Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park

Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park



Location: Hamburg   Map

Area: 13,750 ha

Tel. +49 40 428403392


Description of Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park

Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park is situated in the Hamburg region in the North- West Germany that covers an area of 13,750 ha. Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park protects the mudflats on the coast line a well as several small islands in the Baltic Sea near Elbe estuary. The easiest way to explore these vast lands of Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park is by taking a horse drawn carriage. In addition to bird watching and exploring the wild life of Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park you can visit a medieval tower that was used by the Hanseatic League to fight the pirates that robbed trading ships.


By resolution of the Hamburg citizenship on April 9, 1990, the Hamburg area in the mouth of the Elbe was almost entirely rededicated to the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park (NPHW). This classification replaces the LSG Neuwerk, the NSG Neuwerker and Scharhörner Watt and the NSG Insel Neuwerk / Kleiner Vogelsand. On April 5, 2001 the law was updated and the national park area expanded.

The total area of ​​the national park (protection zone 1 and protection zone 2) covers 13,750 hectares. Areas of zone 1 are under special protection. For example, mudflat hikes and carriage rides are only permitted on designated paths.

There are around 2000 animal species within the national park, around 250 of which are found only in the salt marshes of the Wadden Sea. Seals and gray seals are particularly noteworthy. Due to the natural sediment input, there is a high food supply for young fish and seabirds in the mouth of the Elbe. The national park is therefore an important resting and moulting area for sea birds.

For example, shelduck live on the mud flats, hundreds of thousands of which can be found on the surface of the mudflats. The north-western European shelduck population, numbering around 180,000 birds, also spends its moulting season between July and September in the Wadden Sea, which is protected by the three national parks of Lower Saxony Wadden Sea, Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea and Hamburg Wadden Sea. Around 200,000 eider ducks also spend their moulting season here; around 1000 pairs of eider ducks use the tidal flats 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 area for breeding birds from Nordic countries, which eat the fat reserves that they need for successful breeding. There are around 10–12 million waders, geese, ducks and seagulls in the entire Wadden Sea.

There is close cooperation with the Jordsand Association, particularly in the area of ​​bird protection.

Protection status history
The Neuwerk teacher Heinrich Gechter tried to set up the Scharhörn bird sanctuary as early as 1911. He achieved protection of the island of Scharhörn and part of the surrounding sandbank (40 ha) as a nature reserve on December 1, 1939. In 1967 it was expanded to 170 ha. On October 28, 1986 a significant part of the Neuwerk-Scharhörner Wattes was designated as NSG. The Neuwerker Ostvorland and the small Vogelsand were also designated as NSG. The national park was designated on April 9, 1990 and expanded on April 5, 2001.


Getting there

The journey to Neuwerk inevitably always leads via Cuxhaven (for details see there), from there on

By boat
The shipping company Cassen Eils is the only shipping company from Cuxhaven to the Neuwerk ferry terminal (one-way trip approx. 1½ hours). Booking, especially for the return trip to the mainland, is mandatory.

By watt wagon
With the Wattwagen (horse-drawn carriage) from Cuxhaven-Duhnen and from Cuxhaven-Sahlenburg (shorter route) you can get to the island comfortably and traditionally in just over an hour. The horses pull the wagons through knee-deep channels and over muddy mud.

- Werner Stelling wagon rides.
- Volker Griebel wagon rides
- Hans-Werner Fock wagon rides
- Wattenpost Jan Brütt

On foot (mudflat hike)
Individual mudflat hike
It is not recommended to hike to Neuwerk and back to the mainland during a period of low water, as the walking time is 2½ - 3 hours one way (10-12 km one way depending on the route). So you either have to take the ferry at least one way, spend the night on the island or you look for one of the few suitable days on which you can hike to the island in the morning and back again in the evening. Within Cuxhaven there are bus connections between the jetty at Alten Liebe and Duhnen or Sahlenburg, the starting points of the two mudflat routes.

- To the tide calendar: In addition to the normal tides, mainly inform about the weather (risk of thunderstorms; risk of fog). Plan the tour in time so that you have reached your destination at low tide if possible.
- Attention: The normal tides can be influenced by special circumstances (e.g. strong wind towards land). The water level forecast for the Elbe area of ​​the BSH provides information about this (with data for Cuxhaven and Neuwerk).
- Good to know: There is a foot washing point on Neuwerk at the entrance to the National Park House.
- If careless hikers should be surprised by the tide, they will find protection in three lifebuoys along the mudflat path. At the top of these beacons, a space designed as a "Faraday cage" offers protection even during thunderstorms.

Guided mudflat walks
There are also guided mudflat hikes in groups on the Cuxhaven - Neuwerk route (for those who do not trust themselves to plan an individual hike). Advantage of the tour (in addition to the care of the guide): On the tour you learn a lot of interesting facts about the mudflat habitat.