3.3 Cross section Pellworm-Nordstrand

 Map of the cross- section (will be substituted soon)

2. Characterization 
The cross-section extends, from the island of Pellworm in the west, across tidal flats and the peninsula of Nordstrand to the town of Husum on the mainland geest. The western part of Pellworm represents remaining marshland of the former island of Alt-Nordstrand, which was ultimately destroyed in the severe flood of 1634. The medieval character is still visible in the irregular structure of fields and pastoral land. The oldest traces of settlement, from early medieval times, are found below the ground, while later on farms and villages had to be built on mounds in order to be protected from flooding.
The most famous remnant of settlement before the devastating storm floods, is the ruin of the belfry of the church St. Salvador, the so called “Alte Kirche”, originating from the 13th or 14th century.

Old church San Salvador

The new church was erected in 1528 and also survived the surges. After the remaining land had eventually been protected again by embankments, people started to regain the lost land shortly after 1634. Therefore, new polders in the east and south of the island were built and added to the older marshes in the late 17th century. Nowadays, they are characterized by the regular structure of planned polders of those times. New farms were erected on old dikes or along roads. Extraordinary examples of early modern and modern architecture are the Dutch windmill Nordermühle from 1777 and the lighthouse Pellworm-Oberfeuer.

Lighthouse Pellworm-Oberfeuer

The Waldhusener Tief near Tammensiel with its low ground and irregular canal is actually a remnant of a disastrous dike breech. A duck decoy in the Üttermarkerkoog, from 1905, represents a modern, large-scale way of bird catching for sale, commonly used in the Wadden Sea area, at that time. The Bupheverkoog, in the north-east is the most recent polder and an example of Nazi land reclamation architecture, intended as a starting point for a connection to the mainland.










The marsh islands of Pellworm and Nordstrand are divided by the deep tidal river of Norderhever that cut the former island of Alt-Nordstrand in two and also allegedly destroyed the legendary settlement of Rungholt during the catastrophic flood of 1362. Many remains of former settlements, like traces of mounds and wells, can still be seen on the mud flats.
Just like the oldest parts of Pellworm, vestiges of the landscape, before the flood of 1634, can be found in irregular field structures and settlements on dwelling mounds in the western polders of the island of Nordstrand. On one of the medieval dwelling mounds, a so called “Fething” is still visible as an example of water collection facilities, commonly used in areas, often inundated. The medieval church of St. Vinzenz in Odenbüll and two duck decoys are also situated in the old polders.

Oldenbüll, church of St. Vinzenz

Remains of a dike in the Trendermarschkoog are outstanding traces of the medieval embankment of the former island Alt-Nordstrand. Throughout the island, several gates, so called “Stöpen”, cut through dikes in order to connect two separated polders. The church of St. Theresia, built in 1662, is an extant example of the Dutch influence on this island till the 19th century, when investors and people from Holland had been summoned there, after the big flood, in order to rebuild the dikes and regain the submerged land. The status and appearance of Nordstrand had changed considerably, when the construction of the Beltringharder Koog was finished in 1987, which transformed the island into a peninsular. This huge polder is almost exclusively used as nature sanctuary and for collecting the water from the hinterland.

Waldhusener Tief near Tammensiel

The geest cliff at Schobüll is the only strip along the western coast of Schleswig-Holstein, which is not protected by dikes. The small medieval polder of Porrenkoog and the 19th century polder of Dockkoog extend into the south. Constructed to improve the accessibility for ships to the harbour of Husum, they are the only stretches of land to separate the city from the direct influence of the Wadden Sea. The town of Husum had its origin in the Middle Ages and prospered especially because of the direct connection to the sea, which it gained after the flood of 1362, that destroyed the legendary settlement of Rungholt. Husum received city rights in 1608 and is now the centre of administration for the county of North Frisia. The old town centre with the duke’s castle, built between 1577 and 1588, in Dutch renaissance style, is especially remarkable. The vicinity of the market is filled with an abundance of buildings, erected in the 16th and 17th century, such as the birth place of the famous writer Theodor Storm.

