After two long years of waiting, this year, the Kieler Woche was finally back. 3 million people were walking around Kiellinie, watching sailing events, enjoying a beer in the Bavarian tent, water shows at the Bootshafen or one of the many free concerts. For a lot of students who moved to Kiel during Covid, including me, this was the first chance to experience the Kieler Woche.
Before visiting the Kieler Woche, I noticed that it was an anticipated events among my fellow students. I was excited myself, to find out what the KiWo (Kieler Woche) was all about. I asked a couple of students to share their Kieler Woche highlights. In this article you can read about what students love most about Kieler Woche and maybe also what they would criticize about it.
It all began in July 1882, when 20 yachts started for their first regatta in Kiel and therefore started the first Kieler Woche (Source). This year we celebrated the 128 KiWo, which nowadays is one of the biggest sailing events worldwide. There were over 3 million visitors this year and more than 46 nations and 4.000 sailors participated in the sailing event (Source).
But the Kieler Woche is so much more than just a sailing event, there were more than 2.000 events and around 500 concerts (Source).
Wide variety of events at Kieler Woche
When being asked what they like most about Kieler Woche, a very popular answer from students, was the variety of events. “In general I really enjoyed the wide variety of events and offers for all kinds of people and generations – poetry slam, Bavarian tent – there’s something for everybody.” (Celina, FH Kiel student)
For Awais, a student at FH Kiel, the Oktoberfest is nothing in comparison to the KiWo. “The Kieler Woche is just not as famous in Germany because the Oktoberfest in Bavaria is the most famous event. To be honest, I think it’s way worse than the KiWo. There is just so much to do: events, workshops and open airs – which are just so fun.”
Not only can you go to workshops, concerts or events but also for example to the KiWo’s own post office to send a postcard with a KiWo stamp. You want to get a special souvenir from the Kieler Woche? That’s also not a problem, how about a tattoo from one of the stands on Kielline.
“When you’re going to the Kielline in a group, you can find different events and stations all the time, therefore there is something for everybody.” (Levke, student at FH Flensburg)
The international market is on the “Rathausplatz”. Next to a stage, where the opening ceremony was held, you can find a great variety of food stands with international food.
The best so far for me was the international market, because you get to try a wide range of international foods at once. It was a lot of fun to taste different foods and it also seemed to me that there were international people working at the market.Celina – FH Kiel student
29 nations were represented on the Rathausplatz and offering their dishes. Why not try some Indian Samosas or some Belgian waffle while you’re there. Or for people who like to experiment, why not try a Finnish “Elch Burger” or an Australian “Kangaroo Burger”. Check out the culinary diversity on the international market in the video below.
“I really like the international market and the Kiellinie.” (Levke, student at FH Flensburg)
“There is something for every music taste”
Concerts are a big part of the Kieler Woche. You can find stages everywhere in the city and every stage has a distinct music style. Therefore, you could choose to listen to a new music style everyday and try to find your favorite KiWo stage. The best thing about it – every concert is free.
Woderkantfestival, Kiel Together – where today for example Andreas Henneberg is playing – there’s no better Techno. There’s something for every music taste. Junge Bühne, Radio-Bob-Bühne – everything’s great.Awais, FH Kiel student
Check out the different stages and concerts in the video below.
The whole city is a big festival
A couple of students also mentioned the general atmosphere in the city. Music playing on every corner, excited kids walking around and asking for another ride on the rollercoaster, people coming together and sitting by the Förde.
For Katharina that was something special: “The cool thing about Kieler Woche is, that the whole city is very lively and you can do something different every day.” (Katharina, student at FH Kiel).
Phil, student at FH Kiel also has childhood memories about the Kieler Woche: “When I was little, the KiWo was very exciting for me. Especially because the city was like a big carnival – it was like a fifth season.”
Is there anything not to like about Kieler Woche?
Even tough a lot is being offered by the Kieler Woche, not everybody is completely happy about the program. Phil for example is also critical of the Kieler Woche. “I would say that with the budget that the Kieler Woche has, it could book a way better cultural program and better events. But that’s just my point of view, the events just aren’t completely my taste.”
A lot of the program is designed to be liked by a wide audience. Some alternative and informational events however, could be a great addition to KiWo. The KiWo has a big platform that could be used for new talents, promote sustainability goals or represent more cultural diversity.
Before I visited the KiWo I engaged myself with their sustainability goals. Big events also always have a big responsibility to set up their events in a climate-friendly manner.
While the cup deposit system (Picture on the left of one of KiWo’s reusable cubs, Credits: Laura Hennies) is a great win, I saw more potential in the factors of waste separation and plastic reduction.
Next to reusable tablewear on the International Market, a lot of plastic was still being used for food stands on for example the Kielline, which lead to a lot of plastic waste. Furthermore, I only saw bins to separate residual waste and glass.
I would love to see more informational events about climate change, sustainability, protection of the oceans or other environment related events. Cooperations with e.g. the GEOMAR would be a great addition to the cultural program.