About Kiel

Moin moin! 

So, you have decided to visit Kiel and ended up at our website. We are very happy to welcome you to our city of 250,000 people (300,000 if you count the seagulls).

The Kielers say that Kiel is the “real north“ and count everyone who lives south of Hamburg as south Germans. A piece of advice: even if you live farther north than Kiel, Kiel remains the real north – do not push it.

What makes Kiel particularly lovely, is the fact it is situated by the Baltic sea. The Kiel Fjord divides the city into east and west and gives the city its nautical vibe. Apparently Kiel is in a moderate climate zone, but to be honest it is often rainy and a little bit chilly. But we do not want to scare you off – it is lovely to have a nice walk along the beach (most probably in the rain) and a tasty coffee in one of our cosy cafes afterwards to warm up. Just don’t forget to bring your raincoat and umbrella!

A few historical facts you might find interesting, especially for when you return and tell your friends all about Kiel. Trust us, it’s exciting stuff – vikings, pirates, we’ve had them all.

Kiel was founded in 1233 as part of the Roman Empire, but Vikings had probably been using the Kieler Fjord for hundreds of years. A member of the grand Hanseatic League, Kiel was unceremoniously kicked out of the League in 1518 for harbouring pirates – we like to live life on the edge. In the centuries to follow, Germany and Denmark passed Kiel back and forth (and Sweden even had a go) until Kiel finally became German for once and for all in 1864. (It is really ridiculous, you should read about it on Wikipedia.) Kiel remains influenced by Scandinavian history and you can find a Danish school and Danish minorities close to Kiel.

If you’re into Vikings, you can visit the site of the second largest Viking civilisation, Hedeby, which is now home to a museum and recreated Viking village.

In 1936 and in 1972, Kiel was the location for the water sports of the Olympic Games, as it is really well-suited to water sports. If you’re staying for a little while, you should definitely try some!

In World War II Kiel was nearly completely destroyed, but when rebuilding the city, planners left quite a lot space for parks and green areas, making Kiel a very green city. In total, Kiel has 30 neighbourhoods but we don’t want to bore you with their names – just know that they exist, trust us.  Kiel’s also pretty famous for its ports and naval yards. Luxury yachts and submarines are often in progress in the shipyards, while the cruiseliners fill the ports with huge numbers of tourist (you might be one of them) during the cruise season.

Speaking of boats, you may have heard about Kiel Week (the best thing of the whole year) a huge event which first occurred in 1892. Originally introduced as a sailing event, it has now become a week-long city festival with an international market, parties, regattas, concerts, fireworks … if you have the chance, come and see it as Kiel really blooms this week (although it’ll probably be raining).

Ah yes, something else we should probably mention – Kiel is the capital city of Schleswig-Holstein, one of the sixteen federal states of Germany, and thus home to the state’s parliament house and government. Okay, enough teasing you.  You should go and check out our website to find out more about Germany’s real north.


– by Finnja Millat