Kiel is the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein and, with around 237,000 inhabitants, the largest city in the northern German state. The city of Kiel is located on the Kiel Fjord and the Kiel Canal. Hamburg is about 90 km south of Kiel. Medicine, science, research, the Kiel Baltic Sea port, local shipbuilding and the service sector are economically important.
Kiel is also a base for the German Navy and the seat of the Christian Albrechts University, founded in 1665. With the Kiel Fjord as a deep-sea port, Kiel has the most important seaport connection to the Baltic Sea and extends in a wedge shape around its natural harbor. The watershed between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea runs through Kiel. Like the Schwentine, the Eider river, which flows into the North Sea, affects the Kiel urban area. The Kiel Canal ends in the Kiel-Holtenau district.