Mystery Bridge Nr. 177: The Devil’s Bridge (Teufelsbrücke) in Flensburg

Our tour around Flensburg, Germany this summer uncovered several unknown artefacts that we had not seen during our previous trips. One of the areas that is considered a diamond in the rough is the valley of the Lautrupsbach. This creek is found in the eastern part of the city and flows along Nordstrasse until it empties into the Flensburg Fjord at the junction with Ballastbrücke, where four multiple-story modern buildings are located.  There are at least six bridges along this creek plus a high waterfall where the creek makes a 20+ meter drop before it crosses the aforementioned main streets.

While the waterfall will be mentioned later on in The Flensburg Files, this mystery bridge article is about the Devil’s Bridge. It crosses Nordstrasse and Lautrupsbach, carrying Bismarckstrasse near the School of Theater (Theaterschule Flensburg). When driving on Nordstrasse, one could perceive it is a modern bridge with little or no value.

Hiking up the trail, we found that we were dead wrong.  Going up the trail, find that an arch bridge exists at Bismarckstrasse, crossing the trail and the creek right next to it. And while it is difficult to see it because of the covering of trees and other vegetation, the arch is quite decorated.  I bought a couple books at a bookstore in Kappeln, which talked about the rail service in Flensburg and the surrounding area, and found that it was one long bridge crossing more than just a creek, as you can see in my rough sketch of the bridge:

Many of you are wondering how this came to be. As Piggeldy and Frederick would say: “Nicht leichter als das.” (Not easier than this in German):


The History of the Railroads in Flensburg in Short and Simple Terms:

To understand this bridge, we have to understand Flensburg’s railroad system, which is best compared to a bowl of spaghetti- well-networked but sometimes quite chaotic!

Flensburg is a border-city, located just south of Denmark and therefore all trains from Germany and the east (Holstein and Angeln) and all trains from Denmark and the North Sea region meet in Flensburg. But when the railroad was introduced in 1854, there were two termini but in one specific location: The Hafenspitze at Flensburg Fjord.  Specifically, from 1854 until the present-day international railway station was built in 1927, Flensburg had two railway stations- one on each side of the Fjord. On the western side where the historic old town was located, there was the terminus for all trains heading to the north and west-specifically to Husum and  Niebüll on the German side as well as Tonder, Fredericia and Kolding on the Danish side. It started with the English Bridge, a wooden bridge that connected the old town with the loading dock in the harbor that was built in 1854. It was short-lived for salt water undermined the piers and pilings and it was therefore removed in 1881. While a make-shift train stop built at that time served as a stop-gap, a real train station, with Victorian-style architecture opened to service in 1883. Johannes Otzen was the designer.

On the eastern end of the Fjord was another train station, and it was the terminus for a regular train route to Kiel as well as two narrow-gauge train routes- one to Satrup and Hörup and another to Glücksburg and Kappeln. When the present-day railroad station at Mühlendamm and Schleswiger Strasse opened in 1927, services started to cease operations for passenger services, beginning with the regular train services to Kiel, the North Sea region and Denmark. The narrow gauge routes were phased out so that by 1953, there were no more trains running these routes. At the same time, the two stations on each side of the Hafenspitze were removed and the railroad tracks were for the most part abandoned.  The Devil’s Bridge crossed these tracks coming from the eastern station along the Fjord.

The History of the Devil’s Bridge:

After introducing the history of the railroads in Flensburg, we will come back to this bridge. The Devil’s Bridge features not only one but two crossings, as you can see in the diagram above. The arch section crossed the Kiel railroad line until it was removed in 1928. Now it’s a trail that runs along the Lautrupsbach. The arch section is closed spandrel and its portals are decorated. It looks like a tunnel because it is partially buried with soil and vegetation. Therefore one can technically call it a tunnel.  It was used as a shelter during the air raids in World War II, although Flensburg escaped with only minor damage.

Close-up of one of the ornamental pegs on the arch portion of the bridge.

