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Tidal flats at Westerhever, Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, Germany
The Dutch-German-Danish Wadden Sea, with its tidal flats, tidal creeks, estuaries, salt marshes, beaches, dunes and islands is one of the last relatively unspoilt nature areas in Europe. The tidal rhythm determines the pace of life in the Wadden Sea and leads to continuous change. Of the total area of about 10,000 km2, 4,500 km2 are tidal flats falling dry with low tide. This makes the Wadden Sea the world’s largest continuous mud flat area, hosting millions of Arctic shorebirds every year on their way to and from their breeding grounds between Northern Siberia and Greenland/Canada.
The international Wadden Sea with its various national parks and other types of nature reserves is also one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, which recently also got the UNESCO status as World Heritage Site.