Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei Föhr-Amrum

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Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei Föhr-Amrum GmbH

legal form GmbH
founding 1885
Seat Wyk on Föhr
management Axel Meynköhn
Number of employees 160 (2015)
sales 27.55 million euros (2012)
Branch Shipping (passenger and vehicle transport in sea and coastal shipping), public transport on Föhr and Amrum
Website www.faehre.de

The headquarters of the WDR in Wyk

The Wyk steam ship shipping company Föhr-Amrum GmbH , shortly WDR is a shipping company that the North Frisian Islands Fohr and Amrum and the Halligen Hooge and Langeneß to the mainland by a regular and year-round scheduled service connects. Mainly people, vehicles of all sizes and general cargo are carried on the ferries. The ferry lines represent the main lifeline of the islands and islets.

In addition, the WDR operates as a transport company the public bus service to the islands of Fohr and Amrum.


Flag of the WDR on one of the island ferries
Ferry pier in Wittdün with WDR ferry, in the background two more WDR ferries and Föhr

There has been evidence of regular ferry traffic between the North Frisian mainland and Föhr since 1662. From the 1830s onwards, the number of passengers increased due to the expansion of Wyks into a seaside resort . From 1872 the Wyker Fährgenossenschaft carried out the ferry service between Wyk and Dagebüll with the steamship Föhr et Dagebüll . The demand continued to grow, so that in early 1885 33 Wyker citizens founded the Wyker Rhederei Gesellschaft , a private shipping company , under the direction of Steffen-Heinrich Boetius . The aim was to put a modern ferry into service from Wyk from Munkmarsch on Sylt , the mainland port of Dagebüll and Amrum. In 1886 the shipping company put the Nordfriesland I into operation. Two competitors, the Wyker Fährgenossenschaft and the Föhrer Dampfschiffahrts-Gesellschaft , were taken over or liquidated in the 1880s, so that the shipping company was a monopoly on Föhr . Amrum, however, was called by other ferry companies until 1971. On May 12, 1894, the shipping company was converted into a GmbH and registered as Wyker Dampfschiffs-Rhederei-Gesellschaft mbH at the Wyk auf Föhr district court. In 1895 the Niebüll – Dagebüll small railway was inaugurated as a narrow-gauge railway . This made the mainland port of Dagebüll more important. In 1908 the steam ferry Föhr-Amrum started its service with 211  GRT and a maximum of 470 passengers. During the First World War , sales fell; the city of Wyk bought 75 percent of the company in 1918.

In June 1927 the Nordfriesland III went into operation. It measured 285 GRT, was almost 40 meters long and 7.8 meters wide. The top speed was eleven knots. The Nordfriesland III held up to 740 passengers and was the first ship of the WDR that could transport motor vehicles, but initially only one. The cars were loaded using narrow wooden planks. The year before the railway line was on to Niebüll standard gauge umgespurt been, so that their performance was also increased. The reason for these measures was the competition with the island of Sylt, which in 1927 was connected to the mainland via the Hindenburgdamm .

During the Second World War there was again a significant decline in transport services. Ferries have been attacked from the air several times. On July 10, 1944, 11 people died in the bombing of Captains Christiansen . Most of the ferry trips were made under cover of darkness. Passenger numbers rose in the post-war period . From 1952, the WDR set up excursion traffic to Heligoland from Hörnum, Wyk, Wittdün and Dagebüll in the summer season after it had again become part of German territory. Further excursions were offered from Föhr or Amrum, among others with the Rüm Hart  (I) and Rüm Hart  (II), the Klaar Kimming , the city ​​of Husum and the Störtebeker . Around 1960, the WDR took over bus services to Föhr and Amrum.

The port facilities were regularly expanded and modernized, the fleet was renewed at short intervals. Larger and larger ships were bought in order to be able to transport more cars. Until 1995, all WDR car ferries were built at the Husum shipyard . On June 30, 1962, the WDR was awarded with the Pidder Lyng I their first ro-ro ferry . It was 41.6 meters long and held 200 passengers and 36 cars. In 1963, the Nordfriesland III was decommissioned. In 1971 the WDR took over the Amrumer Schiffahrts-AG (ASAG) with the 1968 built ferry Amrum and the city ​​of Husum . This brought the " Hallig line", which connected the mainland port Schlüttsiel with the Halligen Hooge and Langeneß and the Amrumer ports Wittdün and Steenodde , to the WDR Also in 1971 the tide-independent traffic was introduced between Dagebüll, Wyk and Wittdün . In 1986, the Uthlande, a WDR ferry in the shipyard, was extended to increase its capacity; in 1987 the Nordfriesland V followed .

