Ni horns

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Ni horns
Nighorn Island, Scharhörn in the background;  Looking north
Nighorn Island, Scharhörn in the background; Looking north
Waters Helgoland Bay
Archipelago Scharhorn
Geographical location 53 ° 56 '53 "  N , 8 ° 25' 49"  E Coordinates: 53 ° 56 '53 "  N , 8 ° 25' 49"  E
Nighörn (Schleswig-Holstein)
Ni horns
surface 67.16 ha
Highest elevation m
Residents uninhabited
main place (uninhabited)

Nigehörn is an artificial island in the Heligoland Bay . It was washed up in 1989 on behalf of the Hamburg Environment Agency and has been Hamburg's westernmost point in the Neuwerk district ever since . Together with Scharhörn , it is located on the Scharhörnplate , a sandbank about 15 kilometers northwest of the mainland near Cuxhaven and is uninhabited all year round.

The island is located 4 km from the island of Neuwerk in what is now "Zone I" of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park .


Natural allocation

Nighörn and the surrounding Neuwerker Watt belong to the main natural unit group Ems- and Wesermarschen (No. 61) of the natural area Watten in the Elbe-Weser triangle Jadebusen . At the upper level, it belongs as part of the marshland to the greater region of North German Lowlands .

Area development



Map of the planned Hamburg deep-water port and the artificial island

The original plans for a replacement island for Scharhörn stem from the planning for the Hamburg deep-water port . Hamburg saw the Scharhörner and Neuwerker mudflats as access to the deep Outer Elbe and the hinterland connection via a railway line as a realistic option for further safeguarding economic interests. For this purpose, Hamburg acquired this area of Lower Saxony under the Cuxhaven Treaty , after it had only exchanged it profitably with Prussia for surrounding cities in 1937 through the Greater Hamburg Law . Since the port and industrial facilities were planned on the Scharhörnplate, there were considerations to compensate for the loss of biotopes on Scharhörn with an artificially washed up Neu-Scharhörn east of the deep water port.

The project was planned in various stages of expansion until 1979, with a steel and nuclear power plant , but was not implemented due to numerous protests, high costs and little support from industry.


After neither the deep water port nor the port silt dump had been realized there, Hamburg decided to build Neu-Scharhörn west of Scharhörn shortly before the designation of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park . The flushing project implemented under the then Environment Senator Jörg Kuhbier met with mixed feedback from environmental associations. Even the Vice-Head of the Hamburg Office for Electricity and Port Construction (now the Hamburg Port Authority ) Harald Göhren described the project at the time as "certainly a little prophylactic."

A four-kilometer pipeline pumped 1.2 million cubic meters of sand from the Hundebalje in July 1989 to the western end of the Scharhörn sandbank. The artificial island body, which was thus flood-proof, initially had a size of around 30 hectares and was circularly surrounded by double sand walls. Inside, three double arches ran through the core from north to south. The outer double circle was supplemented with wide-ranging "rays" made of fascines . The sand walls were also fortified with fascines and formed the basis for the pioneer dunes and smaller valleys between these dune ridges that were created in the following years by sand flight.

The remains of these structures are still easily recognizable as artificial in aerial photographs.

In 1990, volunteers from the Cuxhaven sailing club and the Jordsand club made plantings to fortify the sand island.

The entire project was financed by the environmental authority with 2.5 million marks and exceeded its budget with a total cost of 3 million marks.

Early development

Edge at the southeast end of the salt marshes on the Scharhörnplate. Above the priel, the extensive salt marshes can be seen, which now connect the Nighörn and Scharhörn. In the background the Nigehorns with the decaying emergency hut.

After initial planting and a further pre-wash on the northwest side to protect against storm surges, the island has grown naturally further into the tidal flats, as pioneering plants hold on to the approaching sand. As a result, the island is growing in an easterly direction and already covered an area of ​​around 50 hectares in 2004. Until the mid-1990s, the tidal area between the islands was not yet passable during floods. From 1993, individual small vegetation islands emerged up to 500 meters in the mudflats south of Scharhörn. Due to the further sediment deposits on the east side of Nigehörn, the tidal area on the Scharhörnplate between Nigehörn and Scharhörn has increased significantly over the years. In the early 2010s, a large area south of Scharhörn and between the islands was formed that is largely flood-proof. The green area consists of samphire and other salt marsh plants. Thus, the islands have grown together within 25 years .

With up to m above sea level. NN is Nigehörn basically flood-proof , but the dirt island at risk of storm surge ever even loss of land mainly in the west.

The sand trap fences are now largely weathered and in the west, despite the one-time pre-flushing, have already been partially eroded by winter storm surges.

fauna and Flora

Breeding birds

German name Scientific name 2017
Greylag goose Anser anser 4th
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiaca 1
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna 16
Eider Somateria mollissima 30th
cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 203
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 5
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus 1
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 32
Redshank Tringa totanus 2
Black-headed gull Larus marinus 1
herring gull Larus argentatus 655
Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus 708
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus 1

natural reserve

The entire “Scharhörnplate” bird protection sandbank, on which the island is located, is managed by the Jordsand Association and is three kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide and covers almost 500 hectares. In contrast to the neighboring island of Scharhörn, Nigehörn is not allowed to be entered as part of Zone I. It is also not allowed to leave the mudflat trails marked with a prick in zone 1 of the national parks.


  • Kurt Eisermann: A successful nature experiment . In: Men from the Morgenstern Heimatbund at the mouth of the Elbe and Weser. V. (Ed.): Niederdeutsches Heimatblatt . No. 832 . Nordsee-Zeitung GmbH, Bremerhaven April 2019, p. 3 ( digital version [PDF; 3.2 MB ; accessed on May 18, 2019]).

Web links

Commons : Nigehörn  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Watten landscape profile in the Elbe-Weser triangle Jadebusen of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  2. ^ Ulrich Hellwig, Peter Körber, J. Umland, Levinia Krüger-Hellwig: Dynamic Islands in the Wadden Sea. In: Wadden Sea Ecosystems website. February 27, 2015, accessed February 8, 2017 .
  3. Dossier: Neuwerk, a fairy tale? In: Website of the Hamburg citizens' initiative for the Elbe. Retrieved May 18, 2019 .
  4. Signal in watts . In: Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co (ed.): Der Spiegel . No. 23 . SPIEGEL-Verlag, Hamburg June 5, 1989, p. 60–61 ( digitized version [accessed on May 18, 2019]).
  5. ^ "Nigehörn, a new bird protection island grows out of the sea." Documentary, Burkhard Lenniger , 1990.
  6. ^ "Nigehörn, a bird protection island made by human hands." Documentary film, Burkhard Lenniger, 1990.
  7. Christel Grave: Breeding report from our protected and census areas in 2017 . In: SEEBÖGEL . tape 39 , issue 1, March 2018, ISSN  0722-2947 , p. 4-7 .