Lighthouses of Germany: the Bodensee

The Bodensee, often called Lake Constance in English, is a large lake at the extreme southern end of Germany. The Rhine River passes through the lake as it leaves Switzerland and begins its course northward through western Germany. The lake is an international waterway: its northern shore is in Germany, the southern shore is in Switzerland, and the eastern end of the lake is in Austria. Navigation is limited to pleasure craft, ferries, and excursion boats like the Austrian ship leaving Lindau in the photo at right.

Historically all three countries had lighthouses on the lake. In addition to the four lighthouses listed on this page, there's a remarkable new light at Bregenz in Austria, and two small lighthouses are listed on the Switzerland page.

In German, a lighthouse is a Leuchtturm ("light tower"), plural Leuchttürme. Lighthouses on the lake are probably maintained by the municipal governments of each community.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights.

General Sources
Leuchttürme.net - Deutschland - Bodensee
Photos and notes by Malte Werning.
Lake Constance Lighthouses
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Germany
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Deutsche Leuchttürme/Feuerschiffe
Photos posted by Klause Huelse; there are two Bodensee photos at the bottom of the page.
Leuchttürme der Alpenregion
Historic postcard views also posted by Klaus Huelse.

Lindau Light
Lindau Light, Lindau, August 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Winfried Tommerdich


Lindau Lighthouses
** Lindau Mangturm
About 1180. Inactive since 1856 at least. 37 m (121 ft) square stone medieval tower with a tall pyramidal roof. Werning has an excellent photo, Wikimedia has a good photo, a 2010 photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Lindau is located on an island just off the northeastern shore of the Bodensee. This fortified tower protected Lindau for centuries and is reported to have served also as a lighthouse, although it is not clear how the light was shown. The roof was replaced using authentic materials after the original was heavily damaged by lightning in 1979. Located on the waterfront of Lindau. Site open, tower open but hours are said to vary. Owner/site manager: presumably the city of Lindau. ARLHS FED-146.
**** Lindau (Westmole)
1856. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 3 s but only when triggered by radio signals from arriving ships. 33 m (108 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. A photo by Winfried Tommerdich appears above, Werning has a good photo, Michele Pegoraro has a nice nighttime view, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This lovely and much-photographed lighthouse is located at the end of the west mole sheltering the town's harbor. The lighthouse was built and operated by the railroad (now Deutsche Bahn) until the railroad dropped its ferry routes and sold its Lindau harbor facilities to Stadtwerke Konstanz, which operates ferry service from Lindau to Meersburg on the German side and Romanshorn in Switzerland. In 2010 the town of Lindau acquired the lighthouse and opened it to the public as a museum. Site open, museum and tower open daily except when bad weather makes the pier unsafe. Owner/site manager: City of Lindau. ARLHS FED-145.

Friedrichshafen Lighthouse
*** [Friedrichshafen Westmole (2)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, pattern unknown. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) pole. A fog bell (probably historic but inactive) is also mounted on the pole. Google has a satellite view of the location. The two moles at Friedrichshafen formerly carried identical skeletal towers with lanterns, seen in Huelse's historic postcard view. A second postcard view has a better view of the former west mole lighthouse. Recently a tall lookout tower (Aussichtsturm) has been built at the end of the mole; Meinhard Themel has a good photo. Located at the end of the west mole of Friedrichshafen harbor. Site and lookout tower open.

Konstanz Lighthouses
* Konstanz Ostmole ("Imperia") (2?)
1842. Inactive. 1-story octagonal stone equipment room supporting a 9 m (30 ft) rotating sculpture. Andi Möller has a 2007 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Here is one of the most unusual sites (or sights) in this Directory. The stone base now houses the equipment that records the water level of the lake, but originally it supported the light and signal tower shown in Huelse's historic postcard view. The statue, called "Imperia" and completed in 1993, is by Peter Lenk; it recalls a story by Balzac about a prostitute in Konstanz at the time of the Councils of Constance (1414-1418). (The small figures in the woman's hands are the Pope and the Emperor.) Located at the end of the east mole of the Dampferhafen in Konstanz; accessible by walking the mole. Site open, building closed. Owner/site manager: presumably the city of Konstanz.
* Konstanz Südmole (Molenhäusle) (2)
1890 (station established 1842). Active; light pattern unknown. Approx. 12 m (40 ft) keeper's house with octagonal stone lower story, octagonal cast iron upper story, and octagonal lantern room, crowned by a steeple, at one corner. The light is mounted on a mast. Sebastian Schulz's photo is at right, another photo is available, Huelse has a postcard view inscribed 1906, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse also has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse. In 1838, when the railroad came to Konstanz, the railroad company built two moles to enclose a small harbor, the Dampferhafen (Steamboat Harbor) adjacent to the train station. This light and the Ostmole light (previous entry) were built at the ends of the moles in 1842. In 1890, this lighthouse was extensively altered. The lighthouse is known locally as the Molenhäusle (Little House on the Mole). The harbor is only used now by recreational boaters, and the lighthouse is a clubhouse for a powerboat club. Located at the end of the south mole of the Dampferhafen in Konstanz, at the western (lower) end of the Bodensee. Site and tower closed (private), but there's a good close view from the end of the Ostmole. Owner/site manager: DSMC Deutsch Schweizerischer Motorboot Club. ARLHS FED-130.

Konstanz Molenhäusle, Konstanz, September 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Sebastian Schulz

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Austria | South: Switzerland

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Posted April 9, 2005. Checked and revised December 5, 2014. Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.