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The Lighthouse Foundation and the Pilot Island

In September 2008, the Lighthouse Foundation acquired the pilot island at the mouth of the Schlei. After weeks of uncertainty about its future, this fascinating and sensitive area on the Schleswig-Holstein Baltic coast was secured for long-term public access rather than sacrificed to private interests.


The Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Areas and the Institute for Federal Real Estate (BIMA) reached agreement on the sale of the previously state-owned pilot island at the mouth of the Schlei on the Baltic Sea to the Lighthouse Foundation.


The pilot island forms the southern tip of a peninsula at the outlet of the Schlei in the immediate vicinity of the Oehe-Schleimünde nature reserve. The 8,000 square metre area and its buildings are used by the societies “Verein Jordsand“ and “Naturnaher Wasserwanderplatz“ as well as the operator of the small “Giftbude” restaurant.


The “Jordsand Society” provides information on the nature reserve and the particular ecological characteristics of the Baltic and the Schlei to some 3,000 visitors per year. School groups from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein use the pilot’s house for environmental education projects and seminars. This is the base for conscientious objectors performing community service and voluntary ecological year participants of the society who look after the protected natural barrier beach landscape of the Oehe-Schleimünde nature reserve all year and who also provide guided walks for visiting groups.


The marina provides moorings for pleasure craft, complete with suitable sanitary facilities, as well as a camp site for waterborne visitors, which is available for all interested parties. The well-known “Giftbude” restaurant is a popular venue for water sports enthusiasts and other visitors in search of a snack.


From the point of view of the Lighthouse Foundation, the pilot island is particularly valuable due to its location at the mouth of the Schlei and its linkage to the natural environment that provide visitors with a very special experience of nature. Tourism and cultural demands require a balanced plan for the long-term environmentally compatible use by the various interest groups. The existing tenants of the marina, restaurant and pilot house pursued this policy over a number of years and achieved a balance between ecological and economic demands.


This unique and, as yet, unexhausted set of circumstances were called into question by the Federal government’s intentions regarding the sale of the island. Local and state-wide campaigns to maintain the current situation proved to be fruitless. The affected, charitable societies were keen to purchase the property but were unable to raise the necessary capital in the short term. It appeared highly unlikely that private interested parties would guarantee future public access particularly where the pilot house was concerned.


The pilot island has been saved for the public by the commitment of the Lighthouse Foundation. The purchase price of 655,000 euros represents a significant financial effort for the Lighthouse Foundation and the future maintenance of the pilot island will also require further investment.




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Contact Pilot Island:

Lighthouse Foundation

Kanalstraße 61

D-24 159 Kiel



Tel: +49 (0)431 668 468 0

Email: Lighthouse Foundation

Schleimünde Pilot Island now has its own website (in German and Danish). You can find out everything you need to know about the project and the island at ... more

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