaiserfahrt was renamed Piast Canal, after the Polish Piast dynasty.

The German-Polish border also divides the bight called Neuwarper See near Rieth, Luckow.


The lagoon has served as an important fishing grounds for centuries, as a major transportation pathway since the 18th century, and as a tourist destination since the 20th century.[3]


Today the lagoon offers a selection of passenger ship tours, a wide range of water sports and some notable beaches. Tourists can discover winegrowing, the narrow-gauge railway, museums, castles, many hiking and cycling routes and a small village reviving the life of the former Slavic settlements.


The lagoon suffers from heavy pollution, mainly from the Oder river, resulting in eutrophication. High concentrations of aluminium and iron sediments have been found in the river causing rapid algae growth inside the lagoon. However, long-term nutrient concentrations show a high inter-annual variability and have declined during recent years.


The southern shore of the lagoon belongs to the Am Stettiner Haff Nature Park, its northern shore and the island of Usedom to the Usedom Island Nature Park. To the west is the Anklamer Stadtbruch Nature Reserve and, within it, the Anklamer Torfmoor, a protected wetland which is renaturalising after being used for peat extraction.

See also

Coordinates: 53°48′16″N 14°08′25″E / 53.80444°N 14.14028°E


  1. ^ Erhard Riemann, Alfred Schoenfeldt, Ulrich Tolksdorf, Reinhard Goltz, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur (Germany), Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, Preussisches Wörterbuch: Deutsche Mundarten Ost- und Westpreussens, 6th edition, Wachholtz, 1974, p.595, ISBN 3-529-04611-6
  2. ^ Gerald Schernewski, Baltic coastal ecosystems: structure, function, and coastal zone management, Springer, 2002, p.79, ISBN 3-540-42937-9
  3. ^ a b c Ulrich Schiewer, Ecology of Baltic coastal waters, Springer, 2008, p.115, ISBN 3-540-73523-2
  4. ^ a b c Ulrich Schiewer, Ecology of Baltic coastal waters, Springer, 2008, p.117, ISBN 3-540-73523-2
  5. ^ a b c Ulrich Schiewer, Ecology of Baltic coastal waters, Springer, 2008, p.116, ISBN 3-540-73523-2
  6. ^ Ulrich Schiewer, Ecology of Baltic coastal waters, Springer, 2008, p.118, ISBN 3-540-73523-2
  7. ^ Ulrich Schiewer, Ecology of Baltic coastal waters, Springer, 2008, p.119, ISBN 3-540-73523-2

External links

  • Glasby GP, Szefer P, Geldon J, Warzocha J (September 2004). "Heavy-metal pollution of sediments from Szczecin Lagoon and the Gdansk Basin, Poland". Sci. Total Environ. 330 (1–3): 249–69. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.04.004. PMID 15325172.
Battle of Frisches Haff

The Battle of Frisches Haff or Battle of Stettiner Haff was a naval battle between Sweden and Prussia that took place 10 September 1759 as part of the ongoing Seven Years' War. The battle took place in the Szczecin Lagoon (German: Stettiner Haff) between Neuwarp and Usedom, and is named after an ambiguous earlier name for the Lagoon, Frisches Haff, which later exclusively denoted the Vistula Lagoon.Swedish naval forces consisting of 28 vessels and 2,250 men under Captain Lieutenant Carl Rutensparre and Wilhelm von Carpelan destroyed a Prussian force of 13 vessels and 700 men under captain von Köller.The consequence of the battle was that the small fleet Prussia had at its disposal ceased to exist. The loss of naval supremacy meant also that the Prussian positions at Usedom and Wollin became untenable and were occupied by Swedish troops.

Bay of Pomerania

The Bay of Pomerania or Pomeranian Bay (Polish: Zatoka Pomorska; German: Pommersche Bucht; Kashubian: Pòmòrskô Hôwinga) is a basin in the southwestern Baltic Sea, off the shores of Poland and Germany.

In the south it is separated from the Oder Lagoon in the mouth of the Oder River by the islands of Usedom/Uznam and Wolin, connected by three straits or branches of the Oder: Dziwna, Świna and Peene. North border is a line from Cape Arkona on the German island of Rügen to the Gąski Lighthouse in the east of Kołobrzeg in Poland.

Maximum depth is 20 metres and salinity is about 8%. The Bay of Pomerania is crossed by a deepened waterway from the Szczecin seaport, via the river Oder, the Szczecin Lagoon, and Świna allowing large ships to enter the ports of Świnoujście and Szczecin.

