EIn a bit of wind, there is always Neuwerk, that tiny island off Cuxhaven that is so small that there would not even be a place for an 18-hole golf course. At night, when the day visitors have disappeared, it is completely quiet on the three square kilometers. At most you can hear a “pop”. Then a pawn fell over on the hotel’s garden chess field, caught in a light breeze.
37 people live on the green spot in front of the Elbe and Weser estuaries. Most of them live from tourism. There are five guest houses in total, plus a Wadden Sea house, a bit of agriculture, a bit of port logistics. Neuwerk and the surrounding Wadden Sea are part of Hamburg, but the few island tractors have Pinneberger license plates. Sometimes wealthy horse owners bring their animals here so that they can recover from their lung ailments in the pure North Sea air.
So close that you want to start walking right away
This island is so different and so close that you want to start walking straight away. The temptation already begins at the Cuxhaven ball beacon and continues to the beach at Döse, where the huge container ships in the Elbe estuary are soon no longer a sensation. Here we really see it: two distant rows of trees shimmer like a mirage on the horizon, with a tower between them. It looks like a little Mont-Saint-Michel. But wait! You can’t just run out into the mudflats, no matter how seductive it is. The moon only pulled the carpet of the sea briefly. Soon the creeks will be full again, then the tide will come. When everything is back to the way it was, there will be a flood.
Tschelp. Dschubb. Our shoes squeeze the mud like in a Donald Duck story. Now we’re on our way to the island. Julia from “Wunderwelt Watt” leads us, together with the dog Ben. At eleven o’clock sharp, we left the land in Sahlenburg, less than a minute later. Today is low tide at 1 p.m. During the almost four-hour hike, we run halfway into the lowest point and halfway out again. Sahlenburg disappears behind us, other groups move away in front of us. Soon we 20 mudflat hikers seem to be alone under the pencil-gray sky. We stay together. Julia stops. It gurgles in the silt, bubbles rise – the work of sapling tube worms, which continue to filter food in the damp channels. We continue. It is still a long way to Neuwerk, around twelve kilometers in total.
“O”, just “O”. That is what the island was called in ancient times. Sometimes also “Og”, like at the end of “Langeoog” or “Spiekeroog”. Around 1300 Hamburg took possession of O and built a tower, the “Nige Wark”, the “New Factory”. The stone building, almost 45 meters high, served primarily as a defense tower. Even then, half the world was on the move with its goods in front of the Elbe estuary. But the area is treacherous, until today sandbanks and currents change. Pirates and wreckers could count on rich booty back then.
Happiness is knee deep
Traffic jam at the first large creek. A column of yellow horse-drawn carriages crosses the water. The people are wrapped in blankets and remain motionless. It looks like an antediluvian silent movie. Immediately a band of riders appears on black horses. Then it’s our turn with our sneakers and it looks like 2020 again.
We’re lucky, the water is only knee deep today. For a few years this has been becoming increasingly rare, and the tide can reach up to the shoulders for both horse and human. Environmentalists attribute the changed flow behavior to the Langendamm in front of Cuxhafen. Although this makes the Elbrinne safer, the two main prelays in front of Neuwerk are becoming increasingly unpredictable. The current is already fast, we have to hold on to iron bars.
On, on and on. We are points in an immeasurable world of gray. Olive gray the mudflats. Navy camouflage blue-gray the sky. The lifeboats are also gray. The steel cages on stakes were erected after a teacher with twelve students drowned here in the mudflats in 1979. Suddenly they were caught in sea fog. When he comes you won’t see anything at all.
Then finally, after three and a half hours, the first green. Neuwerk is no longer an illusion. We wash shoes, stockings and trousers from the cotton splashes and say goodbye to Julia and the others. In the evening, the group will take the ferry back to the mainland – like most of the more than 100,000 guests a year who visit the island in a combination of a boat trip, a mudflat hike or a wagon trip.
After that Neuwerk belongs to the Neuwerkers again. And the two self-confident hamburgers who smoke a cigar on the dike. And the young woman who jogs once around the island on the six-kilometer outdoor path. And a little bit us too. We have to play a game of chess tomorrow morning.
Eit doesn’t exist the North Sea. In this sea there are ebb and flow, sand and mud flats, wind and waves in very different forms. And coastal dwellers with many customs of their own. Every island, every shore here is different – and always something special. We present five of the most attractive places on the water.
Denmark: fishing trawler right on the beach
And that too, one involuntarily thinks – the fishing trawler ran aground, here in Jammer Bay on the northwest coast of Jutland in Denmark. The ship is lopsided and sways in the waves.
A sailor stands at the bow and throws a line. The surf tugs at the cutter. But it doesn’t have to be rescued, just pulled ashore.
Thorup Strand in Denmark is one of the last and largest landing sites for fish in Northern Europe, where the local fishermen and captains let themselves be pulled ashore with their cutters by a bulldozer, there is no pier or quay.
