- Historical event
- 20 June 1895
- Kiel Canal saves as much as 460 kilometers by not going around the Jutland Peninsula. Moreover, there is an additional advantage of safer transiting in terms of weather conditions.
On this day, in 1895, German Emperor Wilhelm II officially opened the Kiel Canal.
It is interesting that the canal bore the name Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal after Emperor William I (the first emperor of the German Empire and the grandfather of said William II in whose time the channel was opened) until 1948.
Kiel Canal was of great strategic importance to imperial Germany because its warships could pass from ports on the Baltic Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, and vice versa, without the need for going around the whole of Denmark.
On the eve of World War I, the Germans widened the canal in order to allow the passage of the largest battleships.
Today, with about 43,000 vessels traversing a year, the Kiel Canal is the busiest artificial waterway in the world.
It is nearly 100 kilometers long. Kiel Canal saves as much as 460 kilometers by not going around the Jutland Peninsula.
Moreover, there is an additional advantage of safer transiting in terms of weather conditions. Interestingly enough, the Kiel Canal has more traffic than the Panama and the Suez Canal.
Kiel Canal connects the city of Kiel on the Baltic coast with Brunsbüttel on the river Elbe near where the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
Kiel had a key role for the Imperial German Navy and later for Hitler’s Kriegsmarine. For example, the German Naval Academy, where naval officers were trained, was located near Kiel.