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Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (often abbreviated HDW) is a Germanmarker shipbuilding company, headquartered in Kielmarker. In 2009 it was the largest shipyard in Germany and has more than 2,400 employees. It has been part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems owned by ThyssenKrupp, since 2005. The name comes from the 1968 merger with Hamburg-basedmarker Deutsche Werft.


HDW was founded October 1, 1838 in Kielmarker at the Bay of Kielmarker of the Baltic Seamarker by the engineer August Howaldt and the Kiel entrepreneur Johann Schweffel under the name Maschinenbauanstalt und Eisengießerei Schweffel & Howaldt, initially building boilers.

The first steam engine for naval purposes was built in 1849 for the Von der Tann, a gunboat for the small navy of Schleswig-Holsteinmarker.

In 1850, the company built an early submarine, Brandtaucher, designed by Wilhelm Bauer. This was somewhat of an accident: during the First Schleswig War, Danishmarker forces had advanced too close to Rendsburgmarker where construction of the boat had been intended, and so the task was shifted to Kiel.

The first ship built under the company's new name Howaldtswerke was a small steamer, named Vorwärts, built in 1865. Business expanded rapidly as Germany rose to a maritime power, and by the turn of the century some 390 ships had been completed.

In 1892 the company started a subsidiary in Austrian-Hungarian Fiumemarker on the coast of the Adriatic Seamarker. The activity was closed down by the company in 1902. The shipyard still existed in 2009 under the firm 3. Maj.

With Kiel being one of the two main bases of the Kaiserliche Marine, the shipyard also benefited much from navy maintenance, repair and construction contracts. During World War I the company also built a number of U-boats.

In 1937 the company, by then having yards in Kiel and in Hamburg, was taken over by the Kriegsmarine. During World War II, Howaldtswerke in Hamburg built 33 VIIC U-boats and Howaldtswerke in Kiel 31 VIIC U-boats.

After the end of World War II, Howaldtswerke was the only major shipyard in Kiel that was not dismantled. The yard flourished during the post-war "economic miracle" of the 1960s, with the construction of freighters and tankers, and again expanded by opening a shipyard in Hamburg.

In 1968 Howaldtswerke merged with Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, and the company took the new name Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, or HDW for short. After falling on hard times under the pressure of cheaper competition from Japanmarker and South Koreamarker, the Hamburg operations were closed down in 1985.

In 2009 HDW is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, a group of European yards, including Kockums of Malmömarker and Hellenic Shipyards Co. of Skaramangas, Greecemarker. The group employs about 6,600 staff in Germany, Swedenmarker and Greecemarker.

In 2009 HDW has worked with Kockums and Northrop Grumman to offer a Visby class corvette derivative in the American Focused Mission Vessel Study, a precursor to the Littoral combat ship program.

Ships built by HDW (selection)

Civilian ships

Naval ships



Submarines (U-boats)


See also

External links

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