When the weather permits, the ten skippers of the local fisheries association extinguish their catch every day – mainly plaice, sole and cod. If you want, you can buy these fish right here from the ship.
Of course, you can also eat freshly caught North Sea fish in the small town: In “Thorupstrand Fiskehus”, for example, fish sizzle in butter that recently swam in the sea.
And in the snack bars you can get fried fish dumplings on hand for the beach. This is the best way to sit down in the fine sand, listen to the surf, look at the blue cutters and have the taste of the sea on your tongue – more North Sea is not possible (Info: visitjammerbugten.de).
Netherlands: Show of the stars on the mudflats
In the alleys of Schiermonnikoog, a few lanterns provide some light. But the small village is quickly left behind – and you are, in the literal sense, completely in the dark.
Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited island in the West Frisian Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. In 2006 it was named the “most beautiful place in the Netherlands” by the Nederlandse Christelijke Radio Vereniging.
Also because of the darkness – on the island, which is just four kilometers wide and 16 kilometers long, nothing disturbs the view of the night sky. The few lanterns in the village and two lighthouses – these are the only artificial light sources.
Only a handful of residents live in the postcard-beautiful island village. The feeling of being far away from the rest of the world is therefore particularly intense on Schiermonnikoog. There is always a place on the island where you can be all to yourself. Just nature and the sea. And the sky above, which is most beautiful at night.
It’s a 20-minute walk from the village to the beach, first through the heather, then through a pine forest – and the sea spreads out in front of you, dark and unfathomable. A ghostly atmosphere, also because long-eared owls and nightingales are calling and the surf is rumbling.
More can be seen from the sky than from the dark water, such as the constellation of the Big Dipper. There is orientation, the fivefold extension of the rear axis leads to the North Star. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is exactly north.
A bright band stretches out up there: the Milky Way. The stars sparkle like diamonds on the velvety black. Depending on the season, Venus can also be seen; sometimes it is the evening star for months, sometimes it announces the approaching morning. Jupiter and Saturn are in the constellation Sagittarius. In spring the lion sneaks up as its constellation.
More and more stars can be seen – in the deep darkness you almost have the feeling of being drawn into space. And sometimes even a shooting star pulls its orbit through the loneliness of the universe and ensures an unforgettable goosebumps moment in the loneliness at night on the beach of Schiermonnikoog (vvvschiermonnikoog.de).
Helgoland: The home of the gray seals
The little ferry has hardly left Heligoland when it arrives at the dune opposite. The little sister island with its snow-white beach and the holiday village is a bathing paradise and at the same time the nursery for Germany’s largest predator – the gray seal.
531 young animals were born on dune in 2019. The population has grown significantly in recent years and Heligoland’s side island has become a hotspot for seal fans from home and abroad.
In summer several hundred animals hunt for fish in the waters around Heligoland, often taking a break on the beach of their native island. Nowhere on the North Sea can you see the seals better.
However, a safety distance of at least 30 meters must be maintained on dunes – the sluggish-looking animals can, if they feel threatened, come out of cover at up to 20 kilometers per hour. And they do it without hesitation!
Those who want to be on the safe side prefer to take part in a guided tour. A specially created panorama path offers views of the sea again and again – and with a bit of luck you will see hairy snouts emerge from the waves.
It is not always seals, it can also be seals. They don’t use Helgoland as a nursery, but they also love trips to the island to do the same thing as human visitors: enjoy sunbathing (helgoland.de).
St. Peter-Ording: sailing on sand
How was that with the braking? The sand yachts are fast and have foot pedals as a steering wheel, but no brake pedal. Several of these three-wheeled speedsters with sails whiz across the beach of St. Peter-Ording. A constant wind blows on the kilometer-long sand ridge and puffs up the sails.
“The beach here is particularly suitable,” says Sven Harder from the Nordsport beach sailing school. He offers courses for beginners on one of the largest beaches in the North Sea. “Beach sailors have a lot of space here, hard sand and mostly good wind.”
Wind strengths between 3 and 6 are ideal, adds Harder, as it is a wonderful way to escape the stress of everyday life. If you know how to slow down the beach runabouts, you would like to add.
The course starts with some theory, the rules of avoidance, flag signals, safety instructions and fitting the helmet. It is particularly important because the lower, horizontal rod on which the sail sits just above the head swings back and forth when driving.
And how do you even get going? “With a line that we call a sheet, you let the sail loose or pull it in,” says Harder. “The sheet serves as a kind of gas pedal. If you pull the sheet tighter, the sand yacht accelerates. If you loosen the sheet, you reduce the speed again and thus determine the pace. “
And brake? “You let the sheet as loose as possible, but not let go! You steer against the wind and take the car away from it. “
Dealing with the sand yachts seems child’s play. Feel, think, do – and the box starts running. Soon the course participants were racing on the firm sand of St. Peter-Ording.
