Newcastle: History and Modernity

Since this week the pubs in England have reopened, at least outside, and people in Newcastle are already celebrating in a good mood in beer gardens and on pub terraces, even with a cool North Sea breeze.

The lively student city is known for its party people, who can finally meet again for a Newcastle Brown Ale.


Beyond the pub and club scene, England's northernmost metropolis is shaped by the River Tyne, which is crossed by seven bridges. The coolest is the Millennium Bridge made of two boldly curved arches - if it is tipped down, passers-by and cyclists can reach the other bank of the river almost at ground level. If it is inclined upwards, ships can pass through below.

For history buffs, head to Newcastle Castle on the north bank, once a bulwark in the wars between England and Scotland.

Art fans are drawn to the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art on the south bank - Britain's largest collection of modern art outside of London, exhibited in the huge silos of an old industrial mill.

It is probably due to the British humor that the house is named after the Baltic Sea, although the North Sea is right on Newcastle's doorstep.

Hans Schloemer

Source: WORLD infographic

Edinburgh: Bagpipes and Harry Potter


Edinburgh is decoratively located between the North Sea inlet, the Firth of Forth and the mountain Arthur's Seat, half big city, half idyll, neatly divided into Old and New Town.

The Royal Mile forms its heart with the castle, regional parliament and Holyrood Palace.

At the foot of the castle, the symbol of Edinburgh and home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, during the day a Scot almost always stands in a kilt and elicits sounds from his bagpipes that some perceive as music, others as noise.

Scottish brass music: bagpipers in kilts, the old town in the background

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Scotland's capital has always been inspiring, which is why it has produced tons of writers, such as Robert Burns, Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh and of course “Treasure Island” author Robert Louis Stevenson.

His words "No stars twinkle brighter than the lights of the streets of Edinburgh" are carved in stone in front of the Writers' Museum.


Not to forget JK Rowling, who wrote her first “Harry Potter” volume in “Nicolson's”, which is now called “Spoon” and is an important stop on the Potter Trail across Edinburgh.

Stefanie Bisping

Bergen: Lots of rain and Hanseatic

Bergen's location between mountains and fjords is simply captivating.

Whoever conquers the local mountain Floyen quickly with the funicular railway, sees the forest around the city, mostly a ship of the Hurtigruten fleet in the harbor, the fish market and the old Hanseatic quarter at the foot of the railway.

The 60 wooden buildings of Bryggen, the former trading post office, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Painted white, yellow and red, most of them are still dedicated to trade.

One, built in 1704, is the seat of the Hanseatic Museum, which, with its original interior, tells of the life of German merchants on the Norwegian south-west coast.

World Heritage: Bergen's historic Hanseatic Quarter

Source: Getty Images


Another magnet is the villa “Trollhügel” of the composer Edvard Grieg.

The Steinway grand piano and the carpet on which the bride and groom Grieg kneeled during their marriage vows have been preserved, as has their composing hermitage by the water.

Bergen's only negative point: With 248 rainy days, the city is more wet than any other in Europe - so an umbrella and Friesennerz are an essential part of your luggage.

Stefanie Bisping

Oslo: Lots of nature and culture

If you ask the inhabitants of Oslo what they particularly appreciate about their city, they usually answer: “The nature all around!” They love the archipelago in the Oslo fjord, which they cross with boats in summer, the thousands of kilometers of hiking trails around the capital and in winter the 200 kilometers of cross-country trails that are illuminated at night.

Everything full of boats: The Osloers love the fjord on their doorstep

Source: Getty Images / Blom UK

Oslo is not as big and cool as Copenhagen, not as sophisticated as Stockholm.

And yet Scandinavia's northernmost capital has changed - mainly because it has opened up to the water, for example with the new opera house, which looks like an iceberg on the harbor.

The museums are also a reason to travel - in the Viking Ship Museum you can see the world's best preserved wooden companions of the Northmen, in the Edvard Munch Museum you can immerse yourself in several versions of his masterpiece “The Scream”.

And in 2022, the new National Museum, Northern Europe's largest and most modern art temple, will open right on the fjord.

If you then stroll through Grünerlökka, an old building district with Berlin flair, you notice: Oslo is the new high in the north.

Per Hinrichs

Aalborg: Herring and Akvavit

Storm surges are feared on the North Sea, and the sea repeatedly steals a piece of land.

