Donau-Auen National Park

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Donau-Auen National Park
The Danube floodplains near Hainburg
The Danube floodplains near Hainburg
Donau-Auen National Park (Austria)
Paris plan pointer b jms.svg
Coordinates: 48 ° 7 ′ 30 ″  N , 16 ° 45 ′ 12 ″  E
Location: Lower Austria , Austria
Surface: 9,600 ha
Founding: 1996
National park map
National park map
Orth Castle: visitor center, museum and seat of the national park administration
Orth Castle : visitor center, museum and seat of the national park administration
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The Danube-Auen National Park is a 9,600  ha large national park that extends from Vienna to the mouth of March in Lower Austria on the border with Slovakia extends. It is one of the largest largely intact wetlands in Central Europe along the Danube . The area is 38 kilometers long, measures barely four kilometers at its widest point and includes areas in the municipalities of Vienna ( Lobau ), Groß-Enzersdorf , Orth an der Donau , Eckartsau , Engelhartstetten , Hainburg , Bad Deutsch-Altenburg , Petronell- Carnuntum , Regelsbrunn , Haslau-Maria Ellend , Fischamend and Schwechat . After parts of today's national park became the Untere Lobau and cross-border with Slovakia as the Danube-March-Thaya-Auen Ramsar area in 1983 , the national park has been a protected area according to IUCN Category  II since 1996. The long-distance hiking trail 07 and the Danube cycle path lead through the national park .

Creation of the national park

The Danube was an unregulated river until the 19th century. From then on, man began to drastically change the natural balance of this river landscape through extensive regulations . Many tributaries were dammed and since then the Danube has only flowed through it during floods . Further massive interventions followed due to the decades of forestry use in large parts of the alluvial forests. In the 1950s, the expansion of an almost complete chain of run- of -river power plants in the Austrian part of the Danube ( Austrian Danube power plants ) began.

In 1984, the planned construction of the Hainburg run-of-river power plant threatened the destruction of the last free flowing section of the Danube with its alluvial forests next to the Wachau . Calls by nature and environmental groups sparked protests across the country. When the operators of the power plant project did not give in and started clearing, the Hainburger Au was occupied by thousands of people from all ages and professions ("Hainburg Movement"). After several unsuccessful evacuation attempts by police units in December 1984, the federal government ordered a pause for reflection, and in early January 1985 the Supreme Court prohibited further deforestation. In March 1985, 353,906 people called for a ban on large power plants such as Hainburg and the establishment of a national park in the Hainburg area in the form of the so-called Konrad Lorenz referendum. On July 1, 1986, the Administrative Court overturned the water rights decision.

Extensive scientific research has been carried out and surprising discoveries have been made. Far more fish species were found in the Danube than were known at the time the power plant was planned.

The most important result of these studies was that the Danube floodplains in and east of Vienna are worthy of a national park. It has also been found that a power plant is incompatible with a national park. On October 27, 1996, a state treaty was signed between the Republic of Austria and the federal states of Vienna and Lower Austria. The Donau-Auen National Park was officially opened.

In October 2016, the area was expanded to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the national park. In Lower Austria and Vienna, the protected area was enlarged by a total of 277 hectares. The City of Vienna is contributing 17 hectares to Fischamend , bordering the Mannswörth district . The remaining 260 hectares in the Petroneller Au were included for private reasons of the Abensperg and Traun family . A cooperation agreement for a forestry decommissioning was agreed for a further 140 hectares.


Carl Manzano with Ernst Molden 20 years of the Donau-Auen National Park in 2016 at Orth Castle on the Danube
  • 1996 to January 2019 Carl Manzano
  • Since February 2019 Edith Klauser

Flora and fauna

In the protected area there are more than 700 species of higher plants, more than 30 mammals and 100 breeding bird species , 8 reptiles and 13 amphibian species as well as around 50 fish species . The characteristic inhabitants of the meadow landscape of the national park include the Danube crested newts , the European pond turtle , dogfish , sea ​​eagles , kingfishers and beavers . With the rich fauna of land and aquatic insects and other invertebrates , the total population of animal species in the Donau-Auen National Park is estimated to be at least 5000.

