Cultural Entities 


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1. Overview




Arlau river, entity Nordergosharde in the north, Mühlenau river, entity Südermarsch in the south, Beltringharderkoog as connection to entity Nordstrand in  the northwest, Wadden Sea in the southwest, eastern border of municipality of Husum, Schobüll, Wobbenbüll


~110 km²  (11x10)km²

Location - map:

Wadden Sea Area of North Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Origin of name:

Name of former Danish political unit, entity comprises only western parts of the area

Relationship/similarities with other cultural entities:

Single dwelling mounds and few village mounds like Wiedingharde, farm land divided by hedgerows like Föhr

Characteristic elements and ensembles:

Irregular medieval and early modern field system, high medieval farm mounds and groups of mounds, some on dunes, dike mounds, farm houses within large medieval polder, uninhabited small-scale polders, historic old centre of Husum with medieval layout, Renaissance and Baroque houses, castle, classicistic building in adjacent areas, late 19th century forests, villages with large modern residential areas, small-scale fields divided by hedgerows.

2. Geology and geography

2.1 General
Pleistocene moraines from the Saale ice age form the high geest of North Frisia were the town of Husum and the Geest of Schobüll is situated, the ground of the latter rising up to a height of more than 30m. In the Südergosharde, the moraines of the mainland reach the coast and slope directly down to the mud flats of the Wadden Sea without any salt marshes in front, a situation found rarely in the Wadden Sea area. Small marshland areas accumulated north and south of this place around the rivers of Arlau and Husumer Mühlenau, originating from glacial rivers of the ice age. The proceedings and retreats of the sea during the centuries also produced layers of turf under the modern marshland as well as some dunes, which were later incorporated into the developing salt marshes. During the Middle Ages these probably belonged to a much larger salt marsh area which was mostly destroyed by severe tidal floods from the 14th century on. 

2.2 Present landscape
In the north, the entity of Südergosharde consists of the marshland area of Hattstedtermarsch south of the Arlau river, already originating in the Middle Ages and characterised by an irregular small scale field system mostly used for animal breeding and only few, scattered farmsteads on mounds mostly in the western part.

Arlau and Wehle (foreground). On the left side (south) of the Arlau the Hattstedtermarsch with small and irregular field pattern on the right side (north) big fields of the Reußenköge from Modern Times. © ALSH

View from the Hattstedtermarsch to the Reußenköge in the north.© ALSH

The polder is cut by the coastal road and a railway line which also extend southward, across the Geest at Hattstedt, till Husum. Trees are lined up along roads and are set around farmsteads. The high moraine Geest, with its relief sloping up to the hill at Schobüll, is rather densely settled by growing villages along the edges to the marshland and has some forested areas in the hinterland while much of the land outside the villages is intersected into small fields by hedgerows, mostly used for farming. The city of Husum dominates the southern part of this area with its historic centre and the vast modern residential and development areas especially in the northwest. The mostly uninhabited polders west of Husum, delimited by the Mühlenau river to the south, are small and consist of irregular fields used for grazing.

Husum harbour. © ALSH

3. Landscape and settlement history 

3.1 Prehistoric and Medieval Times

Finds from late Mesolithic Times below the Porrenkoog at Husum are exceptionally early human traces for the Wadden Sea Area and very rare. More recent are settlements and burials of late Stone Age origin on the glacial fringe, but also Neolithic traces on dunes in the Hattstedtermarsch. Burial mounds and urn cemeteries on the moraine area are usually from the Bronze Age. Extensive salt marshes and bogs probably existed in the area from the Iron Age on, but were mostly destroyed in the late Middle Ages. The marshland in the east of the Hattstedtermarsch originates from the time and was used for grazing by farmers settling on the adjacent Pleistocene high land. Some villages like Bohmstedt and Ahrenshöft, still show the typical structure of settlements along the edge of the Geest using the low and wet salt marshes for animal breeding, while others, like Hattstedt and Horstedt have a more clustered structure indicating another subsistence basis. Intensive land use turned most of the land on the Geest into heath land and cut away the early forests already in the Middle Ages. The oldest building in the area is the church of Olderup, a simple hall church, probably from the 12th century, with a later added, detached belfry. The entrance on the side is also typical for indigenous farm houses. The village of Husum already existed at the time but especially began to flourish after the flood in 1362 had destroyed large parts of the former slat marshes and the tidal inlet of Heverstrom made its way to the Geest at Husum and has connected it henceforth to the open sea. 
The western parts of the Hattstedtermarsch were higher and more fertile than those in the east but much more under the direct influence of the sea and consequently divided by tidal inlets. Settlement here started again in the 12th century on dunes like Sterdebüll or Herstum, which had also subsequently been raised artificially or on mounds or groups of mounds, like the mounds of Ellerbüll. The old course of the Arlau used to be different in high medieval times from what it is today but can still be traced. The Jelstrom canal still mostly follows its original course. Yet, when the salt marshes along the Arlau were embanked in the late 15th century, it already resembled more or less its modern course. The small scale field system of the Hattstedtermarsch polder has not been changed substantially throughout the ensuing centuries and can still be regarded as fairly medieval. The small area of low salt marshes in front of Husum was embanked in the late 15th century and has stayed almost uninhabited till today and was only used for animal breeding and mowing, as it was wet and became frequently flooded. Even though land reclamation has gained much new marsh land, large areas were lost to the sea, like the area of Warfthusen in front of the Hattstedtermarsch.