Even beginners get going quickly, and they can soon manage a speed of 50 and more. And apparently the beach yachtsmen have been paying close attention during training, because everyone manages to brake without an accident. Without a brake pedal (st-peter-ording.de).
England: castles overlooking the North Sea
You can literally hear the blades clapping and the screams of rough men echoing through the walls – in your mind, of course, because it is more than 1200 years since native Celts and invading Vikings crossed their blades here in what is now Northumberland.
The defiant castles, of which there are many in this part of the English and Scottish North Sea coast, fire the imagination of the visitors. They are silent witnesses to an eventful history – and a wonderful backdrop for a walk on the beach.
One of the most beautiful North Sea beaches in Great Britain is the one in front of Bamburgh Castle. The castle itself is now a place for cultural events, you can visit it, walk in the footsteps of sagas and legends.
And you can live here: On a clear day, the view from the room in the Neville Tower extends across to Holy Island and out to the Farne Islands. With binoculars you can see seals and dolphins, sometimes even whales.
The late light sets the huge castle in a picturesque scene and lets the walls light up like brass, the clouds in the sky are the color of mallow, the surf shimmers silvery and light gray.
The beach is clean and beautiful, the lords of the castle and the nature conservation organization Natural England are in charge. Bamburgh Beach is sweeping, ideal for long walks; however, the water is too cold for bathing.
Surfers in their wetsuits have it better, they appreciate the wind-blown coast, where steadily passable waves roll. Those who love lonely walks will get their money’s worth here, and everywhere you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the sea and the beach, the drama of the landscape and the sky.
But you can also just sit in the slipstream of the dunes and watch birds for hours. Or you can practice as a lord of the castle – and build a sand castle in the form of Bamburgh Castle (visitnorthumberland.com).
This article was first published in May 2020.
The text comes from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.
Dhe sea can be felt everywhere on Römö, this island in the Danish Wadden Sea, but it is still a long way to the North Sea. The trail leads us from the heather over a kilometer-wide, reflecting surface swept empty by the eternal wind. Only horizon and high sky. The cries of birds blow away, the sand grinds between your teeth. Then the blurred transition to the water in the distance. And finally the sea is reached.
Islands like Römö are subject to the regime of wind, water and waves. Traces are lost. Sand covers them and water washes them away. Melancholy lies over this large, empty room, fingers of light reach out from the cloudy haze. It is an island with an ambivalent relationship to the sea, which took and gave. Romo is an island of seafarers, their graves and stories.
Almost 600 people live on Römö, this barren and once poor island in Denmark, which one had to leave for a chance in life and whose island church, named after the patron saint of seafarers, Saint Clemens, is visited by 80,000 people every year. Whoever wanted to become something went to sea, went to the Arctic Ocean, went to the East Indies. These were risky undertakings that cost some emigrants their lives, while others returned home rich.
Stories from the glory days of the seafarers
A faint gallop can be heard in the distance, and soon the horses and their riders are standing in the surf. As suddenly as they came, they disappeared again. A flock of birds flies up, flighty and fleeting. The animals also seem to sense the presence of the North Sea and its volatility.
Before the water comes, we make our way back, again over the heather, then through a forest, and suddenly the white island church in front of us. St. Clemens looks like a defiant castle as it rises from the country.
Jörn Carl leads through the cemetery, he is a church leader. Some of his ancestors are buried here. “My great, great, great-grandfather drove into the Arctic Ocean as a commander,” says Carl while walking around the tombs. He knows countless stories from glorious seafaring times, has written a book that keeps this memory alive, that describes the tombstones and votive ships inside the church.
He is a teacher of history and religion and can tell of adventures at sea, which are about danger and luck, faith and gold and are unbelievable – but naturally belong to the life story of the sailors of Romo.
Seafaring brought prosperity to Romo
In 1982 a grave was dug and the sexton found three gold coins. Two came from Flanders, one from England, and they weren’t simply lost, says Carl. These are probably so-called Charon coins, because they lay next to the dead man’s left hand and were intended as payment for the crossing to the realm of the dead.
In Greek mythology, Charon is the ferryman and drives the dead from this side over the river Styx to the next. “In the course of the Middle Ages this myth became a Christian tradition – and the coin find of St. Clemens shows the importance of seafaring for Romo.”
Seafaring brought prosperity. Anyone who knew how to handle a ship here on the unpredictable coast was good at it, went fishing or sailed as a sailor. And then things really started: at the end of the 16th century, English and Dutch sailors tried to find a passage to China via the northern ocean.
“They did not find an alternative to the long sea route around Africa, but very large populations of whales in the Arctic Ocean. The whale hunt soon began between Greenland and Svalbard. “
Whales and seals were popular
The oil of whales and seals was particularly popular as fuel, seal skins were a valuable commodity. “At the height of whale and seal fishing, almost a third of the 1500 inhabitants on the island of Romo went to sea.” As skilled and capable seamen, some made it to the captain of a fishing ship. So they got rich and had tombstones made that tell their life story.
