Saxon steamship

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The Pillnitz at the landing stage on the terrace bank below the Brühl Terrace
The Pirna at Pillnitz

The Saxon Steamship GmbH & Co. KG Conti Elbschiffahrts shortly Saxon Steamship or White Fleet , with headquarters in Dresden applies with nine steamers as the oldest and largest paddle steamer fleet will in the world. The Elbe is traveled between Diesbar-Seusslitz and Bad Schandau , and on special trips to Ústí nad Labem (German: Aussig ) in the Czech Republic . The Saxon Steamship Company has a registered limited partnership of over 18 million euros, from 500 limited partners is maintained. It is administered by CONTI Beteiligungsverwaltungs GmbH & Co. KG in Hamburg.


Temporal development of the Elbe steam company
Elbe Steamship Company (1836)      
Royal Privileged Saxon Steamship Company (1839)   KK priv. Steam shipping
Takeover in 1849
United Saxon-Bohemian Steamship (1849)   KK priv. Elbe steam shipping
Takeover in 1851
Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company (SBDG, 1867)   Dresden cargo ship company
Takeover in 1876
Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company (SBDG, 1867)   New German-Bohemian Elbe Shipping Company (NDBE)
Fusion 1922/23
Re-establishment of the Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company, joint stock company (SBDA, 1923)
Dissolution and transfer to public property (1947)
"Elbeschiffahrt Sachsen"
German Shipping and Handling Operations Center (DSU, 1950)
VEB passenger shipping and repair yard Dresden (1956)
VEB Passenger Shipping Dresden (1967)
Saxon Steam Shipping GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG

The steam navigation on the Upper Elbe began in 1835 when a Heckraddampfboot by Heinrich Wilhelm Calberla (1774-1836), owner of the Calberlaschen Zuckersiederei , on 7 May 1835 by Hamburg Coming arrived with two barges in tow in Dresden. The wooden ship was built in 1833 by shipbuilder Schinke in cribs . Then it was transferred to Hamburg and in 1834 the mechanic Lipperts equipped it with an English steam engine with an output of 75 hp. Test drives were made on the Lower Elbe in the winter of 1834/35. After the trip from Hamburg to Dresden, Calberla made further trips until 1837. Then he stopped operating the ship due to the competitive situation and became a shareholder in the Elbdampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft . Before Calberla's application of July 19, 1833, there were several requests to the Saxon king to replace the sailing ships and towing ships with steamers. The first request of the Dresden merchant Friedrich Wilhelm Schaff on November 6, 1815, as well as the requests of the Dresden citizen Karl Knab of March 26 and July 12, 1824, the request of Johann Andreas Schubert of June 7, 1833 and the request of the court organ builder Johann Andreas Uthe on August 12, 1833 rejected.

Elbe Steamship Company, founded in 1836

At the suggestion of the Dresden merchants Benjamin Schwenke and Friedrich Lange, a request was submitted to the Saxon government on March 16, 1836 to operate steam navigation on the Elbe. On March 25, 1836, with the constituent meeting, the Elbdampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft was founded, to which twelve other citizens belonged in addition to the two merchants. By May 5, 1836, 1,500 shares with a nominal value of 100 thalers each had been subscribed. On July 8, 1836, King Friedrich August II of Saxony granted the company the privilege to operate steam ships in the Kingdom of Saxony for a period of five years. The condition was that shipping would start within one year.

At the same time, Johann Andreas Schubert, professor of mathematics and mechanics at the Technische Bildungsanstalt Dresden, became director of the newly founded Dresden Actien Maschinenbau-Verein in 1836 . Schubert, who had become acquainted with steam shipping on the Seine , designed the first Dresden steam ships, which were built under his direction on the Vogelwiese on the Johannstadt Elbe bank. In 1837 the first German passenger steamship, the Queen Maria, was launched, the first public voyage of which led from the Packhof at the Marienbrücke to Meißen .

