In Elsfleth, the shipowners pressed and persuaded the Grand Duke of Oldenburg to establish a school for maritime navigation. Successfully. On the 20th of August 1832, the Grand Duke Paul-Friedrich-August founded the desired facility. Up until then, the training of prospective maritime officers had neither been binding nor uniform. Former captains and maritime pilots instructed on a private basis, the students paid tuition. In 1943, the war forced the closing of the facility. It was reopened three years later. In 1961, the school building was erected in the street Weserstraße. In 2001, the modern simulator house was opened along the pier, the Maritime Campus followed in 2009. Today, the Maritime Transportation Faculty of the Jade School of Applied Sciences is the largest of its kind in Western Europe.
The importance of the School of Navigation increased from year to year. Previously, future captains were trained by experienced colleagues, such as retired officers or pilots, but without standardized instruction. Now, with the founding of the School of Navigation in Elsfleth, a uniform method of learning was developed. Actually, the idea was not new. As early as 1749, the first German school of this kind was founded in Altona. Other schools followed, for example, in 1808 in Lübeck and in 1829 in Memel.
In Elsfleth, the founding site soon proved to be too small. Aspiring merchant ship captains and nautical officers came to the Wesermarsch from throughout the region and beyond, aiming at acquiring the theoretical skills for their desired profession. As a result, a new building was erected in 1871 in Elsfleth´s Peterstrasse. In 1916, the School of Navigation (“Navigationsschule) was renamed to the Nautical College (Seefahrtschule”).
Wartime SituationAlthough the school in Elsfleth was founded as a civilian institution, military training was initiated during the First World War. In the Second World War, the school was closed down completely, all education materials were handed over to a similar school in Danzig.
Reopening and ExpansionIn 1946, the training program for prospective nautical personnel was reinitiated. Since then, the school has continually expanded and professionalized its services. In 1961, the current house along the Weserstrasse was acquired. Since 1971, the school is simultaneously a department integrated into Oldenburgs´s University of Applied Sciences. In 1992, the contemporary study program “Maritime Transportation and Harbor Operations” was launched. This program was followed by “International Transportation Management” in 1997, “Maritime Management” in 2009 and ultimately the dual study program “Nautical Science/ Ship´s Mechanic” in 2011.
Maritime CampusThe current study discipline in Maritime Studies is an integral component of the Jade University of Applied Sciences and thereby the largest maritime training facility at the college level in all of Western Europe. The ship simulator, built in 2001 and expanded in 2011, is also a permanent element of the Maritime Campus, similar to the Maritime Training Center with the Crane Simulator and the Training Pool. Thus, the Department of Nautical Science at the Jade University of Applied Sciences, together with the maritime service providers in the vicinity and the school ship Großherzogin Elisabeth, is an important institution in the German educational landscape.
Experiences in the museum
The ‚bridge‘ on the upper floor of "Haus Elsfleth" not only offers a view of the Kaje, but also information on the tradition of nautical education in Elsfleth and the ship simulator. Here you can try your hand as a captain and maneuver in the traffic of New York’s harbor.
You can find more information on the school ship "Großherzogin Elisabeth" here.
More information on the "Deutschen Schulschiffverein" and other school ships is available at the Maritime Museum - "Haus Borgstede & Becker".
Maritime Museum - "Haus Elsfleth", Weserstraße 14, 26931 Elsfleth - 1st floor
Maritime Museum - "Haus Borgstede & Becker", Breite Straße 9, 26919 Brake - 1st floor
Großherzogin Elisabeth, An der Kaje, 26931 Elsfleth