Captain Selmer’s Harbour Restaurant
Situated at the Wadden Sea, the small village of Munkmarsch was the main
port of Sylt and its door to the world at its height. All vacation guests
arrived per ship and changed to the railway train to reach the other
villages of the island. In 1868, Thomas Selmer acquired a concession
for passenger transportation and constructed the first Fährhaus.
This wooden building served as a simple restaurant for travellers,
but it was not designed for an overnight stay. By 1880, the original
building was replaced by a newer one – the still existing Victorian main building.
Fährhaus around 1900
Friedrich and Dorothea Nann
The family Nann has a nearly 70-year history with the Fährhaus.
In 1894, Friedrich and Dorothea Nann took over the Fährhaus
from Captain Selmer. They offered “rooms for early morning ships”.
Whenever a ship arrived, Nann was standing there with a servant at
the bridge to offer travellers an ...
Postcard around 1930
... overnight stay, including a good morning coffee, for “2.75 Mark”.
After the opening of the Hindenburg Dam in 1927, the shipping lines stopped
and the visitors at the Fährhaus declined. Creative as they were, the
skilled chef Arthur Nann and his son Friedrich changed the Fährhaus into
a hotel with culinary specialities and various tourist offers. This made
it to one of the most popular places on the island. Even the riders from
Kampen enjoyed the resting place for man and beast, which the Fährhaus offered.
Family Nann held the Fährhaus Munkmarsch until 1965, when Arthur Nann’s
widow decided it was time to sell the property.
Arthur Nann in his chef’s hat and next to him his wife Grete
Dining room around 1950
The Fährhaus was facing Demolition
In the following 15 years there were different owners, and besides some
grand years there were also setbacks. Around 1980, the lights were
turned off for several years.
The Fährhaus started to deteriorate and, in 1985, the owner received
the right to demolish the building. However, he did not have sufficient
funds to build a new hotel, so that the historic Fährhaus eluded destruction.
The Fährhaus in the 1980s
Awaking the Sleeping Beauty
In 1990, business-man Karl-Rudolf Mankel acquired the Fährhaus and decided
to preserve the historic building. Seven years later, the work is completed
and the core renovated Fährhaus opened its doors at first as a restaurant.
Two years later, the new hotel opened up with 20 rooms. The second expansion
by 19 rooms and suites followed in 2006. Thus, the history of the Fährhaus
continues to be a successful family run place of hospitality.
The “Fährhaus” after renovation