The current

High water marks at Stopfenreuth - top one: August 15, 2002

The Danube River was separated from the side arms by the flood protection structures that were built around 1900. The result was a higher flow velocity and increasing deepening of the river bed in the main stream, while in the no longer flowed through branches sand and clay deposits could no longer be sufficiently broken down. Because in natural ecosystems the natural flow dynamics are significantly influenced by trees and dead wood ; for example, by establishing banks, reducing erosion, floating debris and accumulation, by creating areas of different flow speeds or silting zones . The water accumulates on trunks and small debris and reduces the flow speed, which leads to the deposition of sediments .

To counteract this, individual side arms have been connected to the main stream again since 2002 through so-called waterway networks, i.e. lowering or breaches of the Danube protection dam, so that they can flow through at least when the water level is higher. In a model project that was completed in 2006 with the support of the EU's LIFE + program and the Austrian waterway company via donau , the entire bank construction across the 3 km from Hainburg was removed, so that the river now has the opportunity to spread out again. In a similar project, one kilometer of the river bank was removed at Witzelsdorf. After the Hainburg and Witzelsdorf pilot projects have been carried out, 50% of the banks of the Danube between Vienna and the eastern state border are to be dismantled as part of the overall river engineering project. In addition to a revitalization of the floodplain , it is hoped that the effects of floods will be mitigated and the bed of the river bed will be stabilized in the interests of both ecology and shipping.

The Donau-Auen National Park for visitors

Underwater view in the "Au-Erlebnisgelände" near Schloss Orth

Visits to the national park begin at Schloss Orth National Park Center , the information center.

Habitats, animals and plants of the national park region are presented on the castle island, the outdoor area of ​​the center. A walk-in underwater station allows an underwater view of local fish in the castle pond.

Guided excursions with the national park rangers are also popular, offering hikes and boat tours in a rubber dinghy, canoe or in a replica chaike (long, narrow wooden boat with walls) as half-day or full-day tours. Workshops, themed events, festivals and project weeks for schools are also held.

Further information points are the Eckartsau Castle National Park information point and the wien-lobAU national park house .


  • Wilderness on the river - Donau-Auen National Park , documentary film Universum, 50 min., Austria, 2010, by Franz Hafner, ORF.
  • Wilderness by the great river. Donauauen National Park , documentary film, 50 min., Austria, 1996, by Manfred Christ, production: ORF.
  • Resistance to the river: Hainburg - the Austrian way , documentary, 60 min. Short version / 80 min. Normal version, Switzerland, 1987, by Roberto A. Epple, production: VIDOC, Vienna / Rorschach, Switzerland. ( The documentation paints a close-up picture of the atmosphere and events of the legendary Hainburg occupation in 1984 - the basis for becoming a national park. )


A variety of media from and about the Donau-Auen National Park can be found in the information desk , which is the download service center of the Donau-Auen National Park. This offers files and media for download in the following areas:

  • Event reading: Lectures and complete documentation of conferences and symposia on the NPDA.
  • Scientific publications on the NPDA: Publications of the scientific series of the NPDA as well as scientific studies and project reports.
  • History of the NPDA: documents on history up to establishment and history from establishment.
  • NPDA region in the map: Historical maps as well as maps used in national park work.
  • DANUBEPARKS: all media printed in the course of the development of DANUBEPARKS.

The textual, graphic and audio-visual source material presented in the information center comes mainly from the Donau-Auen National Park and is now available to a broad public.

The national park administration itself publishes the annual information sheet Au-Blick . In 2011 the number 35 had an edition size of 300,000 pieces.

Picture gallery

See also

  • Fadenbach , a former branch of the unregulated Danube, the course of which borders the national park to the north in parts.

Web links

Commons : National Park Donau-Auen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Donau-Auen National Park in: Austrian Water and Waste Management 69/1: p. 4. doi : 10.1007 / s00506-016-0367-7
  2. 20 years of Donau-Auen National Park: Protected area is expanded for the first time APA OTS, October 20, 2016, accessed October 20, 2016.
  3. Andrea Katschthaler: (title), Der Standard , Print, August 28, 2007, p. 9. - Online version: The Danube gets more space again, August 29, 2007, accessed October 21, 2016.
  4. Resistance on the river: Hainburg - the Austrian way (PDF file; 866 kB), RiverNet website, accessed on December 21, 2011.
  5. a b c d e f Manfred A. Fischer, Karl Oswald, Wolfgang Adler: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol . 3rd, improved edition. State of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2008, ISBN 978-3-85474-187-9 .