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coat of arms Germany map
Coat of arms of the municipality of Wangerooge
Map of Germany, position of the municipality Wangerooge highlighted

Coordinates: 53 ° 47 '  N , 7 ° 54'  E

Basic data
State : Lower Saxony
County : Friesland
Height : 3 m above sea level NHN
Area : 4.97 km 2
Residents: 1214 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Population density : 244 inhabitants per km 2
Postal code : 26486
Area code : 04469
License plate : FRI
Community key : 03 4 55 021
Address of the
municipal administration:
Peterstrasse 6
26486 Wangerooge
Website :
Mayor : Marcel Fangohr ( independent )
Location of the municipality of Wangerooge in the district of Friesland
Bockhorn (Friesland) Varel Zetel Sande (Friesland) Schortens Jever Wilhelmshaven Landkreis Friesland Wangerland Minsener Oog (zu Gemeinde Wangerooge) Mellum Wangerooge Landkreis Leer Landkreis Ammerland Landkreis Aurich Landkreis Wittmund Landkreis Wesermarsch Landkreis Wittmundmap
About this picture
Location of Wangerooge (in the northeast) within the East Frisian Islands

Wangerooge (formerly and in Low German Wangeroog ; correct pronunciation "Wanger-ooge") is an island in the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea within the national park of the same name . It is the most easterly of the seven inhabited East Frisian Islands and with an area of ​​7.94 square kilometers the second smallest inhabited island in this group. Wangerooge is the only one of the inhabited East Frisian islands that does not belong to the historical territory of East Frisia , but is historically part of the Frisian Jeverland and the state of Oldenburg . The main economic factor of the car-free island today is tourism , and it is also a North Sea spa . The island of Wangerooge is a unified municipality in the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony and has almost 1300 inhabitants. The uninhabited neighboring island of Minsener Oog also belongs to the political community .



As with the other East Frisian Islands, there are large sand deposits at the east end.
View from the promenade to the main

Wangerooge is a German island in the southern North Sea . It is the easternmost of the seven inhabited East Frisian islands. The island extends in an east-west direction over 8.5 kilometers in length. The north-south extension is a maximum of 2.2 kilometers in the western part, at the level of the place 1.2 kilometers. The distance to the mainland is seven kilometers. West of Wangerooge, separated by the sea arm of the Harle , located two kilometers from the eastern end of Spiekeroog . The island of Minsener Oog begins two kilometers to the east-south-east, separated by the Blue Balje . On the north side there is a sandy beach about 100 meters wide and three kilometers long . In the east it turns into a 500 meter wide and three kilometer long field with sand deposits. In the west of the island there are two other beaches of half a kilometer and one kilometer in length. To the south of the island lies the Wadden Sea , which, like the islands, is part of the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park and largely dries out at low tide . Under the island depth is found in about 15 meters, the Geest base . The highest point on the island is the viewing dune at 17  m above sea level. NHN ; A viewing platform was set up on it in 1990. The remaining sand dunes reach heights of up to 12 meters.


With an area of ​​7.94 square kilometers (2008), Wangerooge is the second smallest island of the inhabited East Frisian islands after Baltrum , and larger area values ​​(up to 8.5 square kilometers) are occasionally given. If the information is higher, beach areas are included that are below the mean tidal high water line (MTHW). These are regularly washed over by the seawater of the North Sea and are therefore not considered land areas. Since part of the land area (2.97 square kilometers) is not incommunalized as part of a federal waterway , the area of ​​the municipality of Wangerooge only covers 4.97 square kilometers.


The updated population as of December 31, 2011, based on the last census of May 25, 1987, was 868 inhabitants. This value had to be corrected due to the 2011 census : As of May 9, 2011, the island had 1,278 or 1,311 inhabitants. The unusually strong correction of 47.2% was the highest value in Germany for a municipality of this size. Of all the municipalities in Germany, only five very small municipalities between 23 and 203 inhabitants in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hallig Gröde had higher percentage correction values .


Sea and beach side (above) and tidal flats (below) in the east dunes

Wangerooge consists of the following types of landscape:

  • Beach (2.5 square kilometers)
  • Dunes over eleven km (1.7 square kilometers) and dikes over 6 km
  • Groden outside as a salt marsh (about 2.1 square kilometers)
  • Innengroden as a march (about 2.1 square kilometers) with:
    • Westgroden with pasture (47 hectares)
    • Dorfgroden with the island village (20 hectares)
    • Ostgroden with pasture and airfield (100 hectares).

In the West Outer Groden there is a salt water lake called the lagoon . It was created in 1912 when digging sand and silt to build a dike (Westgrodendeich). The shallow lake has become a resting place for sea ​​birds .

In earlier centuries the mudflat between the island and the mainland seems to have been flatter. As early as the 15th century it is reported that the Lord of Jever Tanno Duren drove to the island by horse and cart. In the 18th century there was a path between Minsen and Wangerooge, called a Strick-Pad (path partly covered with water), which was used as a footpath; cattle were also driven over here.

South and east drift

Overview map of the island of Wangerooge
  • Urban area
  • Lighter area
  • sand dunes
  • Beach
  • Like the other islands in the East Frisian chain of islands, Wangerooge has shifted steadily over the centuries due to the influence of wind and ocean currents . Wangerooge has experienced the greatest changes in shape and position and is considered the most unstable in the island chain. This development can be traced on the basis of historical maps that have existed since around the 17th century. There was not only a south migration, which was connected with the mainland collapse of Harle Bay in the 14th century, but the west-east drift , which results from the eastward tidal current and the gnawing activity of the harle's sea gate , was far more massive . As a result, between the 17th and 19th centuries, the island lost about two kilometers of land in the west and increased in length about four kilometers in the east.