1992 was the previous record year for WDR, when around 2.25 million passengers used the ferries shortly after German reunification . In 1995 the WDR acquired the majority of the shares of the State of Schleswig-Holstein in the Nordfriesischen Verkehrsbetriebe AG (NVAG), which operated the railway line from Dagebüll to Niebüll . The investment was sold on to a North German local transport consortium in 2000 as part of the WDR's concentration on its own core business. NVAG filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and today operates under the name neg as a subsidiary of CFL (Luxembourg State Railways) .

The Rungholt put into service in 1992 after leaving Wyk

The “Hallig line” was shortened so that Steenodde was no longer called. The Amrum was in use until 1991 and was sold to Rügen . It was replaced by the Hilligenlei II , which was similar to the large WDR ferries and was replaced in 2002 by the even smaller Hilligenlei  I (today Hilligenlei ). From 1999 to 2006 the WDR was co-owner of the high-speed catamaran CAT No. 1 , which was used in Heligoland traffic. In 2002, WDR carried out excursions to Heligoland for the last time with the Pidder Lyng II . She was sold to the Adler ships and was again on their behalf in 2006 in Heligoland traffic. In 2009 the bus fleet was reduced from 14 to eight buses and the occasional service on Föhr was abandoned.

In 2010, the Uthlande , a double-ended ferry, went into operation for the first time . She has a maximum draft of only 1.85 m and a greater capacity (up to 1200 passengers and 75 cars) than the previous ferries. It was built at the Sietas shipyard in Hamburg . At the end of 2011, a largely identical ship, the Schleswig-Holstein , which had been built by the Neptun shipyard in Rostock , went into service.

In 2012, both ferries received the Blue Angel eco- label for environmentally friendly ship design. In the ferry service of the shipping company for decades not a single ship sails by in the deep sea shipping almost exclusively used heavy oil , although this would be technically feasible and significantly cheaper. Instead, the WDR uses a significantly more expensive diesel fuel similar to heating oil . The WDR has long been fulfilling emissions standards that, according to the resolution of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), will gradually come into force by 2020.

With the commissioning of the Uthlande in 2010, the operators of the ports of Dagebüll, Wyk auf Föhr and Wittdün on Amrum, in coordination with the WDR, switched the loading system to separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic. For this purpose, a covered pedestrian side entrance was built at the same time in each of the three ports next to a ferry bridge. This gives passengers direct access to the saloon decks on all WDR ferries. As a result of this system change, a fifth vehicle lane could be set up on the three double-ended ferries; This is one of the reasons why the RoRo capacity of the new ships has increased by around 40% compared to the previous generation. A second pedestrian side entrance is currently under construction in Wyk auf Föhr and in Dagebüll (as of March 2019).

With the sale of the Rüm Hart in 2014, the era of the WDR excursion ships ended for the time being.

In November 2015, a third double-ended ferry was ordered for the WDR, again from the Neptun shipyard in Rostock. The keel-laying took place on December 16, 2016. The ferry has the same dimensions as the Schleswig-Holstein and is designed according to the same standards as these. The vehicle deck has four truck lanes for the first time, and the ferry has a capacity of around 1200 people. The ship was named Norderaue and replaced the Rungholt . The ship was delivered on April 19, 2018 and put into operation in spring 2018.

At the end of 2017, a catamaran was ordered from TB Shipyards Harlingen (Netherlands). The ship was delivered in May 2019 and is sailing as Adler Rüm Hart in charter with the Adler- Schiff shipping company .

At the end of the summer schedule in 2018, Amrum was last served by the Hallig line, after the last three trips per week had been offered.


Dagebüll harbor

The Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei Föhr-Amrum is owned by around 330 shareholders, an unusual number for the corporate form of a GmbH (as of 2017). The largest individual shareholders are AG Reederei Norden-Frisia with around 39% and the city of Wyk auf Föhr with around 32%. For its part, WDR has a major stake in Inselparkplatz Dagebüll GmbH , Neue Pellwormer Dampfschiffahrts-GmbH , AG Reederei Norden-Frisia and other companies in the region. The managing director is the shipping agent Axel Meynköhn.