 The other section of the bridge was a two-span concrete beam bridge that spanned the two narrow-gauge raillines to Kappeln and Satrup.  The bridge was known to be haunted because of its spooky setting, especially at night. Even the horses would not dare pass through the bridge.  The entire structure was built in 1912 and it was for the purpose of connecting Flensburg with its suburb of Mürwik and further on to Glücksburg. Due to the expansion of housing and with that, the increase in the volume of traffic, the section of the bridge where the two narrow-gauge trains had existed was torn down and replaced with a modern, one-span beam structure, which was higher than the previous span. This happened in 1960.  Seven years before that, the tracks involved were removed and replaced with the present-day Nordstrasse which connects the harbor with the Osttangente, the bypass that runs east and south of Flensburg. There is no information on who designed and built the Devil’s Bridge, especially the original design of 1912.  Yet another mystery behind the bridge has to do with another crossing that is up the hill behind the Devil’s Bridge.

The arch-like abutment from the Kappeln-crossing


Crossing Bridges

About 150 meters away from the Devil’s Bridge are the abutments of yet another bridge or two. On both sides of the Lautrupsbach, one can see the arch-like abutments that stick out of the ground, thus confirming that a bridge existed. Even the maps and sources confirm this as the narrow-gauge line crosses both the creek as well as the Kiel rail line, enroute to Kappeln. When the line was abandoned by 1953, both the tracks as well as the bridge were removed in their entirety as they were rendered useless and a hazard for hikers. There is no information nor photos of what the structure looked like, let alone when the structure was built and by whom. But judging by the fact that the abutments are diagonal from one another, one has to confirm that the bridge had a skewed setting, thus leading to three types that can be built with skewed portal entrances: stone arch (rare to find but possible), steel girder (likely after 1900) and truss (very likely regardless of whether the trusses are deck, pony or through). Because the railroad opened in 1881 and steel was becoming a popular and cheap commodity, my hunches are that the truss bridge was built at that spot and the arches were used as abutments to support the span.

The arched portion of the abutment opposite the Lautrupsbach and trail but ca. 30-40 meters away from the abutment on the trail side.


Fazit- What are we looking for?

To summarize, the Devil’s Bridge features two bridges crossing three rail lines and Lautrupsbach, carrying Bismarckstrasse. The rail lines have since been replaced with a trail and Nordstrasse. Only one half of the 1912 bridge (the tunnel) still exists; the other half was replaced in 1960. We’re looking for the builders behind this complex, monstrous structure that has since been buried in time by cars and vegetation. Behind the Devil’s Bridge are the remains of a railroad bridge that once crossed the Kiel line, which ran through the tunnel portion of the Devil’s Bridge. We have no information on the bridge’s appearance, let alone who built the bridge and when it was built. Had it been built in 1881, it’s a truss bridge. If it’s 1900, then a girder. 

As I would like to add both in the book on Schleswig-Holstein’s bridges, if you have any information that may be useful, photos included, feel free to contact me, using the contract details enclosed here. Information on the book project can also be found in the Chronicles. Click here for details and feel free to contribute. Your help would be much appreciated. Spread the word.

And with that, we have another bridge along the Lautrupsbach that needs our attention. With that we move on to the next page. Until then, happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂


Best Kept Secret: Munksbrücke near Ockholm

This past summer, my family and I had an opportunity to visit the North Sea coast near Dagebüll. The town of 2,500 inhabitants is located 65 km west of Flensburg and 30 km northwest of Husum. Not far from the mainland are the Halligen Islands. These small islands serve as wave breakers and are located between three and 15 kilometers off the mainland. With a couple exceptions, these islands can be accessed by foot during low tide (Ebbe) and only by boat at high tide (Flut). The influence of the tides can also be seen in the canals and waterways that exists on the mainland, which are controlled by a series of dams and dikes. This system has been in use since the Great Flood of 1961, which flooded half of Schleswig-Holstein and almost all of Hamburg, killing hundreds of residents and causing billions of US Dollars in damages. Yet the dikes are being improved as the water levels are increasing as a result of Climate Change.

Located eight kilometers to the south of Dagebüll is this bridge. Located over the Bongsiel Canal, this bridge is located in an area that is out of the way, serving a local road near Ockholm. Unique about this bridge is the fact that it is the oldest of its kind left in the state. Constructed in 1886, this bridge is 31 meters long and features a bowstring pony arch bridge with welded connections. The bridge is a year older than the swing bridge at Klevendeich near Hamburg.

