Rantum (Sylt)

Ortsteil of

Coordinates: 54°51′N 8°18′E / 54.850°N 8.300°E / 54.850; 8.300Coordinates: 54°51′N 8°18′E / 54.850°N 8.300°E / 54.850; 8.300

Country Germany
State Schleswig-Holstein
 • Total 9.39 km2 (3.63 sq mi)
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Population (2007-12-31)
 • Total 561
 • Density 60/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 25980
Dialling codes 0 46 51
Vehicle registration NF
Website www.gemeinde-sylt.de

Rantum (Sölring Frisian: Raantem) is a village and a former municipality on the island of Sylt in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Since 1 January 2009, it is part of the municipality Sylt.


The name is frequently connected to the marine goddess Rán (Rantum = Rán's place), yet it is more likely that the name derives from the old spelling of Raanteem, i.e. "settlement at the edge".

History and geography

The small village of Rantum has a colourful history. Meanwhile the narrowest part of the island with a width of only 600 metres is located here. The settlement has been destroyed on multiple occasions by storm surges or was buried by sand drift. Today, Rantum is regarded a scenic island village in the dunes.

The oldest record of the name is found in a nautical chart from 1142, which is today displayed in Copenhagen. On the chart, the Rantum church Westerseekirche is noted as a daymark. It was called St. Peter. Since at the time only major churches would be consecrated to St. Peter, it is likely that Rantum was an influential town around 1100. There is however no proof for this thesis.

As Rantum was repeatedly destroyed by storm surges between 1362 and 1634 and had to be rebuilt on a different location, historical records are only preserved from the 17th century on.

Well into the 18th century, Rantum was a stronghold of wreckers who looted ships for a living.

In 1938, the Rantum Basin was built as port for seaplanes. Today it is a bird sanctuary with more than 182 species to be counted.

East of the village, the Wadden Sea extends as well as the Rantum-Inge, an ample area of salt marshes. To the west, the beach faces the open North Sea.

In 1977 the Rantum harbour was created from the remains of a naval air station pier as a tidally independent marina.


Notable sights include the Eidum decoy pond, which served for catching ducks. It is named after the village of Eidum which was drowned in a 1436 flood.

The Rantum Basin was built as a station for seplanes by the Wehrmacht. Construction began in 1937 yet the basin was not long enough to provide optimal take-off space for the common seaplanes of the time. As mentioned above, the basin is now a bird sanctuary.

Since 1993, the Sylt Quelle (Sylt Well) pumps mineral water containing iodine for bottling. This water is marketed across the island and can also be tapped on the spot by customers. The brand is offered by restaurants across Germany. In the adjacent Kunstraum, exhibitions, lectures, public discussions and stage plays take place. In addition, this has become the venue for the Meerkabarett, the Sea Cabaret, which annually features various artists during the summer season.

To the east of the village, the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park is located. A popular route for mudflat hiking leads from Rantum to Hörnum in the south. The Wadden Sea Conservation Station (Schutzstation Wattenmeer) operates a branch office in Rantum which provides information on coastal management, the Wadden Sea, the salt marshes and offers guided mudflat hikings.

In Rantum there is an emitter of the LORAN {formerly operated by the US COAST GUARD} radio navigation system, using a 193 metre tall lattice tower mast radiator as an antenna. The regular service was ended on 31 December 2005.

Tourism as main source of income

In the dunes to the west there are several tracks to the beach with "Strandkorb" rental services and a variety of exotically named venues. This naming originates from the 1930s when a beach section called Abessinia was created. When tourism began to flourish during the 1950s, a section called Samoa and later also Zanzibar were created.

Many families started renting out rooms in the 1950s. This flourishing and profitable sideline became a main income in the following decades. Many new buildings are attributed to this development. Unlike in Westerland though, this did not happen by exclusive construction of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. Many summer houses and rental services have since been created. In the village, as everywhere on Sylt, there are more beds for tourists than for local residents. Thereby the 1990s were important, when they succeeded to extend the main season beyond the few weeks of summer. Directly at the cliff, the Sölring Hof hotel is located, it has been awarded two Guide Michelin stars. In June 2007, the so-called TUI Village Hotel with 600 beds in 159 flats was opened on a former military base.

Youth facilities

Rantum hosts the Weiße Zeltstadt (White Tent City) camp site. During the summer holidays, the Schleswig-Flensburg District Sports Association offers youth camps there.

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsches Schleswig e.V operates a congress venue for youths and a summer school.

In the southern part of the village, the Puan Klent youth resort is located.


This article incorporates information from this version of the equivalent article on the Deutsch World Heritage Encyclopedia.

External links

  • Rantum (German)
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