Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park

Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park
Nationalpark Hamburgisches Wattenmeer
IUCN category II (national park)

Aerial picture of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, with the islands Neuwerk (above), Scharhörn and Nigehörn (below, appearing as a single island) and parts of the Scharhörn and Neuwerk mudflats (right). Viewing direction is toward the SE.

Location of the park in northern Germany

Location North Sea coast, Hamburg,  Germany
Coordinates 53°56′07″N 8°28′22″E / 53.935329°N 8.472694°E / 53.935329; 8.472694Coordinates: 53°56′07″N 8°28′22″E / 53.935329°N 8.472694°E / 53.935329; 8.472694
Area 13,750 ha (33,977 acres)
Established April 9, 1990 (1990-04-09)
The Wadden Sea near Duhnen

The Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park (German: Hamburgisches Wattenmeer) is the smallest of the three German Wadden Sea National Parks which protect the single ecological entity of the Waddensea of Hamburg (UNESCO biosphere reserve) reaching from Den Helder to Esbjerg.

It is an exclave of the city state of Hamburg in North Germany and lies 12.5 km off Cuxhaven in the estuary of the Elbe in the North Sea (German Bight) and includes the islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn and Nigehörn. It is made up mainly of sand and mixed mudflats with shallow creeks, sand bars (Plaaten) and the aforementioned dune islands.

National park

In accordance with a ruling by the Hamburg Parliament on 9 April 1990 the area was reclassified as the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park. On 5 April 2001 the law was updated and the national park area expanded as a result.

The total area of the national park (Zones 1 and 2) is 13,750 hectares (53.1 sq mi). The Zone 1 areas are under special protection. Thus, for example mudflat hiking and horse and carriage rides are only permitted on designated routes.

Within the national park there are about 2,000 species of animal, of which about 250 only occur in the salt marshes of the Wadden Sea. Of particular note are the common seal and the gray seal. Due to the natural influx of sediment, there is a high concentration of food for young fish and seabirds at the mouth of the Elbe. The national park is therefore an important resting and moulting area for seabirds.

For example, shelducks live on the snails that are found in hundreds of thousands on the surface of the mudflats. The approximately 180,000 birds of the north-western shelduck population spends also their moulting period from July to September in the Wadden Sea, which is protected by the three national parks in the states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. About 200,000 eider ducks also spend their moulting season here; about 1,000 pairs of eiders also use the mudflats of the North Sea as a breeding area. Most of them breed on the island of Amrum.

At the same time, the Wadden Sea is a resting place for breeding birds from northern climes that eat up the fat reserves they need for successful breeding. As a result, there are about 10-12 million waders, geese, ducks and gulls in the Wadden Sea as a whole.

The park works closely with the Jordsand Society (Verein Jordsand) especially in the area of bird conservation.

Biosphere reserve

Since 1992 the national park has also been designated as a biosphere reserve, something which increases the importance of the park, because since then it has been placed under international protection in accordance with the UNESCO programme, "man and biosphere". The national park management is responsible for the care of the biosphere reserve and its national aspects.


Nationalpark Hamburgisches Wattenmeer
Nationalpark-Station Neuwerk, Turmwurt
D - 27499 Insel Neuwerk
Tel.: 04721 / 69271


Behörde für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt
Nationalpark-Verwaltung Hamburgisches Wattenmeer
Stadthausbrücke 8
D - 20355 Hamburg
Tel.: 040 / 42840 - 3392



See also

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