Spiekeroog is one of the East Frisian Islands
East Frisian Islands
The East Frisian Islands are a chain of islands in the North Sea, off the coast of East Frisia in Lower Saxony, Germany. The islands extend for some from west to east between the mouths of the Ems and Jade / Weser rivers and lie about 3.5 to 10 km offshore...

, off the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 coast of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It is situated between Langeoog
Langeoog is one of the seven inhabited East Frisian Islands at the edge of the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea in the southern North Sea, located between Baltrum Island , and Spiekeroog . It is also a municipality in the district of Wittmund in Lower Saxony, Germany. The name Langeoog means Long Island in...

 to its west, and Wangerooge
Wangerooge is one of the 32 Frisian Islands in the North Sea located close to the coasts of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. It is also a municipality in the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony in Germany.Wangerooge is one of the East Frisian Islands...

 to its east. The island belongs to the district of Wittmund
Wittmund (district)
Wittmund is a Landkreis in the northwestern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in East Frisia, on the North Sea coast. Neighboring districts are Friesland, Leer and Aurich.-Geography:...

, in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 in Germany. The only village on the island is also called Spiekeroog.

Spiekeroog covers an area of 18.25 km², the shortest distance to the mainland is 5.7 km. The island is - with the exception of fire and rescue vehicles - free of cars. A daily ferry service from the harbour of Neuharlingersiel connects the island with the German mainland.

The origin of the name "Spiekeroog" is disputed. Today, most of its people tend to believe that it is a translation of "storage island".


Spiekeroog was first mentioned in 1398 as the island of Spiekeroch. At that time, it was a hiding place for pirates. They were supported by the islanders, but were not averse to robbing them too.

In 1625, 13 families lived on the island, making a living from farming, fishing and the production of muschelkalk
The Muschelkalk is a sequence of sedimentary rock strata in the geology of central and western Europe. It has a Middle Triassic age and forms the middle part of the Germanic Trias, that further consists of the Buntsandstein and Keuper...

or shell-bearing limestone. In later years, whaling and shipping became increasingly important to the island. During the Napoleonic occupation, shipping came to a halt due to the blockade
Continental System
The Continental System or Continental Blockade was the foreign policy of Napoleon I of France in his struggle against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars. It was a large-scale embargo against British trade, which began on November 21, 1806...

 against England which led to great poverty. Smuggling goods to and from the then English Heligoland
Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea.Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands are located in the Heligoland Bight in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea...

 was the only source of income during that time. In 1812, England attacked the French settlements on the island, but was repelled.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the idea of coastal resorts - having originated in England - became popular among the German North Sea islands. The first coastal resort was founded 1797 on the island of Norderney. Since 1820, guests have been using Spiekeroog for holidays. A weekly ferry service was established from Neuharlingersiel in 1792 and, since 1842, the service has operated on a daily basis. To improve the comfort of tourists and guests, a 1.7 km long horse-drawn railway was built in 1885 between the village and the western beach. It was extended in 1892 to the newly-built harbour in the southwest of the island. This horse-drawn railway was replaced by diesel trains on May, 31st, 1949 which makes it the last horse-drawn railway in Germany.


Spiekeroog was a frequent vacation destination for various German presidents. Gustav Heinemann
Gustav Heinemann
Gustav Walter Heinemann, GCB was a German politician. He was Mayor of the city of Essen from 1946 to 1949, West German Minister of the Interior from 1949 to 1950, Minister of Justice from 1966 to 1969 and President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974.-Early years and professional...

, Richard von Weizsäcker
Richard von Weizsäcker
Richard Karl Freiherr von Weizsäcker , known as Richard von Weizsäcker, is a German politician . He served as Governing Mayor of West Berlin from 1981 to 1984, and as President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994...

 and Johannes Rau
Johannes Rau
Johannes Rau was a German politician of the SPD. He was President of Germany from 1 July 1999 until 30 June 2004, and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1978 to 1998.-Education and work:...

(who got married on the island) spent their holidays here.

As a North Sea coastal resort the island is home to various health institutions including a wellness centre, a mother/child health centre and an island spa.
Spiekeroog has a capacity of 3,500 beds for guests - counting all hotels, pensions, private rooms, vacation apartments and health and leisure centres. According to a 2003 survey, 64,000 tourists visit the island yearly, with 554,000 overnight stays and 81,000 daytime visitors. The average stay on the island is 5.8 days.

Beside hotels, pensions and vacation apartments, there is a campsite on the western part of the island. It is open from May to September.

Places of interest

The "Old Island Church" (Protestant) was built in 1696 and is therefore the oldest of all the churches on the East Frisian Islands. The portrait of the Virgin Mary within the church is supposed to have come from a ship of the Spanish Armada that was stranded on Spiekeroog in 1588.

Drinkeldodenkarkhof, also known as "Cemetery of the Homeless" is the graveyard for the 84 victims from the sinking of the ship Johanne in 1854.

The Island Museum shows historical artefacts from the island, the development of the coastal resort and the nature on the island.

The Shell Museum at Kogge House has an exhibition of 2000 shells from all over the world.

From April to September (depending on holiday times), a horse-drawn railway operates between the old railway station and Westend.
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