Rusnė was born in the middle of 12th century, when Teutonic Order gradually began to establish itself on the shores of the Baltic sea and Curonian lagoon region. The year 1366 was very important for Rusnė as the town and island‘s name was mentioned for the first time in the letter telling about Vorusnė village and the branch of Nemunas called Rusnė.
Having settled down and accustomed to the rhythm of island life, in 1448 citizens of Rusnė partied in the town’s first tavern and in 1583 their great-grandchildren started attending first school in the island. In 15th century the town gradually grew: new taverns and boutiques opened their doors, book lovers used to search for reading material in library and bookstores, locals worked in the mill and sawmill. During the special occasions citizens of Rusnė refreshed themselves with famous punch made in the island. Already in 16th century Rusnė was famous for its weekend markets, since 1792 they were held officially. In 18-19th centuries people of Rusnė often had to endure wartime difficulties as the Prussian state which Rusnė belonged to was frequently involved in wars. But this only strengthened the community of island.
During 20th century the face of Rusnė began to change, little by little. The city became increasingly less populated with Germans, which previously accounted for the majority of the citizens. Legal status of Rusnė also changed several times: in 1946 Rusnė was granted city rights, in 1967 the whole Rusnė island became a city and in 1997 Rusnė became a small city.
In 1914 the bridge was built over the river Atmata. It became the main path for everyone wishing to explore the island. However, at the end of the World War II the bridge was destroyed. It took six decades for it to be rebuilt. During 1974 the new bridge was finally built. It was frequently used by fishing professionals and amateurs, ichthyologists, ornithologists, nature and ethnic culture explorers, lovers of peace and water – by everyone who wanted to travel to the only island in Lithuania. Today the bridge of Rusnė is used by thousands of people – citizens of Rusnė, tourists and other curious minds. After their very first visit people often return, knowing that they are always welcomed in Rusnė.