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 entrepreneurship 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. No suffocating heat in the summer, either: you do not get much more than 25°C. If it gets hot, dip into the sea or the lakes around Kiel. The summer last year started without warning after no spring to speak of. It was extremely dry and hot, no rain for months - great for doing things outside and enjoying the long hours of daylight with an "al fresco dinner" in the park, on the beach or at a café, not so great for quite a number of plants, farmers, or anything in need of water. This summer is a mixed bag of very hot days, heavy rainfalls on and off and sunny late-summer days.

Winter temperatures range between -20°C and +10°C, raincoats and winter jackets are a winning team. 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 wheat fields dotted with poppies and old  villages with thatched houses to have a picnic in a strandkorb on the beach is one of the best features Germany has to offer.

summer field