Royal Privileged Saxon Steamship Company (1839)

From 1839 the company operated under the name Königlich Priviligirte Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft and the privilege, which had previously been limited to five years, was extended to 1849. As a result, the ships went to Riesa , Meißen and Tetschen . From 1845 onwards they drove to Aussig . In 1846 the line was extended to Leitmeritz and from 1847 to Melnik . From 1842, the Bohemian competitor Andrews / Ruston had the privilege of sailing from Prague to the Saxon border. Nevertheless, the ships sailed under the designation KK priv. Elbe-Dampfschiffahrt from Prague to Dresden. Apparently the stretch from the Saxon border to Dresden was driven by Bohemia by mutual agreement of the two companies . From the summer of 1845 the subsidiary KK priv. Dampfschiffahrt organized the trips from Dresden to Prague. Only with the commissioning of Germania in 1846 and the takeover of Saxonia from KS Elb-Dampfschiffahrt in 1848 did the two Bohemian shipping companies become serious competitors.

According to articles in the Journal des Österreichischer Lloyd of March 19 and May 24, 1846 as well as the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung of April 1846, the following steam boats were used in the competition of the Saxon private steam shipping company :

Bohemia Germania Saxonia
Year of construction & location 1840/41 in Prague Karolinenthal (Karlín) 1845/1846 Obříství shipbuilding site 1845/46 in Riesa
Manufacturer Ruston & Andrews (Prague, ship owners) Ruston & Andrews (Prague, ship owners) k. A.
drive 30 hp low pressure machine 30 hp low pressure machine 45 PSn
length 120 feet (w) (37.93 m) 142 feet (40.21 m) k. A.
width 15.5 feet (w) (4.90 m) 16 feet (4.53 m) k. A.
Draft 16.5 in (w) (43.00 cm) 17 inches (40.00 cm) k. A.

Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company (SBDG) 1849–1922

After the merger of the Royal Priv. Saxon Steamship Company with the KK priv. Dampfschiffahrt in March 1849 , the company operated under the name of United Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company from April 1849 . On February 3, 1851, the three ships and the concession of the Bohemian competition were bought for 25,000 thalers. On March 26, 1867, the company was transformed into the Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company (SBDG). In 1851 there were seven passenger steamers in the fleet. In 1867 there were 16 paddle steamers and one steam ferry. The briefly started towing service was discontinued due to strong competition. The number of ships remained almost stable over the next few years. From 1867 to 1888 13 ships were built and 7 ships were sold or scrapped. The passenger capacity increased from 9,600 to 12,300 seats. With the arrival of the new director, Oscar Ludwig Menzel, in 1888, the company philosophy obviously changed. The company now focused on expanding. By 1895 another 10 ships with a passenger capacity of 6,200 seats were built, but only 4 ships were decommissioned. The director Ernst Kuchenbuch , who was in office from 1894, continued this course. By 1901 another 11 ships with a capacity of 7,300 passengers had been built. No ship was decommissioned during this time. The number of ships rose to 37 and the passenger capacity to 23,000 people. In 1901 a record was posted with 3,460,000 passengers.

Bohemia at the pier at the Italian village , in the background the Semper Opera House , around 1900

In 1900 there was a restructuring of the company. The board of directors was abolished. The members of the Board of Directors were taken over to the existing Supervisory Board. The post of executive director was abolished and a board of directors consisting only of the director was established. Cake book gained even more power within society. The consequences of this expansionary policy could already be felt. The capacity utilization of the ships fell by 30% compared to 1870. To compensate for the financial burdens, the company's capital was increased from 984,300 marks to 1,500,000 marks in 1896 and the reserve fund was increased from 98,430 marks to 543,188 marks. Despite obvious financial problems, dividends of 10% continued to be paid. With the commissioning of the Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900, the Kaiser Wilhelm had to be temporarily shut down due to capacity reasons. With the death of Ernst Kuchenbuch in March 1902, Kurt Fischer took over the position of director. He tried to get the ailing company back on track. He issued a priority loan of 1,000,000 marks and began to draw on the reserve fund. The dividend payment has been suspended for several years. One ship was sold and two ships leased (sold in 1906). His efforts were hampered by 2 dry summers in 1904 and 1911. Shipping here had to be stopped for 4 or 3 months. In 1910 the fleet got its berth on the Dresden Terrassenufer below the Brühl Terrace. In 1911 the Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company owned 32 steamships and employed around 540 people. By 1915 another 3 ships were built, but 3 ships were also sold. The passenger capacity was still over 22,000 seats. In the meantime, the capacity utilization of the ships fell to below 50% compared to 1870. The First World War presented the company with further challenges. The construction of another ship was canceled in 1915. Beginning in 1916, a number of ships were decommissioned. In 1919 only 18 of 34 ships were still in service. In 1916 and 1918 one ship each was confiscated for military service on the Vistula .

