Kielerwoche

Kiel Week – where it’s really at!

Every summer in the end of June – when the nights are barely noticeable as the sky is shining bright –  it is Kiel Week time. Kiel Week has been held as an annual event since the end of the 19th century. A lot of people think of Kiel Week as a huge festival with concerts, food and drinks, but in fact, there comes a lot more with it.

Photo by Ludomil Sawicki
Photo by Ludomil Sawicki

Until today, Kiel Week welcomes people from all over the world every year. Throughout the city centre food stands with German and international cuisines are widespread. When strolling around “Kiellinie”, you will find a bungle of activities, shows, and a lot of happy dancing faces. Many stages offer all kinds of music concerts with renowned stars. But also little theatre plays and poetry slams can be found. The younger visitors get the chance to become creative and build things out of wood or other materials. What has to be said is that these offers are all for free!

Photo by O.C. Gonzalez
Photo by O.C. Gonzalez

For ten days Kiel turns into a whole different city where happiness and peace is celebrated on an international level. However, the main reason for Kiel Week is the sailing sport. In 1882 marine soldiers were the first who took part in the sailing regatta. From that point on, a sailing week regatta with international competitors under the name “Kiel Week” started to roll out. After World War 2 it became – apart from a huge sailing event – also a fair of international understanding, a discussion of social and cultural policy, and of course an event with lively and joyful people enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, many people forget the origin of the event today.

Not for no reason Kiel carries the name “Kiel Sailing City”. That is why I want to take you to Kiel’s district Schilksee – the spot where the real sailing still takes place every year. If you have not been there, you are missing a huge part of Kiel Week!
During 9 days of Kiel Week, sailing races are held every day. Sailors from different countries take part, so that it becomes a highly professional regatta. As sailing is also an Olympic sport discipline, it is a popular event to attend within international Olympic athletes. Let me tell you how you, as a visitor, can watch some sailing:

Photo by Ian Keefe
Photo by Ian Keefe

The whole event is sponsored by Audi and SAP, a huge IT-company specialized in tracking systems. Audi organizes a huge stage with a screen and a moderator who is commenting on what is happening on the water. So even for non-sailors it is worth watching as it is explained from scratch. If you thought sailing was boring, you totally got it wrong. It is like watching the big league of Formula 1.

Thanks to the SAP tracking software which is installed on the racing boats, you, as a visitor, can follow the competition on land closely while it is broadcasted lively on-screen. Additionally, live video coverage from press boats offshore is shown at the same time, so that you are virtually taken onto the water. I am always riveted to my seat and wouldn’t want to leave anymore. Particularly as interviews are held with the best sailors on stage after each day of competition, which makes the sport a lot more personalized and fun.

Photo by Andrew Neel
Photo by Andrew Neel

After having spent several hours lingering in one of the bean bags, and watching the tight and fascinating racing, I would stroll around following the smell of food, coming from stands spread across the harbour. I recommend you to take also a visit at the “Gold Fisch Imbiss” and get one of the best fish rolls in the World. It is a permanent small booth offering fresh fish. The Sherry Matjes roll with honey-mustard sauce is my favourite and will not let you down! And what I can tell you, you might even run into some sailors over there and get to take a close look at the salty, sun tanned faces. Maybe you even pick up first-hand knowledge of the racing day.

Once you are saturated you should continue exploring the sailing venue. For some good sailing gear shopping, go into the “Vaasa Halle” (actually a sports hall). Different brands offer plenty of sailing clothes which are also worth a thought for a non-sailor as some rain can be expected in Kiel. Therefore, a water-resistant, high-quality rain jacket is always a good investment.  Moreover, you can find lifestyle clothes of cool surf brands, and the best thing is they are affordable due to great discounts.

Photo by Jonathan Smith
Photo by Jonathan Smith

To finish up your Schilksee day, pay a visit to one of the big event tents and check out, if there is a band or a DJ playing. Get a cocktail and dance among sailors from different countries and cultures – maybe not till late at night as they all need to be fit and well rested for the racing the next day.  If you get the chance to visit Schilksee on a Tuesday, watch the sailor-firework in the evening, as this will be a remarkable experience. The first part of the regatta is finished, so that the regatta organization arranges a huge firework spectacle to celebrate all the competitors.

Staying in the city during Kiel Week, is definitely attractive, and you will find lots of things to do. But visiting the origin of Kiel Week in Schilksee will be a one-of-a-kind experience, I promise you!

 

 

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