3.2 Early Modern Times
The economy of Husum boomed in Early Modern Timess due to its role as important harbour for shipping grain from the region, resulting in an abundance of rich buildings, which were erected in the 16th and 17th century, such as the birth place of the writer Theodor Storm, some houses in Hanseatic style or the town hall of 1601, in the old town centre. The duke's castle in Dutch renaissance style was at that time built outside the confines of the city. North of the harbour the layout of Husum has been oriented towards the mouth of the Husumer Au, already dammed in the 15th century and along the westward roads to Flensburg and Schleswig and the northward road to Niebüll. Later centuries erected their residential buildings around this centre and especially between old town and castle. The town was granted city rights in 1603. The severe flood in 1634 led to a decreasing trade. In addition to rising sedimentation in the harbour area this resulted in economic problems and an economic decline during the 17th and 18th century. A couple of water mills dammed up rivulets around Husum, notably the Mühlenau. The outline of the resulting pool can still be traced in the layout of streets and as slope west of the harbour, south of the actual river. Consolidation of farming in the 18th century divided the commons among the farmers via banks with hedgerows into small scale fields used for mixed farming. A system which still can be seen frequently today, e.g. near Wobbenbüll. Around the large Halbmond pond south of the Mühlenau river, a dike breech of late 15th century origin, several fortifications were built during the time and destroyed again leaving only little traces. 

Halbmond pond south of the Mühlenau river. © ALSH

3.3 Modern Times
A railway track to Niebüll in the north was built in the middle of the 19th century, cutting the marsh land area of attstedtermarsch in half, and later extended to Hamburg in the south. The heath land on the moraines was turned into forest at several places due to improved fertilising techniques, like behind Schobüll, east of Wobbenbüll or at Osterhusum. Gravel was exploited as fertilizer in pits like on the Mauseberge hill in Husum, now a park outside the city. The classicistic Marienkirche was built around 1830, resembling the cella of an antique temple. Whereas Husum had not extended its confines considerably by the end of the 19th century, it grew rapidly after the German-Danish war. The layout was changed into more spacious roads flanked by many classicistic buildings of the turn of the 20th century, yet the old medieval centre has largely retained its appearance. By the end of World War II, the area of the town had doubled and has continued to grow even more intense afterwards. The former independent village of Rödemis, south of Husum was incorporated into the town. Around 1900, the station moved to a larger area in the north of the city together with another goods station but returned later. 

4. Modern development and planning

4.1 Land use
The course of the Arlau River was straightened and embanked in the 1950ies to provide for a better drainage and protection from flooding by inland water. Modern pumping stations, such as the Arlauschöpfwerk, were also installed to help solving the century old problem of flooding by inland water which could not be drained into the Wadden Sea during storm tides. The new reservoir of Jelstromstaubecken is used in addition to store the surplus water. Eventually, the construction of the water reservoir and nature sanctuary of Beltringharderkoog separated the Hattstedtermarsch from the Wadden Sea in 1987. 

Beltringharderkoog. © ALSH

These drainage measurements opened the low lying marsh areas for agriculture, but changed its appearance considerably. Still most of the land there is used for stock breeding. In contrast, the consolidation of farming scheme of Programm Nord had little impact on the ancient field structure of the Hattstedtermarsch. Nowadays many low areas are again designated by spatial planning as suitable for becoming wetland again, underlining the grown importance of nature protection. Also the marshland areas in front of Husum have retained their old fashioned field structure with many parallel drainage ditches. 1/3 of the area of Husum is used for agriculture, with farming mostly on the moraine fields and stock breeding usually on the marsh land.
Recently, as agriculture becomes less and less profitable in the Hattstedtermarsch, many fields have been taken out of agricultural use (set-aside), receiving financial support from the state. As another option in this respect, the cultivation of so-called renewable raw material like willow plantings, which are cut every three years, has become fashionable but influences the aspects of landscape much more profoundly. Even artificial canals in the Porrenkoog have been assigned for this purpose, owed to the obligation for renaturation of water courses according to Water Framework Directive

4.2 Settlement development
Only few farmsteads have been added to the dispersed houses in the Hattstedtermarsch during the last decades, especially in the formerly low and wet eastern part. The situation on the moraine high land is dramatically different. Small villages like Schobüll, Wobbenbüll and Hattstedt have multiplied their size in recent decades without much regard to former structures. The coastline of the Geest is almost closed by settlements, which has even partially spread into the marshes. Likewise is the situation in Husum with many development areas, especially with single, residential houses mostly in the north of the old centre and a new and large development area for industry and business along the regional road B5

4.3 Industry and energy
Husum has recently developed into a centre for the wind power industry, which also requires a larger and deeper outer harbour for further growth in connection with planned off-shore wind parks. The German army also occupies large areas for two garrisons and a military training area, north-east of the town. Only very few wind turbines exist in the west of Hattstedtermarsch and in the polders along the Mühlenau River. In the area first mentioned further construction is prohibited.

