Originally constructed between 1887 and 1895 and named in honor of Kaiser Wilheim, the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee Kanal), which links the North Sea at Brunsbuttel (near Hamburg) with the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau, is the world’s busiest artificial waterway. Its initial purpose was to facilitate movement of the German fleet. Although the canal is just a distance of about 62 miles (100 kilometers) in length, it saves roughly 250 nautical miles (460 kilometers) for ships and small or vessels moving between the two bodies of water. Entrance is gained at a lock at either end, with small boats and ships often sharing passage. Expanded to a depth of 36 feet (11 meters) and a depth of 328 feet (100 meters), the canal accommodates fairly large vessels, although megaships and tankers must take the longer route around the Jutland Peninsula.
Trivia about the Kiel Canal:
- It took 9,000 workers eight years to dig the Kiel Canal.
- Though originally named the Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal, Germans used to refer to it as the Nord-Ostsee Kanal.
- During 2015, 88 ships passed through the Kiel Canal every day – a total of 32,091 vessels for the year.
- Though there are two locks in the canal (at either end), these were designed mainly to protect the structure against movements of the tides.