1000 RM share of the Neue Deutsch-Böhmische Elbschiffahrt AG from October 4, 1921

Towards the end of the war, the economic situation of society deteriorated dramatically. Therefore some ships were sold. Seven ships in 1919 and one ship in 1921. In 1922, the company had 24 ships with a capacity of 17,000 passengers. In January 1921 there was the question of liquidating the company. The state of Saxony, which held a third of the company, spoke out against this option. The company therefore merged with the Neue Deutsch-Böhmische Elbeschiffahrt Aktiengesellschaft (NDBE) on January 1, 1922 . This took over all assets of the SBDG. On October 1, 1922, the Laubegaster shipyard was leased to the NDBE for 25 years. On November 25, 1924, the Saxon state acquired 47.76% of the shares in NDBE. The second major investor with 51.35% of the shares was the Bohemian Georgschicht AG . Very few shares were in private hands. On March 21, 1923, the (New) Sächsisch-Böhmische-Dampfschiffahrt, Aktiengesellschaft (SDBA) was founded with a share capital of one million marks and registered on April 13, 1923.

Saxon-Bohemian Steamship Company (SBDA) 1923–1947

The new company took over the ships of the SBDG. The main shareholder of the company was NDBE with 49.98% of the shares. The state of Saxony and Georgschicht AG each took over 25.01% of the shares. In a 1927 agreement between the NDBE and SBDA and approved by the general meetings in 1928, the mutual distribution of profits was laid down. According to the magazine “Hansa” of May 1928, “information about the content was refused because the shares of the two companies are in firm hands.” In 1925 the company bought the Pillnitz and the hull of the ship that had started in 1915, as well as a coal barge for 100,000 Reichsmark back from the NDBE. In 1925 it was put into service under the name Stadt Wehlen after further construction . In 1926 and 1929 the two new buildings in Dresden and Leipzig were put into service. Only the Bohemia built in 1863 was retired . Above all, the company relied on modernizing the existing ships. Between 1926 and 1929 the smooth deck ships were equipped with steam steering winches. In 1927/28 the ships Pillnitz , Schandau , Bastei , Meissen , Laubegast and Königstein received an upper deck. Four of these ships were lengthened by 3.66 m each. These measures increased the passenger capacity from 17,000 people in 1924 to 21,000 people in 1929. Further modernization work on the ships included equipping them with electricity and installing toilets in the converted wheel arches. In 1928 the name “White Fleet” became common. The background is the white painting of the ships, which has been gradually introduced since 1926.

The 100th anniversary was celebrated in 1936. The route was now around 320 km long and reached from Leitmeritz to Dessau. A planned new ship was no longer carried out in 1938 because the Laubegaster shipyard was needed for armaments production.

From 1943, shipping traffic was severely restricted. Seven ships were in the ports of Aken , Mühlberg and Dessau launched and here partially used as office ships. Five ships were laid up in the port of Prossen and one ship in the port of Děčín . Two other ships were converted into supply ships for the Wehrmacht . The Leipzig was used as a hospital ship from 1944. Five ships were used for evacuation transports in bombed-out Hamburg in 1942 . The Emperor Franz Josef , sold to Czechoslovakia in 1921 , was used for the transport of refugees in 1944/45 and was sunk in Magdeburg .

At the end of the Second World War , hardly any ship was immediately operational. The Herrnskretschen , Loschwitz and Leipzig sank after being hit by bombs, the Riesa was blown up and the Pillnitz was damaged by a bomb hit. In 1946 the Dresden burned out. The diesbar was used as the first ship after the end of the war. Since the Elbe bridges in the city center were destroyed, they acted as a ferry between the old town and the new town. Exactly 100 years earlier, the first ship, the Queen Maria , performed this service after the Augustus Bridge was destroyed by a flood. On August 26, 1946, Czechoslovakia confiscated the ships in Prossen and Děčín. Two ships were returned in 1947, four ships remained in Czechoslovakia as compensation for the former main shareholder, Georgschicht AG. Six ships were confiscated by the USSR on July 6, 1946 as reparations . Whitsun 1946, the Lössnitz steamer, which was still in camouflage, went into regular operation.

