True North


Did you know that the happiest people in Germany live in Schleswig-Holstein?

It doesn’t surprise us! Wide horizons, always an upliftingly fresh breeze and bordering on two seas – these are the things that shape our attitude to life and make the true north so endearing. We live where others spend their holidays.

Schleswig-Holstein has a lot to offer, for music lovers, sports fans or culture connoisseurs; the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Kiel Week regatta and our UNESCO World Heritage Sites attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world.

Schleswig-Holstein’s unique countryside – the lush green meadows, the numerous lakes and the Wadden Sea tidal mudflats – reminds us every day just how priceless our environment is, and how much we need to do to protect it. That’s one reason why we already generate more electricity from wind, water and the sun than we consume ourselves, putting us at the forefront of the transition to green energy. As a leading centre of artificial intelligence, we combine our strengths in our mission to become a climate-neutral industrial region.




Willkommen (High German)
Willkamen (Plattdeutsch)
Velkommen (Danish)
Wäljkiimen (Frisian)
Bainvegni (Romansh)



5 Highlights
in Schleswig-Holstein

Holsten Gate Lübeck

Lübeck’s Holsten Gate protected the Hanseatic city for many centuries. This striking landmark is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Westerhever Lighthouse

There are around 60 lighthouses in the true north. The one in Westerhever is 41 metres high and has been in operation for more than 110 years.

Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein covers a total area of 4,367 square kilometres. The area is one of the most fertile regions on earth and is home to more than 10,000 animal and plant species.

Holiday destination

1,100 kilometres of coastline, seven North Sea and Baltic Sea islands and ten small Halligen islands make Schleswig-Holstein an unforgettable holiday destination. Every year, we welcome more than seven million guests.

Sailing regatta

The Kiel Week is an annual sailing regatta that has been held in Kiel since the end of the 19th century. It is one of the largest sailing events in the world.

Übersichtskarte Eventflächen


The sea begins here – in the true north

Over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. The ocean provides food and raw materials, serves as a source of renewable energy and offers global transport routes.

But the ocean is increasingly under threat, for example due to climate change, overfishing and pollution. Scientists in Schleswig-Holstein are researching marine change, from the coast to the open ocean, with the aim of developing solutions for the sustainable management of ocean habitats. Artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role: it helps to efficiently locate World War II munitions underwater, create precise maps of seagrass meadows and gauge the regional effects of climate change and the potential of offshore wind power.

In our exhibition “From the coast to the deep sea”, three institutions – GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Helmholtz Centre Hereon in Geesthacht and Kiel Marine Science (KMS), the Centre for Interdisciplinary Marine Sciences at Kiel University – show how we can use the ocean and coastline, and also protect them at the same time; the institutions will also be providing information on the current state of climate research in Germany.



Schleswig-Holstein: Hamburg’s favourite neighbour, the land between the seas, land of horizons – up here, in the true north, nature enables us to see clearly. This makes us more contented than most, which is why we’re the state with the happiest Germans. The open view widens our horizons, and that makes us pioneers in many areas. Come and find out for yourself: visit us in Hamburg at the Festival of German Unity. By the way, from there’s it’s only a short step to us. And Denmark is just round the corner. Things don’t get more Scandinavian in Germany. Horizons open up in Schleswig-Holstein – that’s a promise.

Daniel Günther

of the State of Schleswig-Holstein


“Opening of the Kiel Canal” – The oldest film recording in Germany

On 21 June 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II opened the Kiel Canal, which was named after his grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm. The Briton Birt Acres was there with his film camera, and he recorded the opening ceremony. This film recording is the oldest in Germany.

Norderstraße in Flensburg is one of the 18 “craziest streets in the world”

Norderstraße is a historic street in the old town of Flensburg in one of the city’s hippest quarters. With its dangling shoes, called “Shoefitti”, Norderstraße effortlessly scooped the title as one of the “craziest streets in the world” in 2014.

Arnis: Germany’s smallest town

Germany’s smallest town is located in Schleswig-Holstein on a peninsula in the Schlei. Fewer than 300 people live here on an area of 0.45 square kilometres. By comparison: with 246,000 inhabitants, Kiel is the state’s most populous city.

Gigantic Dithmarschen: the largest cabbage-growing area in Europe

The largest cabbage growing area is in Dithmarschen, where the Cabbage Days are celebrated every year in autumn. Cabbage has been grown here since 1889, and a good 90 million cabbages – one for every German citizen – thrive in the bracing North Sea climate every year. At the festival, this culinary speciality is celebrated with many different preparation methods.

Greenland near Glückstadt

Greenland? In Schleswig-Holstein? Yes, you read that right. Not far from Glückstadt lies the little village of Grönland. The origin of the name of the northern German Greenland is in Low German – dat gröne Land/the green land. By the way: you’ll also find California and Brazil in the true north.


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