Flensburg

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Flensburg´s younger neighbourhoods have grown around the historic city centre, and there is a different atmosphere in each of them. Solitüde is the most north-eastern district near the firth, while Ostseebad on the north-western side of the firth almost reaches Wassersleben at the Danish border.

If you cross the Danish-German border from the north at Krusa/Kupfermühle, it is recommended to go via Wassersleben, a small village with a beautiful beach and forest. Both Apenrader Chausee and a little road by the firth take you to Flensburg´s north-western neighbourhood of Ostseebad, which has a bathing beach, a miniature golf course and Flensburgs rowing club. It serves as a little green oasis for the New Town residents, who must otherwise put up with large industrial estates and the traditional old factories near the harbour. Street names like 'Brauereiweg'(brewery lane), 'Batteriestrae', 'Gas'- and 'Werftstrae' (docks road) prove that the modern times once brought about crucial changes here. The council services buildings, which are quite an impressive sight at night from the other side of the firth, as well as the transport services buildings and a motor manufacturing company can be found here.

The neighbourhood of Duburg got its name from Duburg castle, which King Erich had built for his protection in 1411. Several Danish institutions can be found here, among them a kindergarten and schools, sports fields and gyms, the Danish health service office and the Dansk Central Library of Sydslesvig. Marienhölzung, a forest situated to the west, is a nice area for walks and sports. Judging by northern German standards, there is quite a slope between the end of Dorotheenstrae, which becomes Toosbüystrae towards the firth, and the harbour. Halfway down the street, streetnames like 'Burg'-, 'Schlo'- und 'Ritterstrae' (castle and knights street) hint at the location of the Duburg. There is many a nice view over the city from here. Following Duburger Strae in the direction of the firth, you will arrive at Nordertor, the citys landmark.

A bit further south, the neighbourhood of Westliche Höhe begins, a popular residential area with St. Gertrud church, St. Franziskus hospital and the Evangelisch-lutherische Diakonissenanstalt (Protestant Lutheran deaconess institution). South of the Diakonissenanstalt, the Stadtpark can be found, as well as the Altes Gymnasium at Selckstrae. Marienstrae is worth a look as there are a number of 18th century half-timbered houses there. Nordergraben also leads down into the Old Town here. Following Selckstrae to the south, you will soon reach the old cemetery, which was built between 1810 and 1830. Apart from a lot of beautiful tombstones, the classical chapel is worth a visit. Other graveyards in the western districts of Flensburg include the Mühlenfriedhof and Friedenshügel cemetery.

From the old cemetery, the museum hill with Heinrich-Sauermann-Haus and Hans-Christiansen-Haus are quickly reached. They display a large collection of exhibits on the regions art and cultural history. The courts are also located here.
The neighbourhoods of Friesischer Berg and Exe follow towards the south. Many educational establishments and the large square at Exe can be found here, where the annual fair and other major local events take place. Towards the city centre, the new Town Hall and Flensburg´s administration buildings appear on the left. This is where the Old Town area with all the sights begins.

Rude is located south of the Old Town. There is a large industrial estate and an A7 motorway turnoff, as well as access to road 76, one of the 'European roads', and the Eastern bypass. A technology park is under construction at the Technology Centre. Sandberg also belongs to Flensburg´s southern neighbourhoods and the college of engineering is located here. The railway station, the indoor pool and Flensburg´s famous brewery are situated between these two districts.

Most of the sights can of course be found in the Old Town. The Nordertor still sort of marks its northern fringe. In the neighbourhood of Schiffbrücke, the road along the harbour with some nice historic buildings like the Kompagnietor, the museum of seafaring and rum and the museum harbour can be found. This is where the old steamer Alexandra departs for roundtrips on the firth. At Speicherlinie, Flensburg´s tourist information and the beautiful Westindienspeicher are located.

If you follow Norder- and Süderhofenden southwards, the Hafenspitze will soon be on your left, before Rathausstrae and ' a bit further down the road by the central bus station ' the Holmpassage shopping arcades appear on the right. The public library and the Science Museum (which is being moved to another building at present) also follow on your right, and at the end of Süderhofenden, the NDR broadcasting building and Deutsches Haus are in front of you. Across the street from the Deutsches Haus, you shouldn't miss a stroll along Rote Strae, a lovely little lane with nice shops, cafés and wine bars in its picturesque backyards. The Kloster zum Heiligen Geist (the monastery) marks the beginning of Flensburg´s long pedestrian precinct and shopping street Holm-Groe Strae-Norderstrae with its remarkable merchant houses and churches. It leads you all the way through the historic city centre. Nikolaikirche, Flensburg´s largest church, is located at Südermarkt and was built around 1390. There is a nice market at Südermarkt on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Walking along Holm and Groe Strae you will see many beautiful old business houses and buildings with lovely facades and gables and the little Holmnixe statue. If you follow Rathausstrae to the left, you will get to the Stadttheater. Groe Strae continues straight ahead, and the Heiliggeistkirche, built in 1386, appears on your left. Nordermarkt with Neptunbrunnen and the Schrangen, where the butchers and bakers used to sell their goods, are located at the end of Groe Strae, and so is St. Marys with its valuable interior and works of art. It is recommended to take a coffee break at one of the nice street cafés here. More remarkable buildings like Bürgerhaus, Alt-Flensburger Haus, Künstlerhof, Flensborg Hus and the Handelshof (No. 86) can be seen along Norderstrae.