    As a result of the relocation, settlements had to be abandoned and relocated to the east over and over again in the course of the island's history. In 1586 the sea in the west destroyed the old west tower of St. Nicolai Church, the traces of which could still be seen in 1821 when the tide was low . Then a tower was built in 1602, which at that time still stood in the east of the island; in the course of time it became the west tower again.


    Wangerooge is located in the area of ​​a temperate, summer-cool maritime climate influenced by the Gulf Stream . With small temperature fluctuations, there is high humidity. With an average of 1670 hours per year, the average duration of sunshine is above the German average of 1550 hours. The average amount of precipitation is 787 millimeters per year. There are about 50  frost days a year.

    Climate diagram
    J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
    Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
    Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Wangerooge
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 3.2 3.6 6.1 9.4 14.1 17.0 18.7 19.4 17.0 13.0 8.1 4.8 O 11.2
    Min. Temperature (° C) −0.2 0.0 1.9 4.6 8.7 12.1 14.1 14.5 12.3 8.7 4.4 1.3 O 6.9
    Precipitation ( mm ) 60.0 40.7 52.8 41.2 48.7 62.7 76.0 72.8 72.2 80.2 87.6 74.5 Σ 769.4
    Rainy days ( d ) 13 9 11 9 9 10 11 11 12 12 15th 14th Σ 136
    Humidity ( % ) 88 86 85 82 80 80 80 79 80 84 86 88 O 83.2
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

    National park

    The island is part of the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park. It is therefore subject to the zoning of the park with areas of different protection status:

    • Zone I (quiet zone) with the strictest protection regulations may only be entered in exceptional cases or on marked paths. The route across the two dykes (Westdeich and Neudeich) gives visitors the opportunity to observe animals and nature in this specially protected zone. It includes:
      • Westaußengroden (with the west lagoon)
      • Parts of the Westinnengroden
      • Mean outside dimensions
      • Part of the Ostinnengroden bordered by the Neudeich
      • Ostaußengroden from Neudeich to over the Ostend
    • Zone II (intermediate zone ) with temporarily free access consists of:
      • Part of the Westinnengroden
      • Dune sections between Westdorf and the main town
      • Area around the airfield in Ostinnengroden
      • Chain of dunes between the main town and Ostend
    • Zone III (recreation zone ) for vacation and spa operations with the remaining sections of the island, such as:
      • Main beach in the area of ​​the village
      • Beach around the west end
      • Town center with buildings

    National park bases

    As an information and educational institution was founded in 1989 in Rosenhaus that of Rose Park National Park House Wangerooge furnished. In its exhibition rooms, it provides information about the national park, the island, nature conservation and the mudflats, salt marshes and dunes. The facility holds a large number of themed events and has around 40,000 visitors annually. In 2014/2015 the rose house was renovated and expanded. During this time, the National Park House used the rooms of the primary school on Nikolausstrasse.

    Two other bases of the national park are in the east and in the west of the island. These are wooden houses in which volunteers from the Mellumrat nature conservation organization are housed.

    Flora and fauna

    Common sea lavender in the island's salt marshes
    Small biotope in a bomb crater filled with water
    Island mating location for queen bees on Wangerooge

    The island's flora is characterized by the original lack of vegetation on the island's surface, which was often silted up by sandstorms. Smaller forest and bush areas were only created through targeted reforestation. These are the jade grove in the east of the island near the waterworks and an approximately 7 hectare strip of wood made of poplars and willows north of the airfield. The frugal potato rose found ideal living conditions on the island and has spread rapidly over the dunes since it was first planted in 1936. Many of the bomb craters from the air raid of 1945 , which have now been filled with water, have developed into ecologically valuable small biotopes .

    The island's fauna is rich in species. Large flocks of migratory birds rest on the island during bird migration . The mud flats serve the huge swarms as a rich source of food with mussels, worms and other small creatures. The salt marshes are used by ducks and geese as grazing grounds. Around 200 species of guest birds can be observed every year, the most common being the dunlin , curlew , knot , lapwing and shelduck . Other bird species that occur are diving ducks , redshanks , eider ducks , common scoters , oystercatchers , sandwich terns , golden plovers , deep-sea birds, black-headed gulls , herring gulls . Around 80 species of birds breed on the island, including around 45 species of songbirds. Brown hares and pheasants live in the dunes . Over the dunes hunting kestrels , even short-eared owls and harriers can be observed.

    There are forest lizards , sand lizards and the rare natterjack toads on the island .

    There are 18 species of day butterflies . Among them are the species of ocher velvet butterflies and middle nacreous butterflies , which are rare on the mainland . The latter has an important retreat on the East Frisian Islands for the whole of Germany.

    Wangerooge the national association that operates beekeepers Weser-Ems an island mating station to honeybees the Carnica breed of animals. Due to the island location, only the drones desired by the beekeepers are suitable for mating with the queen bees . They are in colonies of bees on the mating station.


    The name Wangerooge is composed of the old Germanic word Wanga for lawn and the Frisian word Oog for the island, which in direct translation as meadow island suggest leaves. The island is named after the Wangerland (meadow land), which the island is in front of. The name Wangerooge means: the island belonging to the Wangerland . The Wangerland, in turn, takes its name from the old Frisian Gau Wanga, which was already mentioned at the time of Charlemagne . Settlement finds in this area exist as early as the 2nd century BC. Chr. Wangerooge was first documented as Wangarou in 1306 in a contract on beach law issues between the city of Bremen and the district of Östringen . In 1327 the island was named Wangeroch . The current name has been used since around 1800. Wangerooge is the island (= Oog) belonging to the Wangerland. The area north of Jever , roughly in the triangle of Harlesiel , Schillig and Hooksiel including the island of Wangerooge, has been called Wangerland since the Middle Ages . Today the large municipality of Wangerland bears this name on the mainland. The island does not belong to it, but it is a unitary municipality in the district of Friesland .