Main ports are:

Port of Szczecin

Port of Świnoujście

Port of Kołobrzeg





The Dziwna (German: Dievenow) is a channel of the Oder River in northwestern Poland, one of three straits connecting the Oder Lagoon with the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea. It separates the island of Wolin from the rest of the Polish mainland. The other two channels are the Świna and the Peene.

About 32 kilometers in length, the Dziwna forms on the eastern end of the Szczecin Lagoon near the town of Zagórze, Kamień County. Flowing north, it passes the town of Wolin and then widens and forms a number of connected features. Towards the west the main channel of the Dziwna forms the large Kamieński Lagoon (Polish: Zalew Kamieński). To the east a side channel develops into the Zatoka Cicha (Quiet Bay, known as Die Maad before 1949), flows north through the strait of Promna as it approaches the city of Kamień Pomorski, then rejoins the Kamieński Lagoon. Between these two channels stands the small, largely agricultural island of Chrząszczewo connected to Kamień Pomorski by a single bridge.

The Kamieński Lagoon reforms into the well-defined Zatoka Wrzosowska (Wrzosowska Bay), narrows, then flows past the coastal city of Dziwnów for just a few kilometers as the Dziwna again before finally reaching the Bay of Pomerania.


Jarszewko [jarˈʂɛfkɔ] (German: Jassow am Haff) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stepnica, within Goleniów County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. It is about 70 km from Szczecin and 30 km from Świnoujście. It is on the coast of the Szczecin Lagoon and has a population of about 80. It was first mentioned in 1590, and belonged to the family of von Flemming.

Before 1945 the area was part of Germany. Following World War II the native German populace was expelled and replaced by Poles. For the history of the region, see History of Pomerania.

Nowe Warpno

Nowe Warpno [ˈnɔvɛ ˈvarpnɔ] (German: Neuwarp) is a town in northwestern Poland, in Police County in West Pomeranian Voivodeship. It lies on the shore of the Szczecin Lagoon, very close to the border with Germany. It is the seat of the urban-rural gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Nowe Warpno.

The town's population is 1,170 (according to figures for 2006). The rural part of its gmina has the lowest population density of any such division in Poland, with only 2.09 persons/km²; the town's density (48.8/km²) raises the overall population density of the gmina to 7.88/km², still the fourth lowest in Poland.

The town is located on the inlet of Neuwarp Bay on the southern shore of the Szczecin Lagoon. Across an 800 m wide strait lies the town of Altwarp in the German part of Pomerania. (Alt and Neu mean "old" and "new" in German; in Polish Nowe also means "new".) A small uninhabited island being part of Nowe Warpno lies only 70 m off the coast of Altwarp.

A ferry runs between Nowe Warpno and Altwarp (Stare Warpno) across the German border. There used to be a duty-free shop on board, but this ended when Poland joined the European Union.

Nearby Podgrodzie is in Nowe Warpno district (in the past it was a separate locality). It lies on a picturesque headland with several vacation centres.

Nowe Warpno is a popular destination for regional tourism, also known among international tourists, mainly from Germany. Available accommodations in the town include a resort, a marina, camping, a guest house, and rooms in private homes.

Nowe Warpno Bay

Nowe Warpno Bay (Polish:Zatoka Nowowarpieńska) - a bay located in the southern part of the Szczecin Lagoon. The bay separates the land of the Wkrzańska Lowland. The southern waters of the bay are linked with the Nowe Warpno Lake. From the north, the bay is separated from the Szczecin Lagoon by the Łysa Island and the Nowe Warpno Peninsula. Between the lake and the lagoon is located the Nowe Warpno Peninsula, on which the town of Nowe Warpno is located with a port. On the north-western coast of the bay is located the village of Altwarp (Stare Warpno).


The Oder (, German: [ˈʔoːdɐ] (listen); Czech, Lower Sorbian and Polish: Odra; Upper Sorbian: Wódra) is a river in Central Europe and Poland's third-longest river after the Vistula and Warta. It rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres (461 mi) through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches (the Dziwna, Świna and Peene) that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.


The Peenestrom is a gut, strait or river in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is 20 kilometres long and is the westernmost connection of the Szczecin Lagoon (together with the Świna and the Dziwna) with the Baltic Sea. It is therefore also one of the three distributaries of the Oder.

Police, West Pomeranian Voivodeship

Police (Polish: [pɔˈlʲit͡sɛ]; German: Pölitz; Kashubian/Pomeranian: Pòlice) is a town in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, northwestern Poland. It is the capital of Police County. It is one of the biggest towns of the Szczecin agglomeration.

