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Wadden Sea

Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands, rich in biological diversity

The word wad is Dutch for "mud flat". The area is typified by extensive tidal mud flats, deeper tidal trenches (tidal creeks) and the islands that are contained within this, a region continually contested by land and sea. The landscape has been formed for a great part by storm tides in the 10th to 14th centuries, overflowing and carrying away former peat land behind the coastal dunes. The present islands are a remnant of the former coastal dunes.


Chris (netherlands):
The Wadden Sea WHS area is large. One part in the North of the Netherlands especially around the Lauwersmeer above is the area of my roots. I visited it mid June 2015. I went for a tour on the Waddenzee on boat, bad weather so only tour. We did some walking on the mud flats, but it was high tide so we could not walk far. And we eat gurnard fish from the Waddenzee, durable fish! It's a great area and for this i ticked of the Dutch part, the Islands are not really part of it. Ah, we saw some seals too of course. Check my site for some photos.
Date posted: June 2015
Clyde (Malta):
I visited this WHS in May 2012. I visited the Netherlands side of the Wadden Sea around the Frisian islands. The highlight of my visit was exploring the Wadden Sea coast of Texel by boat, spotting seals and a huge variety of birds on the way.
Date posted: September 2012
John Booth (New Zealand):
This site covers almost 10,000 square kilometers, and stretches for 400km along the north coast of Europe from the Netherlands to the Danish border. To get an appreciation of this site I visited it at several diverse locations in the Netherlands and Germany:
Texel Island - reached by ferry from Den Helder, then by bus to Oudeschild, a small port facing the Wadden Sea. From here there are excursions by boat to see the wildlife on the sandbanks.
Terschelling Island - reached by ferry from Harlingen. From the port on the island I walked to Green Beach to see the bird life there, but saw more from the deck of the slow ferry on the way back to Harlingen.
Norddeich - from here there are ferries to Norderney and Juist Islands. I took an informative cruise to the National Park to see the seals and birds on the sandbanks adjacent both islands.
Wilhelmshaven - saw views over Jade Harbour from the Wattenmeerhaus, a museum of the fauna and flora of the Wadden Sea at South Beach.
Cuxhaven - I just timed it correctly to catch low tide at Dunen Beach in order to take a trip by horse and cart out onto the sandbanks. I also visited the National Park exhibition at Sahlenburg Beach.
Sylt Island - This island is accessible only by train or boat. I took the train to Westerland, then a bus to Hornum on the southern tip of the island. Then I took a boat cruise via the Halligen to Husum, back on the mainland.
Date posted: October 2010
Ian Cade (England):
“I’m going to visit some mudflats!”
“Why?” my colleagues asked, as they seem to delight in eking out the weirder destinations that visiting World Heritage Sites takes me. Therefore they had great fun when I unveiled my plans for New Years day 2011.
“They are a World Heritage Site”
“erm...[googling]...they seem to be home to 6.1 million migratory birds”
“Wow, will you get to see them”
“erm, probably not, I don’t think mid winter is the main time for them.”
“OK, so which part of the National Park are you going to visit”
“I found a Lighthouse opposite the container port”
“Doesn’t sound to Natural why are you heading there?”
“It looks walkable from the ferry port at near Bremerhaven”
“Walkable, how far?”
“About 12km round trip, probably in the snow I guess”
“Wow you must really like birds”
“No, not really I don’t have much interest in them”
“I told you it is a World Heritage Site right?”

And so that is how I planned my day and that is how it turned out. To walk off the excesses of the festive period I took a stroll to Langlütjen I on New Year's Day 2011.
To my surprise there were a few birds flying around near the sea, I saw some Geese (Barnacle?) Ducks (Eiders?) and something that I think may have been a Curlew, but as I said, birds really are not a speciality of mine.
I actually enjoyed my walk through the flooded grass lands and walking out on the manmade peninsular gave me a great view of the birdlife around me as I could walk beyond the shoe line even with the tide higher. One thing that surprised me was that the sea was frozen when I finally got to it. I had never seen the sea like this before so that was quite rewarding. It also meant that the few birds that were around clustered in small ponds of water that had remained unfrozen, making them easier to spot.
I won't pretend that I have seen the best of the Wadden Sea, but then again it was never a site that was going to really appeal to me. It was however another example of how hunting out World Heritage Sites can take me well of the path I would normally choose, and that was the most rewarding this about it. Oh yeah and it kept my colleagues entertained on my return to the office over a few tasty Bremer Kluten, now I just have to work out which site to trek to next.

[Site 3: Experience 3]
Date posted: January 2011

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Site info

The Wadden Sea
Country: Netherlands Germany Denmark
Inscribed: 2009
Natural Heritage
Criteria:  (8) (9) (10)
Category: Natural landscape, Marine / Coastal

Site history:
To include Danish Wadden Sea as well as maritime extensions of Dutch and German areas
2011Boundary change
To include the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park
2009 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:
»Wadden Sea World Heritage

In the news:
» Increased seal mortality in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein since September (18-10-2014).
» First Wadden Sea World Heritage highway traffic sign (27-06-2013).
» Hamburg Wadden Sea park declared UNESCO heritage site (28-06-2011).

Related links:
» Cooperation Tidal Flats Korea and the Wadden Sea to enhance the protection of tidal flats worldwide.
» Website of the three German Waddensea National Parks.
» Hollandse Wereldwonderen: De Waddenzee (video).
» Wadden Sea World Heritage Nomination website.

Getting there

This WHS has 8 location(s).


Lighthouses . Unfinished constructions .
Animal Migrations . Dunes . Seals . Tidal effects .
Archipelagos . Located at an "extreme point" of Latitude/Longitude . Marine sites . North Sea . On National Border .
Human Activity
Amber . Artificial Islands .
Individual People
Hendrick Hamel . Sir Robert Holmes .
Holocene .
Free entrance .
WHS Hotspots
Amsterdam hotspot . Hamburg Hotspot .
WHS on Other Lists
Natura 2000 . Ramsar Wetlands .
World Heritage Process
"Extended" Sites . Minor modifications after inscription . Natural sites filling gaps cited by IUCN . Transboundary sites across more than 2 countries . WHS with enclave .

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