Landscape and settlement history
The district Dahme-Spreewald is largely characterized by three types of landscape:
• Dahme-Seengebiet (belonging to the eastern Brandenburg Heide- und Seengebiet )
• Spreewald and
• Niederer Fläming.
The surface area of the district belongs to the young moraine area and is divided by a great variety of shapes and glacial series.
The today’s district area comprises the parts of the Berlin and Baruther glacial valleys. On the ground moraine plates which lie between them, especially on the Teupitzer Platte and Dahme-Sandflächen, the landscape is formed by the extensive pinewoods.
The scenic factors have a strong influence on the settlement development.
With the conquest of the Ascanians and the extensive forest clearance the use of the settlement area of the today’s district, which was Slavic/Sorbian after the migration period, has changed.
The rural colonization mainly of the German settlers in the 12th and 13th century led to the transformation of the old-Slavic settlements and to the foundation of new towns.
Thus Lübben had been an old-Sorbian settlement located on the old crossing over the river Spree before it became in the middle of the 10th century a German castle with the seat of a burgrave. In 1150 Lübben was mentioned for the first time as "Urbs Lubin" (Burg Lubin). After the foundation of the town in 1200 the place between the two arms of Spree and under a protection of the said castle emerged very quickly as a commercial centre. From the late Middle Ages Lübben was a main town of the margraviate Lower Lusatia.
The Sorbian village Luckau was founded in place of an old Slavic hill fort under a protection of the margravial castle in 1250. Due to its favourable for the development of economy and commerce geographical location Luckau was developed into a town and received its town charter in 1297. From 1492 Luckau was the capital of the margraviate Lower Lusatia.
Lieberose, an old Lower Sorbian village, was founded in 1250 and received its town charter in 1302.
Similarly the development of Königs Wusterhausen, Mittenwalde, Teupitz, Golssen in most cases can be traced back to the Slavic settlements and hill forts situated on the intersections of trade routes and river crossings respectively.
Over the centuries of the changeful history these small towns based on agriculture, handcraft and trade emerged in most cases as farming towns. In the meantime they had been under the Saxon ruling, like the whole Lower Lusatia, until the came back to Brandenburg-Prussia in 1815.
The incipient industrialization in the second half of the 19th century brought little development incentives for the towns of the today’s district. The later economic development in the north of the district was closely linked with Berlin. The south of the district has always been affected by agriculture.
A certain degree of industrialization has been introduced with the development of the transport infrastructure in the Königs Wusterhausen area.
Till 1897 the premises of the Schwartzkopff locomotive factory, which today are listed for preservation, were created in Wildau. Later there was the heavy machinery construction.
Niederlehme and Zernsdorf emerged as suppliers of building materials, especially for Berlin.
In connection with the underground storage system Mittenwalde became the location for plant and pipeline construction.
In 1920 in Königs Wusterhausen the German Reichspost erected the first German broadcasting station.
Along the S-bahn track towards Berlin the communities of Eichwalde, Schulzendorf, Zeuthen, Wildau and Königs Wusterhausen emerged as almost cohesive urban areas.
After 1990 the development, especially in the north of district, is characterized by the great expansion of the urban areas. Because of the high settling pressure resulting from the close proximity of Berlin mainly commercial areas and single- and multi-story residential buildings have been built in this region.