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Carolinensiel - a floating Christmas tree in the harbour

  • Written by Portal Editor
Carolinensiel - a floating Christmas tree in the old harbour

Despite rough wind and low temperatures it was a nice balance to leave house for a walk. During the coffee break our conversation had led to the topic about the so much different Christmas markets in Germany.

In addition to the numerous Christmas markets, partly visited by us, we also learn some details about so far unknown places and its peculiarities. This should also include the Christmas market of Carolinensiel, founded in 1730 already as fishing village high in the north in East Frisian, as we should learn later during our visit.

Golden ink determines the borderline

Where extensive march pastures lie today, it was still an offshoot of the North Sea, the so-called Harlebucht a few centuries ago. The bay extended from today's Neuharlingersiel to Minsen and from Funnix to Werdum. With the increasing ditching in the 15th century, systematic land reclamation was accompanied and thus gradually fertile marshes could be wrested from the North Sea. In order to avoid future quarrels due to the newly acquired land areas, Princess Christine Charlotte of East Frisian and Count Anton Günther von Oldenburg, who was ruler of Jever, agreed on a border course, which is still called the "Golden Line" and still regarded as a border between the East Frisian district of Wittmund and the district of Friesland. With the help of golden ink, a line was drawn on a nautical chart from a point between the islands of Wangerooge and Spiekerooge, which reached the meeting point of the East Frisian with the Jever dike lines at the pole dike and thus ended southeast of Carolinensiel. This borderline today runs centrally through the port of Carolinensiel.

Protection dam projects completed in 1729

By the year 1729, the embankment measures were largely completed, so that now at the point where a gate to the sea ensured the drainage of the water from the Harle, a harbor basin could be created. As in many places along the coast, sheds had been set up, which automatically shut down during floods and, at low tide, open automatically from inland due to the water pressure, allowing for drainage of the interior land.

Development to an inside harbour by Friedrich lock

To liven up the harbour, Prince Georg Albrecht of Ostfriesland awarded around 200 square meters of land around the harbour basin to a total of 23 new settlers. In addition to the 10-year tax exemption, each settler received additional 1 - 2 hectares of land in the area for self-supply. With the distribution of land on 16 March 1730 the town Carolinensiel was created. The place name comes from the name of the spouse of the Prince, Sophie Caroline of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. The town quickly grew to 750 inhabitants due to the thriving harbour. With the construction of the Friedrichs Gate in 1765 Carolinensiel became the first East Frisian harbour, which was no longer directly exposed to the mischief of the North Sea in the form of storm surges.

Napoleon occupies northern Germany

Small cargo yachtsmen with 3 - 6 man crew and shallow draft were largely responsible for the progress in the trade, so agricultural products such as cereals, vegetables, potatoes and dairy products were exported to the Mediterranean, wood, stones, coal and colonial goods from the UK and Scandinavia were imported. With the occupation of northern Germany by the troops of Napoleon in 1806, the trade came almost completely to a standstill. Since France had also imposed the so-called continental block, the smuggling flourished between Helgoland, which then belonged to Great Britain, and the mainland. The most important contraband was tea, which was indispensable to life for the East Frisians. Despite the threat of capital punishment, tea was taken in large quantities from Helgoland to Carolinensiel.

Bathing season on Wangerooge from 1804 causes tourism

With the further development of the steamship and the railways Carolinensiel lost more and more of its importance. Only fishing brought a little income anymore. No wonder that the harbour sanded more and more and just a drainage channel remained up to the sea.
As early as 1804, with the opening of the first official bathing season on Wangerooge, tourism in Carolinensiel also began to make its entrance. Ferries to Spiekeroog and Wangerooge docked at the Friedrichschleuse and carried the first tourists. Departure times were strictly in line with the tides of low and high tide, and even the timetable of the railway feeder was geared to this, and it is not without good reason that today one speaks of the tidal railway. More and more new land was gained and Carolinensiel received a new port with new dikes and pumping station, the port Harlesiel. An artificial bathing beach was created, a campsite was built, a saltwater swimming pool and a beach hall too. Even a small airport is available today. Another special feature, however, is undoubtedly the possibility of clearly recognizing the historical development of the port facilities and the dike construction measures even today.

On to the port of Carolinensiel

It was already dark when we made our way down the coast to Carolinensiel after coffee. Since we already knew the place itself, it was easy to find the Old Port, where we could park our vehicle. Due to new lands around Harlesiel the flood protection in Carolinensiel at the old port is no longer necessary. Immediately after crossing the main road we had a magnificent view of the Old Harbour, the Christmas booths on both sides of the harbour and almost in "picture center", the giant Christmas tree with its lights in the middle of the harbour. All the ships lying on the quays were festively lit, so that offered a wonderful panorama.

Christmas tree in the harbor basin

First, we went through the Christmas street along the left harbor edge, where there were the obligatory hats of hot red wine, sausage stalls and lot of other stalls. There was a typical feature of Ostfriesland and Friesland on offer, for the region Typical Prüllkers, Prüllerkes or as they are also called the Schwemmertjes. So easy and fast to make, they are a typical pastry during the cold season, simply delicious when freshly baked and served hot. The recipe for this under Prüllkers, Prüllerkes, Bumboisis or Schwemmertjes you will find here.
Almost endless we could have continued the walk along the Harle, there were always festively lit houses and trees. So the path then led us back to the other side of the river until the Christmas booths at the harbor basin were reached again. A wonderful conclusion to the end of the two Christmas days in the Old Port of Carolinensiel.

Coordinates: 53°41'28.3"N 7°48'07.0"E or 53.691198, 7.801944

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