Last modified: 2004-12-29 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | schleswig-holstein | helgoland | heligoland |
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by Jorge Candeias
Heligoland is an island in the North Sea, strategically placed vis-a-vis the mouths of the Weser, Elbe and Kiel Canal. Heligoland, previously part of Schleswig, was ceded by the Danes to Britain in 1814 as part of the post-Napoleonic settlements. In 1890, as a result of the Zanzibar Treaty, it was ceded to Germany in exchange for commercial rights in Zanzibar and annexed to Schleswig-Holstein (at that time part of Prussia).
Roy Stilling, 15 December 1995 and
Norman Martin, 30 May 1998
Heligoland is a small (1 sq km, pop. 1,650) island, with 61-meter-high cliffs, lying 70 km from the German mainland, formerly a strategic stronghold in the North Sea. A map of the island can be seen at the Heligoland official website (German text only). Heligoland is spelt Helgoland in German and formerly Heyligeland, i.e. "holy land". According to legend, on the island once stood a temple built for the Germanic god Fosite, who was awesome enough to keep the pirates away. Read more in this BerlinOnline article about Heligoland stamps.
Heligoland was occupied by the British in 1807 to use it as a base against Napoleonic continental Europe, and formally ceded to Britain by the Duke of Schleswig (and King of Denmark) in the Treaty of Kiel 14th January 1814, and given to Germany by the Treaty of Zanzibar, also called Treaty of Heligoland-Zanzibar, 10th August 1890. It was again occupied by the British from 8th May 1945 to 1st March 1952.
Santiago Dotor, 28 September 2000
by Jorge Candeias
Horizontal tricolor green-red-white. In use as local flag [since the 19th century] until the present.
Norman Martin, March 1998
Nowadays Heligoland's flag is green-red-white. The colours symbolize the island: the green land, the red cliffs and the white sand. It is flown by local vessels instead of the German flag and as a guest-flag on ships visiting the island. In 1990 there was a special edition of flags in respect of the 100th aniversary of the handover [from the British] but with an additional white "100" in the center.
Christian Meyer, 25 August 1998
A rhyme in local dialect says, "Grön is dat Land, rood is de Kant, witt is de Sand, dat is de Flagg vun't hillige Land", i.e. "green is the land, red is the cliff, white is the sand, that is the flag of our holy land".
Santiago Dotor, 26 September 2000