Part 1: "Schleusenland"

From the mouth of the river (kilometer 727) to Wischhafen/Glückstadt

© Bernd Schlüsselburg

Shipping past the small island Neuwerk at the North Sea, you can already see the long beach of Duhnen in Cuxhaven. Many sand beaches at the Lower Elbe are used as swimming spots. With four kilometers however, Duhnen is the longest one. 

Place of melancholy

Farewell and wanderlust – once Cuxhaven has been the starting point for a new life. From here, many emigrants started their journey to the United States of America. At the historical Hapag-Halls that are today listed as a historic monument the destiny of thousands of people who had to say goodbye to their home is remembered. As one of the last authentic places of the great emigration visitors can feel the personal lives of those who had to give everything and hope for a better future. 

The Hapag halls were built in-between 1900-1902. Back then Cuxhaven still belonged to Hamburg. The waterways were soon getting too small for the big passenger ships and in 1889 HAPAG transferred the America traffic to Cuxhaven. 

Cuxhaven welcomes the ships with its landmark the Kugelbake which is a historic aid to navigation for ships. Here we are at the most northern point of Niedersachsen. At the other side of the Elbe lies Friedrichskoog, directly at the Wattenmeer national park. Friedrichskoog is a historical fishing port and with its seal sanctuary a popular destination for visitors. And even more: before the coast lies the biggest drilling rig of Germany. 

Insel Neuwerk
© Peter Körber

The Outpost

Far away from Hamburg, about 15 kilometers northwest from Cuxhaven, lies the little island Neuwerk that yet belongs to Hamburg. Only 40 people are living on this tiny island that is three square kilometers big. You can reach the island at low tide by foot or with tide-wagons. Once a day there is also a ship going to the island. The most impressive building on the island is the historic lighthouse that was built in 1310. For all guests who are longing for a stay at the island the locals are providing enough places to stay. Who likes it natural and romantic can even sleep in the hay or search for amber and other stranded goods alond the beach. 

On the right side you’ll soon see the “Alte Liebe”, a jetty with a viewpoint. Up the river we pass Brunsbüttel. You can watch a little boat coming towards you and a man jumping onto the cruise in a daring maneuver. 

The Compagnions

Pilots are indispensable in shipping because they ensure safe ship traffic from the German bay to the Port of Hamburg. Already in the 14th century fishers provided support with navigation. Pilots know the area with all its flow conditions, depths and widths. Three pilot stations are located at the Elbe – at Cuxhafen, at Brunsbüttel and Hamburg. They are staffed 24/7. 

At the level of Brunsbüttel the sea pilot leaves the boat and the Elbe pilot takes over. At Teufelsbrück he hands it over to Hamburg’s harbor pilot. The pilots are not in command, but only advisors to the captain. If there is a crash, the captain has all responsibility. 

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Your Hamburg Tourismus Team