Sonntag, 3. Februar 2013

Kampen - the village of thatched-roof houses

What do the houses look like in your neck of the woods?

Do you have thatched-roof houses in the region where you live?

In Kampen, a small but popular village on the Norht Frisian Island of Sylt, most of the houses wear reeds on their head.

In bygone days it was the one and only available construction material to roof a house along the North Sea or Baltic Sea coast, especially on the islands. 

Nowadays it's sign of wealth to use this material to roof the housetop of a Frisian house. Because more than 95% of all the reeds has to be brought from Romania, Hungary or Ukraine.

In some locations like Kampen or districts of Keitum or Wenningstedt (all on the island of Sylt) there's a bylaw that compels the house owners to have a "soft roof" made from reeds.

So these houses are named according their significant type of roof, we call them "Reetdachhaus / thatched-roof house".

Some of these houses really came to fame, like the "Springerburg / Springer castle", officially named Klenderhof, formerly owned by Axel Springer, a German journalist and the founder and owner of the Axel Springer AG publishing company.

My favourites are some of the rare original Frisian houses from the "ancient times" of Sylt. Old captain's houses, some of the (more or less) still in the original state.

Most of the thatched-roof house from nowadays in Kampen are state-of-the-art mansions, having the roof made from reeds as a kind of nostalgic touch and as a sign of wealth on their top.


  1. Hallo Uwe!
    Thanks for sharing these pieces of art! The houses look fabulous and quite unique.
    The light was perfect on the first shots! I love how the green roof contrasts with the Backsteinwand!
    Wunderschon :)

  2. Thanks, Márcia, for your kind comment!

    I don't think you have Reedfachhäuser / thatched-roof houses like these I took on the island of Sylt in Brasil???

    Have you seen such type of houses during your time in Germany? Have you been to the Baltic Sea or North Sea coast when you lived in Germany?

    Have a pleaasant and colourful week!


  3. Thanks for the visit in my blog :)
    I love this little houses, so well mingled with the nature around. They are really unique :)

  4. So many "Home sweet Home" to go back to for people who live in them !

  5. You still quite a few thatched roofs in the UK but they all in fairly rural areas and villages.


  6. These are fantastic! I've never seen a thatched roof before.

  7. Thanks a lot, ladies from the UK and Maryland, for your kind comments.

    Maybe it'll be a great business model to export them to the US, Michelle? If you like them - there're certainly more US boyz n girlz who might be keen on them... :-)) there are many placid fishing villages along the Maryland coast line, I think they would perfectly fit to this environment.


  8. I looooove the thatched roofs, but there is no way here in Oz, the fire hazards in Summer would be way too high...funnily enough when I lived in Africa, we did live in a thatched roof house and never thought of the fire danger..

  9. Thanks for your kind comment, lady from down under!

  10. Hello Uwe! These architectures look comfortingly familiar and excitingly different at the same time to me. There are villages with traditional farmhouses with thatched-roof including World Heritage sites in Japan, but the architectures in your photos are uniquely and distinctly German (or European?) and so are Japanese. In Japan’s region where it snows a lot, the roofs are steeply slanting.
    Building a new thatched-roof house and maintenance is very costly, too, because reed materials are few and reeds are not strong as the past ones due to climate change and there are few experienced thatchers.
    I posted about a village of thatched-roof on December 5,2011, labeled as “aging and depopulation” or “architectures.”

    I enjoyed a lot this virtual tour.


  11. Arigato gozaimasu, dear Yoko-san, for your detailed comment! Later in the evening I will sneak a peek at you post about Japanese style houses with thatched roof and I will try to find out where the main differences are.
    I hope you enjoy the time with your granddaugther, she definitely keeps you busy! ;-)

  12. Hi Uwe, thanks for visiting my blog.
    I never went to the islands of Sylt.
    Some of the roofs seem they have grass growing on them. Quite beautiful!

  13. Yes, you're right, Sami. On some of the older thatched-roof houses you could put a goat on the top of the roof to cut the grass... :-)

    Thanks for your kind comment!


  14. I absolutely love these thatched-roof houses. I wonder if Axel and I are distant cousins from way back! lol

    You've done a magnificent job of capturing these charming estates, now I'd love to venture inside one of these mansions and see how it might be decorated. I'd go Victorian all the way. :-)


  15. Thanks a lot, Darlin, for your kind words! The furnishing of these thatched-roof manisons are all of a local, classy Frisean style.
    Enjoy your weekend,