The most feared mythical figure in Schleswig-Holstein is “Blanker Hans”, who stands for the destructive forces of the sea. After all, the most northern of the federal states is bordered by two seas, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Since time immemorial, ship-building and fishing have been correspondingly important. Nowadays, however, the main source of income is the service industry, though tourism is also an important economic factor. The North Sea island of Sylt is a fashionable holiday destination. Kiel, the state capital and the Hanseatic city of Lübeck, now immortal thanks to Thomas Mann, vie for the status of most important city. Alongside Puttgarden they are the state’s most important ferry ports for the Scandinavia routes. Parallel to developments in Eastern Europe the state also benefits from the Baltic Sea economic region.
Surface area: 15,802 km2