It is not only the language that make Helgoland (officially Heligoland in English, but letís stick to Helgoland) that makes it a special place. And also the landscape that reminds more of a Norwegian fjord than a part of Germany and the amazing history are rather special. It used to be shared between Sachsen and Denmark and became a British colony in 1807 and in 1890 England and Germany exchanged Helgoland for Zanzibar (on the east African coast). Germany saw Helgoland as an important strategic location so it was heavily fortified and it saw major action in both wars. During the second World War a simple airport was build, the old runway is still visible and now part of the new airport.
After the Second World War the island was evacuated and used as a target for the British Air force. For seven years it was bombarded day in day out and on April 18th 1947 it was the scene of what is arguably the biggest non nuclear explosion the world has ever seen when surplus ammunition was exploded. It was feared the whole island would be destroyed but the island proved to be strong, the gigantic crater can still be seen.
After this dark episode the islanders returned and the island was cleared of the non exploded munitions. It became a well loved sea side holiday location not only because the visitors could buy liquor and cigarettes without having to pay tax to the German state. For the well to do visitors several airlines started to fly regular routes to Helgoland. Airlines serving the airport all use BN2-Islanders, the only multiple passenger aircraft that is allowed to land on the extreme short runways.
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