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Westerland is part of the Nordfriesland district in Schleswig-Holstein.
In the 1890s, Westerland replaced Keitum as the preeminent town on Sylt, not just for tourists but also regarding infrastructure and facilities used by the locals.The new settlement was called Hedigen (heath area).In 1855, the local Landvogt decided to turn Westerland into a seaside resort.After 1857, the minor village centred on a church began to grow into a larger resort. Many others followed, although a number of them have since been torn down to make room for different structures.In 1880, the first solid building was erected on the dunes right at the beach. In 1897, a telephone cable to the mainland was laid.
The original airfield (now Sylt Airport) was constructed in 1912.