VEB Elbeschiffahrt Sachsen 1947–1992

On February 1, 1947, the fleet of 16 paddle steamers was nationalized as VEB Elbeschiffahrt Sachsen . On October 1, 1950, with the founding of the VEB Deutsche Schiffahrts- und Umschlagzentrale (DSU), the VEB Elbeschiffahrt Sachsen was integrated into this, but in 1952 it was again independent. With the dissolution of the DSU in 1957, independent regional inland shipping companies emerged , including VEB Fahrgastschiffahrt und Reparaturwerft Dresden . Their ships were used by around 1.5 million excursionists every year. In 1967 the Laubegaster shipyard was spun off to VEB Schiffsreparaturwerften Berlin . As a result, VEB Fahrgastschiffahrt und Reparaturwerft Dresden was renamed VEB Fahrgastschiffahrt Dresden . Of the remaining 16 ships, only seven were operational in 1946. Not until 1949 were all ships in service again. The passenger capacity had shrunk to 13,600 people. After the construction of an upper deck on the Herrnskretschen , the unit and the city ​​of Wehlen also received an upper deck in 1950. In 1957, 3,137,000 passengers were carried. A decline in steam shipping was already on the horizon. The ships, some of which were only poorly repaired after the war, were very repair-intensive.

To replace them, four new ships were purchased from the Roßlau shipyard between 1961 and 1964. They were modern ships with diesel-electric propulsion and a passenger capacity of 1012 people each. In 1964 the friendship (ex. John Penn ) was retired and broken up in 1966. In 1971 the Königstein (ex Graf Moltke ) followed, which was sold in 1973 as the restaurant ship Seeperle to the Süßen See in Seeburg . In 1974 the unit (ex. Germania ) was shut down and, after being used as an HO restaurant, Zum Gondelhafen was broken up in 1983 in Aken . In 1976 the Riesa (ex. Habsburg ) and Bad Schandau (ex. Schandau ) were shut down due to serious damage . While the Riesa was brought to the Oderberg inland shipping museum as a museum ship in 1978 , the Bad Schandau was scrapped in Aken in 1980. Only the steam control engine for the Dresden Transport Museum remained . Furthermore, the diesbar and the cribs had to be turned off in the same year . The crib was sold to the Kloschwitz community in 1983 . In 1986 she was put ashore here. The ship was to be converted into a restaurant or youth home. But that failed because of the financing. The ship was left to its own devices and was sold to Lüneburg in 1988 . This meant that only 10 ships were still in service, some of them in poor condition. In 1979 the Pillnitz and the city ​​of Wehlen had to be shut down. After the Meissen had to be shut down in 1980 , a rethink apparently started. Between 1981 and 1985, the three ships were completely overhauled. In 1985, however, the Schmilka had to be shut down. In 1989 the Kurort Rathen and the Junge Pionier followed , and in 1990 the Pirna . Since the Leipzig had been in the shipyard since 1988, only four paddle steamers were in use in 1990.

Saxon Steamship (from 1992)

In 1992 the company was sold by the Treuhand to the Conti shipping company . The remaining ships, including ten historic side wheel steamers , were taken over by the newly founded Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG . The Free State of Saxony has a 51% stake in Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH as the general partner of Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG and CONTI-Investitions- und Management GmbH with 49%. In 1999 the 49% shares of Conti-Investitions- und Management GmbH were split up: Klaus Hildebrand took over 25% of Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH and the founders of Conti Reederei took over 24%. The Saxon Steamship GmbH bears the full risk of ship operations.

From 1992 to 2009 Klaus Hildebrand was managing director of Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH , until 2001 together with Alexander Nothegger. From September 1, 1996 to June 30, 2009, Michael Lohnherr was also part of the management. On July 1, 2009, Sebastian Meyer-Storck took over the management position from Michael Lohnherr. After Hildebrand's death on December 2, 2010, Meyer-Storck was sole managing director until November 30, 2013. Then he was on leave and Karin Hildebrand was appointed managing director.

