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Satellite image
Satellite image
Waters North Sea
Archipelago North Frisian Islands
Geographical location 54 ° 43 ′  N , 8 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 54 ° 43 ′  N , 8 ° 30 ′  E
Location of Föhr
length 12.5 km
width 8.5 km
surface 82.82 km²
Highest elevation Geest near Nieblum
13.2  m above sea level NHN
Residents 8248 (December 31, 2017)
100 inhabitants / km²
main place Wyk on Föhr

The island of Föhr ( North Frisian Feer , Danish Før ) belongs to the North Frisian Islands and the North Frisian District in Schleswig-Holstein . Föhr is the largest and most populous German island with no land connection.

The name Föhr and the Frisian equivalent Feer have been interpreted in many ways. Current etymological research assumes that the name Föhr has a maritime background. Another interpretation refers to Frisian feer "sterile".


Föhr is located southeast of Sylt , east of Amrum and north of the Halligen . It is the fifth largest German island and the second largest German North Sea island . Among the German islands without road or rail connections to the mainland, Föhr is the largest island in terms of area with the highest population.

Föhr is called "the green island" because it is relatively protected from the stormy influences of the North Sea due to its location in the lee of Amrum and Sylt and therefore the vegetation can develop well. It is up to 8.5 kilometers wide in north-south direction and 12.5 kilometers long in east-west direction and has an area of ​​82.82 square kilometers. The north of the island consists of marshland , in the south of Föhr is the higher geest . The highest point is 13.2 meters above sea ​​level on the Geest ridge between Nieblum and Midlum . The geest makes up about two fifths of the total area. Most of the towns are there. There are numerous emigrant farms in the march .

Until the first Groten Mandränke in 1362, Föhr was not an island, but part of the mainland. It was connected to the North Sea by deep currents. Today the Norderaue runs south of Föhr ; the Amrumtief lies to the west, the Föhrer Ley east of Föhr.

Like the neighboring islands, Föhr is a popular holiday destination. From Ferry Wyk , a 15 km long sandy beach stretches along the southern edge to about the middle of the west coast. To the north and northwest of the island is the protection zone I of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park .

Föhr belongs to the district of North Friesland and has 8,248 inhabitants (as of March 1, 2017). The main town Wyk ( Fering : bi a Wik ), which is a state-approved North Sea spa, is the only town in the southeast of the island . The 16 island villages are spread over eleven communities. Wyk and all Föhrer communities belong to the Föhr-Amrum office .

local community Frisian Area
Dec. 31, 2017
location Districts
Alkersum Aalkersem 9.07 392 central  
Borgsum Borigsem 5.51 350 southwest  
Dunsum Dunsem 2.72 72 northwest Big Dunsum , Little Dunsum
Midlum Madlem 8.50 443 North  
North Sea Nieblum Njiblem 7.86 582 south Goting ( Guating ) (1970), Greveling
Oevenum Ööwnem 10.90 439 Northeast  
Oldsum Olersem 13.30 507 North Toftum ( Taftem ) (1970), Klintum ( Klantem )
South end Söleraanj 2.59 182 west Spun off from Oldsum in 1864
North Sea resort Utersum Ödersem 5.26 407 west Hedehusum ( Hedehüsem ) (1970)
Witsum Wiigsem 1.59 49 southwest  
Wrixum Wraksem 7.55 643 east  
Wyk on Föhr Wik 8.00 4174 Southeast Boldixum (Bualigsem) (1924), south beach
Foehr (island) Feer 82.82 8248    


There is a maritime climate on Föhr . Average temperatures in August are between 14 and 19 ° C, in January and February between −1 and 3 ° C. Föhr has around 4.6 hours of sunshine per day. There are an average of ten rainy days per month. The average rainfall is around 800 millimeters.

Due to the salty air and the relatively strong winds, there is a stimulating climate on Föhr .


