The most northeasterly part of the German Wadden Sea World Heritage Site is the National Park Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer. It has a total surface area of 4,367 km² beginning by the mouth of the river Elbe and ending at the Danish border by the island Sylt. The Wadden Sea World Heritage Site here consists of tidal flats, gullies, dunes and salt marshes which form a vast, diverse and lively nature area. Such an area is home to a large number of unusual plants and animals.

Sandbanks, sand flats and Halligen

The sandbanks that make up the outer range of the National Park Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer are known as 'Außensände'. These are sandbanks lying between the North Sea and Wadden Sea. Moreover, you can find so called 'Halligen'  in the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea - islets without dike or dunes that are completely inundated with a storm surge and extremely high floods. The 'Halligen' can be either inhabited or uninhabited. The uninhabited islets belong to the National Park and the World Heritage Area. Especially in the areas where the Wadden Sea is not protected by the islands, 'Außensände' and 'Halligen' are crucial to protect the Wadden Sea against sometimes adverse conditions. The sandbanks are for seals and birds, 'Halligen' for birds, important resting and breeding sites.

Another example of the exceptional dynamics of the Wadden Sea is the uninhabited island Trischen. This island shifts around 20 meters to the east every year. It is a perfect example of a wandering island. It is also an important breeding, roosting and moulting ground for seabirds in Schleswig-Holstein. In the waters around Trischen, huge numbers of common scoters and 200,000 shelducks shed their flight feathers for new ones.

Blades in the water

Popoises in the North Sea

In Schleswig-Holstein, the Wadden Sea possesses another special feature: meadows of eelgrass. More than 20% of the area is covered with this marine plant. Eelgrass constitutes an important habitat for algae and animals that make up the diet for fish and birds. Elsewhere in the Wadden Sea, much eelgrass has disappeared due to disease and changing conditions. Due to their rareness, the eelgrass meadows in Schleswig-Holstein are important and unparalleled. A section of the World Heritage Site in Schleswig-Holstein lies in the North Sea. Between the islands of Sylt and Amrum is a very important calving and nursing area for harbour porpoises. Around 6,000 of these animals can be found in these waters. Nowhere else in the world can such a large group be found! This area is also important for huge numbers of shelducks and common scoters. Here they replace their flight feathers and are very vulnerable during this period.

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Nationalpark Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer