1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kiel

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KIEL, the chief naval port of Germany on the Baltic, a town of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein. Pop. (1900), 107,938; (1905), 163,710, including the incorporated suburbs. It is beautifully situated at the southern end on the Kieler Busen (bay or harbour of Kiel), 70 m. by rail N. from Hamburg. It consists of a somewhat cramped old town, lying between the harbour and a sheet of water called Kleiner Kiel, and a better built and more spacious new town, which has been increased by the incorporation of the garden suburbs of Brunswick and Düsternbrook. In the old town stands the palace, built in the 13th century, enlarged in the 18th and restored after a fire in 1838. It was once the seat of the dukes of Holstein-Gottorp, who resided here from 1721 to 1773, and became the residence of Prince Henry of Prussia. Other buildings are the church of St Nicholas (restored in 1877–1884), dating from 1240, with a lofty steeple; the old town-hall on the market square; the church of the Holy Ghost; three fine modern churches, those of St James, and St Jürgen and of St Ansgar; and the theatre. Further to the north and facing the bay is the university, founded in 1665 by Christian Albert, duke of Schleswig, and named after him “Christian Albertina.” The new buildings were erected in 1876, and connected with them are a library of 240,000 volumes, a zoological museum, a hospital, a botanical garden and a school of forestry. The university, which is celebrated as a medical school, is attended by nearly 1000 students, and has a teaching staff of over 100 professors and docents. Among other scientific and educational institutions are the Schleswig-Holstein museum of national antiquities in the old university buildings, the Thaulow museum (rich in Schleswig-Holstein wood-carving of the 16th and 17th centuries), the naval academy, the naval school and the school for engineers.

The pride of Kiel is its magnificent harbour, which has a comparatively uniform depth of water, averaging 40 ft., and close to the shores 20 ft. Its length is 11 m. and its breadth varies from 1/4 m. at the southern end to 41/2 m. at the mouth. Its defences, which include two forts on the west and four on the east side, all situated about 5 m. from the head of the harbour at the place (Friedrichsort) where its shores approach one another, make it a place of great strategic strength. The imperial docks (five in all) and ship-building yards are on the east side facing the town, between Gaarden and Ellerbeck, and comprise basins capable of containing the largest war-ships afloat. The imperial yard employs 7000 hands, and another 7000 are employed in two large private ship-building works, the Germania (Krupp’s) and Howalds’. The Kaiser Wilhelm Canal, commonly called the Kiel Canal, connecting the Baltic with the North Sea at Brunsbüttel, has its eastern entrance at Wik, 11/2 m. N. of Kiel (see Germany: Waterways). The town and adjacent villages, e.g. Wik, Heikendorf and Laboe, are resorted to for sea-bathing, and in June of each year a regatta, attended by yachts from all countries, is held. The Kieler Woche is one of the principal social events in Germany, and corresponds to the “Cowes week” in England. Kiel is connected by day and night services with Korsör in Denmark by express passenger boats. The harbour yields sprats which are in great repute. The principal industries are those connected with the imperial navy and ship-building, but embrace also flour-mills, oil-works, iron-foundries, printing-works, saw-mills, breweries, brick-works, soap-making and fish-curing. There is an important trade in coal, timber, cereals, fish, butter and cheese.

The name of Kiel appears as early as the 10th century in the form Kyl (probably from the Anglo-Saxon Kille = a safe place for ships). Kiel is mentioned as a city in the next century; in 1242 it received the Lübeck rights; in the 14th century it acquired various trading privileges, having in 1284 entered the Hanseatic League. In recent times Kiel has been associated with the peace concluded in January 1814 between Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden, by which Norway was ceded to Sweden. In 1773 Kiel became part of Denmark, and in 1866 it passed with the rest of Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia. Since being made a great naval arsenal, Kiel has rapidly developed in prosperity and population.

See Prahl, Chronika der Stadt Kiel (Kiel, 1856); Erichsen, Topographie des Landkreises Kiel (Kiel, 1898); H. Eckardt, Alt-Kiel in Wort und Bild (Kiel, 1899); P. Hasse, Das Kieler Stadtbuch, 1264–1289 (Kiel, 1875); Das älteste Kieler Rentebuch 1300, 1487, edited by C. Reuter (Kiel, 1893); Das zweite Kieler Rentebuch 1487, 1586, edited by W. Stern (Kiel, 1904); and the Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Kieler Stadtgeschichte (Kiel, 1877, 1904).