Chequered history takes another twist as tourism plan rejected for Helgoland

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ASIDE FROM lung-cleansing gusts of wind, Helgoland doesn’t give much away to day-trippers. Relief at being back on firm ground soon turns to disappointment at what Germany’s only high-sea island appears to offer.

A row of shacks selling duty-free alcohol and cigarettes leads into a small town of 1960s buildings that are functional, shabby or both....

It was here in 1925 that German physicist Werner Heisenberg, relieved from the plague of hay fever, developed quantum theory.

But those opposed to the plan were victorious, arguing it would bring mass tourism and destroy the islands’ unique character.

Passing back and forth between London and Berlin over the centuries, Helgoland has been in German hands since a final swap in 1890 saw the British gain Zanzibar in exchange.

What Helgoland lacks in size it makes up for in strategic importance. In the second World War, the Nazis built a vast underground base here, including a hospital....

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