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Wadden Sea of Hamburg, Germany

This site is a part of the Wadden Sea on the North Sea coast, about 40 km north of the city of Bremerhaven in the Land Hamburg. 

The Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer) extends from Ho Bay in Denmark to the Dutch island of Texel. With its sands and mud flats, salt marshes and dunes, it forms the largest unbroken system of tidal sand and mud flats in the world. With its high biological productivity – the basis for the site’s worldwide significance for biodiversity – and strong natural dynamic processes, it is of extraordinary natural value. The inscription of the Dutch and German protected areas of the Wadden Sea on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2009 underlined its global significance in a very special way.

Designation date: 1992


Regional network:  EuroMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 11,700 ha

    • Core area(s): 10,400 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 224 ha
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: 53°50' to 53°58'N; 08°17' to 08°34'E

    Administrative Authorities

    Departmental Authority for Urban Development and Environment (Behörde für Stadtentwicklung
    und Umwelt) Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park/Biosphere Reserve Administration / NR34

    Neuenfelder Str. 19
    D-21109 Hamburg

    Tel: +49 40 ***********

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Situated close to the mouth of the Elbe River, it represents an estuary system which is the habitat for the seal Phoca vitulina and a large diversity of birds and fish. The nutrient-rich waters of the Elbe support a high biomass production and are important for fish spawning. The site includes sand and mudflats with channels, islands and saltmarshes. The site has been designated as a National Park, Ramsar site and EU Special Protection Area for wild birds.





    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    38 people are living in the biosphere reserve (1998). The main human activities at the site are recreation and tourism and some agricultural practices such as livestock grazing.
    The adjacent waters north to the biosphere reserve are intensively used by ships, so that potential oil spills are a major threat to the site. Also, pollution stemming from the Elbe River impacts the ecosystem. An information centre on the Neuwerk Island provides an exhibition and educational materials for tourists.




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    Last updated: January 2020