Stockenstieg pathway, Hooge
Stockenstieg pathway, Hooge ©Stock / LKN-SH

Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea and Hallig Islands UNESCO-Biosphere Reserve

In 1990 UNESCO recognised the Wadden Sea National Park on the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein as a biosphere reserve. In 2005 the five inhabited Hallig islands (small undyked islands in the North Frisian Wadden Sea) were incorporated as a development zone.

Both the Wadden Sea and the Hallig islands biosphere in Schleswig-Holstein are defined by the tides. Twice a day, the vast mudflats are flooded and twice a day they re-emerge when the tide recedes, creating a fertile habitat for countless plants and animals. Take a guided tour of the mudflats and you can wander about on the seabed and find mudflat worms, cockles and shore crabs. Or take a boat to the seal colonies with one of the national park's partner organisations.

Since 2005, the inhabited Hallig islands of Gröde, Hooge, Langeness, Nordstrandischmoor and Oland have been included in the biosphere reserve as a development zone. This is a cultivated landscape where nature and man work in harmony. Traditional, low-impact agriculture, such as pasture management, is a feature of the islands.

Located in Northern Friesland in the northern part of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea, the Hallig islands are small marsh islands. Protective dykes, where they exist, are relatively low. The houses are built on man-made hills known as Warften. The flooding that often occurs in autumn and winter is just part of daily reality for the almost 300 inhabitants of the islands.

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