    The island has been called Wangerooge since 1885, earlier names were Wangeroich (1532), Wangero (1597), Wangeröhe (1613), Wrangeroog (1757) and then Wangeroog (analogous to Langeoog or Spiekeroog). In the name change from 1885 added Grand Duchy of Oldenburg against the opposition of the islanders by adopting an "e" to Wangeroog .

    According to the etymology of the island name - Oog / e for island - the pronunciation is something like "Wanger-Ooge", whereby the first or second to last syllable is alternatively stressed: ( IPA ) vaŋɐˈʔoːɡə or ˈvaŋɐʔoːɡə . In the German media, however, the incorrect pronunciation ˈvaŋɐʁoɡə can occasionally be heard, which roughly corresponds to “Wange-Roge”, usually with an emphasis on the first syllable.



    The island in the 16th century, tidal flats: green

    According to one hypothesis, the East Frisian islands were formed around 3000 BC. BC as sandbanks on the flat North Sea bottom, on which the wind blew up dunes. Since then, the elevations have constantly changed their position in the interplay of forces between currents, swell and wind. As a result, there are no prehistoric finds on Wangerooge .

    middle Ages

    A settlement on Wangerooge was first mentioned in a document in 1306 in a contract on beach rights between Bremen and the Frisian district of Östringen . Another mention was made in 1327 in documents about negotiations for the release of the ship's captain Thithard, who came from Wangerooge. Due to the storm , he and his ship ended up in Zeeland and came under the control of the Count of Holland . Due to the first mention of a "villa" Wangerooge in 1327, the existence of a castle on the island in the form of a stone house is assumed. This is also indicated by a Low German sea book from 1470, which is compiled from older scripts. A stone house is listed as a landmark. During the time of the chiefs from 1350 to 1464, the East Frisian Islands, including Wangerooge, belonged to the domain of the tom Brok family . Wangerooge is mentioned in a document in 1398. In it, Widzeld tom Brok assigned his territories, including Wangeroch, to Duke Albrecht of Bavaria as Count of Holland and received them from him as a fief .

    Marine Threat and Island Protection

    Map of the mouth of the Weser with Wangerooge from 1757 (subsequently colored, north is below)
    Map of Wanger Oge by Karl Ludwig von Le Coq 1805: main island with island village and three sub-islands
    Revetment made of asphalt and stone against storm surges on the northwest side
    The old island village at the west tower two years before its destruction, 1853

    Wangerooge in its present form is a man-made island with a stable location and shape. This is due to the complex island protection measures that were started in the middle of the 19th century. Without them, the island would likely have migrated into the Jade Current .

    Until the All Saints flood in 1570 , the island village around St. Nicolai Church consisted of around 50 houses. Around 1650 there were 60 houses with 360 residents on the island. Due to the destruction of the Christmas flood in 1717 , the population decreased, and for 1775 only 150 people in 28 houses have survived.

    With the New Year flood of 1855 , a severe storm surge tore the island in three parts. The main island only had 175 hectares (for comparison: today it is around 500 hectares). The flood wreaked havoc on the old island village around the then west tower, with only the tower, completed in 1602, standing still. Most of the residents (233) left the island. The Oldenburg government wanted to give up the island completely and settled most of the islanders on the mainland in Hooksiel and near the Varel harbor. The settlement near Varel, in which Wangeroog Island Frisian was spoken longer than on the island itself , still bears the name "Neu-Wangerooge" today. 82 Wangerooger refused to leave the devastated island after the New Years flood. In 1865 they founded a new island village in what was then the east of the island at the Old Lighthouse, which was completed in 1856.

    In the middle of the 19th century, Prussia became interested in Wangerooge . For the Prussian Navy , the state planned in Wilhelmshaven a naval port on the North Sea. The German Empire, as Prussia's successor, invested over a million marks for island protection from 1871 . First, the three parts of the island, which had been torn apart by then, were connected to one another in 1874 by the Reichsdeich and the Reichsmauer. Stabilizing revetments were built on the endangered edge in the north-west . Dykes and groynes also secured the island against the drift of its sand masses to the east into the Jade fairway (the shipping channel to the naval port). The groynes adjoining the Minsener Oog to the east served the same purpose .

    In the 20th century, severe storm surges hit the island in 1906, 1916, 1926, 1936, 1973 and 1976. The last severe storm surge that caused damage to the island village was the storm surge of February 1962 . Water penetrated from the watt side in the south to the center of the village and at that time also flooded the still undeveloped village groden . To commemorate the flood, a memorial was erected on the dike south of the new development area Dorfgroden, which consists of the old dike gate , which was broken at the time . The flood also hit the protective works on the north-west side hard. They were then reinforced between 1962 and 1964 as a grouted revetment with broken stone and concrete blocks.

