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The Kieler Schloss and the Seegarten

View of the city centre and the Kieler Schloss from the east shore of the Kiel Firth c. 1822
View of the city centre and the Kieler Schloss from the east shore of the Kiel Firth c. 1822

The city founder, Duke Adolf IV, founded his city of Kiel on a peninsula in the firth in the 1230s because of its strategically favourable location on the water. The church, a monastery and a castle formed the centre of the medieval city. The castle was later to become the Kieler Schloss (Kiel castle), set on a hill above the firth. The Schloss later became the dowager’s residence and secondary residence of the Dukes of Gottorf.

Catherine the Great, Czarina of Russia and also Duchess of Gottorf commissioned extensive conversion and renovation work in 1763, before Kiel became part of the Danish state and the Schloss the seat of various Danish princes ten years later. It went through its final heyday from 1888 to 1918 as the official residence of Prince Henry of Prussia, Kaiser Wilhelm II’s brother, who was very popular with the people of Kiel.

Kiel views from the harbour of the Fischhalle and the Kieler Schloss in the 1930s
Kiel views from the harbour of the Fischhalle
and the Kieler Schloss in the 1930s

Kieler Schloss with Seegarten complex c. 1889
Kieler Schloss with Seegarten complex
c. 1889

The imposing Renaissance building burned down to its surviving west wing (Pelli Building) after an air raid in 1944. The Kieler Schloss was rebuilt to a design by the architects Sprotte and Neve in 1957, and equipped as Schleswig-Holstein’s central culture centre. Today this reticent building symbolizes a fresh democratic start and the way Kiel rebuilt itself in a consistently modern way after the Second World War.

The harbour buildings below the Schloss came into being only at a late stage, when the shipyards expanded north from the Schuhmachertor (shoemaker gate). In the late 19th century, the picture was transformed by the construction of an entertainment centre and landing stage by the so-called Seegarten. The site was reorganized as a parade ground for the 1936 Olympics under National Socialist rule, and in the 1950s the ferry port for Norway was established here.

Pictorial material: Kieler Stadtarchiv, Stadt- und Schifffahrtsmuseum, Landeshauptstadt Kiel, Seehafen Kiel GmbH, Touristinformation Kiel e.V., Oliver Franke/ide stampe

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