Historical map of Föhr,
with Westerland and Osterland

Until the Middle Ages

The higher geest cores of the North Frisian Islands in the midst of wide marshlands attracted people when the water level in the North Sea rose at the beginning of the Neolithic Age . Stone graves and numerous small finds also bear witness to this on Föhr . In Wyk there are traces of settlement from the second to fifth centuries AD.

When the Frisians settled what is now North Frisia in the 7th century , archaeological finds show that their first settlements were on Föhr. The island had a Nordic population, but now experienced rapid population growth due to the incoming Frisians. The large number of Scandinavian jewelry in graves reveals that there were close ties to Northern Europe at the same time. Several circular walls, including the so-called Lembecksburg , have been preserved from the Viking Age .

The earth book of the Danish King Waldemar , written in 1231, reports on two Föhrer Harden , Westerharde , to which Westerland Föhr and Amrum belonged, and Osterland Föhr . In 1368 the Westerharde moved under the knight Klaus Lembeck, bailiff of Ripen , to the Holstein counts. In January 1400 the Harde surrendered to Queen Margarethe I and stayed with the Ripen office. Until 1864 the Westerharde was part of the royal enclaves and directly subordinate to the Kingdom of Denmark , while Osterland Föhr with Wyk belonged to the Duchy of Schleswig since it had fallen away from the king in the 1420s. Together with the Wiedingharde , the Bökingharde , Strand and Sylt, Osterlandföhr concluded the siege of Siebenharden in 1426 with Duke Heinrich IV of Schleswig , which said that they were allowed to retain their legal autonomy.

The marshland in the north of the island was diked in 1523 as the 22 hectare Föhrer Marschkoog .

Föhr since the Reformation

From 1526 onwards, the Reformation of the Evangelical Lutheran denomination was introduced on Föhr, which was completed in 1530.

With whaling , a “golden” age dawned for Föhr. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Dutch and English Greenlanders were mostly manned by island friezes. Several private seafaring schools were set up on Föhr, where pastors and former commanders gave lessons for low fees in the winter months. At the end of the 18th century, 1,000 seafarers, including 150 ship masters, lived on the island. You can still see lavishly furnished commanders' houses in Nieblum and Süderende . The so-called " speaking tombstones " in the cemeteries of the three oldest Föhr churches tell their life stories. But with the decline in whale populations, as everywhere in the region, fewer and fewer men went to sea. The population turned back to agriculture. The place Wyk was detached from the Harde Osterlandföhr in 1706 and received the status of a patch .

Beach life in Wyk auf Föhr, postcard (around 1907)

From 1842, when the Danish King Christian VIII spent the summer on Föhr, the island came into fashion as a health resort. At the invitation of the king, Hans Christian Andersen visited Wyk in 1844 . In the summer of 1862, the pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein was on Föhr “to complete a new, larger work.” The Danish King Frederick VII was also staying on the island at this time.

During the German-Danish War in 1864, the Danish naval officer Otto Christian Hammer in Wyk was the commander of a Danish flotilla on the North Frisian Islands. At first he succeeded in repelling superior Prussian-Austrian naval units. In the course of the war, however, he was captured in Wyk by the Prussian lieutenant Ernst von Prittwitz and Gaffron , to whom Wyk auf Föhr then made honorary citizenship. In 1867, after the dissolution of Harden, the offices of Westerlandföhr and Osterlandföhr were formed.

In the referendum in Schleswig in 1920, the three municipalities Goting , Utersum and Hedehusum on Westerland Föhr were the only municipalities in the so-called Zone II to vote in favor of a change to the national territory of Denmark. However, a clear majority in Zone II was in favor of remaining with Germany. Since the three municipalities were not directly on the border with Denmark, they stayed with Germany.

In 1970 the offices of Wester- and Osterlandföhr were combined to form the office of Föhr-Land . On January 1, 2007, the Office Föhr-Land was combined with the City of Wyk auf Föhr and the Office Amrum to form the Office Föhr-Amrum .