    Today the body of the island is protected against waves and currents from the sea by dunes on the sea side , on which there are further protective devices made of revetments over a length of around four kilometers. Most of the dunes have only formed through measures taken since the beginning of the 20th century and, as the most important element, are subject to special protection against storm surges. Entering the (mostly fenced) dunes on the beach is therefore not permitted. Another special protective device is the groyne H, which is the largest groyne structure on the German North Sea coast. From 1938 it was built from the west end to a length of 1½ kilometers into the Harle sea channel, but was not completed because of the war. From the beginning of the 20th century, a six-kilometer-long dike was built to protect the wadden side of the island, and 80 prisoners from the prison in Vechta were also involved in the construction. The dyke building served primarily to secure land, but also to gain grassland for pasture and hay by removing salt marshes from the influence of the sea. After the hurricane flood of 1962, the dikes were widened and raised to 6 m. Despite all safety measures, the sandy beach at the level of the island village regularly loses large amounts of sand due to the storms in autumn and increasingly also in winter and spring. To compensate, these amounts have to be replaced annually from March 15th by bringing sand from the Ostend, which is very expensive and is carried out by the spa administration. Further measures are carried out by the Wilhelmshaven Waterways and Shipping Authority, whose tasks include securing the island to maintain stable Jade navigation .

    In 2008 it was reported in the media that shallows are endangering the fairway to the island due to increasing silting , so that dredging is planned.

    Local development in the 19th century

    Wangerooge, conversation house, balustrade . Lithograph (around 1842) by Carl Friedrich Voigt

    The first structure of today's island village was the lighthouse, completed in 1856. In the course of time, houses were built around it in the style of simple fishermen's houses, which initially stood on terps . From this town center, the development expanded in different directions. The thereby resulting main road to in Jever making bailiff named Zedelius, the Wangerooge development was supported substantially about 1900. During this time, spurred on by tourism, striking buildings were built, including Wilhelminian-style hotel buildings on Zedeliusstrasse and the beach promenade.

    Military past

    Gun batteries and positions on the island during World War II

    The military port in Wilhelmshaven established the military importance of the island as early as the middle of the 19th century . During the First World War and later in the Second World War , Wangerooge was militarily the most important of the East Frisian islands . On its east side the shipping channel led to the Imperial War Port Wilhelmshaven. During the Second World War, the island temporarily had a military crew of up to 5000 men of the naval artillery , the air defense and the air force . On the island, many gun batteries were built to combat sea targets as well as anti-aircraft positions against air targets. Around a hundred bunkers were built on the island to protect the positions and their teams , many of them through the use of forced labor . Wangerooge, with its interceptors and radar systems, was an air defense outpost against the Allied bomber units approaching Germany (and the 30 kilometers south of Wilhelmshaven naval port) .

    Heavy air raid in 1945

    British Lancasters bomb Wangerooge on April 25, 1945

    In the last days of the war, when Allied troops were advancing on the mainland, the island was declared a fortress in April 1945 . On April 25, 1945 there was an air raid on Wangerooge by 482 British, Canadian and French bombers, whose target was the large-caliber anti-ship artillery. In only about fifteen minutes, over 6,000 high-explosive bombs fell in three waves of attack  , which left a landscape of craters and claimed about 300 human lives (soldiers, civilians, forced laborers). Over half of the houses in the island village were destroyed. Until the 1970s, numerous remains of bunkers and bomb craters were still visible in the dunes . Since then, out of concern for tourism, efforts have been made to dispose of the remains of the war. Today, apart from a few deep lakes in the bomb craters near the salt marshes and dunes, there are hardly any remnants of the military past to be found, as they are overgrown with sand or overgrown with plants.


    Political affiliations

    In the Middle Ages, Wangerooge belonged to the domain of the tom Brok family during the East Frisian chieftaincy in the 14th and 15th centuries . After that, Wangerooge was part of the Jever rule and after the death of Maria von Jever in 1575 came to the County of Oldenburg . The golden line between Spiekeroog and Wangerooge has separated the county of Oldenburg with the Jeverland from East Frisia since the 17th century . Therefore, in contrast to the other East Frisian islands, Wangerooge is not part of East Frisia. Between 1668 and 1793 Wangerooge belonged to the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst and then to Russia . From 1806 Wangerooge, like Jever, was occupied by Dutch troops, which was followed in 1810 by Napoleonic occupation to enforce the continental barrier. In 1813 Russia re-entered its rights. Tsar Alexander I gave the rule of Jever with Wangerooge to the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in 1818 . From 1933 the island belonged to the district of Friesland and from 1946 it was part of the administrative district of Oldenburg within the newly founded state of Lower Saxony . Wangerooge has been an independent municipality since 1883, before it belonged to Minsen on the mainland.

    Municipal council

    The municipal council of the municipality of Wangerooge consists of ten councilors. This is the specified number for a municipality with a population between 1001 and 2000 inhabitants. The ten council members are elected by local elections for five years each. The last term began on November 3, 2016 and ended on October 31, 2021.

    The full-time mayor Marcel Fangohr (independent) is also entitled to vote in the council of the municipality.

    The local election on September 11, 2016 resulted in the following result:

    Political party Council members
    CDU 3
    SPD 3
    BfW 1
    Alliance 90 / The Greens 1
    FDP 1
    Single candidate 1


    In the last mayor elections on July 1, 2018, Marcel Fangohr was elected full-time mayor . In the runoff election , Fangohr received 65.28% of the vote. He succeeds the previous mayor Dirk Lindner, who died unexpectedly on January 22, 2018.

    Representatives in the Land and Bundestag

    In the elections to the Lower Saxony state parliament , Wangerooge belongs to the state electoral district 070 Friesland , which includes the entire district of Friesland. The direct mandate was won on October 15, 2017 by Olaf Lies from the SPD. On November 22, 2017, Lies was elected Minister for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony. The electoral term ends in 2022.

