Geography and the weather

Facts and figures nordostsee-kanal pic

  • Population Schleswig-Holstein: ~ 2.9 million
  • Population Kiel: ~ 246,000
  • Students at Kiel University: ~27,000

Kiel is the capital of the northernmost federal state of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Denmark is our neighbour to the north, Hamburg to the south. Towards the east and the west, the Baltic and the North Seas enclose Schleswig-Holstein.

Agriculture and tourism are two of its economic mainstays, but Kiel is home to a number of large, medium and small enterprises. Among other maritime businesses, the ThyssenKrupp shipyards, Scandinavian ferry companies or the Port Administration are located along the inner Kiel Fjord together with Schleswig-Holstein's Parliament House or the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Countryside atmosphere mingles with city and university life, and there’s more than enough space to study and live how you like.

You will experience a lot of weather. There’s no cyclist who does not carry around her rain gear most months, just in case; wind stoppers are highly regarded items of clothing. On the plus side, sailing, wind or kite surfing are almost always possible. There was no suffocating heat in the summer, temperatures peaked at 25°C roughly.  But the last few summers have been proof of climate change happening: very little rain and a lot of days with temperatures well above 30°C. Still, there is a way to tackle heat: f it gets hot, dip into the sea or the lakes around Kiel.

Winter temperatures range between -20°C (rare) and +10°C, often oscillating from below zero to well above zero within a few days. Bring a  raincoat and a warm winter jacket, you will need both.
Spring and autumn offer a bit of everything. There are mild, sunny October days inviting you for a stroll in the woods and a coffee on the deck, but there are also grey, soggy days on which you don’t want to set foot outside. Spring can be frosty until May and at the same time give you a sunburn as early as March.

Having said all that, cycling through Schleswig-Holstein in May through gently sloping green fields dotted with poppies and old  villages with thatched red-brick houses to have a picnic in a strandkorb on the beach is among the best features Germany has on offer.

summer field