Guide of KIEL

Kiel is a city in the north of Germany on the Baltic Sea Coast. It is the most populous city in northern Germany with around 249,023 inhabitants. It is an important port city and is well known for holding some famous international sailing events, such as the annual Kiel Week, which is the biggest sailing event in the world, in the past Kiel also played host to the sailing events in the 1936 and 1972 Olympics. Today, Kiel remains one of the heartlands of the German Navy and continues to be one of the most important high tech shipbuilding centres in the world. Its location on the Kiel Fjord has developed the Kiel Canal into the busiest artificial waterway in the world! There are many ferry connections from Kiel to Sweden, Norway, Lithuania, it is also an important stop-off on Baltic Sea passenger cruises.

A brief history of Kiel

Until the 8th century, the city was a Danish village. The first records of the town of Kiel are from the 13th century, 1233 when Count Adolf IV of Holstein named the town Holstenstadt tom Kyle.  The University of Kiel was founded in 1665 and is still a leading research hub for marine sciences in Europe today. Kiel continued to be administered by Denmark up until 1864 and then in 1866, the city was annexed by Prussia.  The Imperial shipyard Kiel was established in 1867 and in 1871 Kiel finally became part of Germany. Because of its new role as Germany's main naval base, Kiel very quickly increased in size in the following years, the population went from 18,770 in 1864 to around 200,000 in 1910.

During the Second World War, Kiel was a major naval base and shipbuilding centre for the German Reich, there was even a slave labour camp for the local industry. Because Kiel had a naval port and also produced submarines, the Allies bombed the city extensively in the Second World War, 80% of the remaining old town was destroyed, along with 72% of the central residential area and 83% of the industrial area! But today, the city has recovered and is a real economic powerhouse, in 2005 Kiel's GDP was €35,618 per capita, well above Germany's national average, and 159% above the EU average!

Things to do in Kiel

Why not visit the city’s oldest building, the Church of St. Nicholas? It’s from the 13th century but in the 19th century, it was remodelled in the Gothic Revival style. It features a bronze baptismal font from 1340, an altar from 1460, a triumphal cross from 1490 and a wood-carved pulpit from 1705. Shopping is also a great way to spend the day in Kiel, as the city hosts Germany’s longest shopping street! Another interesting activity is to visit the museum, which is housed inside a German U-boat that was active in World War II - you can get a real sense of what life must have been like on board a U-boat! There is also Kiel Maritime Museum that also used to house the Fish Market. You can sip a beer there whilst watching the boats come in and out of the port. 

Beaches around Kiel

Schilksee Strandbad is situated out along the estuary from Kiel, it has white sands, and you can also rent paddleboats here in the summer. A little closer to the city is Strand Hasselfelde, the beach is made up of a mixture of sand and pebbles, and the water is clear. However, there are no facilities, which also means that it doesn’t get too crowded. Hundestrand beach has a lovely little forest behind it and there is parking available very close by. The water is great for bathing, however, some of the rocks can be quite sharp and difficult to navigate, so aren't ideal for children.

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