Language and culture

Multilingual map of Föhr

A dialect of the North Frisian language is spoken on Föhr by around 2,000 inhabitants, especially in the villages in Westerland Föhr . This dialect is called Fering after the name of the island . This makes the Fering speakers the largest group of speakers of the North Frisian language. On Osterland Föhr, especially in Nieblum, Low German has been spoken since the 19th century , while in Wyk after the city was founded it was mainly Low German and now High German . The former Wyker dialect of North Frisian, Wyker Frisian , has died out. There is also a Danish-speaking minority on Föhr.

The Frisian costume is worn by many women, especially in Westerland Föhr, on special occasions. Various folk customs are cultivated on Föhr such as the Biikebrennen on February 21st and the Tamsen (also Thamsen , after the apostle Thomas ), where every December 21st, young people jokingly hide things that can turn. During the Christmas season, as on other North Frisian islands, there is a special Christmas tree called the Kenkenbuum . Föhrers in disguise go from house to house on New Year's Eve . In Fering this custom is called ütj tu kenknin , in Wyk Rummelrotje ( see also : Hulken ).

In the centuries when many Föhr men were whalers , they spent the winter on Föhr. The single sailors met in the afternoon in the semi-darkness, on Fering: Hualewjonken . Today the Hualewjonken is a cozy get-together for like-minded people.

Several writers wrote on Fering, such as Wykerin Stine Andresen (1849–1927), whose poetry is often related to Föhr. The Föhrerin Ellin Nickelsen wrote the story Jonk Bradlep (German: "Dark Wedding") in the 1980s .

See also : North Frisian literature

The two Föhr museums have a cultural focus (see sights).

The internationally successful music band Stanfour has its origins on the island of Föhr and has its own studio there. The Föhrer folk band Kalüün was awarded prizes for their songs.


Flock of sheep on Föhr

Föhr is mainly dependent on tourism . Since 2010 Föhr has been promoting itself with the slogan : Frisian Caribbean.

The accommodation industry is supplemented by numerous commercial enterprises with a service function such as bicycle rental stations and cheese dairies . In addition, there are numerous agricultural enterprises, some of which also offer accommodation. This diversification is supported by funds from the EAFRD program. Numerous craft and retail businesses are located on the island; Six mussel fishing boats and three shrimp cutters have their home port in Wyker Hafen . Föhr has resident dentists as well as medical practices of various specialties. There has been a hospital in Wyk since 1893, which contributes to the basic medical care of Föhr and Amrum . In Utersum there is a rehabilitation clinic , in Wyk the North Sea Sanatorium Marienhof of the Diakonie-Hilfswerk Schleswig-Holstein.


There are six kindergartens on Föhr, four of them in Wyk and one each in Süderende and Midlum. The only school with a high school for the islands of Föhr and Amrum is the " Eilun Feer Skuul - Gymnasium & Regionalschule Insel Föhr" (German: "Insel-Föhr-Schule") in Wyk. There is also a primary school with a support center and a Danish school , which runs as a community school up to eighth grade. There is another primary school in Süderende with a branch in Midlum.

In Wyk there is also an adult education center and a music school , which is a district office of the Nordfriesland district music school .


From the Wyk ferry port several times a day, regardless of the tide, ferries run to the mainland port Dagebüll and Wittdün on the neighboring island of Amrum . The ferry line is operated by Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei Föhr-Amrum GmbH (WDR), based in Wyk auf Föhr.

During the summer season excursions to the Halligen Langeneß and Hooge as well as to the island of Sylt (port Hörnum ) are offered.

From Wyk there are bus connections as a ring line, clockwise or counterclockwise, to all villages on the island of Föhr. The island can be reached by plane from the Wyk airfield . Depending on the weather, several sightseeing flights over the Wadden Sea, the neighboring islands and the North Frisian mainland start from this airfield.