In 1992, the company committed to renovating eight paddle steamers. In 1992 the renovation of the ships Leipzig , Dresden , Meissen , Pillnitz and Diesbar began . In 1993 these five ships were put back into operation and the renovation of the Pirna , Kurort Rathen and Stadt Wehlen began. On May 1st, 1994 the first parade of the renovated eight paddle steamers took place. The Schmilka and the Junge Pionier were scrapped in 2001. The middle part of both ships was preserved, including the boiler system and the steam engine.

Two of the four diesel-electric side-wheel ships Ernst Thälmann , Friedrich Engels , Karl Marx and Wilhelm Pieck built in 1963 were taken over; the Ernst Thalmann as August the Strong and the Wilhelm Pieck as Countess Cosel were used to 1994th After the commissioning of the newbuildings of the same name in May and June 1994, the two ships were parked and scrapped in 1998. The other two ships, JF Böttger (ex Friedrich Engels ) and MD Pöppelmann (ex Karl Marx ), are moored in Neustädter Hafen and serve as hostel ships .

The two new ships from the Tangermünde shipyard are diesel-powered and each have a passenger capacity of 506 seats.

In November 1999, the passenger steamer Krippen was bought back. After its overhaul at the Laubegaster shipyard, it was reintegrated into the fleet in the summer of 2000 as the ninth historical paddle steamer.

The passenger capacity of the nine paddle steamers decreased from the original 7,400 seats to 3,850 after the reconstruction. With the retirement of the four old diesel ships and the commissioning of the two newbuildings, the passenger capacity here fell from 4,000 to 1,000 seats.

On average, around 640,000 passengers have traveled on the ships every year since 1995. In the 2014 season, 589,000 passengers traveled on the ships of the White Fleet. Sales amounted to EUR 8.6 million with a profit of EUR 496,000. In 2016 there were 525,000 passengers, in 2017 there were 509,000 and in 2018 only about 354,000 passengers due to the low water level of the Elbe (negative record for 30 years).

The staff includes 42 nautical, 20 administrative and four shipyard employees.

The company had to file for bankruptcy on June 3, 2020. The bankruptcy in self-administration lasts until August 2020, then an investor must be found.


Front salon of the Pillnitz
Rear parlor of the Pillnitz

The fleet of the Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt currently consists of nine paddle steamers (more precisely: side paddle steamers), built between 1879 and 1929. These internal passenger steamers are prefixed with the prefix PD (for passenger steamers ) in front of the ship's name. The fleet also includes four motor ships (prefix MS ), two of which are referred to as "saloon ships".

The ships travel the Elbe according to the timetable from Bad Schandau to Seusslitz and pass attractions in the region such as the Brühlsche Terrasse , the Blue Wonder , Pillnitz Castle , the Königstein Fortress and Saxon Switzerland .

The side-paddle steamers, which are protected as a technical monument , have historic wheelhouses and side paddle wheels in wheel arches decorated with coats of arms. Seven of them date from the 19th century: Stadt Wehlen (1879), Diesbar (1884), Meissen (1885), Pillnitz (1886), Krippen (1892), Kurort Rathen (1896) and Pirna (1898). The diesbar is the only paddle steamer in the fleet that is still fired with coal; the other steamers were converted to fuel oil.

The "younger" ships are the Dresden - the flagship of the fleet built in 1926 - and its sister ship Leipzig . The Leipzig , built in 1929, is the only ship that does not bear the name of a city on the Elbe or a regionally known personality. The Leipzig is the youngest and largest of the steamers.

All steamers have the following technical and attractiveness-enhancing features:

  • Controlled paddles on the paddle wheels - this can increase efficiency while keeping the paddle wheel small
  • Viewing window in the paddle wheel box
  • Opening in the deck above the steam engine to see it
  • separately controllable paddle wheels to be able to turn on the Elbe
  • A chimney that can be folded down by means of a cable puller in order to pass under the Elbe bridges

The steamers have an extremely shallow draft of less than a meter, which is why they can sail at low tide when cargo shipping has to reduce the loading capacity or even stop.