    Wangerooge is part of the Friesland - Wilhelmshaven - Wittmund constituency . It includes the city of Wilhelmshaven and the districts of Friesland and Wittmund . The directly elected MP is Siemtje Möller (SPD). No party candidate from the constituency entered the Bundestag via the parties' list.

    badges and flags

    Flag of Wangerooges
    Wangerooge coat of arms
    Blazon : "In gold a red tower with a thorn-shaped triple bar, which is divided into several parts by blue and silver, with three blue pointed hoods, the middle one protrudes, covered with a blue heraldic shield, inside a golden, red armored, right-turned lion."
    Justification of the coat of arms: The Wangeroog coat of arms was created in 1969. The tower shown is the west tower of the island, completed in 1602 and blown up in 1914, which as the Hoogen Toorn (high tower) played an important role for the islanders. The multi-storey stone building was a navigation mark , lighthouse , church interior and often the last place of refuge in storm surges and storms. The sign on the tower with the golden lion symbolizes that the island belongs to Jeverland and the district of Friesland . The tower stands on a golden shield base, which symbolizes the sandy beach. The blue-silver waves running behind the tower represent the sea, which for a long time was the source of income for the islanders through fishing and shipping and it is still today through tourism.

    The choice of colors is based on the typical Oldenburg color scheme (red, yellow and blue).

    The municipality's flag shows the colors blue and red in two horizontal stripes of the same width from top to bottom. The center of the flag is covered with the municipality's coat of arms.

    Economy and Infrastructure

    Until the beginning of the 18th century, the Wangeroogers lived from fishing , then the Blankenese and Altona fishermen expanded their fishing area and contested the Wangeroogers for their territory. Further livelihoods were agriculture with cattle breeding . The sea provided an opportunity for beach robbery and the recovery of flotsam . Also the whaling , seafaring and the extraction of shells for lime burning him to survive. With the construction of the new west tower around 1600, customs could be raised. Towards the end of the 18th century, an economic boom began with cargo shipping, with up to 30 sailing ships anchored on the island. The trips led to the trading centers on the North and Baltic Seas. After the devastating storm surge of 1854/55 there was only one sailing ship on the island. Between 1832 and 1854, west of today's village, there was a salt works with 50 workers, which processed and refined rock salt imported from England with seawater. The facility consisted of a graduation tower , boiling houses with simmering pans , warehouses and residential buildings. Today the field name Saline reminds of the facility, which was demolished except for a house that is now used as a guesthouse. At the beginning of the 19th century, during the continental blockade against England, the islanders were active as smugglers . They circumvented the lock by transporting goods from Heligoland , which was then under British sovereignty, to the mainland.

    Tourism and health resort

    One of the first prominent bathers in 1821: Lord Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig

    When the island became a seaside resort in 1804 , the economically profitable spa tourism and spa operations began, from which the island community still lives today. That year, Friederike Auguste Sophie zu Anhalt-Zerbst laid the foundation stone for tourism. As the ruler of the Jever rulership , she symbolically donated a bathing cart . At that time, Jever was part of the Russian Empire . Due to the Napoleonic wars and various occupations, bathing life did not begin to increase until 1818. In 1823 there were already 1,800 guests. Prominent bathers at this time were the sovereign Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig and his granddaughter Amalie of Greece . In 1823 the twelve-year-old Princess Auguste von Weimar came with court . By the middle of the 19th century, two lodging houses with around 50 rooms each were built. The temporary end of bathing was the devastating storm surge of 1854/55. Only 20 years later did more residents settle again. From 1880 a poison booth and a warm bath house enriched the bathing holiday. Tourist tax has been levied since 1892 .

    In the 20th century made in the Nazi time the baths-Semitism also increasingly on Wangerooge wide. As early as 1920 there were reports that heap of notes with anti-Semitic slogans were circulating on the island and that swastika flags were being hoisted on the beach . During the First and Second World Wars, tourism was discontinued due to the island's military importance. The bomb damage to the houses in the Allied air raid in 1945 had largely been repaired by 1948. Tourism started again in the 1950s, but under the difficult conditions of the post-war period . Bathers often paid their landlords in kind or in building materials they brought with them. In 1956 a seawater bath was set up, which at that time was the largest open-air swimming pool on the East Frisian Islands. 1962 Wangerooge became the Lower Saxony State Bath . Since 1986 it no longer bears the title, because the municipality uses the name "North Sea Bath". The island has been a North Sea spa since 1975 .

    In 2004 the island of Wangerooge celebrated its 200th anniversary as a seaside resort. Cures on the island are especially indicated for diseases of the respiratory tract, cardiovascular disorders as well as allergic diseases and skin diseases. In summer, the number of holiday guests rises to a multiple of the population. During the high season , up to 10,000 overnight guests and a further 2,000 day-trippers stay on the island. There are around 500,000 overnight stays a year.

    Wangerooge has joined the marketing organization Die Nordsee GmbH in Schortens to market the island for tourism . The organization represents the seven East Frisian islands and 15 coastal towns in Lower Saxony. She is responsible for joint press work, marketing, holding trade fairs and events, creating print media and classifying private holiday accommodation.

    leisure offers

    Glance into the rose garden

    The leisure offer is largely determined by nature. The kilometer-long sandy beach can beach chairs of the island village to rent in height. Guided mudflat hikes are offered. As early as the 1960s, various spa facilities such as the house of the spa guest, the spa facility and the house of the little spa guest were established. An indoor seawater pool has been part of the tourist infrastructure since 1984 . The village square and the rose garden in the center of the village are well-tended parks . There is also the National Park House as a local information and education center on nature conservation. You can get a good overview from the old lighthouse, which also houses the island museum. The leisure facilities include a tennis court , a tennis and squash hall , a surf school , a sports field and a golf course . A riding stable offers horse rides in the dunes and on the beach. From the port, boat trips to the neighboring islands and the seal banks are possible. There is also a cinema on the island.

