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Germany's Kiel Canal: The Most Traveled Canal In The World

Everyone has heard about the mighty Suez Canal in Egypt connecting the med Sea with the Red Sea/Indian Ocean and the Panama Canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean using the Pacific Ocean. But there are more canals on the planet, such as the dramatic Corinth Canal in Greece and the Kiel Canal across northern Germany reducing Denmark from Europe.

If the first is thinking about visiting Denmark or Germany, attempt to add the Kiel Canal to one's bucket listing of destinations. One can sail through it or simply drive along it. It is often among the great unsung feats of German Engineering. It is one of the more unusual attractions to go to during Germany.

Background and Background from the Kiel Canal

The precursor 43-kilometer Eiderkanal was carried out 1784 by Denmark's King Christian VII (Schleswig and Holstein were then Danish). It had been a part of a 175 km waterway from Kiel to the Eider mouth at T”onning at the west coast. But it was insufficient for the growing size of the ships being only 29 meters wide at the surface and only 3 meters deep.

  • Eiderkanal: The Small Danish Precursor Canal
  • Limit: The Eiderkanal As Restricted to Vessels Of Only 300 Tons

In 1887, soon after German unification, work began on the bigger canal. The foundation stone was laid by Emperor Wilhelm I on 3rd June 1887. It had been completed in 1895 – 8 years after construction started and employed as much as 8,900 workers. The canal was later widened between 1907 and 1914.

  • German Imperial Yacht “Hohenzollern”: The First Ship To Innaugrate The Canal in 1895 With Emperor Wilhelm II On Board

The Size Of The Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal was originally referred to as Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal but was changed to Nord-Ostsee Kanal (North to East Baltic Sea Canal). The Kiel Canal is 61 miles or 98 kilometers long and runs with the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

  • Official Name: Nord-Ostsee Kanal (North to East Baltic Sea Canal)
  • Connects: Its northern border Sea With The Baltic Sea
  • Location: German state of Schleswig-Holstein
  • By Passes: Storm-Prone Danish Straits
  • Savings: 250 Nautical Miles

It connected the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. It's proven to be a very successful and popular canal and something that saves around 250 nautical miles or 460 kilometers off the trip that will otherwise need to go around Denmark's Jutland Peninsula. It also bypasses the storm-prone Danish straits. It is also linked to the navigable River Eider by the short Gieselau Canal.

Since the canal was built, all the fixed bridges have experienced a clearance of 42 meters or 138 feet.

The maximum length for ships passing the Kiel Canal is 235.50 meters (772.6 feet), while the maximum width is 32.50 meters (106.6 feet)

Most large modern cruise ships can't pass through the canal due to the limited clearance under their bridges. Some luxury cruise ships happen to be modified to obtain through – like the MS Norwegian Dream has special funnels and masts that may be lowered for passage.

The World's Busiest Canal

Today it is the world's busiest artificial waterway and handles around 90 ships per day or around 32,000 ships annually. That's a lot more than both Panama Canal (with around 38 ships each day and 14,000 annually) and also the Suez Canal (with around 51.5 ships a day or 19,000 ships annually).

Although the ships going through Panama and Suez could be far larger and more important cargo and oil tanker vessels. The total cargo and also the importance of that cargo will probably be much greater in those canals.

Kiel Canal:

  • Length: 61 Miles
  • Daily Ships: 90 Daily
  • Annual Ships: 32,000

Panama Canal:

  • Length: 50 Miles
  • Daily Ships: 38 Daily
  • Annual Ships: 14,000

Suez Canal:

  • Length: 120 Miles
  • Daily Ships: 51.5 Daily
  • Annual Ships: 19,000

Add Canals To One's Bucket List of Items to See

Today the Kiel Canal is available to call traffic (that can fit through it). In the past decades, the traffic and also the amount of cargo transported through Kiel-Canal increased significantly – and it is likely to keep growing according to its official website.

If the first is interested in great works of naval engineering, then there are a couple of visitor centers on the Panama Canal that certain should visit. Also, the Kiel Canal is not likely to be as dramatic because the Corinth Canal and the Panama Canal.

  • Panama Canal: Includes a Couple Visitor Centers
  • Corinth Canal: A really Dramatic Sight

Those Canals need to cut through some very uneven terrain – the Corinth Canal doesn't have locks and thus just slices its way straight through the rock. The Kiel Canal is built on very flat land, northern Germany and Denmark are famously flat.

Alternatively, to determine some decidedly smaller canals, visit Venice and explore the numerous canals that cut using that picturesque Italian city.

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