40 of these stones are in the cemetery of St. Clemens, and seemingly forever they tell of how dangerous the journey into the Arctic Ocean was. One of them is the tombstone of Anders Michelsen List – who first sailed as a child and later as a captain on ships, who sank off Greenland and survived.
“When he was twelve he was taken whaling,” says Carl. “In 1777 14 whaling ships got caught in the pack ice off Greenland, were trapped and crushed, five of these ships were led by men from Romo.
450 sailors fled from their destroyed ships onto the pack ice and began the long march to the east coast of the ice island, 300 of them drowned and froze, died of starvation and exhaustion. ”Anders Michelsen List spent the winter of twelve years on Greenland, he was 56 years later buried in the churchyard of St. Clemens on Römö.
The North Sea is also present in the church
Jörn Carl opens the heavy door, there is complete silence in the church, and soft light falls through the window. Inside, too, St. Clemens looks like a castle, the building has been expanded again and again over the centuries. The ceilings have remained low. As if the people wanted to seek protection, at least security for the soul. But even in here the sea is always present, as a memory.
Seven of the ship models hang from the ceiling. For example the “Flora”, a pretty three-master, detailed, equipped with dinghies. “This ship came back in 1836 with its biggest catch, laden with the bacon from five whales and 5000 seals.”
The votive ships show the enormous importance of seafaring for Romo and, like Carl’s concentrated knowledge, keep memories alive and in honor. In keeping with this, the metaphorical designation of the church interior as a ship: The congregation, Carl explains, treads the path from this world to the hereafter.
She is on a journey through life with an unknown destination, as are the sailors on the “Flora”, the “Danmark”, the “Aurora Borealis” and the other ships that are heading for the altar in St. Clemens.
Pirates kept attacking ships
A warship also hangs in the church, the “frigates”. Because it happened again and again that mostly merchant drivers were victims of pirates. That is why civilian ships sailed under the protection of armed convoys, explains the church leader.
“The ‘Danmark’, a merchant ship, was equipped with cannons to defend itself against pirates – the cannons were also incorporated into the model.” For Andreas Sörensen, this help came too late: In 1724 he got caught in the Mediterranean during a trade trip Algerian pirates were imprisoned, they sold him on, and a North African ruler finally demanded the horrific sum of 2000 thalers for poor Andreas, 20 times the annual wages of a helmsman.
This news reached Romo. Pastor Anders Andersen Amders organized a collection on the island. “Most of the ransom came from the state slavery fund, which was set up specifically for such purposes, and a wealthy citizen of Romo also provided a larger deposit,” said Carl.
In 1725 Andreas Sörensen was released – and he soon went with his wife on a trip to the west coast of Römös to collect money for the bail of his release. “He must have done that in winter, because in summer he went to sea again.”
So at the time of year when some of the most interesting stories in Römös happened. Such of adventures at sea, of faith, hope and a spiritual triumvirate of seafarers: a large church on a small island somewhere in the North Sea.
Tips and information
Getting there: The island of Römö is located north of Sylt in the Danish Wadden Sea. It can be reached via a road embankment from the mainland by car or by ferry from List / Sylt to Havneby / Römö. The regular trip there and back by car costs 83 euros, until December 20 a reduced price of 55 euros. Those arriving by train to List pay 12.30 euros for the ferry as an individual, children up to 14 years 8.10 euros (syltfaehre.de).
Accommodation: For example, in the cozy and modern “Havneby Kro” hotel in Havneby, double rooms from 111 euros including breakfast, the hotel is within walking distance of the ferry to Sylt (havneby-kro.dk). Providers such as Novasol (novasol.de) or Dancenter (dancenter.de) offer a large selection of holiday homes, some of which have reduced prices in winter.
Going to church: St. Clemens, island landmark, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in winter. It is named after St. Clement, patron saint of seafarers. Around 80,000 visitors come every year. Jörn Carl speaks fluent German and you can request tours by email (email@example.com).
Information desk: romo-tonder.dk; visitdenmark.com
This article was first published in December 2019.
Participation in the trip was supported by Visit Denmark. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit.
Dhe popular travel destination France was one of the EU countries most affected by the corona virus. But after the favorable developments and the recommendations of the European Commission, France lifted all restrictions on its internal European borders (on land, in the air and on water) on June 15, as the French tourism association Atout France announced.
People entering Europe can therefore enter French territory without restrictions. Only UK visitors are subject to a two-week quarantine on arrival.
On June 22, the government also announced new opening measures for the summer season. They are valid for the entire French territory, which is considered a green zone, with the exception of Mayotte and Guyana, where the virus is still active and which are therefore considered to be orange zones.
Among other things, this means the end of traffic restrictions with freedom of movement throughout France, including overseas territories. Masks are mandatory on public transport (this also applies to taxis). Passengers must take care to keep the greatest possible distance from other passengers and tour groups.
