Marshland in Eiderstedt, typical of the North Frisian coast
Nordfriesland, English "Northern Friesland" or "North Frisia", is a district in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It includes almost all of traditional North Frisia along with adjacent areas to the east and south and is bounded by (from the east and clockwise) the districts of Schleswig-Flensburg and Dithmarschen, the North Sea and the Danish county of South Jutland. The district is called Kreis Nordfriesland in German, Kreis Noordfreesland in Low German, Kris Nordfraschlönj in Mooring North Frisian, Kreis Nuurdfresklun in Fering North Frisian and Nordfrislands amt in Danish.
As of 2008, Nordfriesland was the most visited rural district in Germany.
There has always been a strong influence of the sea in the region. In medieval times storm tides made life in what is now Nordfriesland quite dangerous. Only in modern times the loss of land and lives could be stopped by building solid dikes. Many villages that once existed are now at the bottom of the sea. The best-known example is the small seaport of Rungholt, which was destroyed by a storm surge in 1362. The island of Strand vanished in the Burchardi flood, another disastrous storm in 1634: subsequent to this storm surge, there were many small islets instead of Strand.
From approximately 1200 until 1864, the area that is now Nordfriesland was a part of the Duchy of Schleswig, which itself was not directly a part of the Danish Kingdom, but a fiefdom of the Danish crown and linked to the kings of Denmark by personal union as a separate entity. Nordfriesland is still a multilingual district: there are people speaking standard German, Low German, North Frisian and Danish including South Jutlandic. The North Frisian language exists in nine slightly different dialects, yet it is mainly used by older persons in mainland Nordfriesland. A relatively lively community of Frisian speakers exists though on the islands of Föhr and Amrum. After becoming German, three districts were established in the region: Südtondern in the north, Husum in the centre, and Eiderstedt in the south. In 1970 these three districts were merged to form the Nordfriesland district.
The entire coast is part of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park. Nordfriesland includes the coastal section between Dithmarschen and Denmark. In the south there is the Eiderstedt peninsula, where the River Eider meets the sea.
The North Frisian Islands are part of the district and located inside the national park as well. There are five large islands (Sylt, Föhr, Amrum, Pellworm and Nordstrand) and ten small islets known as Halligen.
Coat of arms
Towns and municipalities
Coordinates: 54°35′N 9°00′E / 54.58°N 9.0°E