Frozen Kieler Förde, 1979

FEBRUARY 1979 – Inga and Klaus Zanzig stand on the frozen Kieler Förde in Germany. © Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

The winter 1978/79 was very cold. In fact, it was so cold that the Kieler Förde – that’s the arm of the Baltic Sea that leads into the city of Kiel – was frozen all over. One day in February 1979, my parents and I visited Falckenstein beach which was close to our home and a popular destination in the summer.

This photo shows my parents standing on the frozen Baltic Sea, with the photographer (me!) looking towards west or south-west. In the back, a military vessel can be seen – most likely the icebreaker Eisvogel which was located at the military harbour in Kiel – as it tries to keep open the main waterway towards the military harbour and the city center.

This is one of the few slides that have survived from that period, and I am stunned by the quality of the slides in 2022. It was a fast film, hence there is a clearly visible film grain, but the colors are not faded at all and well balanced. It was easy to recover this photo.

If you want to know more, here’s a recent German report that looks back at the winter of 1978/79, stating:

“On February 13th, disaster alarms were raised again in many parts of the country. […] In Schleswig-Holstein the Baltic coast is again affected. The ice towers up to two meters in front of Kiel and Flensburg. Around 80 ships are moored in the Kiel Fjord and the Kiel Canal can no longer be navigated.”
NDR, The snow catastrophe in the winter of the century 1978/79

The high resolution image

Capture DateFebruary 1979
LocationKiel, Germany
Image SourceSlide Film
Digital Image SourceMinolta Dimage Scan Elite II
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, AdobeRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions2515 x 2515 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/

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