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The Bootshafen - from commercial harbour to urban gem

Bootshafen, Landesbank and Reichshallen-Theater
Bootshafen, Landesbank and Reichshallen-Theater

The Bootshafen (boat harbour) still provides evidence of the Kiel old town’s former peninsular site. Originally it and the Kleiner Kiel (a pool called the Kleiner Kiel) formed a side arm of the firth, which ran almost completely round the old town. Merchant ships moored here for centuries, and goods were transhipped.

Bootshafen with bascule bridge, 1905
Bootshafen with bascule bridge, 1905

Dredging in the Bootshafen c. 1906
Dredging in the Bootshafen c. 1906

These waters were separated from the firth by a mole in 1846, in order to extent the quay facilities. The embankment was provided with a swing bridge, later a bascule bridge. The inland waterway between the Holstenbrücke and the new mole served as a harbour for small boats.

The stone Holstenbrücke was demolished in 1904 and the connection between the Kleiner Kiel and the harbour for small boats filled in, with the exception of a pipe system. Since the Bollhörnkai was raised in 1975 and the extension to the Schweden kai in 1982 it has scarcely been possible to discern the connection between this harbour and the Baltic. The shore of the Kiel Firth moved away by 300 metres.

The harbour for small boats remained unused as a stretch of water for over twenty years. The harbour walls dating from the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century fell into disrepair, and adjacent areas had to be closed to the public. Renovation work finally started in 2002. The Bootshafen was completed for the Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) in 2004, and has since then taken the form of a special central town square in which it is very pleasant to spend time.

Pictorial material: Kieler Stadtarchiv, Stadt- und Schifffahrtsmuseum, Landeshauptstadt Kiel/Tiefbauamt 

Where can you find this point?
Link to the city map