Kiel - Holtenau

Marina near Kiel (Holtenau)

Last edited 23.01.2023 at 16:36 by NV Charts Team


54° 22’ 8.4” N


10° 8’ 44.5” E


Yacht mooring north of the locks of the Kiel Canal in Kiel's inner fjord.

NV Cruising Guide


Day and night the approach is unproblematic. The overall illumination of the lock facilities enables good orientation at night. However, the approaches to the locks must always be kept clear for navigation, unless you want to enter the lock chamber (white light for the respective lock chamber). The lock staff will give instructions over the loudspeaker if necessary.

The lock master can be contacted in urgent cases via VHF channel 12 (call sign "Kiel Canal 4") or by phone 0431-3603-152. More details about the signals and the Kiel Canal can be found in the NV. Sportschifffahrtskarte "Nord-Ostsee-Kanal".

Note: Due to the renovation work in the lock area and the associated higher traffic density and proximity to commercial shipping, recreational boaters should pay attention to the information of the WSA Kiel-Holtenau (see link below).


The Tiessenkai is not suitable for pleasure boats. However, yacht jetties are located immediately to the west of it on the north bank, below the plane tree avenue. Pleasure craft wishing to pass through or leave the canal will find guest berths alongside on the inside of the outer jetty. Mooring time max. 4 days. Currents (especially when the lock at the drainage canal is opened) and swell must be expected.


Nearly all possibilities of the supply as well as also different restaurants are available in direct proximity. There is a bus connection to the city center (about 10km)

NV Land Guide

The history of Holtenau is inextricably linked with the history of the Kiel Canal. For this reason alone, a visit to the Holtenau locks is highly recommended. A viewing platform is available for observing the operation of the locks. Visitors can learn more about the construction history in the lock's information room.

Even the Vikings shied away from circumnavigating Skagen and shipped loads on the Treene and the Eider to the North Sea. The disadvantage, however, was that the goods had to be transported (from Haithabu on the Schlei) a short distance overland. Trimmed tree trunks were used as rollers on which the hulls were moved as far as the rivers. With lines the crews kept their ships from tipping over and also took oxen and horses to help pull the heavy load.

Nine different waterways were planned over the centuries between Kolding and Travemünde, but none came to fruition. Around 1570 Duke Adolf of Schleswig-Gottorp asked the Emperor Maximilian II for permission to have a canal built from Kiel to the Eider, but this project was also dropped. In the following centuries, it was especially the military leaders who missed a North-Baltic connection, because Danes and Swedes mostly successfully controlled the Baltic Sea at the narrows of the Belts. Wallenstein and Cromwell were among those who longed for a "passage" for their fleets. Christian VII finally put the long-planned project into action and inaugurated the Eider Canal in 1784, but because of the high tolls of the canal, which was dug almost entirely with shovels and spades, few ships used it. Moreover, the strategic advantage still lay with the Danes, as the 40-kilometre-long, 30-metre-wide and over three-metre-deep canal was initially only available to Danish ships. Incidentally, the first ships were still towed by horses.

The old lock chambers of this canal at nearby Rathmannsdorf are now protected monuments (about one kilometre west of Knoop). While the Eiderkanal connected the Baltic Sea and the Eider near Rendsburg, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal, completed in 1895 and now called the Kiel Canal, no longer ends in the Eider. The new 98.6 kilometre long waterway leads straight to Brunsbüttel in the Lower Elbe, or rather begins there, because the Kaiser started his inaugural voyage from Brunsbüttel. Once again, it was strategic military reasons that led to the construction of the new waterway. The Eider Canal, which had meanwhile fallen into Prussian hands as a result of the War of 1864, was too small for the large German warships.

Today, the largest locks in the world stand in Kiel-Holtenau. They are 300 metres long, 45 metres wide and 14 metres deep. Ships up to 235 meters long and 32.5 meters wide and 9.5 meters deep are allowed to pass through the canal if they are no higher than 40 meters from the waterline. Known as the Kiel Canal, the artificial shipping route is known to seafarers all over the world, and its use results in an average route reduction of 250 nautical miles!

The operation of the locks also plays a decisive role in determining life in Holtenau. Many pilots and canal steersmen live here, brokerage and ship equipment companies are located here. Several authorities such as the customs and seamen's office, institutes, institutions and the water police are represented. For pleasure boaters, the Holtenau jetty is - apart from the moderate swell - an ideal berth as a starting or end point for canal trips. Shops are only a few minutes' walk from the harbour and the ship's chandlery is in the immediate vicinity. The wooden jetty is idyllically situated by an avenue.

On the ground floor of the Holtenau lighthouse, on the headland facing the fjord, a memorial hall commemorates the construction of the canal. A few metres away, the Förde steamers set off - ideal transport links to Kiel (see also Düsternbrook).

A trip to "Villa Hoheneck", the former restaurant with garden directly on the Kiel Canal, is recommended. The view of the passing ships of all nations alone is worth the visit, even if there is no longer a bar. The way there leads along the shore road to the western end of the town at the Prinz-Heinrich-Bridge, which was built in 1970. From the bridge you have a good view of the canal and the locks.

Marina Information

Max Depth 4 m


Phone +49 170-33 80 648






Public Transport



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