stage 7: German Bight

River Jade (DE) to River Eider (DE)

Length: 320 km (200 miles) in 16 stages

Terrain: flat

From the Jade river to the Eider river, marking the beginning of North Frisia or kreis Nordfriesland. This stage covers the German Bight, including the mythical rock island Heligoland (also Helgoland) where the Germanic goddess Fosete

was worshiped.

Trail Directions

section 7.1: Varel - Seefeld (PM)

section 7.2: Seefeld - Eckwarderhörne (PM)

section 7.3: Eckwarderhörne - Butjadingen (PM)

section 7.4: Butjadingen - ferry Blexen/Bremerhaven (PM)

section 7.5: ferry Bremerhaven/Blexen - Wremen (PM)

section 7.6: Wremen - Midlum (PM)

section 7.7: Midlum - Berensch (PM)

section 7.8: Berensch - Cuxhaven (PM)

section 7.9: Cuxhaven - Neuhaus (PM)

section 7.10: Neuhaus - Freiburg (PM)

section 7.11: Freiburg - Glückstadt (PM)

section 7.12: Glückstadt - Sankt Margarethen (PM)

section 7.13: Sankt Margarethen - Burg (PM)

section 7.14: Burg - Meldorf (PM)

section 7.15: Meldorf - Büsum (PM)

section 7.16: Büsum - Tönning (PM) 


During the Roman Period it was the territory of the Maiores Chauci (the major Chauci), with the Minores Chauci (the minor Chauci) living to the west, present-day region of East Frisia (Ostfriesland). To the north this region borders to North Frisia (kreis Nordfriesland). After the fall of the Roman Empire and the Migration Period the mouth of the river Elbe became territory of the Saxons.

This region, except the rock island Heligoland where a dialect of the North-Frisian language is spoken, historically has never been part of Frisia. As soon as you cross the river Jade you leave Frisia only to enter again when crossing the river Eider.

Although this stage has never been part of Frisia the area between the rivers Weser and Elbe (Schleswig-Holstein) can compete for the title 'cradle of the Frisians'. During the Migration Period it were the Angles and Saxons migrating from this region not only to what is now east and southern England, but also settled in the almost deserted areas of Mid Frisia and coastal parts of West Frisia. An energetic bunch those Saxons must have been.

When crossing the river Elbe you enter what was named during the early Middle Ages Nordalbingia. This land stretched all the way to the Danewerk (or Danevirke) in the north. As said, this was and is Saxon territory, meaning 'north of Elbe'. In Latin language the river Elbe is called Alba. Interestingly, in Scottish Gaelic Scotland is named Alba. Etymological Alba is derived from the Greek word albion and traced back to the meaning 'white'. Maybe because of the white-haired people?

Kreis or region Dithmarschen, geographically part of Nordalbingia, is sometimes associated (in Old-Frisian law codices) with Frisia, but it is not. And we don't want to insult anyone. Dithmarschen was an isolated area because it was 'sealed-off' from the mainland by extensive and impenetrable peat lands. Both the Dithmarschians (the Thiadmaresgaho) and the Frisians (except the West Frisians, see stages 1, 2 and 3) have a similar history of living on tidal marshlands, together with the disappearance or absence of feudal structures during most of the Middle Ages. A lord-free, peasant republic as well. Probably the peat lands both areas had in common made this possible. So, the Frisians are not unique when it comes to dwelling mounds and a very old republican history. Therefore, nor are the Dithmarschen people. And, we mussen't forget the Saxons of Land Wursten who lived too on tidal marshes on dwelling mounds.

For an impression of this stage, click here.