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Luftbild Insel Nigehörn - Weltnaturerbe Wattenmeer © / Bernd Schlüsselburg

Celebrating Its First 25 Years: Hamburg's Wadden Sea National Park

Hamburg's largest natural treasure has been recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site of nature in 2011

Exactly 25 yearsa ago, on 9 April 1990, the Hamburg Parliament turned a nature paradise in the Elbe estuary into the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park. In the heart of the smallest of the three Wadden Sea parks lie the lush, green island of Neuwerk, the dune island of Scharhörn, and the artificial island of Nigehörn.

Protected For Almost 100 Years

The beginnings of nature conservation in the Hamburg Wadden Sea date back the the early 20th century, when the then island teacher Heinrich Gechter began systematically to make records for bird protection and thus recognised the importance of Scharhörn plate for the protection of sea birds. Accordingly, the island of Scharhörn was declared as a bird sanctuary in 1939. Volunteer conservationists from Hamburg’s oldest conservation organisation, the registered association of Jordsand, have been taking care of the island ever since. With the declaration as national park, the unique wilderness Hamburg’s Wadden Sea around the islands Neuwerk, Scharhörn and Nigehörn has been protection for 25 years.

Leaving Nature To Itself

The sandy barrier islands of Scharhörn and Niegehörn show as particularly fine examples what will happens when you leave nature and its dynamics to itself over a long perios of tim. Both two islands are moving and migrating, but at different rates, and both of them grow, but in different directions, and closer together with every tide.

One World Heritage Site Of Nature, Soon Also Two Sites Of Culture?

Since 1992, the national park has also been designated as a biosphere reserve. In 2011, it was recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site of nature. Today, Hamburg is trying to have its Kontorhaus quarters with nearby Speicherstadt admitted to the prestigious list of the world heritage sites of culture.

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