Gravestones on Föhr

On the island there are three medieval churches from the 12th and 13th centuries , which have been Protestant since the Reformation - the church of St. Nicolai in Wyk-Boldixum , the church of St. Johannis in Nieblum and the church of St. Laurentii in Süderende . The so-called speaking tombstones , which tell whole life stories and are partly illustrated, can be found in the associated cemeteries .


Several barrows show that the island was settled during the Bronze Age . Today 17 of these old grave monuments can still be visited; they are mainly in the southwest of the island.

At Borgsum there is also the Lembecksburg , a ring wall from the time of the migration of peoples with a diameter of 95 meters and a ring height of eight meters. According to legend, the knight Klaus Lembeck is said to have resided here in the Middle Ages as governor of the Danish king.


The Friesenmuseum (actually Dr. Carl Häberlin Museum ) is located in Wyk and is dedicated to the preservation and communication of Frisian cultural history; it was opened in 1908. The Museum of Art of the West Coast , which opened in 2009, is located in Alkersum and presents international classical and contemporary art on the theme of "Sea and Coast" in changing exhibitions. A private local history museum in Oevenum was dedicated to the history of agriculture and life on the island from 1993 until it closed in 2011. However, the collection has been preserved and has been transferred to the holdings of the Frisian Museum.


Windmill Venti Amica (Winde's friend) from 1879 in Wyk auf Föhr

There are also five windmills on Föhr , two of them in Wyk (the gallery Dutch windmill Venti Amica from 1879 in the city area and a post mill from Hallig Langeneß in the outer area of ​​the Friesenmuseum), plus one each in Wrixum ( Easter windmill, octagonal Erdholländer, 1850-1960 in operation), Borgsum ( Borigsem , octagonal gallery Dutch from 1992 after the fire of the previous building) and Oldsum (octagonal gallery Dutch from 1901).

Except for the post mill and the mill in Wrixum (museum and restaurant), the mills are privately owned.

Bird berths

Six bird beds can be found in the marshland in the north of the island. These include the new and old Oevenumer Vogelkoje, the Ackerumer Vogelkoje belonging to Midlum, the Borgsumer, the Oldsumer and the Boldixumer Vogelkoje. The latter can be visited.

Wadden Sea

The entire Wadden Sea (as the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009 ) is also a sight.

Above all the foreland north of the island dike, but also the other mudflats offer resting and feeding places for many species of sea ​​birds . You can find numerous oystercatchers , eider ducks and shelduck there . Large flocks of migratory birds also invade Föhr and the surrounding islands during the migration . Occasionally, especially after severe winter storms, seals can be found on the beach.

The south beach of the island between Wyk and Utersum is a popular bathing beach. The tourist offices offer guided mudflat walks , for example to the neighboring island of Amrum.

Wyk on Föhr

Other Wyker attractions are the bell tower (built in 1886) and the sandwall promenade .


See also


  • Roland Hanewald: Travel Know-How Föhr. Reise Know-How, Bielefeld 2015, ISBN 978-3-8317-2617-2 .
  • Margot and Nico Hansen (eds.): Föhr. History and shape of an island. , Hansen & Hansen, Münsterdorf 1971.
  • Othmar Kyas: Rediscover Föhr: island, places, originals. Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 2019, ISBN 978-3-667-11507-2 .
  • Karin de la Roi-Frey, Hans Joachim Kürtz: Föhr is so beautiful. Ellert & Richter, Hamburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-8319-0679-6 .
  • Georg Quedens : Föhr . Breklumer Verlag, Breklum 1993, ISBN 978-3-7793-1111-9 .
  • Kai H. Thiele: Sensitive journey: The journey of the poet Hans Christian Andersen to the royal summer residence in Wyk auf Föhr in the summer of 1844. Husum publishing house, 2011, ISBN 978-3-89876-541-1 .
  • Harry Kunz, Thomas Steensen : Föhr Lexikon. Wachholtz, Neumünster 2013, ISBN 978-3-529-05523-2 .

