Today, this area of some 1,404.5 sq km, surrounded by the waters of the North Sea, Eider estuary, Kiel canal and Elbe river, is home to around 137,000 people. Dithmarschen, together with Pinneberg and Steinburg districts forms the region of SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN LOWER ELBE.
The people of Ditmarschen held on to their political liberty from the nobility until 1559. The wealth of the peasants of former times is still very apparent in the richly endowed churches and museums – but you will search in vain for castles in Dithmarschen.
Tradition and modernity go cheek by jowl in Dithmarschen. As well as agriculture (cabbages mainly) and fisheries – the two traditional economic sectors – you will find, e.g. in Brunsbüttel an important industrial location with one of the federal republic’s most profitable ports. The numerous wind farms also show that the region is looking to the future in terms of energy supply and sustainability and taking a leading role.
The soft tourism concept – quality rather than quantity – can be found in Dithmarschen, just an hour’s drive from Hamburg. Holidaymakers (around two million overnight stays a year) like to stay in the direct vicinity of the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer) national park.
There is plenty to interest culture-vultures, after all Johannes Brahms, Friedrich Hebbel and Klaus Groth all had roots in Dithmarschen. Visitors crowd in for events such as the Dithmarschen Kohltage, honouring the humble cabbage, Heide’s Marktfrieden, commemorating the freedom of its market traders, the Kunstgriff arts event and other festivals.