WDR has around 160 employees (as of 2017). The ferries carry around 1.8 million passengers, 280,000 cars and 30,000 trucks each year. Around 22,000 passengers use WDR's excursion services. The seven Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses are used in regular service and transport around 790,000 passengers a year.

The WDR works in all areas, including the deficit ones such as the Hallig supply and bus traffic, exclusively on its own, i.e. without subsidies from the public sector.

With the introduction of the double-ended ferries and the pedestrian connections to the ships, the shipping company achieved improved accessibility for the disabled and received a seal of approval from the Social Association of Germany .

Routes and sailing area

The following routes are operated in regular service:

  • Föhr-Amrum line Dagebüll - Wyk auf Föhr - Wittdün (Amrum)
    • Dagebüll – Wyk (journey time around 50 minutes)
    • Dagebüll – Wittdün (journey time around 90 minutes, via Föhr around 120 minutes)
    • Wyk – Wittdün (journey time around 60 minutes)
  • Hallig line Schlüttsiel - Hooge - Langeneß
    • Schlüttsiel – Hooge (journey time around 60 minutes)
    • Schlüttsiel – Langeneß (journey time around 90 minutes, via Hooge)

In the summer half of the year, Föhr is scheduled to call at around thirteen times a day, and Amrum around seven times, sometimes directly, i.e. not via Föhr. If necessary, there are also special trips. In the winter months the ferries run a little less often. The Hallig line is used twice a day in the summer from Schlüttsiel to Hooge and Langeneß. In the winter months, the Hallig line is not served two days a week.

In contrast to some other North Sea islands such as Juist , Spiekeroog and Wangerooge , due to the water conditions in the sea area between the North Frisian Islands and Halligen and the mainland , it is possible to carry out a tide-independent ferry service with fixed departure times at almost any time, even at medium low tide. Impairments to the tide-independent timetable occur particularly at low tide in connection with strong and persistent easterly winds. Very shallow areas that have to be dredged from time to time are located in the marked fairways off Dagebüll and Wittdün. Storm surges can cause the ferry pier to flood during high water. In this situation, ferry travel is still possible, but not loading and unloading ships in the ports. In very cold winters, ice drift can impair shipping traffic.

Bus traffic on Föhr and Amrum

WDR bus on Föhr

On the island of Föhr, bus traffic is carried out on the two opposite ring lines 1 and 2, which serve all island villages. Faster trips, which leave out the Wyk urban area, run than lines 11 and 22. These also carry school traffic to the remote emigrant farms in the north of the island. In addition, there are two ring lines 3 and 4 in the urban area of ​​Wyk in summer.

On Amrum there is a line that connects the three island communities Wittdün, Nebel and Norddorf; however, the foggy district of Steenodde is not approached.

Due to the strong seasonal demand for transport, the buses on both islands run more frequently in the summer months than in the winter months.

Basically, every ferry arrival and departure on Föhr and Amrum is synchronized with the bus service.