    There are several youth, children's and rural school homes as well as mother and child sanatoriums on the island . In 2009, a beach club with a disco was set up in the former school camp of the Oldenburg youth recreation center .


    Aerial view of the café pudding

    A specialty of the island village is the café pudding . Centrally located, it is one of the landmarks of the island. It is located on a round dune hill on the beach promenade. A beacon was set up on the dune as a navigation mark in 1855 . During the Second World War, the hill was turned into a bunker. After the war it was demilitarized on the instructions of the occupying power and was used as a café.



    Fire truck 8, based on the Unimog 416 , of the Wangeroog fire brigade shortly before retirement in 2010

    Wangerooge is car-free , with the exception of emergency vehicles from the volunteer fire brigade , the rescue service and the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked People and construction machinery. Other vehicles are electric carts for commercial transport and two large taxis as electric vehicles . Until 2000 horse-drawn carriages were used for the commercial transport of loads. There are now carriage rides for guests again, especially at weddings. The tourists arriving at the island train station often bring their luggage to their accommodations in handcarts owned by the landlords. Bicycles can be rented on the island or brought by boat. The path and cycle path network is well developed, except for the far east end.


    The ferry traffic of DB Fernverkehr is handled via the west pier in the southwest of the island . Several ferries operate daily, the timetable of which depends on the ebb and flow of the tide. The jetty was built in 1912 for military reasons to transport heavy artillery cannons and is popularly known as the cannon bridge. A marina is attached to it today . Wangerooges mainland port is the Carolinensiel offshore Harlesiel. Most of the passenger and freight traffic to the island is handled through it.

    Until 1958, Wangerooge had a tide-independent jetty at the Ostend , but it silted up and today only wooden remains are left. In addition, until the end of the 1990s there was a strongly tide-dependent marina in the center of the island south of the Saline parcel.


    The island can be reached by visitors via the small airport Flugplatz Wangerooge, east of the island village, at the end of Charlottenstrasse . The operator is Wangerooger Flughafen GmbH , which was founded in 1929. The official airport name is Verkehrslandeplatz Wangerooge . The airfield has two take-off and landing runways. The longer of the two slopes has an asphalt surface and is 850 m long, the grass slope is 500 m long. FLN Frisia-Luftverkehr aircraft flies to the airfield every hour from Harle airfield, which is only five minutes away . There is also a helicopter landing pad. The airfield is closed for lunch. Outside the opening times of the airport (even at night) only aircraft to the rescue land there, for example, the allowed ADAC - rescue helicopter Christoph 26 , in the hospital Sanderbusch Sande is stationed.

    Island railway

    The Wangerooger Inselbahn is a narrow-gauge railway with a gauge of 1000 mm , which regularly transports passengers and freight on the ferry connection from Harlesiel to Wangerooge, the approximately three-kilometer stretch from the port (west jetty) to the centrally located village station. A branch line to the west station is served if required. Between 1905 and 1958 the route led beyond the village train station to the tide-independent shipping pier Ostanleger . Since the ferries operate almost daily at different times due to the dependence of the tide , the operating times of the island railway are also different every day. There is an annual timetable from which the trips for each day can be taken.

    The rail operator is DB Fernverkehr , a subsidiary of DB AG . This makes the Wangeroog island railway the only narrow-gauge railway operated by Deutsche Bahn.



    Drinking water

    The island has been supplied with drinking water by pipelines from the mainland since 1963 . For emergency supplies, there is a waterworks on the island with three wells about ten meters deep. The plant, which was commissioned in 1951, also works as a storage pumping station with a storage volume of 2000 m³. Water pumping is possible because under Wangerooge there is a freshwater lens arched like a watch glass down to a depth of 50 m. The reservoir was formed by the seepage of rainwater. Such freshwater lenses can also be found on the other East Frisian islands, some of which promote drinking water for self-sufficiency.

    Wastewater treatment

    Wangerooge has had a sewage sludge treatment plant for wastewater treatment since mid-2005 . The suspended matter from the island's sewage is collected in a basin planted with reeds . The clarified water is pumped into the mudflats . When the basin is full after a few years, the humus soil is dredged and used.

    Rescue station of the DGzRS

    SRB Fritz Thieme in the ferry port

    Even before the founding of the German Society for Rescue of Shipwrecked People (DGzRS), the Bremen Association for Rescue of Shipwrecked People had set up a first rescue station on the island in 1862 . After various rowing lifeboats, the first 8.5-meter-long motor lifeboat came to the station in 1939, the John Köster . Until the station was abandoned in 1959, various other 14-meter boats were still in use - the last one being the Borkum .

    In 1971 the station was re-established by the DGzRS and the seven-meter-long lifeboat Gesina was stationed in the port on July 22nd . She was followed in 1977 by Wilhelm Hübotter , who was two meters longer and remained on the station until 1999. With the Wilma Sikorski as its successor, the type ship of the new 9.5 / 10.1 meter class of the DGzRS came to Wangerooge with a completely closed wheelhouse. After 20 years of service, the company relocated this boat to Norddeich and stationed an extended new building of the same type with the Fritz Thieme in April 2018 .

    For the island's volunteers, there has been a rescue shed directly at the DGzRS pier in the ferry port since 1997. The station has had an all-terrain vehicle since 1981 so that the team can quickly get out of town to the distant port in the west of the island in the event of an emergency.



    The Wangeroog Frisian , a dialect of the East Frisian language , was spoken on the island until around 1930 . In addition to Sater Frisian, which is still alive today, it was the only East Frisian dialect that survived into the 20th century. The storm surge disaster of the winter of 1854/1855 was not only the proverbial downfall for the Wangeroogical. When the population moved to the mainland, the language community was torn apart and the language could no longer survive in the long term. After the dialect on Wangerooge died out, some speakers lived on the mainland until the 1950s.