The steamers were equipped with bow thrusters to facilitate the complicated berthing maneuver - you have to go to several berths on the plan trips, depending on requirements. In the past, the team had to help with wooden poles on the Elbgrund.

The paddle steamer fleet was supplemented from 1994 by the two diesel-powered saloon ships August the Strong and Countess Cosel .

In addition to the planned trips, special trips are offered. The annual parade of all nine historic paddle steamers on May 1st and the “Riverboat Shuffle” as part of the International Dixieland Festival are outstanding .

List of ships in the current fleet

Surname Name of the shipping company Year of construction: shipyard and location Length / width over the wheel arches / draft (empty) Machine, power, boiler Operating material: consumption Other names
Elberaddampfer Stadt Wehlen.jpg City of Wehlen Paddle steamer 1879: Dresden Blasewitz l bTg= 59.2 m
w according to= 10.45 m
dia lb= 88 cm
oscillating two-cylinder composite steam engine with injection condensation, 180 HP,
2- flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 100–120 l / h
Dresden until 1926
Mühlberg until 1962
PD Diesbar.jpg Diesbar Paddle steamer 1884: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 53.5 m
w according to= 10.2 m
Tg lb= 79 cm
oscillating two-cylinder twin machine with injection condensation, 110 HP,
2-flame tube suitcase boiler
approx. 450 kg / h
Pillnitz until 1927
PD Meissen.jpg Meissen Paddle steamer 1885: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 65.7 m
w according to= 11.2 m
dia lb= 86 cm
oscillating two-cylinder compound steam engine with injection condensation, 230 HP,
2-flame tube cylinder boiler;
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 100–120 l / h
King Albert until 1898
Saxony until 1928
PD Pillnitz near Augustusbrücke.jpg Pillnitz Paddle steamer 1886: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 65.7 m
w according to= 11.2 m
D lb= 80 cm
oscillating two-cylinder composite steam engine with injection condensation; 230 HP,
2-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 100–120 l / h
Queen Carola until 1919
Diesbar until 1927
Pillnitz until 1952
World peace until 1993
Paddle steamer PD Krippen Dresden.jpg Cribs Paddle steamer 1892: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 54.64 m
w according to= 9.95 m
dia lb= 85 cm
oscillating two-cylinder twin machine with slide control and injection condensation, 125 HP,
1-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 125 l / h
Tetschen until 1946
PD Kurort Rathen.jpg Rathen health resort Paddle steamer 1896: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 57.1 m
w according to= 10.2 m
dia lb= 81 cm
oscillating two-cylinder compound steam engine with injection condensation, 145 HP,
1-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 100 l / h
Bastei until 1956
Elberaddampfer Pirna.jpg Pirna Paddle steamer 1898: Dresden-Blasewitz l bTg= 57.1 m
w according to= 10.4 m
dia lb= 78 cm
oscillating two-cylinder compound machine with injection condensation, 140 HP,
1-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 100 l / h
King Albert until 1919
2006-07-30 elbe dresden.jpg Dresden Paddle steamer 1926: Dresden Laubegast l bTg= 68.7 m
w according to= 12.9 m
Tg lb= 80 cm
Inclined two-cylinder superheated steam compound machine with injection condensation and valve control, 300 HP,
2-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 130 l / h
Elberaddampfer Leipzig.jpg Leipzig Paddle steamer 1929: Dresden Laubegast l bTg= 70.1 m
w according to= 12.9 m
dia lb= 78 cm
Inclined two-cylinder superheated steam compound machine with injection condensation and valve control, 350 HP,
2-flame tube cylinder boiler
Extra light heating oil:
approx. 130 l / h
Ship Bad-Schandau 2.jpg Bad Schandau Motor ship (sold) 1987: Yacht shipyard
Berlin-Köpenick ( Type III extended variant)
l bTg= 32.1 m
w according to= 5.1 m
Tg lb= 90 cm
Diesel engine, 122 HP Diesel fuel (gasoil):
approx. 24 l / h
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-1986-0402-025, Dresden, "Weisse Flotte", excursion ships (cropped1) Lilienstein (ship, 1982) .jpg Lilienstein Motor ship (sold) 1982:
Berlin-Köpenick shipyard ( Type III )
l bTg= 28.5 m
w according to= 5.1 m
D lb= 90 cm
Diesel engine, 122 HP Diesel fuel (gasoil):
approx. 24 l / h
MS August the Strong in Dresden.jpg August the Strong Saloon ship 1994: DBW Tangermünde l bTg= 75.03 m
w according to= 10.60 m
dia lb= 95 cm
2 × diesel engine 340 kW (460 PS) Diesel fuel (gasoil):
approx. 130 l / h
Salon ship Graefin Cosel.jpg Countess Cosel Saloon ship 1994: DBW Tangermünde l bTg= 75.03 m
w according to= 10.60 m
dia lb= 95 cm
2 × diesel engine 340 kW (460 PS) Diesel fuel (gasoil):
approx. 130 l / h