The town is situated on the Oder River and its estuary, south of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Bay of Pomerania. The centre of Police Town is situated about 15 kilometres (9 miles) north of the centre of Szczecin.

The name of the town comes from the Slavic pole, which means "field".

Port of Police

The Port of Police [pɔˈlit͡sɛ] (in Polish generally Port Police) is a Polish seaport and deep water harbour in Police, Poland located on the west bank of the Oder River, off the Szczecin Lagoon.

It is the fourth-busiest port in the country.In 2006, the cargo traffic in the seaport reached 2,445,500 tons, and it comprised 4.05% of all such traffic in Polish seaports.

In 2006, to the port passed 286 ships with a gross tonnage of over 100.In January 2019 Port of Police and PKP have signed an agreement to create a direct railway link with the port to improve the delivery of the cargo. A direct track with accompanying infrastructure will be constructed from Police railway station to the seaport itself.The Port of Police has access to the Baltic Sea through the Szczecin Lagoon, Świna strait.

Port of Szczecin

The Port of Szczecin (in Polish generally Port Szczecin) is a Polish seaport and deep water harbour in Szczecin, Poland. It is located at the Oder and Regalica rivers in the Lower Oder Valley, off the Szczecin Lagoon. In the past, the port included the now defunct Szczecin Shipyard. A free trade zone has been designated within the port area.

In 2006, cargo traffic in the seaport equaled 9,965,000 tons, comprising 16.5% of all cargo traffic in Polish seaports.

In 2007, the port was entered by 2895 ships with gross tonnage of more than 100.The Ports of Szczecin and Świnoujście are managed by a single authority, creating one of the largest port complexes at the Baltic Sea.


Stepnica [stɛpˈnit͡sa] (German: Stepenitz) is a town in Goleniów County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Stepnica. It lies approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north-west of Goleniów and 27 km (17 mi) north of Szczecin, the capital of the region.

Municipal law was given on January 1, 2014. The town has a population of 2,067.

Stepnica is situated near the estuary of the Oder River - Roztoka Odrzańska, south of the Szczecin Lagoon on the route canoe between Police and Trzebież.


Trzebież [ˈtʂɛbjɛʂ] (formerly German Ziegenort) - is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Police, within Police County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland, close to the German border. It lies approximately 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of Police and 28 km (17 mi) north of the regional capital Szczecin.

The village has a population of 2,500. It lies on the Szczecin Lagoon, and has a harbour, a marina, a beach and a school of sailing.


The Uecker ([ˈʏkər]) or Ucker is a river in the northeastern German states of Brandenburg, where it is known as the Ucker, and of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Its source lies in the Uckermark district, one kilometer north of Ringenwalde. It flows northward through serveral lakes. The first one is Großer Krinertsee. The next ones are rather small.

Then there ars two large lakes, Lake Oberuckersee and Lake Unteruckersee, joined by the navigable section of the river, called "der Kanal", with the smaller Lake Möllensee in between. The island within Oberuckersee, in 10th century AD, was the residence of a Slavic ruler, and connected to the coast of the lake by a long wooden bridge. On the northern end of Unteruckersee, the city of Prenzlau is situated, nowadays district capital of Uckemark. In Middle Ages, it was granted urban rights by the Pomeranian Griffins earlier than Szczecin in 1234, short before they lost the Uckermark to the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1250.

Most of the course below Unteruckersee is not navigable. An effort of von Arnim family to prepare it for large river boats ceased after few decades, in the 19th century.

Between Prenzlau and the junction of river Köhntop, it is sometimes even difficult to go on it by canoe.

Near the small village of Nieden, zhe river arrives in (Mecklenbuurg-) Hither Pomerania, where it is called Uecker. In this country, it passe throuh the towns of Pasewalk, Torgelow, and Eggesin. Pasewalk, as well as Prenzlau, has some important Brick Gothic architecture.

In Eggesin, the northern section of river Randow discharges into the Uecker. In Ueckermünde, the Uecker ends in Szczecin Lagoon, which is connected with the Baltic Sea by the three straits Peenestrom, Świna and Dziwna.

The name "Ucker" originates from a West Slavic language, the word vikru/vikrus, means "fast" or "quick". The Uecker gave its name to the Uckermark historical region and to the two districts Uckermark and Uecker-Randow.

Ueckermünde Heath

Ueckermünde Heath (German: Ueckermünder Heide, Polish: Puszcza Wkrzańska) is a large area of forest and heath, 1,000 km² in area, in northeastern Germany and northwestern Poland, on the Oder river and the Szczecin Lagoon. In 1945, the eastern part went to Poland and is now called the Puszcza Wkrzańska. Świdwie Lake near Tanowo is the site of a nature reserve and Ramsar site.


