Kiel Canal

From Academic Kids

The Kiel Canal (in German Nord-Ostsee-Kanal, formerly Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal) is a 98 kilometre long waterway linking the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. An average of 280 nautical miles is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around Jutland. This not only saves time, it avoids potentially dangerous storm-prone seas. It is the world's busiest artificial waterway.


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North Sea locks on the Elbe river at Brunsbüttel

The first connection between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea was the Eiderkanal, which used stretches of the Eider River for the link between the two seas. The Eiderkanal was completed in 1784 and was a 43 kilometre part of a 175 kilometre long waterway from Kiel to the Eider mouth at Tönning on the west coast. It was only 29 metres wide with a depth of 3 metres, which limited the vessels that could transit the canal to 300 tonnes displacement.

A combination of naval interests—the German navy wanted to link its bases in the Baltic and the North Sea without sailing around Denmark—and commercial pressure encouraged the development of a new canal.

In June 1887 construction works started at Holtenau near Kiel. It took the 9,000 workers eight years to build. On June 20 1895 the canal was officially opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II for transiting from Brunsbüttel to Holtenau. A ceremony was held in Holtenau where Wilhelm II named it the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal, and laid the final stone.

In order to meet the increasing traffic and the demands of the navy, between 1907 and 1914 the canal width was increased. The enlargement projects were completed by the installation of two larger canal locks in Brunsbüttel and Holtenau.

After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles internationalized the canal while leaving it under German administration. Adolf Hitler repudiated its international status in 1936. Since the end of World War II the canal returned to being open to all traffic again.

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<center>1888 map



There are detailed traffic rules for the canal [1] ( Each vessel in passage is classified in one of six "traffic groups" according to its dimensions. Depending on their classification, ships may be obliged to accept assistance of a tugboat, or to accept pilots or specialised "canal helmsmen". Furthermore, there are regulations regarding the passing of oncoming ships. In some cases a ship is required to moor at the bollards provided at intervals along the canal (see picture) to allow the passage of oncoming traffic. Special rules apply to pleasure craft.

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View south-west from the aft lounge of the cruise ship Norwegian Dream.

While most large, modern cruise ships cannot pass through this canal due to clearance limits under bridges, one medium sized ship, the M. S. Norwegian Dream has special funnels and masts that can be lowered for passage. A typical Baltic cruise for this ship is Dover, England, through the Kiel Canal and across the Baltic to stops in Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark and Oslo, Norway; returning to Dover via the North Sea.

External links

Official homepage ( es:Canal de Kiel fr:Canal de Kiel nl:Noord-Oostzeekanaal ja:キール運河 pl:Kanał Kiloński


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