Kampen (Sylt)

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Kampen, Sylt
Coat of arms of Kampen, Sylt
Coat of arms
Kampen, Sylt is located in Germany
Kampen, Sylt
Kampen, Sylt
Coordinates: 54°57′N 8°20′E / 54.950°N 8.333°E / 54.950; 8.333Coordinates: 54°57′N 8°20′E / 54.950°N 8.333°E / 54.950; 8.333
Country Germany
State Schleswig-Holstein
District Nordfriesland
Municipal assoc. Landschaft Sylt
 • Mayor Harro Johannsen
 • Total 8.47 km2 (3.27 sq mi)
Elevation 1 m (3 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 485
 • Density 57/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 25998–25999
Dialling codes 0 46 51
Vehicle registration NF
Website www.kampen.de

Kampen (Söl'ring: Kaamp) is a municipality and seaside resort on the island Sylt, in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located north of the island's main town, Westerland, and was first recorded in 1534.


Kampen in 1894 as seen from atop the lighthouse.

For centuries, until around 1900, Kampen was a rural village shaped by agriculture. Shipping and fishing as well as other industries and crafts played hardly any role. Together with Wenningstedt, the village of Kampen constituted the so-called "Northern Villages" (Norddörfer) of Sylt. One would share the church and the school house which due to the low number of citizens in the respective villages could only be kept and financed with a common effort. Kampen, a quiet hamlet in an area of heath, was only tardily discovered by tourists. Until the beginning of the 20th century the place was merely regarded an insider's tip among travellers. Only in the 1920s seaside resort life began to develop in Kampen. A ruling from 1912, which is still effective today, demands that all houses in the village be built in the traditional style, i.e. brick buildings with thatched roofs.

Prior to and during World War II camps were established in Kampen by the Wehrmacht. A major camp was located near today's public camping site in the southwestern part of the village. It had been built due to the expansion of the air field on the Braderup heath. There was however no direct combat action, nor did Kampen suffer any remarkable damage from allied bombings.

East of the village there was an anti-aircraft site with many bunkers and shelters, where the latters hosted a lot of refugees from Germany's former eastern territories during the immediate post-war years. In the 1950s the Café Kupferkanne was established inside the facility.

In the early 20th century many artists and intellectuals were attracted by Kampen. Haus Kliffende became the favourite quarter of Thomas Mann and many other celebrities. Ferdinand Avenarius is considered as the first popularizer of Sylt. After World War II the village continuously became a venue of the "rich and famous" – the tycoons of the Wirtschaftswunder. Also many celebrities of cinema and television thought Kampen to be fashionable. In the 1960s there was a considerable boost in the naturist movement. Especially the nude beach at Buhne 16 in Kampen gained popularity by frequent media reports. The boom slowed down in the 1980s. Today Kampen is still an upscale tourist resort but mostly without any spectacular events.

Village development[edit]

From the 1920s on, the summer residences and villas of mostly wealthy guests were constructed on the Nordheide around the old village core. Thus the area of Kampen multiplied within a few years. Despite early plannings from the 1920s, the western heath of Kampen was not covered with buildings though and today is a nature reserve.



Blazon: Azure a sea holly argent.[2]

The municipal flag depicts the sea holly in a blue canton on an otherwise fessed flag of blue and white.

Town twinning[edit]

Since 2002 Kampen is twinned with Lech am Arlberg in Austria. A retired cabin from a gondola lift was given to Kampen as a gift by the well-known alpine ski resort, which is now displayed on Kampen's main beach. In return Lech received a thatched bus stop shelter.


Kampen does not have a church of its own. For a long time the mostly Protestant citizens had to attend church services at St. Severinus' church in Keitum, 7 kilometres away. In 1914 the "Frisian Chapel" was built in the neighbouring village of Wenningstedt, whose Norddörfer Parish also includes Kampen. During the summer months outdoors church services are held at various locations.


Like all municipalities on Sylt, Kampen is highly specialised on the tourism business, so that an economical monostructure can be found there.


The municipality is crossed by the state road L24 which runs north-south all along the island. In addition to individual traffic, bus route No. 1 of the Sylter Verkehrsgesellschaft provides public transport.

Local enterprises[edit]

Due to the touristical monostructure, predominantly subsidiaries of upscale retail businesses can be found in Kampen, such as designer shops and jewellers, but also a number of service enterprises, crafts and accommodation facilities.

Public institutions[edit]

Together with Wenningstedt, Kampen operates the Norddörfer Schule, an elementary school located south of the village proper. Furthermore there is a kindergarten in the village. The Kaamphüs hosts the municipal office but also serves as a venue for lectures, concerts, etc.

Culture and sights[edit]

Kampen beach.

Roughly three kilometres north of Kampen the Kampen decoy pond can be found. Nowadays this nature reserve is a resort for numerous species of water birds. Already in 1767 a pond for catching ducks was located here.

The so-called red cliff west of the village is up to 30 metres tall and is highly endangered by erosion and storm surges. The Uwe Dune reaches a height of 52.5 m above sea level, thus being the island's highest elevation, and is named after Uwe Jens Lornsen (1793–1838), a freedom fighter for a united Schleswig-Holstein who hailed from Keitum.

East of Kampen the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park extends, in summer the municipality offers guided mudflat hiking trips there.

There are also numerous studios and galleries of notable artists in Kampen.

On the western heath several neolithic dolmens are located. As they are not marked, they are relatively untouched by tourism, also the ancient ring wall of Kampen remains largely unnoticed.

For more than 150 years the Kampen lighthouse is now situated on the higher geestland core south of the village the. It is 40 metres tall with a black and white marking. Another, smaller lighthouse is located north of Kampen on the red cliff. It served as a supplement to the main light from 1913 to 1975.


This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.

External links[edit]