Like with truss bridges in North America, the Munksbrück features welded connections, where the truss parts are bolted together by hand, supported by gusset plates. They were the forerunners to truss bridges with riveted connections, where the truss parts are slid into the gusset plates like a person wearing a glove and then bolted shut. Most of the truss bridges in Europe were built using this system of connections until the 1920s when riveted connections were introduced. Most truss bridges today are molded together offsite before sliding it into place.

Contrary to the tire tracks left on the bridge and the wear and tear, this bridge was restored in 2019. According to the engineering firm Grassl, the abutments were rebuilt, mimicking the original ones when it was built in 1886. Furthermore, the bridge itself was restored, in-kind. This means truss parts were sandblasted , strengthened and then repainted to protect them from corrosion. Some parts were most likely replaced in the process. Furthermore, a new wooden decking was installed which includes a drainage mechanism where the water is drained into the canal. The bridge was never widened, which means the one-lane bridge restriction was left in place. Based on my observation during our visit in 2021, road-users were paying attention to the oncoming traffic to ensure that those who have the right-of-way can use it. In American standards, it would be considered impossible for today’s bridges must have a minimum of three lanes- two for cars and one for pedestrians and sidewalks. A total of at least 35 feet in width, which puts the remaining truss bridges in service in danger of being replaced; the trusses sent to the recycling centers for reuse. One of the caveats I have as an American is when the bridge wobbles.
From an American bridge building perspective, it would call for an immediate replacement for a crossing must sit still when something crosses it. However if one does the homework correctly, he/she will find that a truss bridge vibration is normal as it undergoes regular stress caused by loads going across it. It’s just a mere question of how much of a load the bridge can tolerate. Yet from a neutral perspective, one needs to check and ensure that no damage is done to the diagonal beams or better yet, havea weight limit to ensure only light vehicles can cross the bridge. After all, a concrete bridge, built in the 1960s is located just a kilometer away from the bridge, clearly visible from the truss bridge.

There is very little information about this bridge except to say that it is the second crossing currently in service. The bridge is located only 200 meters away from a nearby restaurant that bears the same name. Unfortunately because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the restaurant is out of business, having been closed for quite some time. Likewise, many restaurants in this region has born the brunt of the epidemic for 70% of the restaurants located outside communities, like Dagebüll, Husum and Niebüll have shuttered because of Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions. As long as the epidemic exists, the way of life will be restricted unless we be active in our efforts to contain and defeat it. This includes getting the shot and even the boosters that are and will continue to be available. But it also making some fundamental changes in terms of our travel habits, such as reducing capacity at public events and on flights. The less is more approach cannot come at a better time than now. Already Schleswig-Holstein is leading the pack in these aspects and more and it is hoped that other states in Germany, as well as other countries, such as the US will follow suit. If in doubt, ask the politicians in Kiel. They will show you the path.

The (now shuttered) Restaurant bearing the bridge’s name.


But once the epidemic is over, perhaps places like this restaurant will reopen. If that is a case, it makes for a perfect stop to enjoy the meal and see the bridge. The Munksbrück Bridge is one diamond that one has to see while in the region where the Halligen Islands are located. It has maintained its structural integrity, even more so with its recent facelift. As long as the bridge is properly maintained and drivers pay attention to the other man on the (opposite end of the) bridge, the structure will remain in service for generations to come. It’s a trip that was not regrettable and is recommended to everyone, pontist or non-pontist.



Author’s note: I’m looking for more information on this bridge’s history, especially in terms of its builder. It’s in connection with the bridge book I’m compiling on Schleswig-Holstein’s bridges. For more information, click here. My contact info is here. Thanks in advance for your help and happy bridgehunting, folks.




Mystery Bridge Nr. 158: The Missing Bridge at Hemenswarft

Approximately one kilometer east of Südwesthörn along the North Sea Coast in Schleswig-Holstein is a missing bridge. The bridge is located behind the vacation home complex , Haus Hemenswarft, a combination of vacation home complex with amneties, including playground. One can see the missing piers on both sides of the stream Alte Sielzug, a waterway that empties into the North Sea but is regulated by a nearby dam at Südwesthörn. Even from the bike trail Am Seedeich, one can see the piers.

