Historic tours in KappelnMaritime Kappeln
Föh Fish Smokehouse
The three 15-metre-high brick chimneys bearing the letters A-A-L (or “eel” in German) have marked Kappeln’s skyline for more than a century. They are the trademark of the Föh fish smokehouse, which has been located at the Dehnthof since 1911. Fish is still smoked here in the traditional style, in smokers fueled with local beech and alder wood. The smokehouse produces not only smoked eels, but also mackerel, sprats, and halibut, as well as the fish with which Kappeln is most associated, the herring. The smokery offers tours for groups upon prior arrangement. For visitors who crave a taste of fish fresh from the smoker, a store and a pleasant outdoor patio (open seasonally) await.
Silo and Warehouse at the Nordhafen
Peter Kruse, recognized as an honorary citizen of Kappeln, commissioned the construction of this striking brick grain silo and warehouse. Widely known as the “PK warehouse”, it has dominated Kappeln’s Nordhafen (north harbour) since 1936. The 20-metre-tall warehouse with its storage capacity of some 5,000 tonnes was used to store grain until the 1990s. In 2006, the registered historic building was acquired by a group of investors and completely restored. The ground floor today houses a dining area, while the remainder serves as a hotel.
One of Kappeln’s unique features is the fish weir, the last functioning example of its kind in all of Europe. It is believed to be more than 500 years old. A map from 1648 shows 38 such weirs on the Schlei. They were laid out in zigzagging, angular patterns at locations where herring congregated in late March and early April. Once caught inside, the fish could be caught in traps at the end of the narrowing walls of woven material. Every year on the weekend of Ascension Day, Kappeln celebrates the "Heringstage" (Herring Days), which culminates in a contest in which participants attempt to guess the weight of a herring net. The winners are crowned that year’s Herring King and Queen.
Schlei flap bridge
The earliest evidence of a ferry service across the Schlei from Kappeln to Ellenberg dates to 1671. In 1867, at the urging of the Kappeln business community, it was replaced by a pontoon bridge, which gave way in turn to a steel swing bridge for road and rail traffic in 1927. Construction began on the present bridge over the Schlei in 1998, and it was festively opened to traffic at the start of December 2002. In order to allow the passage of both large and small ships, the central sections of the bridge, which spans 210 metres and cost 23 million Euros, are raised at a quarter to every hour.
Fishermen’s monument and herring plaques und Heringstafeln
Kappeln’s history has long been linked with fishing. Since April 12th, 2003, the sculpture “Sitzender Fischer” (seated fisherman) pays homage to this grand tradition. Seated on the harbour promenade, an old fisherman cast in bronze sorts through his haul of fish. The sculpture is the work of artist Jörg Plickat. Another reminder of Kappeln’s erstwhile reliance on the fishing industry is the increasing number of bronze plaques featuring herring that adorn the sidewalks of the town. Each one bears the name of a donor, as thanks for their donations toward beautifying Kappeln’s cityscape.
Kappeln Museum Harbour
Since 1981, visitors can immerse themselves in Kappeln’s maritime history at the Museum Harbour south of the flap bridge. Several former freighters and fishing vessels have found their permanents berths here, from an old herring boat to a salmon cutter, and from a century-old ewer (a small, flat-bottomed boat from Friesland) to a historic Baltic Sea sailing yacht. During the sailing season, imposing yachts visiting from far and wide further enliven the harbour. Large or small, visitors wanting to gape at interesting and beautiful ships are always welcome here, regardless of the time of year. There’s always something going on: the owners of many of these floating historic monuments get them shipshape for the next yachting season right here in the harbour.