Flensburg´s oldest church, Johanniskirche, is situated in the eastern part of the Old Town and was built with fieldstones in the 12th century. The chambers of commerce can also be found here. It is worth taking a walk in the direction of St. Jürgen ' there are many picturesque little lanes and aisles which can be explored near St. Jürgenstrae, where traffic is limited to a walking pace. At the end of Kurze Strae, a rather long staircase leads up to Erlenweg. Do climb up! The beautiful view you get from here definitely makes up for the effort taken climbing up. The Goethe-School is located at Bremer Platz, and Clädenstrae, a street above the square, is a popular residential street with a grand view. At the neighbourhood of Jürgensby, some large open spaces are still left, and the Holländerhof is situated here. Behind it, you can already see Adelby with the big Kurt-Tucholsky Comprehensive School.

If you follow Hafendamm around the Hafenspitze, Nordstrae 199 to Kappeln turns off to the east. Going straight ahead, you will reach the industrial port at Ballastbrücke. On the right, the neighbourhoods of Blasberg with the water-tower at Volkspark and the stadium at Flensburg University, as well as Fruerlund and Fruerlundholz with Osbek valley at their eastern outskirts are situated on a higher level well above the road.

Mürwik, with its naval base, is located in the north-east. The School of Telecommunication and the Naval Academy- where officers are still trained today ' belong to the base. Mürwik´s most hated institution is undoubtedly the KBA, the federal department of driving, where all the speeding tickets and penalty points are filed. It used to be in Bielefeld, but was moved here in 1952.

Solitüde is Flensburg´s most northern neighbourhood. It is rather exclusive and very beautiful. A sloping coastal forest leads down to the firth, which has a narrow sandy beach and a bathing place. The Yachtclub is also to be found here for good reasons. You can take long walks in the direction of Meierwik, Quellental or Glücksburg from here, or go on a bicycle tour and enjoy the lovely scenery.

History of Flensburg

Germany's most northern city looks back upon more than 700 years of German-Danish history, some of which were rather colourful. Reigned by the Danish for more than 400 years, it is still a gate to the Scandinavian countries and, with its 88 000 inhabitants, is Schleswig-Holsteins third biggest city.

The region around Flensburg was attractive for settlers from very early on. The first community of Danish fishermen built a little tradesmans village around Johannis church at the sheltered end of Flensburg´s Firth before 1200. Two important traffic routes met here, the most important of them being the connection between the north and the south where the motorway A7 is now to be found. When Prince Abel reigned over the region, Flensburg approached the Hanseatic League and gained Lübeck, Stralsund and Wismar as trading partners. The city was granted town ordinances and privileges as early as on 29th December 1284. It was about then that the areas around Nordermarkt with St.Marys and Südermarkt with St.Nikolai´s became increasingly important. They were the centres of a town which quickly grew from a former fishermen´s village into a trading town. Even today´s Kloster zum Heiligen Geist already existed in those days - it used to be a Franciscan monastery.

In 1411 King Erich had the Duburg built for his protection, and in 1443 the Town Hall was built. In 1460, Christian I Of Denmark became the Duke of Schleswig and Earl of Holstein. In those days, Flensburg was experiencing considerable economical growth and had developed into one of the most important trading towns within the Danish kingdom. It almost exclusively consisted of the mile along Holm-Groe Strae-Norderstrae. The merchants used to live in long and narrow houses in the eastern quarters facing the firth, while the craftsmen lived on the other side. Many of the beautiful merchants´ warehouses can still be seen today. They are used as flats and sometimes little businesses are to be found in their basements.

In the 16th century, with its 200 ships, Flensburg became the most important Danish trading city within the Baltic region. In 1525, the Reformation reached the town, and in 1544 King Christian III introduced coinage laws. In 1566 teaching began at the Old Gymnasium (Latin school) and in 1595 the Schrangen and the Nordertor were built. The gate was used to mark the citys northern boundaries for 200 years. Around 1600, Flensburg had some 6000 inhabitants, and in 1602 the Kompagnietor was erected. In addition to the citys economy, art, literature and science flourished until the onset of the Thirty Years´ War (1618-48) and the Northern War (1700-21) destroyed all wealth for a long time.

