ITZEHOE, one of the busiest commercial towns of northern Germany, is situated on the Stor, a navigable tributary of the Elbe, in the circle of Steinburg of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein, 32 miles northwest of Hamburg and 15 miles north of Gliickstadt. As chief town of the circle, it is the seat of the usual local courts and of a head custom-house. The church of St Lawrence, dating from the 12th century, and the building in which the Holstein estates formerly met, arc noteworthy. The town has a convent founded in 1256, a high school, a hospital, and other benevolent institutions. The sugar-refinery, which employs some 500 hands, is the largest in Germany. Iron-founding, shipbuilding, and wool-spinning are also carried on, and the manufactures include machinery, tobacco, fishing-nets, chicory, soap, cement, beer, and other articles. Fishing employs some of the inhabitants, and the markets for cattle and horses are important. A considerable trade is carried on in agricultural products and wood, chiefly with Hamburg and Altona. Including the garrison, the population in 1875 was 9776.
Itzehoe is the oldest town in Holstein. Its nucleus was a castle built to restrain the Danes in 809 by Egbert, one of Charlemagne's counts. The community which sprang up around it was diversely called Esseveldoburg, Eselsfleth, and Ezeho. In 1201 the town was destroyed, but it was restored in 1224. To the new town the Litheek rights were grante I by Adolphus IV. in 1238, and to the old town in 1303. During the Thirty Years' War Itzehoe was twice destroyed by the Swedes, in 1644 and 1657, but was rebuilt on each occasion. It passed to Prussia in 1867, with the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein.