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2003-05 Sylt - Wenningstedt.jpg
Coat of arms of Wenningstedt-Braderup
Coat of arms
Wenningstedt-Braderup   is located in Germany
Coordinates: 54°55′N 8°19′E / 54.917°N 8.317°E / 54.917; 8.317Coordinates: 54°55′N 8°19′E / 54.917°N 8.317°E / 54.917; 8.317
Country Germany
State Schleswig-Holstein
District Nordfriesland
Municipal assoc. Landschaft Sylt
 • Mayor Katrin Fifeik
 • Total 6.27 km2 (2.42 sq mi)
Elevation 18 m (59 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 1,421
 • Density 230/km2 (590/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 25996
Dialling codes 0 46 51
Vehicle registration NF
Website www.wenningstedt.de

Wenningstedt-Braderup (Söl'ring: Woningstair-Brääderep, Danish: Venningsted-Brarup) is a municipality on the island of Sylt in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located north of the town of Westerland and adheres to the Amt Landschaft Sylt.


A tale goes that a few hundred metres off today's shoreline there was the ancient settlement of Wendingstedt with an old Frisian port at the west coast. It is disputed though among scientists if this village ever existed or if it is merely a legend.

Until the early 19th century, the place had remained almost unchanged for centuries, consisting of merely eight farmsteads. The inhabitants lived on agriculture and fishing. Not a few men would also go whaling in the Arctic Sea or sailed on Hamburg ships to catch herring. The settlement began to grow though with a rising tourism in the middle of the 19th century. Since 1859, Wenningstedt is a seaside resort, since 1960 it is a recognised seaside spa. Together with Kampen and Braderup, Wenningstedt was part of the so-called Northern Villages (Norddörfer) - an early municipal association on the island. The term was coined when List, the northernmost village on the island, was part of the Danish realm. Thus Wenningstedt, Braderup and Kampen were the German "Northern(most) Villages". In 1914 a Protestant chapel was built at the village pond. From 1907 to 1970, Wenningstedt was located at the track of the island railway that connected Westerland to List.

During World War II a heavy coastal artillery battery was deployed in the dunes northwest of Wenningstedt. There was however no combat action; the facilities were blown up in the late 1940s by the Royal Air Force stationed at Westerland and were later completely dismantled and covered with sand by German combat engineers.



Blazon: Per bend left wavy. Dexter azure, a Viking ship emerging or with a dragon's head langued sable pheony. Sinister argent, two pales wavy azure per bend left.[2]


Wenningstedt-Braderup consists of Wenningstedt at the west coast of Sylt and Braderup, located at the Wadden Sea side to the east.

Due to its considerably higher number of residents, Wenningstedt constitutes the municipality's centre with a communal office, spa bureau and retail sales.

Braderup does not feature an original village core but until the mid 19th century was merely a hamlet of a few scattered farmsteads. Even today there are no bigger tourist facilities or hotels.


Northeast of the village there is the Braderup heath. Already in the 1920s this coarse landscape was declared a nature reserve and therefore counts among the natural sights of Sylt. The area borders directly at the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, where guided mudflat hikings are offered.

The Denghoog dolmen, which was built in the neolithicum around 3000 B.C., is located at the northern outskirts of Wenningstedt. Its name means Thing Hill. It is made up of twelve supporting stones that carry a ceiling of stone slabs. It was dug open in 1868 and since 1928 is open to the public.

Wenningstedt village pond

Another local attraction is the village pond of Wenningstedt. In the 1950s it was presented to the municipality by its former owner under the premise that the village keep it open to the public and preserve it as a place of recreation. The statutes rule that the adjacent buildings have to have thatched roofs in order to maintain the rural charme of the village.

Wenningstedt is located at the edge of an area of dunes upon the Red Cliff, below the cliff there is a sandy beach all along the village, which especially in summer serves as a major touristical attraction.


Wenningstedt calls itself a "families spa" and with about a million overnight stays booked, it is the fifth-largest tourist resort in Schleswig-Holstein. These bookings are distributed to 7,000 guest beds, 2,000 of which are accounted to the Wenningstedt camping site, roughly 4,000 to holiday flats and the remaining ones are shared by hotels and guest houses.

