Wilhelmshaven is in East Frisia. The city's population in 2018 was about 76,000. Wilhelmshaven's main claim to fame is its connection to the sea and its function as a harbour.
"Haven", or rather in its modern German spelling "Hafen", means harbour. Founded in the 1850s as Prussia's military port on the North Sea, it served as the main North Sea harbour for the German Navy throughout the Kaiserreich (1871-1918). As the treaty of Versailles greatly limited the size of the German fleet, Wilhelmshaven sought and found new economic activities and invested heavily in tourism, which became the second important industry. Both the Nazis and post-war Germany kept and expanded the military capacities at Wilhelmshaven.
The most controversial piece of infrastructure, however, is an entirely civilian one: the JadeWeserPort, Germany's largest harbour project. It was opened in 2012 and is intended to become the third largest German port on the North Sea (after Hamburg and Bremen); however, transport volumes have stayed well below expectations as of 2015, leading to charges that the project is a "white elephant".
Due to the JadeWeserPort, several traffic connections have been upgraded or are scheduled to be upgraded.
A29 is intended to serve as a major transportation route from the harbor and thus also serves as a good entry point to the city.
- 1 Wilhelmshaven railway station. Regional trains run from Oldenburg (every half-hour to hourly), Osnabrück (every half-hour to hourly), and several times daily from Bremen. If you arrive from further away you will probably have to change trains at one of the latter two.
- 2 JadeWeserAirport (WVN IATA). This grandiosely titled general aviation airstrip lost scheduled service when Yourways went belly-up in 2019.
The harbour mainly caters to freight ships, and does not have many ferry connections. Wilhelmshaven is not a stop on many cruise-lines. A connection to Heligoland was ended in 2014 due to lack of demand.
Wilhelmshaven has a city bus system, but it does not accept the Niedersachsen-Ticket.
- JadeWeserPort Infocenter, Am Tiefen Fahrwasser 11, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. An exhibition on the port as well as modern container trade in general. They also offer bus tours through the harbor (€6.90, €5.90 reduced; combined ticket with exhibition €9.90, €7.90 reduced). You can access the roof of the exhibition building to see what is going on at the harbor from a better vantage point. Adult €4, reduced €2.50.
- 1 Deutsches Marinemuseum (Navy museum).
- 2 Botanischer Garten der Stadt Wilhelmshaven, Gökerstraße 125. A botanical garden.
- 3 Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brücke (Emperor William Bridge). A 159-m-long swing bridge.
- 4 Küstenmuseum Wilhelmshaven. Tu-Su 11:00-17:00. Regular €5, kids €2.50, reduced €3.50.
- 5 Vollzugsmuseum Wilhelmshaven.
- 6 Kopperhörner Mühle.
- 7 Rathaus Wilhelmshaven, email@example.com. A huge blocky brick building from the 1920s that is certainly an interesting and unusual architectural choice if anything....
- 8 Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven.
- 1 Apart-Hotel Seenelke, Südstrand 120, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Single from €105, double from €150.
- 2 Ecosleep Boardinghouse, Marktstraße 146, ☏ , info@EcoSleep.de. Single from €32, double from €56.
- 3 Hotel Fürstenwerth, Marktstraße 95, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00-18:00, check-out: till 11:00. Single from €59, double from €84, breakfast included.