The Gothensee is lying on the island of Usedom lake in the district of Vorpommern - Greifswald in Mecklenburg- Vorpommern. It lies in the southwestern part of the town of Heringsdorf. It has a length of approximately 5.3 kilometers, a width of about 1.3 kilometers and an average depth of 1.25 meters. The lake was created in the last ice age and one of the larger lakes in Western Pomerania. It is located in a mixed deciduous forest in the nature reserve island of Usedom and is almost completely surrounded by a belt of reeds. The minimal depth of the lake and the earlier introduction of Klärwassern was the seawater is very cloudy and there is hardly any vegetation. The lake offers many birds an ideal breeding and resting area.

In the 19th century, efforts were made to win in the area of ​​Gothenburg lake and the adjacent Thurbruchs by drainage measures new pastures. To this end, in 1819 the blind channel, named after the President of the Upper Pomerania Johann August Sack, excavated from Gothensee over the Schloonsee to the Baltic Sea, through which the Thurbruch drained today. The Gothensee was until 1860 even completely drained by wind and steam-powered pumping stations. A previous multi-year dry period, the company had promoted. It turned out to be unprofitable to maintain this condition over time. So in 1890, the lake had refilled.

In 1967, the nature reserve " Gothensee and Thurbruch " was recorded in an area of ​​800 hectares. At this time, 30 breeding pairs of mute swan were counted at the lake. The only breeding colony of Black Terns in the radius of 60 kilometers was also located here. Also a rich underwater flora was in Gothensee. However, in the mid-1980s broke the ecological system of the lake together. Oxygen deficiency and an excessive input of nutrients due to the discharge of wastewater from municipal and private waste collection systems and from agriculture, were the causes of the disappearance of large parts of the animal and plant world. After since the 1990s, the inflow of waste water has been greatly reduced, is observed a gradual improvement in water quality.