In 1825 a huge flood broke through the headland that had previously separated the Limfjord from the sea, since then the water has been a branch of the North Sea - and Aalborg is directly connected to it.

The ancient city, which was first mentioned in 1040 under the name Alabu, which was minted on a coin and means "small river", has nothing to do with eel.

Other North Sea residents, on the other hand, play an important role: the herring, which you can even fish directly in Aalborg Harbor, and the mussels farmed in the Limfjord.

Trademark: Akvavit made Aalborg world famous

Source: picture alliance / imageBROKER

Both are among the Jutland delicacies that you should definitely try here, and afterwards there is of course the famous Aalborg Akvavit with a note of caraway and dill.

Sönke Kruger

Westerland: place of longing on the beach of Sylt


We simply ignore the fact that Westerland ceased to exist as an independent city in 2008 because it was incorporated into the new municipality of Sylt as a district.

Because Westerland still offers a city feeling, of course, and this directly on a kilometer-long sandy beach, from which the view extends into the infinity of the North Sea.

It is a place of longing, and it is not without reason that the punk band “Die Ärzte” dedicated the hymn “I want to go back to Westerland” to it in 1988.

The place does not have the rural charm of Kampen, Keitum or Rantum, but it is not a village either, but an urban center with a promenade, seaside resort architecture and the revamped shopping streets Friedrichstrasse and Strandstrasse.

Soak up the sun: beach chairs on the promenade in Westerland

Source: Getty Images

You live in boutique and design hotels, and the refurbished apartment blocks of the 1970s have long since ceased to be a concrete brutalist flaw, but have been considered hip and chic.

Another plus point: Westerland has a train station in the middle of the city - perfect for holidaymakers who do not (no longer) want to travel by car.

Everything you need is within walking distance, including the beach chair, which you can of course book online, as it should be in a modern city.

Jörn Lauterbach

Husum: a colorful city on the North Sea

Theodor Storm called Husum the “gray city by the sea”.

During the writer's lifetime (1817–1888), Husum may have looked like this on rough days - today, however, the pretty town is colorful;

even when it rains there is a lot going on.

Typical visitors include guests from nearby North Sea resorts such as St. Peter-Ording, who like to come when there is no beach weather.

You can also meet many cyclists here, after all, the North Sea Cycle Route runs right through Husum.

Husum's harbor: houses and boats are painted in friendly colors

Source: pa / imageBROKER / SeaTops

Many buildings at the harbor are painted in a strikingly friendly way, and the alley in which the Storm Museum is located is particularly beautifully planted.

The seven shrimp cutters stationed in Husum are not gray, but are painted blue and white, and the crab rolls that you get everywhere are appetizing pink.

Husum's castle with its interesting exhibition on German-Danish history has red walls, and every March the castle park glows wonderfully purple thanks to the four million crocuses planted there.

Storm's Husum poem urgently needs to be rewritten.

Jörn Lauterbach

Bremerhaven: Climate House and Zoo by the Sea

For a long time, Bremerhaven was considered the poor house in the Bremen poor house, and anyone who looks at the social data - and the less attractive neighborhoods - can still understand that.

Nevertheless, the city, which you shouldn't write with an inland F, is quite attractive, especially on the water, and popular with tourists.

Refurbished harbor mile: The Klimahaus in Bremerhaven offers a world of experiences on the subject of weather and climate change

Source: PA / blickwinkel / S.



Some far-sighted investments by the Bremen Senate have ensured this: For example, a beautifully located former gravel parking lot on the dike has been turned into a museum mile with the climate house and the emigrant house, the zoo by the sea and the German Maritime Museum are also within walking distance.

Former harbor basins have been converted into catering and hotel areas, and the city has received a new landmark with the “Atlantic Hotel Sail City”, which looks like a sailing boat.

The polar expeditions of the Alfred Wegener Institute also start from Germany's largest North Sea city - if one day the solution to the climate crisis should be found, Bremerhaven will appear in the commemorative publication.

Jörn Lauterbach

North: brick in the old town and windmills

Many holidaymakers only know the north from changing trains: those who are on their way to the East Frisian islands of Juist or Norderney leave the train or car at the port, take one of the ferries and leave the city on the dike behind.

A mistake!

Because the “most north-westerly city on the German mainland” (self-promotion) is definitely worth a short break.

During the war, the brick old town was largely undamaged; most of the town houses in East Frisia are based here, based on Dutch models.

