:  The Internet's leading website for Side-Wheeled Paddle Steamers

German North Sea Coast and Islands :  River Weser (Bremen) - based Operators
The first paddle steamer to operate on the River Weser was the DIE WESER, built locally at Vegesack in 1816 and put into service in May 1817 between Bremen and Brake.
In 1837 Bremen buisinessman Louis Kalkmann put the paddler BEN LOMOND in service to Helgoland via Wangerooge and Norderney but a damage sustained later that year ended the service. In 1838 Johann Lange began operating runs to Norderney with the BREMEN. Ahgain short-lived, the first consistet service begain in 1840 with the TELEGRAPH, which ran to Norderney until 1856.

1857 marked the establishment of the Norddeutche Lloyd (NDL) company and the inauguration of services to England and to New York, USA. The company was to become a fierce rival to the Hamburg-based HAPAG company especially in cross-Atlantic trade and liner services, but also worldwide. The new company incorporated a number of local operators based on the River Weser and local services, including beyond the estuary to Norderney and Helgoland were developed, albeit as a very small sideshow in the company's business. Paddle Steamer Roland originally ran from Bremen, but once a railway was available at Bremerhaven-Geestemunde from 1862, the shorter sea journey was the preferred. 

The Company's public services to the island resorts were primarily operated by paddle steamers although screw ships were also purchased for various local shipping activities and were on occasion in passenger service. Delphin of 1905 was the last paddle steamer to be purchased.  Following the First World War, in an agreement with HAPAG, services to Sylt, Fohr and Amrum were allocated to the Hamburg company whilst NDL handled the Norderney via Helgoland. Connections between the two companies' routes were provided at Helgoland. 

NDL continued to purchase ever larger screw ships for its expanding trade, including turbine steamers until the coastal resort trade ended on the outbreak of World War II. However, it was as an operator of ocean liners that the company became most famous. Their vessel Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse (launched in 1897) was the largest liner in the world and soon took the coveted Blue Riband as the fastest vessel on the crossing from Europe to North America. In this trade NDL was engaged in competition with some of the greatest names in shipping - local rivals HAPAG and British rivals, Cunard and White Star - and was one of the largest shipping companies in the world.
Now, as part of a merged group with HAPAG, Lloyd's name is associated with one of the world's leading shipping companies, active not only in the cargo and container trade, but also in the passenger cruise industry.

Above : NDL's paddle steamer Nixe of 1899 was the last and the largest paddle steamer built for service to Helgoland. Sailing out of Bremen, she outclassed the newest vessels of her Hamburg-based competitors HAPAG and Ballin and remained on this station until the outbreak of World War I.  Photo in the public domain with original held by the Stadtarchiv Kiel.

Norddeutsche Lloyd (NDL)

Paul Friedrich August

(1870-1899, transferred for use as tender to NDL ships at Cherbourg France and sold in 1910)

Triton (1874-1896)  Built by J Meyer at Papenburg. 35.05 m.  Sold in January 1896 to G Seebeck at geestemunde and converted to a barge

Forelle (1881-1915, sold)
Willkommen (1884-1906, transferred to Cherbourg, France as tender. Scrapped in 1935)
Hecht (1885-1914, sold)
Kehrewieder (1890-1923)

Najade (1894-1929, scrapped)
Nixe (1899-1925, sold)

Delphin (1905-1951)


Built in 1870 by AG Weser at Bremen
Dimensions : 50.29 metres
332 Gross Registered Tons
Built for tendering services but from 1870 until 1874 she operated summer services to Fohr and Helgoland
Reengined with a compounded machine in 1893
Transferred to Cherbourg, France, in 1899
Sold in 1910 and scrapped in 1913

Forelle (known as Strandlust in 1925)

Built in 1881 by Bremer Vulkan at Bremen
Dimensions : 61.3 x 13.8 metres
298 Gross Registered Tons
Built for Norddeutsche Lloyd for their Bremen-Bremerhaven service, but also with extended service to the coastal resorts
Sailed for NDL along with PS Hecht, PS Lachs and PS Delphin until sold in 1915 as NDL withdrew from Weser River services.
Came into the ownership of Mr B W Riedemann, who established the Weser-Verkehrs GmbH in 1920
Passed to Mr C H Boer in 1925 as Strandlust, but this existing ship owner and his company went bankrupt in August of that year
The ship was taken over by the Schreiber Brothers, also of Bremen, being given its original name Forelle.
Served between Bremen and Bremerhaven with intervening piers until sold to the German Navy in 1932 as a target ship


Built in 1884 by JC Tecklenborg at Bremerhaven-Geestemunde
Dimensions : 54.04 metres
415 Gross Registered Tons
Operated from Bremerhaven to the coastal bathing resorts
Transferred to NDL's Cherbourg agents in 1906 for use as a tender
Scrapped in 1935 after various changes of ownership


Built in 1885 by AG Weser at Bremen
Dimensions : 54.97 metres
244 Gross Registered Tons
Built for
Norddeutsche Lloyd for their Norderney service
Sold in 1914. Scrapped in 1921


Built in 1890 by JC Tecklenborg at Bremerhaven-Geestemunde
Dimensions: 56.69 metres
506 Gross Registered Tons
Compound machinery :  620 and 1140 mm x 1100 mm by Buckau of Magdeburg
Sold in 1920 to F Bouer or Bremen and to H Peters of Hamburg later that same year
Scrapped at Hamburg in 1923


Above : Najade from a post card issued by Norddeutsche Lloyd

Built in 1894 by F Schichau at Danzig (now Gdansk)
Engines : Triple Expansion
Dimensions : 71.2 x 9.2 metres
724 Gross Registered Tons
Built for Norddeutsche Lloyd for service from Bremerhaven to Helgoland
Spent the winter months in service at Naples, Italy
Spent World War I as a naval tender
After the war spent time in the Baltic Sea for NDL
Sold in 1928 and scrapped during 1929 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Above : Nixe.
Photo in the public domain with original held by the Stadtarchiv Kiel.

Built in 1899 by G Seebeck at Geestemunde
Engines : Triple Expansion
Dimensions: 75.4 x 9.2 metres
728 Gross Registered Tons
Built for Norddeutsche Lloyd for service from Bremen to Helgoland
Spent winter months in Italy.
Requisitioned by the Navy in World War I as a tender and auxiliary vessel
Returned to service in 1919 on the Baltic coast service between Swinemunde and Pillau
Purchased by Hamburg owner A Meyer in 1925 and registered with the Frisia GmbH in 1926
Sold for use at Stettin in 1928, but never entered service and was scrapped in 1930


Built in 1905 in Bremen by WESER at HB-Vegesack
Dimensions : 58 x 7.22 metres
Engines : Triple expansion
Built for Norddeutsche Lloyd (NDL) and became associated with the service to Wangerooge
Seriously damaged off Wangerooge in February 1951 and scrapped

Go to

Hamburg / River Elbe based operators
Emden / River Ems, Borkum & Norderney based operators

Return to
Historical Database