Travel Germany – Visit Friedrichstadt also known as Little Amsterdam

Updated July 2023.

You dream of walking through a town as pretty as a photo in a coffee table book? Found it. Friedrichstadt is a town in the district of Northern Frisia, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. In English, it is easier if you pronounce it as Sleswick-Holsatia (as previously known in English). The town, named after Duke Friedrich III. from Schleswig-Gottorp, is a dream come true. In the 17th century, the duke wanted to convince Dutchmen to move to this remote region of his duchy. He needed their expertise in designing towns by the water. And he also wanted to make use of their trade relations with partners as far away as Spain.

Travel Germany. Visit Friedrichstadt also known as Little Amsterdam

At the time the Dutch haven't had an easy standing. Remonstrants were under fire, persecuted for religious reasons. It is always somebody who is a declared underdog and not worthy enough. Will it ever change? Stupid. Anyway. The duke offered them a new home, and they took the offer. It is thanks to the Dutch that Northern Frisia has this picture-perfect town

The remonstrants stand for freedom and tolerance. Friedrichstadt is hence also often called "Dutch-Town" or "The City of Tolerance."

The Dutch created a true masterpiece of a town. Friedrichstadt, surrounded by a flat meadow landscape, oozes serenity. Here, the rivers Eider, Treene and Sorge cross the hinterland of the North Sea coast. The Dutch made use of the water from the rivers Eider and Treene to fill the picturesque canals. It is no surprise that the town holds the nickname 'Little Amsterdam.' Narrow canals, stone and wooden bridges, gabled houses, and straight cobblestoned streets. The city counts 18 bridges. One look around about, and one has to agree that it looks like any other small town in the Netherlands.

If you walk around you will soon notice that locals have a passion for roses. Roses in all colours climb around windows and up the facades of small cottages and manor houses. In most cases, the colour of the roses is well in tune with the colour of the facade. Many facades have an ornament above the front doors. Some of these are already a couple of hundred years old. These emblems were helpful before the introduction of street names and house numbers. Back in the day, the signs referred to the profession of the homeowner. A stroll through what feels like a well-designed coffee table book is inspiring.

Light yellow roses grow in front of a purple and white facade

Dark pink roses grow over a grey painted facade of a corner house with a white house in the background.

Light pink roses grow in front of a white facade and behind a white fence

Yellow roses grow in front of a white facade next to a light green wooden door

Red roses in front of a red brick facade with a small street in the background

The centre of Friedrichstadt forms one historical unit. It would be a shame if this would get lost. The department in charge listed the whole town as heritage. And since it is a whole 'ensemble' it got protected like one. The town Friedrichstadt is a "cultural heritage site." Clocks are ticking slowly in this town. Can you imagine that it was only in 1968, that this small town got connected to the public water supply?

The churches of Friedrichstadt play an important role still to this day. Friedrichstadt has got five churches for its only about 2,600 locals. This is so special. The Remonstrant Church is the only one of its kind outside of the Netherlands and worldwide. The light pink church is a re-built from 1854, after the original from 1624, which got destroyed in 1850.

Nine gabled merchant houses line a cobblestone street, under a blue sky.

What Can Visitors Do in Friedrichstadt

Visit the Remonstrant Church of Friedrichstadt

Light grey walls and as good as no decoration. The remonstrants believe in freedom and tolerance. Visiting their church, worshippers prefer to focus on their beliefs and not be distracted by ornaments and other elaborate displays. There is lots of space and light.

The pink Remonstrant Church in Friedrichstadt, under a blue sky.

Information: Remonstrant Church. Prinzessstrasse cnr Kirchenstrasse, Friedrichstadt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Cruise through the canals of Friedrichstadt

The boat tour takes about one hour, and the host tells you a lot about the history of the town. Boat tours run in the travel season from 1. April to 31. October.

Small red, blue and white boats and a ferry boat on the river Treene

Gabled houses, trees and boats and their reflections in the canal.

Information. Am Deich, 25840 Friedrichstadt, Phone 04881 937597. Tickets: Adults EUR 9. Children up to 14 years EUR 4.50. Groups of 10 people by appointment only. Trips depend on interest, weather and tide. The operator needs the participation of eight adults. There is no fixed timetable. Rides usually start between 11am to 4pm on the full hour.

Stand-up-paddle through the canals of Friedrichstadt

Stand up paddle through the canals. If you can’t bring your own equipment, simply rent a board and paddle. Bring water and sunscreen. 1 hour EUR 19. You can park near the station, close to the city archive (Westerlilienstraße). Diane rents out equipment and gives lessons, Phone +49 (0)151 59 43 80 71.

Go on a photo-safari through Friedrichstadt

The town offers so many motives, the prettiest front door, lazing cats in the sunshine, inquisitive dogs, craftspeople at work, colourful facades of gabled houses along the canals. Just bring your camera, and be you own guide and get lost while roaming the cobblestoned streets of Friedrichstadt.

A light pink house with a white front door, white rose bushes and a white bench in front of the house

White house with a red front door and a red bench in front of the house

Black door entwined by green plants

Three storeys historic red brick house with pink rose bushes and a green bench in front of the house.

White (with a few degrees leaning) house, on a cobblestoned street with a bridge over a canal in the background.

Red brick house with an ornately painted door, a wooden bench in front of the house.

Red brick house with a door painted in white stripes, next to a pink rose bush.

White and blue painted door and a red brick facade and an ornament of a dog

Two white gabled houses with green shutters and window frames

Large white manor house with a red roof and a green wooden door.

A grey door with golden statues on a red brick facade house

A red brick facade with a wooden door and shutters painted in light green and teal

Eat Cake in Friedrichstadt

Cake maker Christin Hinrichsen makes cakes to die for and welcomes guest to her café with a smile. Her daughter tells me her mum makes everything herself, and that without the use of artificial flavours and other nasties. I recommend the 'Bienenstich' and the 'Schwedentorte.'

A piece of Schwedentorte on a plate with guests at a cafe in the background

Information: Café Blumenhaus, Prinzenstraße 25, 25840 Friedrichstadt. Hours: Monday to Sunday 12pm to 5pm.

Visit Sankt Peter Ording while you are in Friedrichstadt

How to get to Friedrichstadt

Public transport: From Hamburg. Hamburg Central Station to Elmshorn. From Elmshorn to Friedrichstadt. Travel time is roughly two hours. Visit the website of Deutsche Bahn, to check times and ticket prices.

Cobblestoned bridge leading to three historical houses, under a blue sky.

By car: From Hamburg, A 23 towards Heide. B 5 towards Husum, B 202 towards Friedrichstadt. Hamburg to Friedrichstadt is roughly 135 kilometres, the drive will take 1.5 hours.

Best Time To Visit Friedrichstadt

You can visit all year round, whereas in spring and summer it is busy during the day, the winter months can be rather quiet. Bring an umbrella and a jumper. You never know, being in the northern part of Germany, everything can happen weather-wise. Summers are mild, autumn and winters are cold and can be wet. Spring and summer can be wet too, but there are certainly many nice and warm days.

From Berlin with love