    Island museum

    Lifeboat Gesina at the old lighthouse (island museum)

    Wangerooge has an island museum, which has been located in the old lighthouse in the center of the village since 1980 . The museum shows exhibits on the island's history, the origins of spa tourism and an amber collection . In front of the tower are a narrow-gauge tank locomotive built in 1929 for the Wangeroog Island Railway and the former Wangeroog lifeboat Gesina (1971–1981) of the DGzRS.

    Regular events

    In addition to the harbor festival, the following sporting events take place on the island during the year:


    Island school, formerly Jade barracks

    Wangerooge has an island school for grades 1-10, in which since August 13, 2012 the school forms elementary , special , secondary (including 10th grade) and secondary school as well as secondary level I of the grammar school have been combined. The number of pupils is around 60 and the number of teachers around 15. Lessons take place across all classes and forms of school. The school in the island village is located in a building complex that was used as barracks until the end of the Second World War , which was called Jade-Kaserne.

    Schoolchildren from the island who want to do their Abitur attend the Lower Saxony boarding high school in Esens after the tenth grade . Over 90% of the students at the boarding school come from the East Frisian Islands.

    Sights and buildings


    St. Willehad

    There are two church buildings on Wangerooge: the Protestant parish church St. Nikolai and the Catholic parish church St. Willehad . The latter is particularly popular with the numerous tourists during the Easter days and the summer holidays.

    • St. Nikolai : The Protestant church building has stood next to the old lighthouse since 1910. Before the renovation, there was a chapel built in 1866 at this location. The church of the western village of the island, which was destroyed in 1586, was also called St. Nicolai. The name can be traced back to St. Nicholas , the patron saint of seafarers and merchants. In the Middle Ages he was especially venerated in the north German coastal area, and many churches bear his name. The importance of the patron saint can be seen from the fact that before 1800 on Wangerooge St. Nicholas' Day was a higher public holiday than Christmas .
    • St. Willehad : The new Catholic church building on the island, which has existed since 1963, is named after the missionary bishop of the Frisians Willehad . The previous church, built in 1901 on Schulstrasse, was destroyed on April 25, 1945, together with the neighboring Willehad-Stift, during the Allied air raid on Wangerooge . The Catholic parish of St. Willhad von Wangerooge is administered by the diocese of Münster . Their pastor was Kurt Weigel until 2015 . His successor Egbert Schlotmann, together with his holiday pastoral care team, offers a wide range of programs for tourists and locals.
    • The New Apostolic Church is represented on Wangerooge with a small congregation in Freesenhus , which is looked after by the elders' district in Wilhelmshaven .

    Cemeteries and memorials

    War graves cemetery

    To the west of the island village in the dune area is a cemetery with a cemetery chapel. In 1951, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK) established a cemetery of honor for the victims of the air raid in 1945, where 238 victims were reburied . In the dunes east of the viewing dune there is a bunker that has been declared a war grave . The command bunker, occupied by 20 people, was hit directly in the air raid. Since it only contained body parts, it was locked. Today an inscription plaque and a large cross remind of the event.

    (Light) towers

    Old lighthouse with island museum in the village

    Wangerooge has an active sea fire ( new lighthouse Wangerooge ) and two historical sea ​​marks , the old lighthouse in town and the west tower. Numerous other lighthouses and navigation signs can be seen from the island, which serve as a guidance system for ships entering and exiting the Jade , Weser and Elbe waters (Weser radar chain). The beacons that can only be seen with the naked eye from Wangerooge include the well-known Roter Sand lighthouse and its successor, the Alte Weser, as well as the Helgoland , Minsener Oog and Mellumplate beacons .

    Old lighthouse

    The old lighthouse in the center of Wangerooge was completed in 1856 and at that time was located on the eastern end of the island. Initially powered by a petroleum fire, it was powered by electricity towards the end of the century and increased to 39 meters in 1927. Since the lighthouse was replaced by the New Lighthouse in 1969 , it has served as a lookout point. The island museum has been set up in it since 1980. Since March 15, 1996, one of the most extraordinary registry offices in Germany has been located in the top of the tower . It was the first lighthouse in Germany where you could be married. About 5,000 pairs by 2012 have on the lighthouse dare leave.

    New lighthouse

    New lighthouse in the west of the island

    With the expansion of the Jade fairway and the associated increase in shipping traffic, it became necessary to build a new lighthouse. It should ensure more safety in this busy area of ​​the German Bight . The old lighthouse proved to be no longer suitable due to its low height and its unfavorable location in the island village. The new tower, which was erected behind the dunes in the west of the island, has been guiding passing ships since 1969. The sea fire at a height of 61.22 meters is one of the highest on Germany's coasts and has a range of 56 kilometers. According to the information provided by the Wilhelmshaven Water and Shipping Authority, the tower, at 67.2 meters, would be even higher than the Campen lighthouse, making it the tallest lighthouse in Germany. The identifier is the signal: 0.1 seconds flash (red), 4.9 seconds pause.

    Marine signal station

    At the western end of the beach promenade is the 35-meter-high tower of the former naval signaling station, which was used for the optical transmission of messages to passing ships. Built in 1876 as a coastal observation house, the tower was rebuilt and expanded several times. As early as 1968 it was decommissioned as a naval signaling point of the German Navy , but served as a directional radio station for the Navy until the 1990s . The long use underlines the strategic importance that the island had for the military due to its location in the North Sea.

    West towers

    New west tower from 1932 with youth hostel

    In the course of the island's history, a total of three (west) towers were built, of which only the last tower from 1932 still exists today. The tower structures each had different functions.

