AIDA, Kiel-City und der Sommer am Bootshafen

AIDA, Kiel-City – ©Robert Perschke

By R. P.

The development of the city of Kiel can be dated back to 13th century, and all the way up modern times. Initially, only a few thousand people lived in the city, which at the time was more of a village that was located at a wedge-shaped firth (Kiel Firth) by the Baltic Sea. That’s the reason for the initial name of Kiel, which was “tom Kyle” – at the wedge.

“Urban development” is defined by Wikipedia as “the spatial, historical and structural development of a city and its districts”. This article will examine the development of Kiel in relation to population and demographic changes, the changes in the district of Dietrichsdorf with the Schwentine mouth, as well as the situation concerning the Kiel Canal, which is extremely important for determining the present and future of the seafaring industry, both regionally and internationally.

Population growth

After an initial increase the population decreased again due to wars, famine and a climate change. There was a short ice age in the 13th century. Earls met up in Kiel, as did artists. Freedom fighters struggled for a unified Schleswig-Holstein. Trade and fishery blossomed, thanks to a membership in the Hanse, as did research and education. Medical innovations by leading physicians were expedited in the long run. The Prussian navy set up in Kiel after the Franco Prussian War and with that, the city began a radical change.

Alt stützt Neu?

Old suports new? – ©Robert Perschke

The Prussian decision to make Kiel into a naval harbor changed many things. The shipyards were able to expand thanks to increased demand for military and representational purposes. But the delusions of grandeur of the Kaiser and his successors ended with suffering and death and left scars that can still be seen in the city.

Kiel became more and more urbanized with the construction of developed roads, buildings, and the creation of public parks. By 1900, 100,000 people lived in Kiel, making it a large city. In 1945, there were 143,000 registered people living here. Back then there was a refugee issue that was solved by forced billeting. In the years after the war, reconstruction was intensified: higher, faster, no matter how it looks, just so enough space for living was created and the past could be left behind.

Official numbers by the “Wegweise Kommune” portal of the Bertelsmann-Stiftung Gütersloh verify that Kiel had a population of 273.000 in 1961. In 2007, the official number grew to 236.902. The demographics have changed, which means the development of our population concerning age, sex, nationality, births, deaths, immigration and emigration also does not stop here.

The population of Kiel will most likely keep increasing until 2025, then it is projected to begin to decrease slightly until 2030. According to a thorough study by the institute in Gütersloh, the number of people older than 60 is going to increase from 27% to 35%, while people under 20 years-old will decrease from 20% to 17%. People are increasingly living longer and extensive medical and healthcare will be required.

Dietrichsdorf and the mouth of the Schwentine

Im Rosengarten

Garden of roses – ©Robert Perschke

The urban development in Dietrichsdorf and at the mouth of the Schwentine is a gain for the whole region near the Schwentine. This river area is perfect for those who seek a place to relax and have some quiet time. It is seated between the Holsatia Mühle and the “Seefischmarkt” (the fish market) and flows along the eastern bank harbor into the Kiel Fjord, the gateway to the Baltic Sea.

When the shipyard and fish industry began to subside, a structural change happened that gave the area a new shine and more tourist attractions. The GEOMAR Institute and the ZTS (“Center for Maritime Technology and fish market”) gave the location a new and promising image. Funding for city building and development make it attractive to live here and it is connected easily to accessible public transportation. Affordable shopping, restaurants, musical

Anscharviertel-rund trifft eckig

Anschar quarter – ©Robert Perschke

events and boat tours give the feeling of a stimulated urban experience.

The precursor of the Kiel-Canal, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal, experienced a rampant increase in use after a construction time of eight years until 1895, something like that seems impossible today. The watergates in Brunsbüttel and Kiel are on a tech level of that of 1897 and 1914 and seem a bit ramshackle.  It may be time to act quickly as ships are increasing in size and have a bigger draught, so modernization and drenching of the canal are inevitable if the NOK is to remain an option for international seafaring.

My wishes and visions of the future

In my opinion Transparency into the finances and planning need to have priority. In order for the north to keep up, the Kiel-Canal needs to be modernized in every way. If nothing changes, the Canal will fall into hibernation. Which may mean less big ships to watch, less waving crusaders and less caused wanderlust in all its observers. Instead it may more become a place for hobby fishermen and those who seek a quiet time taking a stroll. And all that tranquility aside, do we really want that?

Malerischer Blick auf die Förde

View on the firth of Kiel – ©Robert Perschke

The city tram and the little Kiel Canal are being planned. Looking towards the future, Kiel is going to score on the sea up to the year 2030 and beyond. Analyzing economic and tourist possibilities in an optimal way – this means, more contacts to international partners will emerge, while still keeping regional individuality. Europe will reinvent itself and the refugees will add their part. It is up to politics and society to decide how we are going to shape Kiel in the future. And it is certainly up to all of us too.