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From the fishing village to the maritime port townThe town history of Kappeln

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The town history of the harbour city of Kappeln

How a fishing village grew to a maritime port town

Kappeln is a town with a great history. This place on the northern shore was first mentioned in 1357. Old certificates give evidence that Kappeln in its early stage was settled with the erection of a chapple at the most narrow part of the Schlei. Most likely that's where Kappeln got its name: Capellen (chapples), which was later renamed to Kappeln. It is assumed that seafaring men built Kappeln's landmark – the Saint Nikolai Church – in the late 12th century as a token of their gratitude for crossing the Baltic Sea unharmed heading further to Hedeby.

The most important source of income was fishing which has fed Kappeln's population for centuries. To this day, the historic fish weir is still worth a visit. Built in the 15th century, it's the last of its kind and still in use.

Kappeln has not always been just a port town but also a bridge connecting the areas Angeln in the north with the Schwansen peninsula in the south. Sailing ships were used as freight carriers across the Baltic Sea back then dominating the town's skyline. In the middle of the 19th century, the era of sailing vessels drew to a close. In 1845, the first steamship was introduced operating between Kappeln and Schleswig.

The operation of the commuter ferry between Angeln and Schwansen came to an end in 1867 and a pontoon bridge took over this service. On 1 September 1867, the Prussian constitution was introduced, and Kappeln was granted municipal law in 1870. After 60 years in service, the pontoon bridge was replaced with a swing bridge which again was replaced with today's flap bridge, installed in 2002. Locals know that the bridge opens at every quarter to an hour so that sailing ships, passenger ships and other vehicles with a keel underneath can pass.

From a fishing village to a harbour town

Kappelns transformation in pictures

  • Sankt Nikolai Kirche in Kappeln
  • Fischer am Hafen in Kappeln
  • Heringszaun in Kappeln
  • Klappbrücke in Kappeln

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The beautiful city of Kappeln

We're already goling on holiday to the baltic sea for years but since we've been in Kappeln 10 years ago we didn't change our destination. Kappeln is our personal baltic sea paradise.

Sandra P. from Frankfurt (Germany)

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