List of ships of the WDR

Ship type
Tonnage (GRT)
Use at the WDR
North Friesland (I) Steam boat 54 1885 1885-1890 first ship built for the shipping company
Föhr et Dagebüll Steam boat 12.6 tn.l. approx. 1834-1839 1885-1896 originally gunboat , by taking over the Wyk Fährgenossenschaft purchased
Stephan Steam boat 49 1887 1887-1899
Hamburg Paddle steamer 102 1866 1890-1899
North Friesland II Steam boat 121 1894 1894-1910
from Thielen Steam boat 133 1900 1900-1912
Wyck-Foehr Paddle steamer 74 1878 1902-1907
Wyk-Foehr Steam boat 85 1944 1907-1938
Foehr-Amrum Steam boat 211 1908 1908-1946 Bomb raid on June 26, 1944, death of the captain
Albert Ballin Motor ship 77 1911 1911-1919
Föhr-Dagebüll Motor ship 99/164 1912 1912-1969 1935 extension by 3.4 m, from 1951 Hilligenlei I , from 1952 in Heligoland traffic
Steffen-Heinrich Motor ship 33 1925 1925-1940
North Friesland III Motor ship 285 1927 1927-1963 first WDR ship with car transport
Captains Christiansen Motor ship 160 /? 1938 1938-1971 from 1945 Uthlande I , from 1955 again Captains Christiansen , 1958 extended by 6.8 m
Uthlande II Motor ship 334 1955 1955-1968 from 1959 Orange Star , from 1962 again Uthlande II , also used in Heligoland transport
Schleswig-Holstein I. Motor ship 351 1958 1958-1970 from 1968 Uthlande III
Rum Hart I. Motor ship 373 1959 1959-1982 especially in excursion traffic, also to Heligoland
Pidder Lyng Car ferry and passenger motor ship 296 1962 1962-1971 WDR's first RoRo ship
Klaar Kiming Motor ship 433 1964 1964-1999 especially in excursion traffic, also to Heligoland
North Friesland IV Car ferry and passenger motor ship 493 1966 1966-1977
Foehr Island Car ferry and passenger motor ship 777 1968 1968-1980
Störtebeker Motor ship 96/115 1969 1969-2009 especially in excursion traffic, extended by 3.7 m in 1972
Amrum Island Car ferry and passenger motor ship 495 1970 1970-2011 1977 Installation of a sun deck, since January 1st 2012 as the island of Amrum with home port Pellworm for the NPDG
City of Husum Motor ship 149 1960 1971-1983 acquired through the takeover of ASAG , according to plan on the Hallig line
Amrum Car ferry and passenger motor ship 212 1968 1971-1992 acquired through the takeover of ASAG , according to plan on the Hallig line
dolphin Motor ship 66 1970 1971-1983 Excursion ship, since 1983 as Eilun with home port Wittdün
Schleswig-Holstein II Car ferry and passenger motor ship 823 1972 1972-1987
Hilligenlei II Motor ship 249 1970 1976-1983 especially in excursion traffic
North Friesland Car ferry and passenger motor ship 924/999 1978 1978-1995 1987 extended by 9.9 m
Uthlande Car ferry and passenger motor ship 923/1734
( GT )
1980 1980-2013 1986 extended by 9.9 m
Pidder Lyng II Motor ship 999 1972 1981-2002 especially in Heligoland traffic
Rum Hart II Motor ship 105 1969 1982-2014 mainly in excursion traffic, sold to shipping company Norden-Frisia in 2014
Schleswig-Holstein III Car ferry and passenger motor ship 1743 (GT) 1988 1988-2011 2011 sold to Eigen Veerdienst Terschelling (EVT), in service as Spathoek
Hilligenlei Car ferry and passenger motor ship 630 (GT) 1991 1991-2006 Scheduled on the Hallig line, launched in 2002, sold to AG Ems in 2006 , in service as Groningerland
Rungholt Car ferry and passenger motor ship 2265 (GT) 1992 since 1992 Decommissioned in 2018; Sold to Greece in 2019
North Friesland Car ferry and passenger motor ship 2290 (GT) 1995 since 1995 last WDR ship built by the Husum shipyard
CAT No. 1 High speed
963 (GT) 1999 1999-2006 Used together with three other shipping companies in Heligoland traffic, top speed 40 knots
Hilligenlei I Car ferry and passenger motor ship 467 (GT) 1985 since 2002 according to plan on the Hallig line, Hilligenlei since 2010
Uthlande Ro-ro ship with an open cargo deck 3179 (GT) 2010 since 2010 first WDR double-ended ferry
Schleswig-Holstein Ro-ro ship with an open cargo deck 3200 GT 2011 since 2011 Double-ended ferry
Norderaue Ro-ro ship with an open cargo deck 3200 GT 2018 since 2018 Double-ended ferry; replaced the Rungholt

Current fleet of the WDR


The Schleswig-Holstein (IV)

The Schleswig-Holstein (IV) was built in 2011 at the Neptun shipyard in Rostock. She is the second double-ended ferry of the WDR and, like her sister ship Uthlande (V) , can carry 1200 passengers (650 in winter) and around 75 cars. The Schleswig-Holstein (IV) is 75.88 m long and 16.4 m wide, the draft is 1.75 m when loaded. The handover took place on December 1st, 2011 in Rostock. The ship reached the home port Wyk auf Föhr on December 15, 2011 and has been in service on the Föhr-Amrum line since December 20, 2011. The baptism took place on December 30, 2011 in Wyk.


The Uthlande (V)

The Uthlande (V) was built in 2009/2010 at the Sietas shipyard in Hamburg-Neuenfelde. This is the first new ferry ship for the WDR since 1995. The construction is the first double-ended ferry for the WDR. The new Uthlande was designed with a Voith Schneider drive, so that time-consuming turning in the ports is no longer necessary. The new ferry can carry 1200 passengers (650 in winter) and around 75 cars. She is 75.88 m long and 16.4 m wide, the draft when loaded is 1.75 m.

