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Naval museum
Naval museum
Coat of arms of Wilhelmshaven
Coat of arms
Wilhelmshaven   is located in Germany
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Country Germany
State Lower Saxony
District Urban district
 • Lord Mayor Andreas Wagner (CDU)
 • Total 106.91 km2 (41.28 sq mi)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 75,728
 • Density 710/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 26351–26389
Dialling codes 04421, 04423, and 04425 (each partially)
Vehicle registration WHV
Website Nordsee Stadt Wilhelmshaven

Wilhelmshaven (German pronunciation: [vɪlhɛlmsˈhaːfən]) is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea. Wilhelmshaven is the centre of the “JadeBay” business region (which has around 330,000 inhabitants).

The adjacent Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park (part of the Wattenmeer UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site) provides the basis for the major tourism industry in the region.


The Siebethsburg castle, built before 1383, was occupied by pirates and destroyed in 1433 by the Hanseatic League. Four centuries later, the Kingdom of Prussia planned a fleet and a harbour on the North Sea. In 1853, Prince Adalbert of Prussia arranged the Jade Treaty (Jade-Vertrag) with the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, in which Prussia and the Grand Duchy entered into a contract: 3.13 km² of Oldenburgian territory at the Jade Bight should be ceded to Prussia. In 1869, King William I of Prussia (later also German Emperor) founded the town as an exclave of the Province of Hanover as a naval base for Prussia's developing fleet. All the hinterland of the city remained as part of the Duchy of Oldenburg.

A shipbuilders was established at Wilhelmshaven, the Kaiserliche Werft Wilhelmshaven (Imperial Shipyard Wilhelmshaven). On 30 June 1934, the "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee was launched at Wilhelmshaven.

In 1937, Wilhelmshaven and Rüstringen merged[citation needed] and the united city, named Wilhelmshaven, became a part of the Free State of Oldenburg.

World War II

Two thirds of the town's buildings were destroyed during bombing by the Allies of World War II.[citation needed]. On 5 May 1945, 1st Armoured Division (Poland) under General Stanisław Maczek captured Wilhelmshaven and took the surrender of the entire garrison, including some 200 ships of the Kriegsmarine. They remained as part of the allied occupation forces. During World War II Alter Banter Weg (No. 1582 Wilhelmshaven) was a subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp. In 1947 the city council decided to seek a new emblem for the city. After several designs were rejected by the Control Commission for Germany - British Element (CCG/BE) an emblem of a Frisian warrior (Rüstringer Friese) was chosen, designed after a nail man erected in the city during the First World War to collect war donations.

Wilhelmshaven today

Wilhelmshaven and its city districts

Wilhelmshaven is Germany’s only deep-water port, and its largest naval base. The benefits of the deep shipping channel were already recognised at the end of the 1950s with the construction of the first oil tanker jetty. Wilhelmshaven has been the most important German import terminal for crude oil ever since. Pipelines from here supply refineries in the Rhine-Ruhr region and Hamburg. Other major business operations followed, and constructed jetties for crude oil and oil products, coal, and chemical products.

One of the main industrial sectors in Wilhelmshaven is the port industry with its wharfs, sea port service companies, service providers and repair businesses, transhipment and handling businesses, and agencies, etc. The “JadeWeserPort” – Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven (CTW) and the development of the neighbouring Freight Village provide prospects for employment in areas such as logistics and distribution.

Another element of the “Wilhelmshaven energy hub” programme is the chemical industry (refinery, PVC, and chlorine gas production), as well as power generation (two coal-fired power stations, wind power).

The German defence forces (German Navy, navy arsenal, logistics centre) together with the public sector, are the main pillars of the local employment market.


The Jadestadion, the stadium of SV Wilhelmshaven
  • The Jadestadion, the stadium of Regionalliga Nord club SV Wilhelmshaven
  • Aquarium Wilhelmshaven, located on the Helgolandkai – a view of the oceans and underwater habitats around the world.
  • The Botanischer Garten der Stadt Wilhelmshaven, a municipal botanical garden.
  • The Deutsches Marinemuseum (Navy Museum), whose main exhibits are the former German Navy destroyer Mölders (D186), a submarine, and some smaller warships as well as an exhibition of German naval history from the 19th century onwards.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Wadden Sea Visitor center. The large permanent interactive exhibition provides insight into the wadden sea environment. One of the special displays is the 14 metre long skeleton of a sperm whale which beached on the island of Baltrum in 1994 and weighed 39 tonnes when alive. The whale´s organs were plastinized by Gunther von Hagens.
  • The Küstenmuseum (Coastal Museum). The exhibition displays a broad spectrum of the past, present and future of the coast.
  • The Bontekai, city harbor jetty, featuring the former light vessel "Weser" and the steam engine powered buoy layer "Kapitän Meyer", an active museum ship. During the "Jade Weekend" (late June) it is berth of tall sailing ships, too.
  • The double swing bridge Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brücke ("Emperor Wilhelm Bridge") crosses an inlet of the Jade Bight. It was built from 1905 to 1907 and is considered to be Wilhelmshaven´s landmark.
  • The Town Hall (Rathaus), a large brick building, constructed from 1927 to 1929 by the architect Fritz Höger as the town hall of the city of Rüstringen.
  • The oldest church of the city is the St Jakobi Church at Neuende which was built in about 1383 under the direction of the chieftain of Jever Edo Wiemken. Source[2](etwa ab 1383 unter dem jeverschen Häuptling Edo Wiemken). The Christus-und-Garnisionskirche, was built centuries later in 1869 by the Prussian architect Friedrich Adler.
  • Kaiser-Wilhelm-Denkmal at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz, a monument erected in memory of emperor Wilhelm I of Prussia in 1896, who was one of the founder of the city. After the statue had been melted down in 1942, it was reconstructed in 1994.
  • The entrance building of the former Kaiserliche Marinewerft ("emperor's shipyard"), built in the 1870s.
  • The building of the former Kaiserliche Westwerft ("emperor's western shipyard"), completed in 1913.

Every year in the first days of July, the big “Weekend on the Jade” event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the big port, the southern beach and the navy arsenal. Another big event takes place at the end of the sailing season at the beginning of October when two dozen large sailing ships dock in Wilhelmshaven as part of the “JadeWeserPort Cup”.


International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Wilhelmshaven is twinned with:

See also


  1. Landesbetrieb für Statistik und Kommunikationstechnologie Niedersachsen, 102 Bevölkerung - Basis Zensus 2011, Stand 31. Dezember 2013 (Tabelle K1020014)
  2. de:St.-Jakobi-Kirche (Neuende)
  3. "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links