Web links

Commons : Föhr  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Föhr  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Horst Haider Munske (ed.): Handbuch des Frisian - Handbook of Frisian Studies . Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-484-73048-X , p. 370 .
  2. ^ Margot and Nico Hansen (eds.): Föhr. History and shape of an island . Hansen & Hansen, Münsterdorf 1971, p. 25.
  3. Portrait of the island on the website of the Föhr-Amrum office , accessed on May 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Margot and Nico Hansen (eds.): Föhr. History and shape of an island. Hansen & Hansen, Münsterdorf 1971, p. 25.
  5. Statistics Office North , Table 1_1, pages 5 ff., Accessed on February 12, 2019
  6. Climate from Wyk auf Föhr at , accessed on August 22, 2014
  7. Environmental Atlas of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, PDF page 12 (PDF), accessed on August 22, 2014
  8. Peter Schulze: Wyk was settled very early on Insel-Bote from August 4, 2016, accessed on August 5, 2016
  9. Nils Århammar: History of the North Frisians and the North Frisian . In: Volkert F. Faltings, Alastair GH Walker and Ommo Wilts (eds.): Frisian Studies II . Odense University Press, Odense 1995, ISBN 87-7838-059-6 , pp. 68/69 .
  10. ^ Albert Bantelmann: Landscape and Settlement of North Frisia in Prehistoric Times. In: History of North Friesland . Boyens, Heide 1995, pp. 15-56, p. 46. ISBN 3-8042-0759-6
  11. Harry Kunz, Albert Panten : The Köge of North Friesland . Bredstedt, Bräist 1997, ISBN 3-88007-251-5
  12. The Insel-Bote : New Doctrine fell on fertile ground , accessed on November 6, 2016.
  13. ^ Jan I. Faltings: Föhrer Greenland trip in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jens Quedens, Amrum 2011, ISBN 978-3-924422-95-0 , p. 19 ff.
  14. Christian P. Hansen , Reinhold Janus: Seven years on Sylt. Diaries of the island Frisian Christian Peter Hansen . Wachholtz, Neumünster 1998, ISBN 3-529-02209-8 .
  15. Jakob Tholund : History of the island of Föhr. In: Margot and Nico Hansen: Föhr: History and shape of an island. Hansen & Hansen, Münsterdorf 1971, p. 79.
  16. ^ Thomas Steensen: History of North Frisia from 1918 to the present . 4th edition, Nordfriisk Instituut, Bräist / Bredstedt 2008.
  17. ^ Office Föhr-Amrum: Office portrait
  18. ^ Margot and Nico Hansen (eds.): Föhr. History and shape of an island. Hansen & Hansen, Münsterdorf 1971, p. 110.
  19. Lutz Ahrens: Our languages ​​on the island of Föhr . Online: inseldö Accessed December 16, 2013
  20. Oldsum in Föhr - Frisian & good: The traditional costume. In: Retrieved January 13, 2017 .
  21. ^ Föhrer Customs , accessed January 20, 2013.
  22. Oldsum in Föhr - Frisian & good: Hualewjonken. In: Retrieved January 13, 2017 .
  23. Frisian Caribbean: Föhr is breaking new ground. Retrieved October 9, 2019 .
  24. North Frisian island of Föhr - between closeness to nature and a Caribbean feeling. Accessed October 9, 2019 (German).
  25. Föhr - Frisian Caribbean. Retrieved October 9, 2019 .
  26. Fischereihafen Website of the Wyker Hafen , accessed on January 20, 2013.
  27. ^ Inselklinik Föhr-Amrum , accessed on April 11, 2018
  28. North Sea Sanatorium Marienhof
  29. The museum on the website of the municipality of Oevenum , accessed on 6 August 2013.