The ferry transfer from Hamburg took place on June 4th and 5th, 2010. The christening took place on June 11, 2010 in her new home port Wyk auf Föhr. Since June 15, 2010, the Uthlande has been in use on the Föhr-Amrum line according to schedule.

North Friesland

The Nordfriesland (VI) in Dagebüll

The Nordfriesland (VI) was built in 1995 in Husum . The namesake is the region of North Friesland . The ship is 67.84 m long, 15.4 m wide and has a draft of 1.9 m. The ship is measured with 2287 GT. The load capacity is 356 dwt, the ship can accommodate up to 1190 people and 53 cars. The main engines produce 1920 kW (2600 PS), which accelerate the ship to a speed of up to 12.5 knots (equivalent to 23 km / h).


The Hilligenlei

The Hilligenlei (until March 2010 Hilligenlei I ) was built in 1985 in Husum for ferry traffic from Nordstrand to Pellworm and was later used as a "duty-free" ship on the Oder for the Adler- Schiff shipping company . In 2002 the WDR took over the ship as the successor to the Hilligenlei , which was sold to Emden in 2006 after a long layover . The namesake is the terp of the same name on the Hallig Langeness . The ship is 38.3 m long and measured at 467 GT. The load capacity is 115 tdw, the ship can accommodate up to 300 people and 20 cars. The main engines can accelerate the ship to a speed of up to 10 knots (equivalent to 19 km / h). The Hilligenlei is used in regular services on the Hallig line. In the winter months she can be found on the regular service between Pellworm and Nordstrand, when the Pellworm ferry Pellworm  (I) is at the shipyard in Husum.


The Norderaue

The Norderaue is the shipping company's newest ferry and was put into service in May 2018. It replaced the Rungholt built in 1992 . The ferry was built at the Neptun shipyard in Rostock-Warnemünde. Like her sister ships Uthlande and Schleswig-Holstein , the ship is a double-ended ferry.

Rum Hart

The Adler Rüm Hart in Wyk auf Föhr

The catamaran built at the Dutch shipyard TB Shipyards Harlingen was delivered in May 2019. The ship bears the traditional name Rüm Hart again . But since it was initially chartered to the shipping company Adler- Schiff, it was christened Adler Rüm Hart .


  • Jan Mordhorst: Wyker steamship shipping company 125 years . Sea port, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-87743-825-1
  • Jubilee Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei · Islands and Halligen reliably supplied for 125 years . In: Hansa , Heft 4/2010, pp. 58–67. Schiffahrts-Verlag Hansa, Hamburg 2010, ISSN  0017-7504

Web links

Commons : Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei Föhr-Amrum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b History up to 1920 Official website of the shipping company, accessed on September 12, 2015
  2. a b History 1920–1960 Official website of the shipping company, accessed on September 12, 2015
  3. a b Official website of the shipping company / history 1960–1990 , accessed on September 12, 2015
  4. a b c 2017 timetable of the WDR , accessed on February 14, 2017
  5. ^ Report on the Uthlande (V) ( Memento of December 22, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on October 9, 2012
  6. www.reederverband.de (press release from June 10, 2013)
  7. The new ferry building . Article on the WDR website, accessed on June 3, 2017
  8. WDR orders another double-ended ferry from the Neptun shipyard. November 2, 2015, accessed October 7, 2017 .
  9. THE NEW FERRY. Retrieved October 7, 2017 .
  10. ^ Föhr-Amrum ferry and Hallig line: WDR order: New catamaran for the Wadden Sea , Husumer Nachrichten, November 2, 2017.
  11. a b Self-portrait of the WDR at faehre.de, accessed on June 16, 2017
  12. a b Official website of the shipping company ( memento from January 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 25, 2011
  13. Barrier-free crossing. faehre.de, accessed on March 24, 2019
  14. SoVD seal of approval awarded to Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei. faehre.de, accessed on March 24, 2019
  15. List of all WDR ferries since 1885 , accessed on September 12, 2015
  16. Conflicts over island traffic · Shipowner Meynköhn warns of falling prices · WDR boss wants to take vigorous action against competitors . In: Daily port report of February 26, 2014, pp. 1 + 3, ISSN  2190-8753
  17. ^ Report of the sh: z , accessed on December 23, 2015

Coordinates: 54 ° 41 ′ 31.5 "  N , 8 ° 34 ′ 23.7"  E