I tried to focus in on one of the piers with my Canon EOS250 camera, and it reveals that both piers were narrow, which means the bridge was probably used for pedestrians and cyclists. The width of the bridge is most likely between two and three meters. This means the most likely bet is that a beam bridge had existed because this bridge type fulfills the criteria of accommodating peds and bikers while maintaining the maximum width of the bridge. It is unlikely that other bridge types, such as arch, truss or even a covered bridge would fit over the pier unless there were additional angle supports supporting the (extended) deck. A suspension bridge or even a cable-stayed bridge would be pushing the limit for one could construct a tower and support the decking with cables, but these towers would have to be narrow but not in the way that a person cannot cross the bridge. Furthermore, it would have to accommodate the high winds and the rising and lowering tides- both are typical of the North Sea.

Nevertheless, the type of bridge is the first of the questions we have about this crossing. Even though the piers appear to be 40-50 years old, judging by their modern shapes and the material of concrete used, the question focuses on when exactly was the bridge built and by whom. And last but not least, why was the bridge removed? Because the waters of the Alte Sielzug, like the North Sea, is really salty, there is a chance that the salt ate away at the materials used for the bridge, thus making the bridge too dangerous to use because of its potential of structural failure, resulting in its removal. The road leading to the bridge has been abandoned for some time, primarily because of this route that is now being used.

To sum up:

  1. Which type of bridge was this built?
  2. When was the bridge built and by whom?
  3. What were the dimensions of the bridge?
  4. When and why way the bridge removed.

And for that, you now have the podium and know what to do in case you know more about this bridge. 🙂 Good luck and happy bridgehunting, folks.



Mystery Bridge Nr. 157: The Oldest (and Unusual) Bridge in Husum, Germany

In Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest known bridge in the state can be found in the town of Schmalfeld in the district of Segeberg, located in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1785 and was in service for 198 years before it was bypassed and converted into a bike trail crossing. It is one of only a handful of arch bridges that are known to exist in the northernmost state in Germany.

Source: Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Many arch bridges have gone unnoticed during the surveys of historic bridges in the last half decade, some of which deserve some sort of recognition.

The Schiffsbrücke in Husum is one of them. The bridge spans the Mühlenau at Zingeldamm near the Schiffsfahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping) and is the last crossing before the river empties into the harbor- right after the crossing. There’s next to no information on the bridge except for a couple dates to pass along to it. The first is in the picture above, which has a date of 1858 with the letter F on it.

Husum was part of the kingdom of Frisia, a region which stretched from southern Denmark, all the way to northeastern Netherlands, all along the North Sea coast and includes the islands in the Halligen region. The first known existence came in during the Roman Empire and it was once a regional powerhouse until the 16th Century, when it was split up. The German portion of Frisia, including Husum, became Uthlande, which later became part of Denmark until after the War of 1864, which resulted in German annexation. It is possible that given the Danish crown on the insignia, that Denmark had recognized Husum as Frisian, thus allowing for the language and culture to continue thriving. Yet we need more information to confirm these facts and to answer the question of why we have this insignia.

While the insignia states it was built in 1858, the informational board located on Zingeldamm stated otherwise, as it claimed that the bridge was built in 1871. Where the information came from is unknown but as original insignias on bridges are known to be the most reliable source of information to determine its construction date, there are two possibilities behind these two conflicting dates:

  1. The information is proven false because of a lack of records and thus historians may have assumed the date without taking a closer look at the bridge.
  2. The bridge may have been rebuilt after it was destroyed but the original brick railings, arch and insignia were retained and restored to provide a historic taste and conformity to Husum’s thriving city center and adjacent harbor.