4.4 Infrastructure
The old road north to Niebüll has been extended and has been led around Husum in order to keep through traffic away. This extension has especially influenced the area of Hattstedtermarsch which is now virtually cut in two by the regional road and the railway tracks. The modern outer harbour was built and extended to cater for the need of the growing industry, at the same time helping the old harbour to retain its historical appearance.

5. Legal and Spatial Planning Aspects

The landscape framework plan identifies many low areas as suitable for renaturation into wetlands. Also extensive parts of the entity like areas within Hattstedtermarsch, Porrenkoog, Dockkoog, and around Hattstedt, Wobbenbüll and Horstedt, as well as the coast at Schobüll are designated as possible landscape protection areas. The adjacent Beltringharderkoog is a nature protection area. Especially the Hattstedtermarsch is, together with the lowlands around the Arlau river, pointed out as especially significant landscape area. The Schobüller Berg is a landscape protection area. 
Some development areas already exist in the marsh land, as in the Porrenkoog polder, but regional spatial planning has now finally recognized the Geest-marsh land border as important for settlement development. A certain shift in the way of thinking can also be seen in the planning for Wobbenbüll, which confines further settlement development to the already built on area. Spaces between Husum and Mildstedt and between Husum and Schobüll are to be kept free from buildings.


6. Vulnerabilities

The area has especially been stressed by settlement development around Husum during the past decades, which has substantially altered the landscape, notably along the moraine coast around Schobüll. It has turned into almost closed ranks of buildings. Still, new development areas are being designated. This inevitably leads to further impact on still existing historic landscape features and elements.
Even larger is the influence of further industrial parks, which have extended the area of Husum, well beyond the confines of the residential and mixed areas alone. The tendency to enhance the size of shops and malls in these new estates, drains a lot of income from the industries and shops inside the city, leaving them increasingly depending on the rather seasonal tourism. Even though wind power industries are very important for the economy of the town and region, further enhancement of the harbour bears many dangers for the landscape and especially for the archaeological heritage and it is therefore vital to integrate cultural heritage into the spatial planning process thoroughly.  
Concepts for the tourist development of the polder in front of Husum have not been elaborated yet, but the potential as recreation area has been recognized by the landscape plan which has recommended sustainable tourism development accordingly. As detailed guidelines or objectives in this respect are missing, this can lead to an infrastructure diminishing the cultural landscape assets. 

7. Potentials

The entity is rich in historical houses, which culminates in the impressive and well kept old city of Husum. The old harbour is under little economic pressure due to the construction of a new harbour closer to the sea and therefore still depicts a rather historic status quo. This, as well as the small scale layout of the centre of Husum is very attractive for tourism. On the other hand, the marsh land areas of Dockkoog and Porrenkoog in front of the town and especially the larger Hattstedtermarsch impressively display past landscape conditions, little altered by land consolidation programs. These sparsely settled, open areas are still mostly used for grazing and contrast positively to the densely built area of Husum and the coast at Schobüll. These zones have a substantial potential, not only for tourism, but also as recreational areas for the inhabitants of Husum and its hinterland. As the narrow, winding roads usually do not allow the use of larger coaches, an extension of offers for bicycling, walking or guided tours with small busses for elderly people is important. Like all marsh landscapes, further information for visitors is also required for proper appreciation. 
Spatial planning already begins to acknowledge the threats on landscape assets through settlement development and restricts further development areas in the marsh land in order to retain the historical boundary between marshes and moraines. 
Economically, Husum is rather sound due to a strong position of wind power industries and a modern harbour for industry, fishery and trade.

8. Sources

Author: Matthias Maluck

General literature:
Vollmer, et. al. (eds.) 2001. Landscape and Cultural Heritage in the Wadden Sea Region – Project Report. Wadden Sea Ecosystem No. 12. Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
Innenministerium des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (eds.) 2004. Regionalplan für den Planungsraum V, Amendment File.
Ministerium für Umwelt, Natur und Forsten des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (eds.) 2002. Landschaftsrahmenplan für den Planungsraum V. Kiel.
Gemeinde Husum. Landschaftsplan. not published.
Gemeinde Hattstedtermarsch. Landschaftsplan. not published.
Kunz, H. & Panten, A. 1997. Die Köge Nordfrieslands. Bredstedt.
Bantelmann, A. (ed.) 2000. Das große Nordfrieslandbuch. Bredstedt.
Johannsen, C.I. 1992. Eine reiche Hauslandschaft in ‚Nordfriesland’, no. 97. Bredstedt.
Gemeinsames Wattenmeer Sekretariat (ed.) 2005. Das Wattenmeer. Theiss Verlag Stuttgart.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Chronik der Hattstedtermarsch (Eds.). 1985 Chronik der Hattstedtermarsch. Bredstedt

Archaeological monument record of Schleswig-Holstein and gis mapping
Lancewad data base and gis maps
Royal Prussian ordnance survey of 1879