Thru the Kiel to Hamburg


Early Morning as we enter the Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal was built to link the Baltic with the North sea so avoiding a lengthy, and in the days of sail, a dangerous passage around the stormy seas of Jutland.

Its origins date to 1784 when the river Eider was converted to a canal but it was later in 1895 when Kaiser-Wilhelm had the canal widened. It eventually became known as the Kiel Canal.  Its importance for commerce and for war was recognised in the early 1900’s when it was widened again to allow German Battleships easy fast access between the two seas.

61 miles long, yet despite the fact that it links two seas, it is a freshwater canal and traces the course of the old Eider River. Locks at both ends of the canal are used not for adjusting water level but for separating and retaining the freshwater from the seas.

So here we go down the Kiel from north to south ……


The Locks at Brunsbuttel is where the Kiel enters the North Sea and the wide estuary of the River Elbe…

It was an evening arrival in Hamburg. One of the original Hanseatic Ports it is now dwarfed by todays enormous docks complex…all ways busy always something moving on the river.


An already impressive skyline is now enhanced by the recently opened Elbphilhormonie Concert Hall. By any standard a great feat of architecture created to represent the sails of ships that once ploughed their trade along the Elbe.

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It is creative in design, the red brick buildings upon which the Quartz like structure stands are old warehouses.

Evening demanded a cruise on the Binnenaister and Au Benaister  lakes with their majestic fountain in central Hamburg, so we could see the famous city skyline from a different perspective…

Tomorrow we head inland to explore at little more of the history surrounding the Hanseatic Trade ….but for now its good night to Hamburg and the docks that never stop linking the City with the world…


10th August

(C) David Oakes 2017