A brief history of the ship names

Steamship landing stage in Kötzschenbroda (1901). At the pier, what was then Dresden (today named PD Stadt Wehlen ). Above left the restoration "To the steamship"

The names are not linked to the ships. The Meissen , the sixth ship with this name, was put into service as King Albert (of which there were two ships) and was called Saxony from 1898 , of which there were also three ships. The Pillnitz (also the third ship with this name) was put into service as Queen Carola . Between 1919 and 1927 it was called Diesbar and between 1952 and 1993 it was called Weltfrieden . The name Tetschen , after the Czech Děčín , was changed to nativity scenes in 1946 . The ships with GDR names such as Weltfrieden , Unity , Friendship or Young Pioneer were renamed from 1991 to 1994 or are no longer in service. But it also happened that representative names were given to more modern ships, so in earlier times three ships bore the name Dresden . One of them was built in 1838. The ship known today as Stadt Wehlen was built as Dresden in 1879 and renamed Mühlberg in 1926 . This gave the name to the new saloon steamer, today's Dresden . Only a few ships that were built for the Dresden fleet kept the same name for life, as did the steamers Dresden (1926) and Leipzig (1929).

The two saloon ships are popularly referred to as MS Prohlis and MS Gorbitz , because they are reminiscent of the buildings in these two newly built areas in Dresden.

Ride offer

The sailing area of ​​the Saxon Steamship is on the Upper Elbe and extends from Dresden up the Elbe through Saxon Switzerland to Bad Schandau and down the Elbe via Meißen to Diesbar-Seusslitz . Individual event and special trips also lead beyond this. A total of 14 berths are served.

In the summer season the ships operate according to the timetable. In the main season from the beginning of May to the beginning of October ships operate daily as a castle trip from Dresden to Pillnitz and back, as well as to Saxon Switzerland and back. A ship also travels down the Elbe from Bad Schandau to Pillnitz and back again. A city tour on the Elbe is offered several times a day in Dresden. In addition, a ship sails down the Elbe from Tuesday to Sunday to Diesbar-Seusslitz and back. In the evenings there is a 90-minute Schrammstein tour from and to Bad Schandau on the weekend without stopping.

In the low season in April and October there are fewer trips to Saxon Switzerland, the trip to Diesbar-Seusslitz is omitted. In the winter season from November to the beginning of January there are winter and Christmas trips as a round trip from and to Dresden and as a castle trip to Pillnitz and back. No ships operate from January to March.

On many (public) days there are event trips from Dresden. In the summer season, evening, Dixieland and piano trips are offered, as well as a dinner cruise. There is a special trip lasting several hours on New Year's Eve.

For some time the sailing area extended from Bad Schandau via Krippen , Schmilka and Hřensko through Bohemian Switzerland to Děčín . The journeys there were shortened several years ago to Schmilka and later to Bad Schandau. For several years now, a Děčín trip has been running several times a year as an event trip, but without intermediate stops. The “lock trip” is also offered twice a year, in April and September. Start is in Bad Schandau and it goes via Schmilka, Děčín to Ústí nad Labem to complete the highlight of the journey there. The steamer is sluiced up below the Střekov Castle and sluiced back down after a few kilometers on the dammed Elbe before returning to Bad Schandau. Evening trips, piano trips and harbor tours are also offered.