Much of Husum survived unscathed during World War II as it used to serve as a naval port for the Nazis until its relocation to Flensburg in the district of Mürwik in 1943. Its only scar was a concentration camp near the town of Schwesing, where prisoners were used to build a wall to keep the waters of the North Sea out. The camp only existed for a few months in 1944, yet atrocities committed there could not be ignored and even an investigation into the camp took place in the 1960s. The city center, with its historic brick buildings dating back to the 17th century, has mainly remained in tact with only a couple minor alterations over the past 75 years, which means Husum has retained its historic architecture making it an attractive place to visit. The Schiffsbrücke represents that historic character that belongs to Husum’s past.

Unique feature of Schiffsbrücke is its wall. Husum lies on the North Sea coast and has its Flut and Ebbe (high and low tide). To keep the waters of the North Sea out of the Mühlenau, the wall is hoisted up to the keystone of the arch span. Because the Mühlenau is a “sweet water” river, this is done to protect the flora and fauna that exists in the river and are reliant on fresh water. Other than that feature, the bridge and its unique brick railings and insignia is one of the most unique and ornamental arch bridges in the state. Yet its mystery behind the construction date and the engineer behind the bridge and wall system makes it a bridge that one should research more on to find out its history.

And with that, it is your turn. What do you known about the Schiffsbrücke regarding its history, and which date would you lean towards- 1858 or 1871?

Feel free to place your comments on the Chronicles, either directly or via social media.



Author’s Note:

This bridge article is in connection with a book project on the Bridges of Schleswig-Holstein that has restarted since the author’s return. Click here to look at the details and feel free to contribute some information on the project. Happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤



BHC Newsflyer: 29 May, 2021

Pruitt Bridge in Newton Co., AR. Source: HABS/HAER/HALS


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Rader Hochbrücke (aka Europabrücke) in Rendsburg to be replaced

Oblique view of Europebruecke near Rendsburg. Photo taken in May 2011


The days of the tallest and longest bridge in Schleswig-Holstein are about to be numbered. The Rader Hochbrücke is a multiple span cantilever deck plate girder viaduct that spans the Baltic-North Sea Canal, carrying the Motorway 7 between Flensburg and Kiel. It’s also known as the Europabrücke because the motorway, which is the longest in Germany, connects Denmark (and subsequentially, Scandanavia) with Austria (and other parts of southern and eastern Europe) and also is one of the most heavily-travelled bridges in the state. The 1491-meter long bridge is so heavily travelled that cracks, rust and other ailments are showing on the almost half-century old viaduct, which has a main span of 271 meters and a height of nearly 60 meters. The viaduct has only four lanes of traffic, which makes it functionally obsolete due to high traffic congestion on the bridge. Smoke and other ailments from the ships passing underneath have added to the misery to the bridge.

Therefore, planning is underway to replace the entire viaduct with a brand new one. Beginning in 2022, crews will construct one half of the bridge which will be used temporarily for motorway traffic upon ist completion. Once traffic is diverted onto that span, the old viaduct will be demolished and in its place, the second half of the new bridge will be built. When the new bridge is completed by 2027, the structure will carry six lanes of traffic in total- three in each direction.

Unique about the new bridge, as you will see in the illustration below, is that the piers will be V-shaped and the cantilever design will be similar to that of the 1972 structure. In other words, the newer bridge will be fancier than the structure at present. It’s a win-win situation for the region of Rendsburg, which prides itself of its beloved High Bridge and Rail Loop, for two reasons:

  1. There will be relief in terms of traffic in and around the city, reducing congestion and diverting unnecessary travel away from the city and
  2. The city will be greeted with a unique bridge that will be appealing to tourists and bridgehunters alike. It will be not only modern but also unique.

And with that, a film on this project, courtesy of DEGES:


Even though the Motorway will remain open to traffic, construction will hinder traffic due to the machinery at the site. As a shortcut, you can take the Motorway 215 to Kiel, then follow Highway B76 to Schleswig via Eckernförde, crossing the Prince Heinrich Bridge that spans the Canal. Another alternative would feature taking the Motorway 23 along the North Sea coast from Hamburg. This changes to Highway B 5 after Heide. At Husum, follow Highway B 200 to Flensburg.

The Chronicles will keep you posted on the latest on this project.