Vogelkoje on Pellworm

3. Spatial development


Settlement took place on the islands in form of single farmsteads and few small villages. While the oldest farms were built on sparsely scattered mounds, whereas settlement of later stages, took mostly place on the high grounds  provided by old embankments and eventually on level ground, along roads. The programs of village refurbishing, since the late 70ies of the 20th century, have supported efforts to improve infrastructure as well as they have multiplied the number of houses with traditional thatched roofs. The town area of Husum has largely increased since the beginning of the 20th century and especially after WW2. Most of the new houses are detached buildings for a single household. House construction has mostly abandoned the traditional ways of building and the use of indigenous materials during the last 50 years.

A raised interest in traditional styles may influence new constructions in a positive way and may lead to a more coherent view of houses and landscape.

Buildings will either be built in an international, industrialized style without considering traditional ways of building and materials or cite local styles in inappropriate ways. Large modern houses on old dikes with facilities like car ports have a significant impact on the structure and appearance of dikes.


Agriculture is still an important economic factor on both islands as almost all of the land is either used for cattle breeding or mixed farming, on a smaller scale. Industry and other modern businesses, except for the tourism sector, are very few or totally missing . About 12% of the arable land on Pellworm is used for organic agriculture. Even about one third of the area of Husum is used for agriculture, predominantly for grazing and mowing grass for animal food which especially applies to the seaward polders. However, it has never played a comparably important role for the city’s economy.

An extension of organic production and breeding as well as certain specialisations could further provide income and protect the historical structure at the same time.

Nowadays, decreasing prices are not only a thread  to traditional agriculture. Competition is also increasing in new, more sustainable sectors. Lacking prospects of success could slow down or turn around the development towards a more sustainable production and even force organic farmers to give up on their business. Historical aspects of landscape are especially threatened by industrialized farming which tends to unitize irregular field structures and to level archaeological monuments.


Tourists in the region consist of a mixture of daily and long-term visitors. Traffic on the islands, is to a large extent, caused by tourists travelling by car, especially families. Tourism is, besides agriculture, a large economic factor in the area and even more important on the islands. The experience of nature is, for most of the visitors, the main reason for choosing the islands as destination. Husum is famous and renowned for its ensemble of historic buildings and museums like the Ludwig-Nissen-Haus, the Theodor-Storm-Haus or the maritime museum at the inner harbour.

Forms of tourism, like family holidays on farms, also promote long-term visits and the restoration of old buildings as well as the significance of nature and landscape for recreational purposes. They raise awareness and protect the historical treasures as a basis for sustainable tourism and at the same time they provide income especially for small-scale family businesses and therefore for inhabitants on a broad level. 

The growth of daily tourism based on cars or caravans could endanger the recreational value of the landscape. New and modern housings, roads, parking spaces and pollution caused by an increasing mass tourism or daily visitors tend to spoil the appearance of nature and could  therefore discourage many tourists. 


Whereas Pellworm can only be reached by ferry from the harbour of Strucklahnungshörn, Nordstrand is easily accessible by road. Husum is connected to the railroad network . At Ostersiel on Pellworm, a long mole is projecting into the Wadden Sea up to the tidal river of Norderhever in order to provide a access to the island, independent from the tide . The historic harbour of Husum is situated close to the old city centre and falls dry at low tide. It provides an intact scenery of a historic harbour with buildings and maritime facilities closely connected to the city’s and the region’s history. The original character of the old harbour has mostly been preserved by the construction of a new harbour which is accessible at low tide. The modern trawlers and cutters of the fishing fleet, all start from here. Tall silos for grain dominate the scenery of a modern harbour.

Husum can boast of a historic harbour which serves as a magnet for tourists while offering a tide-independent access and a modern maritime infrastructure by the outer harbour at the same time. The modern harbour could  benefit from new, offshore wind power plants and the need for a nearby basis for supply and construction material. 

The extension of roads, running on top of old dikes, levels the dike structure considerably and especially endangers theses important monuments.


There is almost no industry on the islands except for a hybrid power plant with mixed wind and solar energy. Husum regards itself as the world’s capital of wind energy, due to two major companies which produce wind generators and because it hosts the world’s largest wind energy fair. 

Further growth and investment in the sector of environmentally friendly energy could offer new chances for sustainable economic development for the region and help to protect the environment and  thus the historic landscape at the same time.

Some environmentally friendly, new technologies like wind turbines have a considerable impact on the view and scenery. Because of the exceptionally tall constructions, the impressions of openness and of a horizontal landscape are diminished.