The Wadden Sea Natural World Heritage Site extends along the entire North Sea coast. Schleswig-Holstein’s section of the Wadden Sea reaches from the mouth of the River Elbe up to the Danish border by the island of Sylt. This North Sea coastline, some 450 kilometres in length, is the largest cohesive tidal flats landscape in the world and, similar to the high Alps, one of the last major, comparatively undisturbed natural landscapes in Central Europe. This is why Schleswig-Holstein designated the Wadden area a national park in 1985, providing it with the highest degree of protection possible for a region. And in June 2009, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, giving it equal status to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Grand Canyon in the USA. The Wadden Sea Natural World Heritage Site consists of tidal mudflats, natural channels, dunes and salt marshes which together create a fantastic and absolutely unique natural spectacle.
Twice a day, the tide recedes, flowing out through the channels and leaving the mudflats exposed until the sea covers them again. The Wadden region is home to an incredibly rich flora and fauna. No less than 250 species of animals and plants can be found only here in the Wadden Sea and nowhere else in the world. Thanks to the immensely rich food supply, the water that quickly warms up in spring and the absence of large predatory fish in the areas subject to the tides, the Wadden Sea is the ideal nursery for all species of North Sea fish and an important “filling station” for migratory birds. The islands of Amrum and Sylt form the boundary to a calving and nursing area for harbour porpoises. Some 6,000 porpoises reside in these waters. Such large groups are to be found nowhere else and, on windless days when the tide is going out, it’s not uncommon for whole families of them to dive and surface again in clear sight just off the shore.
The Wadden Sea is an impressive and matchless natural spectacle where the local plants and animals show unique adaptability. It is the place where the sky and the earth share the same stage!