BHC Photo of the Week Nr. 114- Paying Homage to an Old Friend

This week’s Pic of the Week pays homage to an old friend. When I first visited the Lindaunis Schlei Bridge in 2011, I was with the bike. The combination Schaper through truss bridge with a bascule span, which was built in 1927, was in an open position, with boats going underneath the structure. I only was able to get the southern end of the bridge and could not get much of the inside portion of the truss span because of the long line of cars wanting to cross enroute to Flensburg. As this bridge has a combination steel road decking and railroad tracks, one could not afford to lose attention to the road, without losing control of the bike and falling, while risking an accident with a line of cars.  Despite this, I had a chance to get some shots and filmed the structure as the draw span was lowering. You can have a look at the bridge’s history by clicking here.

Fast forward to 2020. There were many reasons for revisiting the bridge, but there were two that stuck out as the key factors in making that decision. The first was after having traveled for 11 hours on the motorway to Flensburg for vacation- seven of which were while in traffic jams, I had decided on taking the backroads home to Saxony- first by stopping in Schwerin for a day trip and then travel to the Dömitz Railroad monument the following day, while passing through Saxony-Anhalt before making it home in a total of nine hours‘ time.  The second was that this bridge is currently being replaced. The German Railways is replacing the structure with one that provides two separate draw bridge spans- one for the railroad line and one for vehicular traffic. At the time of this post, work has already started on the new bridge, which will be built alongside the old structure. That bridge will remain in service for another two years before it is eventually decommissioned and lastly, removed.  We don’t know if parts of it will be kept and used as a monument.

With those two reasons in mind, we decided to take the road last traveled.  From Flensburg, we needed only 40 minutes along the backroads, which were curvy and narrow with few chances to pull off in case of car problems.  After passing through Süderbarup we drove through Lindaunis, which was on the north side of the Schlei, before approaching the bridge.

And as you can see in the pics, it made a lasting difference. After revisiting the docks where I took my last photo in 2011, we had to wait for 20 minutes as the drawbridge span lifted. With me at the wheel, my wife took the opportunity to get some shots, both while stopping but also as we crossed the bridge when the draw span finally came down.  The results were getting the close-ups of the tender’s station and the draw spans, but also getting some tunnel shots of the bridge as we crossed it.

It was a trip worth remembering because we didn’t have to worry about traffic jams and aggressive drivers. It was a relaxing drive nonetheless and one that I cannot regret not taking because it was a road les staken. And if the bridge is to go then not without bidding farewell first.  I just hope that others will do the same, let alone come up with a plan to keep part of the span for it served the Schlei and Schleswig-Holstein well, despite the jams, the traffic lights and its narrowness.  If this was our last good-bye, then it’s one worth remembering.

Note: All but the top photo were taken by my wife Birgit. ❤ 🙂

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 113

Continuing on my series on the bridges in Schleswig-Holstein 2020, we take you to the peninsula of Nordstrand, located near Husum on the North Sea coast. We found this unique bridge at the Restaurant am Heverstrom in the Village of Süderhafen. It spans a road that leads into the village and it carries pedestrian traffic connecting the restaurant with the highway that bypasses the village. On the opposite end is another eatery and a sports club. The bridge is unique because of its wooden design, including the trusses, but also for its stairway, which zig-zags itsway up from the parking lot below, which is reserved for guests of this restaurant as well as a pair of bed and breakfasts. By foot, it’s 20 minutes away from a pottery market, the Töperei Südermarkt, where all ceramics are handmade, using the caricatures typical of the North Sea (seagulls, light houses, shells, sheep, sail boats, and the like) and a grey background. If you are finding a high quality gift for a friend or loved one, this is the place.

While the bridge also includes a terrace on the restaurant side, a couple questions came to mind: 1. Why build a bridge over a road when you can build an observation tower with eating area for guest to look at the flut and ebbe of the North Sea’s waves? After all, the restaurant and bridge are right next to the dike which keeps the water out in case of a Schietsturm.

And 2. Who was the person behind this unique construction? Let alone when was it built? Judging by its age and upkeep, the bridge is about 20 years old. Still, wooden structures can last over 70 years. Should they maintain it well, it could be a historic monument in about 50 years or so.

