Kiel is a city in north central Germany, in Schleswig-Holstein, a port on an arm of the Baltic Sea, at the eastern entrance of the Nord-Ostsee (or Kiel) Canal. The city has been noted as a port since the 10th century because of its excellent harbor, which is a tideless fjord. The chief industries here, aside from shipbuilding and naval maintenance, are the manufacture of soap, food products, machinery, and woolen goods.
The city has a university and is a popular center for pleasure boating. In 1284 Kiel became a member of the Hanseatic League. In 1773 it came under Danish rule, and in 1866, as part of Schleswig-Holstein, it passed to Prussia. In World War I the city was the headquarters of the German Imperial Fleet, and in World War II its important naval base was heavily bombed by the Allies.