Atout France provides this and other constantly updated information for holidaymakers in German on its website. Here you will also find information on overseas regions such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin and Reunion.
Travel to France: rules in hotels and restaurants
Already on June 2, large parts of France were allowed to reopen tourist accommodations such as hotels, campsites, holiday villages and holiday homes – in Paris, which only later fell into the green zone, since the end of June.
The restaurants and cafes were also able to reopen in the green zones, with distance and other safety rules applying. A maximum of ten people are allowed per table, at least one meter between the tables.
There is a mask requirement for the staff as well as for customers who move around the restaurant. The consumption of drinks and food at the bar and while standing is prohibited. In orange zones, however, only the terraces of the bars are allowed to open.
Beaches open all over France
Leisure activities are also increasingly possible. All beaches across the country can now be accessed again. Traffic restrictions were lifted in all zones, parks and gardens were reopened, and access to all lakes and bodies of water is now possible again throughout France.
Many large museums and monuments also reopened to visitors, as well as amusement and amusement parks and swimming pools. Cinemas, casinos and arcades can once again welcome visitors. The same applies to theaters and concert halls, with strict rules for distance.
Lourdes and Eiffel Tower welcome tourists
After more than two months of complete standstill, France’s tourist destinations were slowly brought back to life in May, initially for local visitors. Some beaches on the country’s coasts opened, the pilgrimage to Lourdes welcomed visitors, and the famous island of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, in the Wadden Sea, was accessible again.
In the meantime, the Parisian landmark, the Eiffel Tower, has reopened after a three-month break due to the Corona crisis.
“I’m going to France this summer”
Atout France announced that the “Cet été je pars en France” advertising campaign was launched to restart the tourism industry.
For this purpose, among other things, a common indicator for the dissemination of hygiene guidelines for the tourism industry was developed.
Corsica offers voluntary corona tests
The Corsica Tourism Association announced the “Corse, Destination confiance” campaign in early July and emphasized that German tourists in particular should feel particularly safe on the island, where there has been no confirmed case of Covid-19 since early May.
A whole series of measures had been taken to ensure the tourist season on the island of beauty. These apply with effect from July 1st. This allows visitors to take a preventive corona test on a voluntary basis. Mobile options are also provided for this purpose, which would offer tests at campsites and other tourist locations, for example.
A temperature control is carried out on entry, either via thermal cameras or infrared thermometers – in the ports and at the four airports on the island.
In addition, 600 places would be reserved for those who tested positive for Covid-19 and were unable to isolate themselves. The number of intensive care beds will be increased, additional medical staff will be employed at the hospitals in Ajaccio and Bastia and the telephone number 116 117 will be activated for medical consultations on Covid-19. All travelers receive a multilingual brochure with practical information such as useful telephone numbers, distance rules and overviews of the test centers.
Air France offers more flights
The French airline Air France already announced in June that it would gradually offer more flights again. This applies subject to the lifting of travel restrictions, the airline said. The aim is to gradually increase the number of frequencies and destinations, particularly to France, the French overseas regions and within Europe.
Accordingly, destinations in Germany are to be flown to from Paris – these are Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover and Munich. London, Vienna, Madrid or Milan are also on the flight schedule, which should be updated daily.
Air France has set up a special information page for questions regarding hygiene rules, in particular the mask requirement for passengers.
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EIt was the German autumn. And when an abandoned yacht ran aground on Sylt in October 1977, the island was in turmoil. The stranding case of the “Apollo” quickly developed into a criminal case because the thing was more than mysterious: strange men soon got to grips with the ship, weapons were hidden behind a fairing.
Kripo, Interpol, finally large search. The fugitive men, they were Danes, were arrested after they left Rømø. At the time, Niels Diedrichsen was a bailiff on the Listland coast: “Terrorists, the kidnapping of Schleyer, then an abandoned ship on the beach, sawn-off shotguns – what do you think was going on here?”
Over the course of his 35 years as a bailiff, Niels Diedrichsen has experienced a lot and found and found many things on the beach. It was his job and his passion.
Niels Diedrichsen, now 88 years old, now lives in List in the old part next to the Osthof, which the family has lived in for generations. The family is a co-owner of the Listland and so, at that time the 23-year-old farmer, he was given the task of the beach bailiff in April 1955.
As a bailiff responsible for the recovery of the lost property
“In my function as a beach guard, I was available around the clock for more than three decades, I was on the beach with wind and weather,” he recalls. He was responsible for the stranding cases – be it buoys or entire boats.
Niels Diedrichsen was responsible for the salvage. “I had to report the lost and found items to the beach captain in Westerland and to customs. Then an attempt was made to determine the owners. Failing that, the goods were sold in favor of the state treasury. There were public auctions, which took place here on our farm. ”Niels Diedrichsen also received his share of the proceeds.
The beach bailiff had no easy office – on the one hand he was obliged to the respective sovereign, on the other hand he had to maintain village peace. After all, he lived in a community that relied on ancient common law to get what the North Sea gave off the beach.