Annual highlights are the parade rides, from Dresden to near Pillnitz and back. These are the fleet parade of all steamers and saloon ships on May 1st, the riverboat shuffle with all steamers and saloon ships with live music for the Dixieland festival in mid-May and the steamship parade in the second half of August for the steamship festival and the Dresden city festival that takes place at the same time . Special timetables apply on these days. The 21st Steamship Festival took place from August 16 to 18, 2019.


  • Peter Blath: Saxony's White Fleet - Steamboat Rides on the Elbe. Suttonverlag, Erfurt 2006, ISBN 978-3-89702-949-1 .
  • Jürgen Helfricht : Thousands of looks. Saxon Steamship Travel Guide. Husum 2014, ISBN 978-3-89876-718-7 .
  • Jürgen Helfricht : Elbe Valley dream route - on the move with the Saxon Steamship. Husum 2013, ISBN 978-3-89876-655-5 .
  • Frank Müller, Wolfgang Quinger: The Dresden paddle steamer fleet . Delius Klasing publishing house, Bielefeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-7688-1904-6 .
  • Frank Müller, Wolfgang Quinger: With steam and paddle wheel on the Upper Elbe . Transpress Verlag VEB Verlag für Transportwesen, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-344-00286-4 .
  • Wolfgang Quinger, Wolfgang Zimmermann: The oldest and largest paddle steamer fleet in the world. Verlag Die Fähre, Dresden 2002, ISBN 3-00-009518-7 .
  • Hans Rindt: The "White Fleet" Dresden - From the history of the Upper Elbe passenger shipping. In: German Shipping Archive. Part 3, Oceanum-Verlag, Wiefelstede 1980, ISBN 3-7979-1523-3 , pp. 69-114 online
  • Dieter Schubert: German inland passenger ships . Illustrated shipping register, Uwe-Welz-Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-933177-10-3 .
  • A unique fleet is celebrating its birthday. In: Association for European inland navigation and waterways (ed.): Inland navigation - the magazine for technology and logistics. August 2011, ISSN  0939-1916 .
  • Address and business manual of the royal capital and residence city of Dresden 1837 to 1896
  • Address book for Dresden and its suburbs from 1897 to 1943

Web links

Commons : Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Calberla, Heinrich Conrad Wilhelm:  Herbert Pönicke. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 92 ( digitized version ).
  2. Test drive of the Elbe steam boat "Saxonia" in March of this year. J. in the Wiener Zeitung of April 8, 1846. Austrian National Library, accessed on June 30, 2017 .
  3. Compare the Anno digital copies [1] and [2] .
  4. ^ The steam boat "Saxonia" from 45 Horsepower in the United Laibacher Zeitung of March 14, 1846. Austrian National Library, accessed on March 9, 2014 .
  5. The United Sächsisch-Böhmische Dampfschiffahrt advertises in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (April 3, 1849 on page 8). ONB, accessed September 1, 2013 .
  6. history. In: Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt. Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG, accessed on January 31, 2018 .
  7. Museums on, accessed on June 30, 2017
  8. Participation reports . Publications Saxony, accessed on December 1, 2016 .
  9. Manual search for Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts-GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG in the Federal Gazette at to receive the report “Annual financial statements for the financial year from 01/01/2014 to 12/31/2014”.
  10. Carola Pönisch: White Fleet in Need: What's Next? In: Wochenkurier . July 15, 2019, accessed July 17, 2019 .
  11. ^ Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt insolvent: Application submitted
  12. ^ "Leipzig" passenger steamer . In: Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt . Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG, accessed on January 31, 2018 .
  13. Ships. Sächsische Dampfschiffahrts GmbH & Co. Conti Elbschiffahrts KG, accessed on August 27, 2015 (information provided by the company).
  14. ^ Franz Neumeier: Elbe-Dresden. In: Retrieved on July 5, 2010 (list of paddle steamers including older names and decommissioned ships).
  15. ^ A b Dieter Schubert: German inland passenger ships. Illustrated register of ships. Uwe Welz Verlag Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-933177-10-3

Coordinates: 51 ° 3 ′ 14.2 "  N , 13 ° 44 ′ 33.9"  E