Towards the end of the 18th century, however, seafaring, ship-building, trade relations and crafts recovered and grew much stronger. In addition to having Norway and the Mediterranean as trading partners, the rum trade with the West Indies became a crucial economical factor. Flensburg owes its fame as a < i>Rum City to this time. The Museum of Seafaring and Rum trade has some very interesting documents from this era on display. Some 300 Flensburg ships sailed the seas then, and refineries, oil-mills, soap and tobacco factories and more than 200 distilleries were established to process the imported and the local products. The first local paper was published in 1766, and between 1852 and 1856 the Südschleswigsche railway was built, connecting Flensburg, Husum and Tönning. It was supposed to become a rival to the Nord-Ostsee canal, but that never happened. In 1886, the first Prussian narrow gauge railway was put into operation and this was still taking the commuters to and from Kappeln in the 1950s.

In the 19th century the neighbouring countries of Germany and Denmark began a long struggle over the valuable borderline region around Flensburg. War memorials at the Sankelmark and in Bilschau, as well as in the battlefields of Bov (DK) and Oeversee still commemorate these fights. The revolt of Schleswig-Holstein against Denmark (1848-51) triggered off a phase during which Flensburg was the capital of Holstein, and after the world economic crisis of 1857 it eventually lead to the German-Danish War of 1864. As a result of this war, Schleswig-Holstein fell under Austrian and Prussian reign. In 1867, Schleswig-Holstein - and with it Flensburg - became a Prussian province, and on September 22nd 1867 the county of Flensburg came into being.

The Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1870, the Diakonissenanstalt opened in 1874, Flensburg´s main post office followed in 1881, and the court and prison in 1882. In 1894, the first power station was put into operation. In 1910 the building of the Naval Academy of Mürwik was completed in its ideal location at Flensburg firth. Ever since, naval officers have been and are still trained there. Defeat in World War I put the citys steady economical growth to an end for a while. In the elections of February 10th and March 14th 1920, the population of Flensburg decided to remain a part of Germany, but the city lost some 9000 hectares of its surrounding region, including 8 communities. From then on Flensburg was a border city with national minorities on both sides of this border. The people stayed in touch, however, and a healthy, rational political co-operation existed, as well as a remarkably versatile variety of shared cultural projects developed around the Danish border. A large number of new schools and libraries, for example, were set up in the region during the few years between the period of inflation and World War II.

Schäferhaus airport was already in operation in 1925 and the railway station followed in 1927. The Deutsches Haus at Berliner Platz was built between 1927 and 1930 to express the Reichs gratitude to the city of Flensburg for staying with Germany. Today, it serves as an event venue for major concerts and other cultural events. Germany´s first central bus station was also finished in Flensburg in 1930, and this has been completely refurbished in recent years. Todays School of Telecommunication in Mürwik was created in 1936/37.

Towards the end of World War II, the government of the Reich sought shelter at the Naval Academy of Mürwik. Admiral Dönitz was in charge and it was from here that he declared Germany´s capitulation. Flensburg´s fate was once again uncertain.

After the war, cultural projects, especially those aimed at young people, were quickly taken up again. The teacher training school opened in 1946, and since 1994 it has been known as Flensburg University. The first post-war youth conference at the Scheersberg took place in 1947. In 1950 the NWDR (now NDR) started broadcasting from Flensburg and the Grenzakademie (border academy) was founded at Sankelmark. In 1952, the KBA (the federal department of driving), where everybodys penalty points are collected, moved from Bielefeld to Flensburg.

The economical problems of the post-war period were dealt with in a determined manner. Angeln was provided with a modern main road and suitable traffic links, and agriculture became the most crucial economical factor within the region. Trade and industries ' especially shipbuilding ' were redeveloped in Flensburg, and tourism also became an increasingly important issue. Modern neighbourhoods with numerous industries, little businesses and services have developed around the Old Town, which provide the population of the entire county with jobs and a considerable living standard. In 1964 the new town hall at Pferdewasser was finished, and in 1968 the Holm became a pedestrian precinct. Until 1976, Nordermarkt and Groe Strae were also part of the pedestrian zone.

The exemplary systematic renovation of the historic Old Town houses was started in the 1970s, and is still in progress. In 1984, Flensburg celebrated 700 years of town ordinances and privileges, and in that same year the Schifffahrtsmuseum (Shipping Museum) was opened. Visitors can admire plenty of beautiful historic buildings and picturesque courtyards with little cafés and businesses today, as well as the original old town centre between Nordermarkt and Südermarkt. The obvious Scandinavian flair and the lovely coastal line along the firth contribute to Flensburg´s unique charm, which simply has to be experienced.

 

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