Diedrichsen’s stretch of beach was 27 kilometers long. Impossible to monitor everything. What did people hide from him in the dunes, he still wonders today. In September 1990 he received a letter from the Office for Agriculture and Water Management, informing him that the office of the bailiff had expired. Auctioning and administration were no longer worthwhile.
Wood was valuable on islands and Halligen
A lot of wood was washed up on the North Sea before the steel containers were introduced; Coastal residents regularly collected beams and boards. Wood was valuable – and delivered – on the forest-poor islands. It was used for building when it was not burned. It can still be found in old houses on the islands, including the Diedrichsens. Almost everything was found and used.
Even on the Halligen. The passenger ship plows through the waves, from Hörnum to Sylt, via Amrum and Hallig Hooge to Nordstrand. And from there with a ferry via Pellworm to the small Hallig Süderoog.
Today, the captain chooses the route on the sea side around Amrum – where the North Sea breaks over the upstream sandbars. With unchecked force, wind, waves and currents hit the coast here, the sands protect Halligen and islands from the worst.
The captain heads south-southeast between sandbars and Amrum’s west coast. The endless knee psand – Amrum’s huge beach – can be seen on the port side. In the 1970s there was a small hut village built from beach wood.
Here it becomes clear where to look for beach goods: outside, far outside. Where the North Sea meets the coast, for example at the dykes of Dithmarschen, on the beach of Sankt Peter-Ording, on the west coast of Hallig Hooge, on the western beaches of Amrum and Sylt. If you ask local sandpipers when the best time to look for flotsam, they say in unison: go look for strong west winds!
Every shoe has a story
Arrival on Hooge, on the Hanswarft – the main hill of the Hallig – is the Boyens family’s small art gallery. Handmade ceramics, wool are available here and beautiful watercolors. In front of the historic Frisian house there are shelves with old shoes.
“In 1994 I found a shoe on the dike and I took it with me,” says Werner Boyens. The 77-year-old is a passionate collector and runs a small gallery on Hallig Hooge. Today there are more than 350 individual shoes on the shelves next to his gallery; Work clog and children’s shoe, up to size 50 and with a ten centimeter heel.
“Everyone likes to collect, and when I find something nice, I take it with me.” Boyens ’collection keeps growing, because if the former captain doesn’t paint, he goes to collect shoes. “I often go on the dike around the Hallig – and then they lie on the washing seam. I’m not looking for shoes that come to me. “
He says: “Every shoe has a story!” Did it fall off the cutter? Did he come across the Elbe? Strandgut stimulates the imagination. “In some years I find twenty pieces, this winter season was a rather mediocre shoe year.
You have the best chances to find shoes or beach goods at all here on Hooge after stormy days with strong winds from western directions. ”Then he puts the brush away and starts again at the dike. “When I find a shoe, it’s a good day.”
Strandgut offers bizarre surprises
Although the office of the bailiff with its dissolution at the beginning of the 1990s no longer exists, beach goods still exist. You just have to keep your eyes open, sometimes there are bizarre surprises.
Holger Spreer, a kind of modern beach bailiff, lives on the small Hallig Süderoog. He is one who likes to show guests the curiosity cabinet of the sea and can tell a few stories about it.
However, you can only visit Süderoog as part of a guided tour. The mudflat is endless here, the walk from Pellworm in an accompanied group takes around an hour and a half to the lonely Hallig.
Nele Wree and Holger Spreer live with their daughters on Süderoog. The couple moved to Hallig in 2013. Both are employed by the land and work for coastal and nature conservation: counting birds, making sure that nobody walks unaccompanied and unauthorized in this part of the national park, maintaining the stock of the 60-hectare Hallig and its building.
They have also built a so-called archehof, they keep poultry and sheep threatened with extinction and sell surplus meat. When mudflats or guests come from Pellworm by ship, the two entertain their guests with soup, cake and homemade lemonade. On the stately farm on Süderoog, the sign with the national coat of arms and the note “Strandvogtei” is still emblazoned today.
A garden pond on the beach at Süderoog
Even if there are no beach guards on Süderoog since 1965, Holger Spreer somehow sees himself as such. Because as a national park ranger he controls the beach of the upstream southern sand, which is otherwise taboo, he hides things there and elsewhere, reports them if necessary and puts them back into “value”.
The couple introduced Hof and Hallig. First it goes up to the beach corner. There, in the cabinet of curiosities, Spreer shows the guests his collection of beautiful and strange things from the sea – “there is always something!”
Be it a television with an English connection or just a shoe. Strandgut often has a long way to go and a story to tell. Sometimes you have to come up with one yourself.
For example, the plastic mold of a garden pond was washed ashore on Süderoog – did a castaway perhaps use it as a lifeboat? And what was the path of this high-heeled women’s shoe in the unusual size 43 before it ran aground here?