    The first west tower, probably built in the 14th century, was the steeple of the Nikolai Church in the island village, which was used as a landmark for ships . When the sea moved closer as the island moved to the east, the village with its church and cemetery had to be abandoned.

    The second west tower was inaugurated in 1602 after five years of construction. With the construction of the tower, the wish of Bremen merchants for a landmark for their ships entering the Weser was met. In the pointed roof of the tower was a lantern room with 48 windows, in which the beacon was initially operated with vegetable oil. The tower was a 50 meter high multi-purpose building and served on five floors as a church , refuge in storm surges, prison, ice cellar and storage room for flotsam . Around 1900 the already damaged tower stood far in the water and was blown up at the end of 1914 ostensibly for military reasons.

    A few years after the tower was blown up in 1914, the idea of ​​building a tower for the youth emerged. In 1932 the New West Tower was rebuilt at another location (about 900 meters to the south) based on the model of the previous tower. It was created during a voluntary work assignment of the Oldenburger Turnerbund . The brick building is 56 meters high and has eight floors. When it was completed at Pentecost 1933, the new rulers immediately took over the tower and used it as a hostel for the Hitler Youth . After the Second World War, the tower became a youth hostel of the DJH , and in 2005 a spacious new youth hostel was built next to the tower.

    West tower as a trigonometric point

    Back of the 10 DM note with the naming of Wangeroog as the state survey point

    The 50 meter high west tower from 1602 provided valuable services for national surveying in the 18th and 19th centuries due to its height . A trigonometric point was attached to the tower. In connection with other prominent points on Neuwerk and in Jever , measurements could be carried out using triangulation . This measurement method, which was still new at the time, was first used on Wangerooge during the Oldenburg land survey around 1780. During the survey of the Kingdom of Hanover by the Gaußsche Landaufnahme in 1825, the geodesist Carl Friedrich Gauß was on Wangerooge for measurements. The already damaged tower was used for a further survey in 1882 for the Prussian land survey .

    In memory of his surveying work, Gauss was shown on the 10 DM note of the fourth series . Among other things, the Wangeroog survey point is shown on the back (recognizable as an island in the network diagram at the top left). The representation appeared from 1989 to 2001 on about 300 million banknotes.


    Born on Wangerooge

    Associated with Wangerooge

    • Lorenz Oken (1779-1851), German physician, natural scientist and natural philosopher, worked from November 1806 to April 1807 as a land physicist and for marine biological investigations on Wangerooge.
    • Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), fled for political reasons from Norderney to Wangerooge for a short time in 1827
    • Hans Severus Ziegler (1893–1978), Nazi functionary, publicist, for a long time teacher at the Inselgymnasium
    • Kurt Weigel (* 1950), priest, holiday chaplain and author, lived on Wangerooge from 1980 to 1985 and from 1994 to 2015
    • Gisela Karschuck , photo model, Miss Germany 1962, lives on Wangerooge

    Wangerooge in literature


    • Georg Sello : Östringen and Rüstringen. Ad. Littmann, Oldenburg 1928.
    • BE Siebs : The Wangerooger. Littmann, Oldenburg 1928. (Unchanged reprint. Verlag Schuster, Leer 1974, ISBN 3-7963-0038-3 )
    • Wolfgang Hartung (Ed.): Wangerooge how it was, was and is. New processing. Diekmann, Oldenburg 1951.
    • Friedrich-Wilhelm Jürgens: History of the North Sea Spa Wangerooge 1804-1954. CL Mettcker & Sons, Jever 1954.
    • Hans-Jürgen Jürgens: Testimonies from a disastrous time. A war diary about the events of 1939–1945 in the Wangerooge-Spiekeroog-Langeoog area and the situation in the Reich and on the fronts. CL Mettcker & Sons, Jever 1989. (6th edition. 2003, ISBN 3-87542-008-X )
    • Hans-Jürgen Jürgens: Wangerooger Chronik 1327–1600, 1600–1700, 1700–1800 . (2010, 2012, 2013).
    • Wangerooge - Illustrated Travel Guide . Edition Temmen, Bremen 2003, ISBN 3-86108-422-8 .
    • Albrecht Eckhardt, Heinrich Schmidt (ed.): History of the state of Oldenburg. 3. Edition. Holzberg, Oldenburg 1998, ISBN 3-87358-285-6 .
    • Hans Patze , Ernst Schubert (ed.): History of Lower Saxony . 3 volumes. Lax, Hildesheim, (last volume 3, part 1: 1998, ISBN 3-7752-5901-5 )
    • Isolde Wrazidlo: On the way to Wangerooge, natural history island guide . Satzwerk-Verlag, Göttingen 1997, ISBN 3-930333-19-8 .
    • E. Oldewurtel: Greetings from Wangerooge . Frisia-Verlag, Staufenberg 1981, ISBN 3-88111-048-8 .
    • Wangerooge (short guide, overview map) (= Kompass hiking map, 733). 2003, ISBN 3-85491-151-3 .
    • Peter Sievert: The island of Wangerooge according to its previous and present condition . Hanover 1982. (after the island pastor Theodor Schmedes, Wangerooge, 1874)
    • Ernst Andreas Friedrich : The west tower of Wangerooge. In: If stones could talk. Volume I. Landbuch-Verlag, Hanover 1989, ISBN 3-7842-0397-3 , pp. 186-188.

    Web links

    Commons : Wangerooge  - collection of images, videos and audio files
    Wikisource: Wangerooge  - Sources and full texts
    Wiktionary: Wangerooge  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Wikivoyage: Wangerooge  - travel guide

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    This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on May 22, 2008 .