Lighthouses of Germany: the Bodensee
The Bodensee, often called Lake Constance in English, is a large
lake at the extreme southern end of Germany. The Rhine River passes
through the lake as it leaves Switzerland and begins its course northward through western
Germany. The lake is an international waterway: its northern shore
is in Germany, the southern shore is in Switzerland, and the eastern
end of the lake is in Austria. Navigation is limited to pleasure craft, ferries, and excursion boats like the Austrian ship leaving Lindau in the photo at right.
Historically all three countries had lighthouses on the lake. In addition to the four lighthouses
listed on this page, there's a remarkable new light at Bregenz in Austria, and two small lighthouses are listed on the Switzerland page.
In German, a lighthouse is a Leuchtturm ("light
tower"), plural Leuchttürme. Lighthouses on the lake are probably maintained by the municipal governments of each community.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights.
- General Sources
- Deutschland - Bodensee
- Photos and notes by Malte Werning.
- Lake Constance Lighthouses
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Germany
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Photos posted by Klause Huelse; there are two Bodensee photos at
the bottom of the page.
- Leuchttürme der Alpenregion
- Historic postcard views also posted by Klaus Huelse.
- Navigational chart of the Bodensee.
Lindau Light, Lindau, August 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Winfried Tommerdich
- Lindau Lighthouses
- ** Lindau
- About 1180. Inactive since 1856 at least. 37 m (121 ft) square stone medieval
tower with a tall pyramidal roof. Werning has an excellent photo,
Wikimedia has a good photo, Paul Henry Jones has a 2016 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, Georg Lindner has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. Lindau is located on an island just off the northeastern shore
of the Bodensee, close to the Austrian border. This fortified tower
protected Lindau for centuries and is reported to have served also as a lighthouse,
although it is not clear how the light was shown. The roof was replaced using
authentic materials after the original was heavily damaged by lightning in
1979. Located on the waterfront of Lindau. Site open, tower open but hours
are said to vary. Owner/site manager: presumably the city of Lindau. ARLHS
- **** Lindau
- 1856. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); continuous red light; also a white flash every 3 s but only when triggered by radio signals from arriving ships.
33 m (108
ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Lantern painted grren, gallery red. The lighthouse is floodlit at night. A photo by Winfried Tommerdich appears above, Werning
has a good photo,
Michele Pegoraro has a nice nighttime view,
Wikimedia has numerous photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, Phil Schmidt has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. This lovely and much-photographed lighthouse is located
at the end of the west mole sheltering the town's harbor. The lighthouse
was built and operated by the railroad (now Deutsche Bahn) until the railroad dropped its ferry routes and sold its Lindau harbor facilities to Stadtwerke Konstanz, which operates ferry service from Lindau to Meersburg on the German side and Romanshorn in Switzerland. In 2010 the town of Lindau acquired the lighthouse and opened it to the public as a museum. Site open, museum and tower open daily except when bad weather makes the pier unsafe. Owner/site manager: City of Lindau.
- *** #[Friedrichshafen Westmole (2)]
- Date unknown. Removed. This was a 16 m (52 ft) pole. A fog bell (probably historic but inactive)
was also mounted on the pole. Google has a satellite view of the location. The two moles at Friedrichshafen formerly carried
identical skeletal towers with lanterns, seen in Huelse's historic postcard
view. A second postcard
view has a better view of the former west mole lighthouse. Recently a
tall lookout tower (Aussichtsturm) has been built at the end of the
mole; Rolf Brenner has a street view and Daniel Kessler has a street view from the top of the tower (note the buoy in the distance). Located
at the end of the west mole of Friedrichshafen harbor. Site and lookout tower
- Note: Konstanz is a city of about 85,000 residents located at the west end of the lake, on the north side of the Rhine River as it exits the lake.
- * Konstanz
Ostmole ("Imperia") (2?)
- 1842. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 1-story octagonal stone equipment room supporting
a 9 m (30 ft) rotating sculpture. Andi Möller has a 2007 photo,
and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. Here is one of the most unusual sites (or sights) in
this Directory. The stone base now houses the equipment that
records the water level of the lake, but originally it supported
the light and signal tower shown in Huelse's historic postcard
view. The statue, called "Imperia" and
completed in 1993, is by Peter Lenk; it recalls a story by Balzac
about a prostitute in Konstanz at the time of the Councils of Constance
(1414-1418). (The small figures in the woman's hands are the Pope
and the Emperor.) Located at the end of the east mole of the Dampferhafen
in Konstanz; accessible by walking the mole. Site open, building
closed. Owner/site manager: presumably the city of Konstanz.
- * Konstanz
Südmole (Molenhäusle) (2)
- 1890 (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. Approx. 12 m (40 ft)
keeper's house with octagonal stone lower story, octagonal cast iron
upper story, and octagonal lantern room, crowned by a steeple, at
one corner. The light is mounted on a mast. Sebastian Schulz's photo is at right, Grzegorz Przytula has a fine photo, another photo
is available, Huelse has a postcard
view inscribed 1906, and Google
has a street view and a satellite
view. Huelse also has a historic postcard
view of the original lighthouse.
When the railroad came to Konstanz in 1838 the railroad company
built two moles to enclose a small harbor, the Dampferhafen (Steamboat
Harbor) adjacent to the train station. This light and the Ostmole light (previous entry) were
built at the ends of the moles in 1842. This lighthouse
was extensively altered in 1890. The lighthouse is known locally as the
(Little House on the Mole). The harbor is only used now by recreational
boaters, and the lighthouse is a clubhouse for a powerboat club.
Located at the end of the south mole of the Dampferhafen in Konstanz,
at the western (lower) end of the Bodensee. Site and tower closed
(private), but there's a good close view from the end of the Ostmole.
Owner/site manager: DSMC Deutsch
Schweizerischer Motorboot Club. ARLHS FED-130.
Konstanz Molenhäusle, Konstanz, September 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Sebastian Schulz
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Austria | South: Switzerland
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Posted April 9, 2005. Checked and revised February 8, 2019.
Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.