Lighthouse of the Month – Lindau, Germany
The Lindau Lighthouse (Neuer Lindauer Leuchtturm) stands watch over Lindau’s snug harbor at the southernmost point of Lake Constance (German: Bodensee). It is also the only lighthouse I have seen that has clocks on the tower—they face both the harbor and the lake.
The climb to the top of the 108-ft lighthouse offers a rewarding grand vista of Lindau and its busy harbor.
Glacial in origin, Lake Constance–part of the Rhine River system—borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland and covers approximately 220 square miles. Ferries make scheduled cruises from city to city around the lake, much like a public bus system. We took the ferry to the island of Mainau, an hour cruise west from Lindau along the southern shore of Lake Constance.
Built by the Bavarian Railway Company, the light was first lit on October 1856. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the city of Lindau in 2010. The light has been illuminated, successively by a pan of burning oil, kerosene, gas, and since 1936; an electric light. Today the light is operated remotely by radio from vessels approaching the harbor.
The decorative character of the lighthouse and the clock face are clearly visible. At night, when activated, the beacon flashes once every three seconds, identifying it as the light a Lindau’s port.
Why were we in Lindau?
For 65 years, Nobel Laureates have gathered in Lindau for an annual meeting. Each gathering focuses on one of four topics such as medicine, physics, chemistry and then every fifth year they hold a joint conference. Post-doctoral students from around the world are invited to attend a number of presentations and forums with the Nobel laureate. The students also meet and converse informally at dinners during the event. We attended the meetings in 2001 (as support staff). This year, the meetings will be held 28 June – 3 July.