Wenningstedt is moreover recognised as a spa in Germany, yet classical spa treatments are almost extinct due to changes in German health insurance regulations. Thus today less than 2% of all tourists are traditional spa guests who have been prescribed a cure. Wenningstedt's values as a health resort is however still uncontested, the North Sea with its stimulating climate enhances one's health and trains the immune system without any further treatment. In the course of this development, the village's spa centre, which once offered cures and applications like taking the waters, massages and balneotherapy, has been closed and demolished.

Tourism in Wenningstedt does also profit from two adjacent golf courses that were established in the 1980s.


The Frisian Chapel

Of old the Frisian people were pagans from a Christian point of view. With their missioning the Frisians officially became Christian but kept a lot of old traditions, e.g. the Biikebrennen. The first church for Wenningstedt was located in the neighbouring village of Keitum. Only in 1914 the so-called Frisian Chapel was built in the immediate vicinity of an ancient pagan ritual site as in the years prior, the Wenningstedters had to take on the uncomfortable way to Keitum - only for tourists and only in summer a church service was at times held in the hall of the Friesenhof inn in Wenningstedt. The closest Roman Catholic church is St. Christopher in Westerland.

In September 2005 a foundation was established to maintain the Frisian Chapel and the pastor's post. With "Üüs Serk - Unsere Kirche" (Our church), the Norddörfer Parish wants to secure its work in the villages of Kampen, Wenningstedt and Braderup. Therefore an established 725,000 have so far been gathered as a founding asset. On a long-term prospect € 1 million is needed. The parish hopes to intermediately gain € 50,000 per annum from interests alone to maintain its work.


The physician and author Paul Dahlke introduced Buddhism to the island in the 1920s. In 1914 he built a "Buddhist Home" in Wenningstedt, which should serve as a meeting point and temple for Buddhists on Sylt. He refrained though from constructing an already planned Buddhist monastery, which would have been the first of its kind on European soil, because he thought the island was not remote enough. In 1920 though, at the spot that he had already designated and purchased for his monastery, he erected a "Buddha monument" which gradually decayed after his death and was eventually torn down in the early 1940s. Today Buddhism is not any more influential on Sylt.

Architecture and village development[edit]

Until the mid 19th century, Wenningstedt was dominated by farmsteads in the Uthland Frisian style. The village centre was constituted by the pond, Kiar. With the rise of tourism, numerous small guest houses but also villas were built for summer tourists. Until then, there was no regular road network in the village, but due to the touristical development new streets and neighbourhoods were planned on the drawing board. As the guest houses more and more avoided the old village core, the new centre gradually migrated to the west, towards the beach. The new style was now leaning towards fashionable seaside resort architecture: two-storey buildings with high rooms and white, wooden porches.

The construction boom of the 1950s and 60s brought another major change about. Simple brick houses were built, very often meant to be small guest houses, also the first true summer residences were constructed in the post-war era. In the 1980 and 90s almost all land that could be covered with buildings inside the village was used, so new constructions regularly meant demolishing old substance. Since the 1980s, almost exclusively holiday apartment houses are built, some leaning towards a retro-Frisian style - most of them being two-and-a-half storeys buildings with four to six flats. Not also the traditional family run guest houses have thus been displaced, also the housing space for long term residents of Wenningstedt is decreasing long since. Tower blocks like in Westerland have not been built, only some flat blocks were constructed along the main road in the early 1980s.

New street names[edit]

In cooperation with the Amt Landschaft Sylt a revision of street names and house numbering was undertaken, which became effective on 1 January 2006. This revision had become urgent since the extensive constructions of the past 50 years had made it difficult for emergency services, postmen and also the guests to find their way around.


Wenningstedt's economy, as everywhere on Sylt, is highly dependent on tourism. There is hardly any branch that is not at least indirectly influenced by the tourism business. Like the immediate hotel and restaurant industry, also retailers and several service enterprises are dependent on the tourists' spending capacity.


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

External links[edit]

Media related to Wenningstedt-Braderup at Wikimedia Commons