Whales in Schleswig-Holstein


Whales are one of the most fascinating groups of animals on earth. Admired, feared or hunted by man, the whale has been found in culture, myths and religions of many peoples. Even today, hardly any animal group is anchored more firmly in the public consciousness than whales.

As surprising as it sounds: Some whales are native to the coastal waters of Schleswig-Holstein. The most common species is the harbour porpoise; the only whale native to the Baltic Sea. Many other species are casual visitors or vagrants in the North and Baltic Sea.

The exhibition "Whales in Schleswig-Holstein" presents, using 12 whale skeletons from the past 160 years, the diversity of life and the importance of whales in Schleswig-Holstein. But the exhibition also wants to tell stories: stories of whales, which are important to the history of science or to the history of Schleswig-Holstein.

It shows, among other things, a 14-meter long sperm whale stranded in Meldorf bay in 1980. As the largest toothed whale, it stands aside a second large whale, the skeleton of a young female blue whale, which stranded in 1881 off Sylt. It represents the largest vertebrate that has ever lived. A special feature is the skeleton of a bottle-nosed dolphin, which in the 1920s managed to swim through the locks into the –then called - Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal (today in German North-Baltic Sea Canal, or Kiel Canal) and thereby gained regional fame under the nickname “Kiel Canal swimmer”.

The exhibition is complemented by a presentation of the whale evolution, as well as wet preparations from young animals and a representation of the whale auditory system.

The exhibition is currently the most species rich exhibition of whales in Germany.