Things of value go to the lost property office
“The winter months are usually the best,” says Holger Spreer, but this season there was less washing up than usual. “It used to be real beach goods – with an emphasis on good, in terms of goods or value. In the meantime it’s mostly just rubbish. ”
Nevertheless, it still exists today, the sea value. But: you can’t just keep and sell lost and found items. If Spreer, and this also applies to all other beach goods seekers, finds things of value, these must be reported and returned to the lost property office.
National park ranger Holger Spreer is also an area manager on the upstream Süderoogsand and in the Wadden Sea. Sometimes he finds a nice piece of wood, but he only takes it home if it does not violate the regulations for the protection of nature and archaeological finds.
Treasures and recognizable old things are delivered. Regular beach wood is not a problem. “Sand and water polish the wood, shape and color refine over time,” he says. “We use it to make candle holders or cloakrooms, lamps or small works of art, for example.” The wood has a nice grain now and then, and who knows, maybe an exciting story.
Amber also washed up the North Sea
Sometimes it’s not just garbage that is washed up on the North Sea beach. Maybe it’s even a piece of amber. Of course, Holger Spreer also found some of them – and if you just look closely, you might be successful yourself. Far out there and with western winds, the chances are the best.
The modern “Strandvogt” Spreer, who lives on the outpost in the North Sea and always keeps his eyes open, also looks at something completely different during a walk, namely fairway barrels. These are flashing buoys, weighing a good half a ton, quite important and expensive.
If one goes into business in a hurricane and Holger Spreer finds it somewhere around Süderoog, he tows the buoy and returns it to the water authority. There is then mountain salary, so much that it is worth taking a closer look.
The history of the camera went around the world
The most bizarre find took place in autumn 2017. Then Holger Spreer’s father found a black box on the banks of the Hallig. After cleaning it, unpacking it, and pushing a few buttons, this beach ware actually started telling a story about a boy who had lost his camera on Yorkshire Beach in England, that very find.
The camera, fortunately packed waterproof, filmed loss and doom. Flood and current drove the piece on Süderoog. The owner was found on Facebook and the find returned to the boy. The camera went around half the North Sea, its story around the world.
Tips and information
Beach law: After an amendment to the law that came into force in 1990, the right of discovery has been applicable to stranded goods since then. This means that anyone who finds beach goods must hand them in to the lost property office or report them, with the exception of finds of low value.
Information desk: Travel and accommodation options at halligsuederoog.de, general information at nordseetourismus.de and sylt.de.
Participation in the trip was supported by Sylt Marketing and Nordsee-Tourismus-Service. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit.
Es not there, the North Sea. There are ebb and flow, sand and mudflats, wind and waves in very different forms in this sea. And coastal residents with many of their own customs. Every island, every shore here is different – and always something special. We present five of the most attractive places on the water.
Denmark: fishing trawlers right on the beach
Even that, one thinks involuntarily – the fishing cutter ran aground, here in the Jammerbugten on the north-west coast of Jutland in Denmark. The ship is crooked and sways in the waves.
A sailor stands on the bow and throws a line. The surf tugs on the cutter. But it doesn’t have to be saved, it just has to be pulled ashore.
Thorup Strand in Denmark is one of the last and largest landing places for fish in Northern Europe, where the local fishermen and captains can be pulled by a bulldozer to their land, there is no pier or quay.
When the weather permits, the ten seafarers from the local fisheries association clear their catch every day – mostly plaice, sole and cod. If you want, you can buy these fish right here from the ship.
Of course, you can also eat freshly caught North Sea fish in the village: In “Thorupstrand Fiskehus”, for example, fish are sizzling in butter that have recently been swimming in the sea.
And in the snack bars you get fried fish on the hand for the beach. It is best to sit in the fine sand, listen to the surf, look at the blue cutters and have the taste of the sea on your tongue – there is no more North Sea (info: visitjammerbugten.de).
Netherlands: Show of the stars on the mud flats
A few lanterns provide some light in the alleys of Schiermonnikoog. But the small village is quickly left behind – and you literally grope in the dark.
Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited island in the West Frisian Wadden Sea in the Netherlands. In 2006 the Nederlandse Christelijke Radio Vereniging named it “the most beautiful place in the Netherlands”.
Also because of the darkness – on the only four kilometers wide and 16 kilometers long island nothing disturbs the view of the night firmament. The few lanterns in the village and two lighthouses – these are the only artificial light sources.
Only a handful of residents live in the postcard-beautiful island village. The feeling of being far away from the rest of the world is therefore particularly intense on Schiermonnikoog. There is always a place on the island where you can be completely on your own. Only nature and the sea. And the sky above, which is most beautiful at night.
It is a 20 minute walk from the village to the beach, first through the heath, then through a pine grove – and the sea spreads out before you, dark and unfathomable. A ghostly atmosphere, also because long-eared owl and nightingale call and the surf rumbles.