The proximity to Holland is also evident in the three historic windmills in the middle of the city.

Almost like in Holland: North in East Frisia

Source: picture alliance / Bildagentur-online / McPhoto-Schol

In the tea museum you can find out everything about East Friesland's centuries-old tea culture, which you can experience live in Nordens tea rooms with crackling Kluntjes (as the rock sugar is called here).

There is of course also fresh air, a sandy beach and waves, not for nothing is Norden (with the district Norddeich) an official North Sea spa.

It couldn't be more beautiful and varied on a North Sea island.

Per Hinrichs

The Hague: purveyors to the court and ferris wheel on the beach

The Hague is not only the only big city on the North Sea with dunes and miles of sandy beach right on the doorstep.

It is also the seat of the government and parliament of the Netherlands, so it is full of representative buildings and palaces.

One of them, Paleis Noordeinde, is still the workplace of a real king, but unfortunately only visible from the outside.


You can get closer to the monarchy on a “royal tour” offered by the tourist office on foot or by bike.

Anyone who wants to know what they eat “at Königs” can buy a

haagse poffâh

, a

currant bread

with almond paste and nuts

, from the purveyor to the court, 't Bakkertje, the city's oldest bakery


It's all about: Ferris wheel on the pier of The Hague

Source: Getty Images

Culture fans can spend whole days in the great museums: The art museum, for example, houses the world's largest Mondrian collection, and the world's largest cylindrical circular painting, measuring 120 by 18 meters, can be seen in Panorama Mesdag.

It shows The Hague Beach in the suburb of Scheveningen as it looked in 1881: almost deserted, with all sorts of sailing boats and flotsam on the shore.

Today it is Holland's most popular seaside resort, equipped with beach clubs and bars, beach volleyball fields and a surfing village - and a 400 meter long pier with a Ferris wheel on which you can take the most unusual city tour on the entire North Sea coast.

Sönke Kruger

Antwerp: fries and diamonds

Antwerp cannot offer a direct view of the North Sea, but the Belgian port city is directly connected to the sea via the kilometer-wide Scheldt.

When there is not a pandemic, cruise ships regularly dock right next to the historic center, and the Grote Markt can be reached in five minutes.

With its magnificent façades in Gothic and Renaissance styles, it is a must for any city tour, as is the Rubens House - the home and studio of the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.

Fortunately, Antwerp has managed to fill its many historic houses with fresh life.

Everywhere there are cafes, galleries, unusual shops, and if you are there on Sundays, you will experience a particularly colorful flea market right in the center, where, in addition to antiques, there are nice junk and the best Belgian fries, which are always fried twice.

Typically Belgian: Double-fried fries

Source: Getty Images

If you are looking for a special souvenir, you will find it in Antwerp's diamond district: You can get 0.02-carat clunkers for less than 50 euros.

But if you want, you can also invest 50,000 euros.

Jörn Lauterbach

Dunkirk: soldiers and pirates

When it comes to Dunkirk, most people think of “Dunkirk” by Christopher Nolan, the blockbuster movie that tells of “Operation Dynamo”, in which French and British soldiers were freed from the city surrounded by Germans during World War II.

Little known in this country is the raw beauty of France's northernmost city, characterized by miles of sandy beaches, a huge dune landscape, many cycling and hiking trails and the beach suburb of Malo-les-Bains.

This is where the film was shot, here every January 1st, the locals jump in disguise for the traditional New Year's swim in the ice-cold North Sea, here you can sweep along the coast in a sand yacht at speeds of up to 130 km / h.

Into the cold water: New year's swimmers in disguise on the beach in Dunkirk

Source: AFP via Getty Images / THOMAS LO PRESTI

Dunkerque, the French name, is dominated by the 13th century belfry bell tower (30 meters high) (beautiful view over the city and the sea) and the tower of the liar.

In the 15th century, on stormy nights, the supposed lighthouse was used to lure foreign ships onto sandbanks, which were then plundered.

There is a first-class selfie target for pirate fans: Dunkirk erected a magnificent monument in the city center in honor of the privateer Jean Bart, who was authorized by King Louis XIV to write letters of piracy.

Hans Schloemer

Where the Corona emergency brake is now being pulled - and where you can go on vacation

Even before the national emergency brake is adopted, some federal states are rushing ahead: regionally, night curfews are already in place.

Meanwhile in Eckernförde you can go on vacation again.

Source: WELT / Nadine Mierdorf