Norderney, the European Tropical Rainforest

Not surprisingly, the island of Norderney, keeps inspiring writers, painters and photographers. Its unique, because it changed very little since its settlement in 16th century and its strict environmental protection rules prevent the island from ‘tourist-induced’ alterations.


It’s flat, windy and stunning.


The area also stands out, on the global scale, as the second most productive ecosystem in the world, after the tropical rainforest. Wondering the empty beaches, it was refreshing to see no man-made infrastructure. You did come across huge trunks of trees, washed up on the beach, spiky seashells pinching your feet or vast flocks of birds, nesting on the shore, not even budging upon your arrival – they stay, you move.


The place is unusually food-rich, attracting thousands of animal and plant species. Grey seals occupy the sandbanks on the eastern end of the island of Norderney. Long stretches of dunes characterise the cost. I was told that there is one predator that is endangering this precious pillar of biodiversity, the bunny.


Back in the 19th century Prince Georg of Hannover, held court each summer on the island. During that time his female followers brought along bunnies for entertainment, probably also for consumption. Since then, the bunnies have settled on the island and form part of its habitat. They are also under protection, so no funny dinner ideas. In any case, they are the ones digging burrows in the dunes and endangering the fragile coastal ecosystem.


You’ll see in my photographs wind ridden trees, mudflats, salt marshes, sand dunes, birds and seals. Occasionally some people, gently blending into nature’s surroundings.


Did I mention Norderney is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Car traffic is subject to strict regulations. Even bicycles are not allowed in certain areas. Take your walking shoes. Enjoy.



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