There is more to see from the sky than from the dark water, such as the constellation of the big car. There is orientation, the five-fold extension of the rear axis leads to the Polarstern. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is located exactly on the north.
A bright band spans up there: the Milky Way. The stars sparkle like diamonds on the velvet black. Depending on the season, Venus can also be recognized; sometimes it is the evening star for months, sometimes it announces the coming morning. Jupiter and Saturn are in the Sagittarius constellation. In spring the lion sneaks up as its constellation.
More and more stars can be seen – in the deep darkness you almost have the feeling of being drawn into space. And sometimes even a falling star makes its way through the loneliness of the universe and ensures an unforgettable goosebumps moment in the lonely loneliness on the beach of Schiermonnikoog (vvvschiermonnikoog.de).
Helgoland: the home of the gray seal
As soon as the small ferry has left Helgoland, it is already docking across the dune. The little sister island with its snow-white beach and the holiday village is a bathing paradise and at the same time the nursery for Germany’s largest predator – the gray seal.
531 cubs were born on dune in 2019. The population has grown significantly in recent years, and Helgoland’s neighboring island has developed into a hotspot for seal fans from home and abroad.
In the summer, several hundred animals sometimes hunt for fish in the waters around Helgoland, often taking a break on the beach of their native island. Nowhere else on the North Sea can you see the seals better.
However, a safety distance of at least 30 meters must be maintained on the dune – the sluggish-looking animals can come out of cover at up to 20 kilometers an hour if they feel threatened. And they do it without fear!
If you want to be on the safe side, you’d better take a guided tour. From a specially created panorama path there are always views of the sea – and with a little luck you can see hairy snouts emerging from the waves.
They are not always seals, they can also be seals. They don’t use Helgoland as a nursery, but they also love trips to the island to do the same thing as human visitors: enjoy sunbathing (helgoland.de).
St. Peter-Ording: sailing on sand
How about braking? The beach sailors are fast and have foot pedals as a steering wheel, but no brake pedal. Several such three-wheeled speedsters with sails whiz across the beach of St. Peter-Ording. A steady wind blows on the mile-long sand ridge and inflates the sails.
“The beach here is particularly well suited,” says Sven Harder from the Nordsport beach sailing school. It offers beginner courses on one of the largest beaches in the North Sea. “Beach sailors have a lot of space, hard sand and mostly good wind.”
Wind strengths between 3 and 6 are ideal, Harder adds, because it is a wonderful way to escape everyday stress. If you know how to slow down the speedsters, you would like to add.
The course starts with some theory, the evasive rules, flag signals, safety instructions and the fitting of the helmet. It is particularly important because just below the head, the lower, horizontal rod on which the sail sits is swinging back and forth.
And how do you get going at all? “With a line, which we call sheet, you let the sail loose or pull it on,” says Harder. “The sheet serves as an accelerator pedal, so to speak. If you pull the sheet closer, the sand sailer accelerates. If you loosen the sheet, you take the speed out again and thus determine the pace. “
And brake? “You let the sheet as loose as possible, but not let go! You steer against the wind and take the car’s drive. ”
Dealing with the beach sailors seems child’s play. Feel, think, do – and the box is already running. The course participants will soon race on the solid sand of St. Peter-Ording.
Even beginners can get going quickly, soon reaching speeds of 50 and more. And apparently the beach sailors were careful during the training, because everyone manages to brake without an accident. Without a brake pedal (st-peter-ording.de).
England: castles with a view of the North Sea
You can literally hear the blades knocking together and screams of rough pictures of men echoing through the walls – only in spirit, of course, because it was more than 1200 years ago that native Celts and invading Vikings crossed their blades here in what is now Northumberland County.
The defiant castles, many of which are found in this part of the English and Scottish North Sea coast, inspire visitors’ imaginations. They are silent witnesses to an eventful history – and a wonderful backdrop for a walk on the beach.
One of the most beautiful North Sea beaches in the UK is in front of Bamburgh Castle. The castle itself is now a place for cultural events, you can visit it, walk in the footsteps of legends and legends.
And you can live here: From a room in the Neville Tower, on clear days, the view stretches across to Holy Island to the Farne Islands. With binoculars you can see seals and dolphins, sometimes even whales.
The late light paints the huge castle in scene and lets the walls light up like brass, the clouds in the sky are the color of mallow, the surf shimmers silvery and light gray.
The beach is clean and beautiful, the castle owners and the nature conservation organization Natural England are under the supervision. Bamburgh Beach is wide, ideal for long hikes; the water is too cold for bathing.
Surfers in their wetsuits are better off, they appreciate the wind-blown coast, to which constantly passable waves roll. Those who love lonely walks will get their money’s worth here, and everywhere you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the sea and the beach, the drama of the landscape and sky.
But you can also just sit in the slipstream of the dunes and watch birds for hours. Or you can practice as a lord – and build a sand castle in the form of Bamburgh Castle (visitnorthumberland.com).
This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home regularly.