And as for the restaurant Am Heverstrom, if you want a restaurant that offers a local menu- foods typical of the North Sea region, this would be the place to go. We stopped there after doing a Wattwanderung (Watt-Walking) along the North Sea coast and were treated to a warm, friendly environment, combined with Labskaubs (a soup), Sauerfleisch with roasted potatoes, and plates of fish. Add a local beer in the Flensburger and a local desert and you have yourselves a typical meal in Schleswig-Holstein. It was a perfect meal during which a Schietsturm (rain with high winds) passed through and we enjoyed it until the sun came out and we were forced to leave. Still, a day on the North Sea is like a full two-week vacation- with fresh air and relaxation, while embracing the local culture and thoughts about retiring up north. 🙂 ❤

Wartime Bridge Story: Prinz Heinrich Brücke in Kiel


Wartime Bridge Series

Film clip

These are the first bridges you will see while biking along the Baltic- North Sea Canal: the twin spans featuring the Olympia Bridge on the left and the Prince Heinrich Bridge on the right. The bridges are located at Highway B-503 at the entrance of the locks at the Baltic Sea side and appear to be totally identical.  Yet the Olympia Bridge was built in 1972 and the Prince Heinrich was built in 1996. It is the one on the right that was a successor to the original Prince Heinrich Bridge. The bridge was built by Friedrich Voss in 1912 and featured a single span continuous truss bridge with trestle approaches on each side. The bridge lasted for 80 years until it was torn down in 1992.

According to a new documentary by German public TV station NDR however, had it not been for the courage of two people, Heinrich Magnus Ivens and Hermann Storm, the bridge would have succumbed much earlier and there would have been a new structure built much earlier than the Olympia Bridge in 1972.  On May 5, 1945, with the war long since a lost cause, seven Nazi soldiers were carrying explosives to the bridge in an attempt to bring down the structure into the canal. At the same time, British troops were marching into Kiel, where residents and soldiers, tired of all the fighting, surrendered unconditionally.  Desparate to avoid the inevitable, the soldiers at the foot of the bridge tried to set up the bombs. On the bridge itself, however, the British troops were negotiating with the locals to end the war.  One of the two negotiated with the troops, the other stopped the troops from performing the act and thus saved the bridge from its doom.

The rest was history. Even though the war was lost and the troops that were stopped cried at the end, Germany capitulated to the allied troops two days later on May 7th, 1945. With that, a piece of history that would have succumbed with the rest of Kiel was saved and would later become a major crossing over the canal going north towards Flensburg, Denmark and all of Scandanavia, even when a twin crossing was added and the bridge itself, a victim of severe corrosion plus wear and tear would be replaced.

A documentary, which features a summary of the event plus a film provides you with the details of the event. Even though it is in German, the pictures and interview presented in the film will tell a story.  Click onto the link below:,zeitreise2668.html

Furthermore, you can read up on the history of that plus the bridges in a link on the Bridges of Kiel-Holtenau, where this bridge is located. There you will find all the infomration on the crossings, both past and present, including the neighboring Levansau Bridge and some of the crossings along the Alt Eider Canal. The information has been integrated into the bridge tours written in English.


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BHC Newsflyer: 20 March, 2020

Padma Bridge in Bangladesh: One of many bridge projects on hold due to the Corona Virus. Photo taken by Afzalhossainbd / CC BY-SA (

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Pennsylvania suspends all bridge building projects

International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie. Photo taken by Mark Yurina in 2018

Michigan no longer accepting cash at toll bridges

Stillwater Lift Bridge. Photo taken in 2009

Reopening Celebrations at Stillwater Lift Bridge Delayed

Opening of Dublin Suspension Bridge Delayed

Sagar Bridge over the Neisse. Photo by Tnemtsoni / CC BY (

Traffic Jam causes problems for Oder-Neisse River crossings

Virus Delays Construction of Zuari Bridge in India

Peljesac Bridge under construction. Photo by: Ma▀▄Ga / CC BY (

Delays in China-Partnership Bridge Projects in Croatia and Bangladesh

schlei 1
Photo taken in 2011

Update on the Lindaunis-Schlei Bridge Replacement Project- bridge now closed to vehicular traffic.


bhc est 2010