Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Helgoland‘s steamboat service
Ever since one can remember, the maritime tradition of Helgoland’s steamboat service has been passed on from generation to generation. Little boats carry passengers of the ocean-going vessels at anchor from board and aboard. They have shaped the typical appearance of the island Helgoland and are especially beneficial to the elderly and people with physical disabilities.
Facts & figures
Crucial date: throughout the year
Domains: Knowledge and customs relating to nature and the universe, forms of social self-organization, oral traditions and expressions
Where to find: Helgoland
Helgoland’s steamboat service functions as transport means to get from ocean-going vessels to the mainland. Even though there are actual harbours in Helgoland, the municipality of Helgoland cannot allow all ships to enter as some quays need to remain free. This is because the harbour of Helgoland also serves as a port of refugee. However, to enable visits to the islands, the idea of the steamboat service has been developed. They carry passengers from big ships to the mainland and vice versa.
Each vessel provides two crew members that help passengers to get from one to the other. Once they are on the little steam boat, another crew member welcomes them and leads them to their seats. That way, anyone receives an individual welcome greeting. Since the luggage is taken separately, passengers don’t need to struggle to achieve balance. Furthermore, wheelchair users do not need to hesitate; they too can be easily carried to the island. Even better is the fact that the little steamboats go straight away to the jetty that is in the very centre of the island. Therefore, passengers don’t need to take on the long distance from the actual harbour to the city centre. Consequently, the service brings relief to the elderly as well as to physically disabled people.