Usedom (German: Usedom [ˈuːzədɔm], Polish: Uznam [ˈuznam]) is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, divided since 1945 between Germany and Poland. It is the second biggest Pomeranian island after Rügen.

It is situated north of the Szczecin Lagoon (Polish: Zalew Szczeciński; German: Stettiner Haff) estuary of the River Oder. About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The eastern part and the largest city on the island, Świnoujście (German: Swinemünde), are part of the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The island's total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles) (the German part 373 square kilometres (144 square miles); the Polish part 72 square kilometres (28 square miles). Its population is 76,500 (German part 31,500; Polish part 45,000).

With an annual average of 1906 sunshine hours, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also one of the sunniest islands in the Baltic Sea, hence its nickname "Sun Island" (German: Sonneninsel, Polish: Wyspa Słońca).

The island has been a tourist destination since the Gründerzeit in the 19th century, and features resort architecture. Seaside resorts include Zinnowitz and the Amber Spas in the west, the Kaiserbad and Świnoujście in the east.


Wolin (Polish: [ˈvɔlin]; German: Wollin [vɔˈliːn]; Pomeranian Wòlin) is the name both of a Polish island in the Baltic Sea, just off the Polish coast, and a town on that island. Administratively the island belongs to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Wolin is separated from the island of Usedom (Uznam) by the Strait of Świna, and from mainland Pomerania by the Strait of Dziwna. The island has an area of 265 km2 (102 sq mi) and its highest point is Mount Grzywacz at 116 m above sea level

Water from the river Odra (German: Oder) flows into the Szczecin Lagoon and from there through the Peene west of Usedom, Świna and Dziwna into the Bay of Pomerania in the Baltic Sea.

Most of the island consists of forests and postglacial hills. In the middle is the Wolin National Park. The island is a main tourist attraction of northwestern Poland, and it is crossed by several specially marked tourist trails, such as a 73-kilometer-long (45 mi) trail from Międzyzdroje to Dziwnówek. There is a main, electrified rail line, which connects Szczecin and Świnoujście, plus the international road E65 (national road 3 / S3 expressway) crosses the island.

Some etymologists believe that the name is related to the name of the ancient historical region of Volhynia. The origins of the name then would come from the resettled Volynians who named the island Volyn.


The Świna (German: Swine; Pomeranian: Swina) is a river in northwest Poland, between 2 to 4 km from the German border. It flows from Szczecin Lagoon to the Baltic Sea between the islands of Uznam and Wolin. It is a part of the Oder estuary, and carries about 75% of that river's waterflow (of the remainder, Peenestrom carries 15% and Dziwna 10%). It has a length of about 16 km. Świnoujście is a major town on the river.

The German Empire dammed and deepened the river from 1874-1880 to create the Kaiserfahrt (Piast canal). It connects the northern part of the Świna directly with the Szczecin Lagoon and the Pomeranian harbor of Szczecin (Stettin). The river thus gained importance as a direct waterway to the industrial city. The territory along the river's path was transferred from Germany to Poland following World War II.


Świnoujście [ɕfʲinɔˈui̯ɕt͡ɕɛ] (listen) (German: Swinemünde [ˈsʋi:nəˌmʏndə], both names meaning Świna [river] mouth) is a city and seaport on the Baltic Sea and Szczecin Lagoon, located in the extreme north-west of Poland. It is situated mainly on the islands of Usedom and Wolin, but also occupies smaller islands, of which the largest is Karsibór island, once part of Usedom, now separated by the Piast Canal (formerly the Kaiserfahrt) dug in the late 19th century to facilitate ship access to Szczecin.

Świnoujście directly borders the German seaside resort of Ahlbeck on Usedom, both are freely connected by a street and by 12 km (7 mi) of beach promenade.

Since 1999, Świnoujście has been a city with the administrative rights of a county (powiat) (Polish: miasto na prawach powiatu), within West Pomeranian Voivodeship. It was previously part of Szczecin Voivodeship (1975–1998). The city lies in the geographic region of Pomerania and had a population of 41,516 in 2012. Świnoujście is one of the most important areas of the Szczecin metropolitan region. The Świnoujście LNG terminal opened in 2015 is located in the city.

Despite its relatively small population, Świnoujście is Poland's ninth largest city by area.

Tributaries of the Oder / Odra
Main tributaries of the left bank
Main tributaries of the right bank
Geography of Pomerania
Bays, lagoons
National parks


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