Eight questions for...

Hans-Ulrich Rösner, Head of the WWF Wadden Sea office

When I visit the World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, what should I definitely not miss?

A walk over the mud flats. That involves walking on the sea bed, which has dried enough to ramble over when the tide is out. Along the entire North Sea coast, and also on the North Sea islands, you'll find guides who will show you this wonder of nature! The World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea is a is rather large natural environment, with its roughly 10,000 square kilometers. So there is a lot to see. For me the Wadden Sea is a fascinating world.

What do you particularly like here?

The wide open spaces, to be out in unspoiled nature. For me that is a unique experience that, in Europe, can only be enjoyed in the preserves of national parks. Added to that are the 10 million birds that rest in the Wadden Sea every year. Most of them actually breed in the Arctic region - so in Siberia and Greenland. When you consider how much of a journey these birds still have ahead of them, that is really impressive.

Do you have an insider tip?

There are no cars allowed on five of the seven East Friesian islands on the Wadden Sea. Where else can you experience that these days? It is a great feeling to leave behind, at least for a vacation, the trappings of civilization. I hope that in future more islands will join this trend.

What impressed you most during your first visit here?

I came here first as a child, and I immediately began to collect mussels and crabs. I fondly remember that time to this day.

Which time of the year is the most attractive here?

For me springtime, when everything begins to grow. Then you have the greatest number of birds here, those that are resting on their way to the Arctic as well as the domestic birds. Those who prefer warmer temperatures like the summer time better. That's when most of the tourists are here too.

What else should I see here?

There are many places with historic architecture. The Halligen islands are unique in Scheswig-Holstein. They are located right in the middle of the Wadden Sea. What makes them special: when it's stormy they pretty much vanish under the sea. Only the little manmade hills on which people live, what are known as warfts, are spared from the waters.

Visiting World Heritage Sites means working up an appetite. What regional specialty should I try?

The Wadden Sea should be left to nature and we should not try to eat everything in sight. But in the region around the Wadden Sea there are many specialties that can be recommended: for example meat products from the robust cattle that graze and live in harmony with their environs on the marshes, or organic cheese from the Backensholzer Farm, close to Husum in Schleswig-Holstein.

And which World Heritage Site would you like to see one day?

The Yellowstone Park in the USA most of all. It was not without reason that it was made the first ever National Park in the world in the year 1872.

Hans-Ulrich Rösner

heads the Wadden Sea office of the World Wildlife Fund in Husum.

For many years the ornithologist has fought to protect the National Park and the Wadden Sea. Amongst other things, he has campaigned for sustainable fishing, against the laying of more wind park power cables through the mudflats, and against the expansion oil production in the area.


The Wadden Sea

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