Population: 2.75 million
is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising
most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of
the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other
notable cities are Lübeck, Flensburg and Neumünster.
Schleswig-Holstein borders Denmark (Region Syddanmark) to the north,
the North Sea to the west, the Baltic Sea to the east, and the
German states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
to the south.
The former English name was Sleswick-Holsatia, the Danish name is
Slesvig-Holsten, the Low German name is Sleswig-Holsteen, the Dutch
name is Sleeswijk-Holstein and the North Frisian name is
Slaswik-Holstiinj. Historically, the name can also refer to a larger
region, containing both present-day Schleswig-Holstein and the
former South Jutland County (Northern Schleswig) in Denmark.
Schleswig-Holstein lies on the
base of Jutland Peninsula between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
Strictly speaking, "Schleswig" refers to the German Southern
Schleswig, whereas Northern Schleswig is in Denmark. The state of
Schleswig-Holstein further consists of Holstein as well as Lauenburg,
and the formerly independent city of Lübeck.
In the western part
of the state, there are lowlands with virtually no hills. The North
Frisian Islands, as well as almost all of Schleswig-Holstein's North
Sea coast, form the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (Nationalpark
Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer) which is the largest national
park in Central Europe. Germany's only high-sea island, Heligoland,
is situated in the North Sea.
Baltic Sea coast in the east of Schleswig-Holstein is marked
by bays, fjords and cliff lines. There are rolling hills (the
highest elevation is the Bungsberg at 168 metres or 551 ft) and many
lakes, especially in the eastern part of Holstein, called the
Holsteinische Schweiz ("Holsatian Switzerland") and the former Duchy
of Lauenburg (Herzogtum Lauenburg). Fehmarn is the only island off
the eastern coast. The longest river besides the Elbe is the Eider;
the most important waterway is the Kiel Canal which connects the
North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Schleswig-Holstein combines Danish and German aspects of culture.
The castles and manors in the countryside are the best example for
this tradition; some dishes like Rote Grütze are also shared.
German is the official language, Low German, Danish and North
Frisian enjoy legal protection or state promotion.
is an island in northern Germany, part of
Nordfriesland district, Schleswig-Holstein and well known for the
distinctive shape of its shoreline. It belongs to the North Frisian
Islands and is the largest island in North Frisia. The northernmost
island of Germany, it is known for its tourist resorts, notably
Westerland, Kampen and Wenningstedt-Braderup, as well as for its 40
km long sandy beach. It is frequently covered by the media in
connection with its exposed situation in the North Sea and its
ongoing loss of land during storm tides. Since 1927 Sylt has been
connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm causeway.
Sylt is a unique part of Germany, since it is part of the
Frisian Islands. It has its own dialect, Söl'ring, which is the
indigenous speech of Sylt. Söl'ring is a unique dialect of insular
North Frisian, with elements of Danish, Dutch and English. Today,
only a small fraction of the population still speaks Söl'ring. A law
to promote the language („Friesisch-Gesetz“) was passed in 2004. The
northernmost part of the island, Listland, was traditionally
As in many areas in Schleswig-Holstein on New Year's Eve, groups of
children go masked from house to house, reciting poems. This is
known as "Rummelpottlaufen", and as a reward, children receive
sweets and/or money.
Sylt also has unique Frisian-style houses.
the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of
Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of over 237,000 (2009).
Kiel is approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Hamburg. Due to
its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of
the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea,
Kiel has become one of the major maritime centers of Germany. For
instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing
events, including the annual Kiel Week, which is the biggest sailing
event in the world. The Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and
the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Kiel.
Kiel has also been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy's
Baltic fleet, and continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding
centre. Located in Kiel is the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
at the University of Kiel Kiel is an important sea transport
hub, thanks to its location at the Kiel Fjord (Kieler Förde) and the
busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal).
A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway and other countries
operate from here. Moreover, today Kiel harbor is an important port
of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea.
Hanseatic City of Lübeckis the second-largest city in
Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports
of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the
Hanseatic League ("Queen of the Hanse") and because of its Brick
Gothic architectural heritage is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage
Sites. In 2005 it had a population of 213,983.
Situated at the Trave River, Lübeck is the largest German port on
the Baltic Sea. The old part of the town is an island enclosed by
the Trave. The Elbe-Lübeck Canal connects the Trave with the Elbe
River. Another important river near the town centre is the Wakenitz.
Autobahn 1 connects Lübeck with Hamburg and Denmark (Vogelfluglinie).
The borough Travemünde is a sea resort and ferry port at the coast
of the Baltic Sea. Its central station links Lübeck with a number of
lines, notably the line to Hamburg.
During World War II, Lübeck was the first German city to be attacked
in substantial numbers by the Royal Air Force. The attack on 28
March 1942 created a firestorm, that caused severe damage to the
historic centre and the Bombing of Lübeck in World War II destroyed
three of the main churches and greater parts of the built-up area. A
POW camp for officers, Oflag X-C, was located near the city from
1940 until April 1945. Lübeck was occupied without resistance by the
British Second Army on 2 May 1945.
On 3 May 1945, one of the biggest disasters in naval history
happened in the Bay of Lübeck when RAF bombers sank three ships
which, unknown to them, were packed with concentration-camp inmates.
About 7,000 people were killed.
Like many other places in Germany, Lübeck has a long tradition with
Christmas market in December, which includes the famous handicrafts
market inside the Heiligen-Geist-Hospital (Hospital of the Holy
Spirit), located at the north end of Königstrasse.
Flensburg is an independent town in the north of the German
state Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is the centre of the region
Southern Schleswig. After Kiel and Lübeck it is the third largest
town in Schleswig-Holstein.
In May 1945 Flensburg was the residence of the last government of
Nazi Germany, the so-called Flensburg government led by Grand
Admiral Karl Dönitz, which was in power from 1 May (Hitler's death)
until its dissolution on 23 May.
The nearest larger towns are Kiel (86 km south) and Odense in
Denmark (92 km northeast). Flensburg's city centre lies about 7 km
from the Danish border.
The Danish minority in Flensburg and the surrounding towns run their
own schools, libraries and Lutheran churches from which the German
majority is not excluded. The co-existence of these two groups is
considered a sound and healthy symbiosis.
In Denmark, Flensburg seems to be mainly associated with its
duty-free shops where, amongst other things, spirits, beer and candy
can be purchased at cheaper prices than in Denmark. Currently the
duty free shops are able to sell canned beer to Scandinavians
without paying deposits as long as the beverage is not consumed in
Germany. However, owing to the vagaries of the money markets, the
bargains are not as great as they once were.