Sailing, sailing and more sailing - that's what everyone associates with this city on the Baltic coast. In Germany's far north, the sea has a special significance for the locals, and the connection begins in childhood.
There's no hiding from wind and weather in Kiel in northern Germany
Learning to sail right after learning to swim - that's the aim in Kiel, whose residents believe that every child should learn to sail. Here, everything revolves around water. In the city center alone, there are 12 pleasure craft harbors. Sailing is the activity that matches Kiel perfectly. You feel the wind blowing all around you as soon as you arrive in this city, which attracts thousands of sailors from around the world every year. They come from around 50 countries to participate in the Kieler Woche, the largest sailing event in the world. It's therefore not surprising that Kiel has the reputation of being the sailing capital of the world.
The fjord that divides the city
"I can see the water from my room," says shipbuilding student Fabiana from Brazil. It might not be the Atlantic, but it's still nice. If you live in Kiel, you cannot avoid the water, because the Baltic Sea penetrates the city with a long, narrow inlet called the Kieler Foerde or Kiel Fjord. It divides the city into an east and west side. The west side is where the action is. This is where you'll find the city center, the main railway station, ferry terminals, town hall and shopping streets. Two out of three of the local universities are also located on the west side: Christian Albrecht University, the largest and oldest of the three, and the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design. The Kiel University of Applied Sciences is on the other side of the fjord.
Ferries in the city center
At the end of the Kiel Fjord, you can see the big ships: the ferries to Scandinavia, which look like cruise liners. You can see them directly from Kaistrasse as they depart for Sweden and Norway. Every year, around 1.5 million people take advantage of these ferries, including many Scandinavians that come to Kiel to shop. Most of the foreign visitors are from Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Just a small town
If Kiel didn't have the seaside, hardly any tourists would bother to come here, because it's the view of the port that gives this city its essence. As the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, with its 230,000 residents, is more of a small town than a city.
Author: Janine Albrecht