Helgoland town consists of three parts: the “upper land” (Oberland) on the plateau, the “lower land” (Unterland) on the Southern and Eastern shore around the port and, on the step halfway, the “middle land” (Mittelland).
Unterland has the port, the authorities and the busy shopping streets with loads of duty-free shops for day visitors. Oberland has a more residential character and a quieter feel although it gets its share of tourism, too. Mittelland only came into existence through the bomb detonations of 1947 that blew away a chunk of the rock in the South and created a terrace halfway up. Mittelland is of least interest to short-term visitors, there is a large clinic and a couple of houses, that’s about it.
Fondest memory: You will encounter these names everywhere, so it is good to know what they mean.
Surely not a "favourite" of anyone on the island... The ragged surface of the once smooth Oberland tells of World War II. It has been shaped by countless bomb craters. After decades of fights, occupations and returns the Brits, who had occupied Helgoland in World War II, planned to set an end to the German lookout in the middle of the North Sea, too close to their shores for their taste. The plan was blowing up the rock once and for all. A huge amount of explosives was strategically distributed all over the island, in the bunkers and catacombs, and ignited from a warship out at sea.
However, the rock withstood. The explosions have left their marks, the once smooth meadows of Oberland have been turned into a rugged series of bomb craters. In the South, a large chunk of rock was blown away to create a terrace at medium height, which is now called Mittelland.
The island had been evacuated in 1945 prior to the occupation. The community of Helgolanders sought refuge on the mainland, but they stayed in touch and hoped to return some day. Britain refused. In winter 1950 two young guys tried a private reconquista, went over to the island and raised the flags of Germany and Europe. They were driven away after two weeks, but their demonstration brought international attention to the Helgoland question. On March 1, 1952 Helgoland was finall restituted to Germany and reopened to its former inhabitants. March 1 is still a holiday on the island.
Everywhere on the island you’ll see the flag and the colours: green, red and white. There is an old verse:
Grün ist das Land,
rot ist die Kant,
weiß ist der Strand -
das sind die Farben von Helgoland.
Green is the land,
red is the edge,
white is the beach -
those are the colours of Helgoland.
The use of the flag has a lot to do with local pride, the constant quarels between Germany and Britain about possession of the island in history, and having lost their homeland twice during the World Wars.
Walking on the island of Helgoland leaves a strange thought in your head. How the hell did this red rock came to be. And indeed, many geologists are still figuring out exactly the how and why this single monolit is sticking out above the Northsea-water. The waves beating on it's sides and even the British once tried to blow it up by heavy bombing (WW II).
Fondest memory: Our friends from Cuxhaven that always welcome us with wide open arms in their environment. We know them from wintersport in Austria and already go a long time back.