Schleswig-Holstein is truly a land of cheese – and has been so since the 16th century. This was when dairy farming started to develop in northern Germany. Religious refugees from the Netherlands found exile in Schleswig-Holstein and enriched the land with their knowledge about milk and cheese production. It was the start of a real success story. As early as 1583 around 1.5 million pounds of cheese were exported from Eiderstedt, predominantly to Hamburg and Bremen, whilst in 1610 the figure had already reached 3 million pounds.
Following highs and lows in economic development as well as ups and downs in consumer preferences, Schleswig-Holstein once again emerged as a traditional cheese-producing region. It was the production of the "Tilsiter" with its characteristic taste that caused the biggest sensation a few centuries ago. One dairy association in Holtsee alone processed 70 million kilos of milk from 200 milk producers from the region to make Tilsiter specialities.
Alongside large producers, over the past few years numerous farm creameries have emerged once again. They concentrate on the production of cheese specialities, with a partly traditional, partly modern approach to taste. Some of them have even become known and prized beyond the national borders – regionality really is in high demand.