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Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 240,832 (June 2014).

Kiel lies approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centres of Germany. For instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, which is the biggest sailing event in the world. The Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Kiel.

Kiel has also been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy’s Baltic fleet, and continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding centre. Located in Kiel is the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) (de) at the University of Kiel. Kiel is an important sea transport hub, thanks to its location on the Kiel Fjord (Kieler Förde) and the busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal). A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway, Russia, and other countries operate from here. Moreover, today Kiel harbour is an important port of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea.

Kiel was one of the founding cities of original European Green Capital Award in 2006. In 2005 Kiel’s GDP per capita was €35,618, which is well above Germany’s national average, and 159% of the European Union’s average.

Within Germany and parts of Europe, the city is known for its leading handball team, THW Kiel. The city is home to the University of Kiel (established in 1665).

The name of the city is most likely derived from the wedge form of its bay (Keil in German).

Population:  250 424 (2016)

Language

Some major languages spoken in Kiel include: Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, …

Currency

Euro

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Economy

Kiel’s economy is dominated by the service sector, transport and maritime industries. Kiel is also one of the major ports of the German Navy, and a leading centre of German high-tech military and civil shipbuilding. Kiel is the home of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, a shipyard founded in 1838 famed for its construction of submarines. HDW built the first German submarine Brandtaucher in 1850, and is today a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, the leading German group of shipyards.

Transport

Kiel is situated near an important pan-European motorway, the A 7, which connects northern Europe with central and southern Europe.

Kiel has a central station with hourly trains to Hamburg, Lübeck, Flensburg, and to Husum. Moreover, the Intercity Express (ICE) connects Kiel with Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, and Munich.

Kiel has public transport through the local company KVG, providing bus service within the city, Autokraft and Verkehrsbetriebe Kreis Plön providing regional bus service, and the Schlepp- und Fährgesellschaft Kiel, providing public transport on the fjord with ferries.

Kiel also has 8 regional train stations within the city proper,[28][29] which are connected with each other, the main rail station Kiel Hbf and other stations by regional trains, which can be used within the boundaries of the city with a normal bus ticket.

Kiel is a significant port for passenger and cargo shipping from Germany to Scandinavia, the Baltic States, and Russia. Passenger ferries operate to and from Gothenburg in Sweden (Stena Line, 13½ hours, daily), Oslo in Norway (Color Line, 19½ hours, daily), and Klaipėda in Lithuania (DFDS Lisco, 21 hours, 6 times per week). Cargo ferries operate from and to Saint Petersburg in Russia (DFDS Lisco, twice a week), and Kaliningrad in Russia (NSA, once a week).

The nearest international airport is Hamburg Airport, which is situated approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) to the south of Kiel. There is a shuttle bus service (KIELIUS) operating between Hamburg Airport and Kiel central station. There is also an airport at Lübeck.