About 8,000 years ago post-glacial sea level rise began to slow down allowing the Wadden Sea to emerge. It extends 500 km along the Danish, German and Dutch North Sea Coast and is the largest tidal flat system in the world where natural processes proceed undisturbed. A dynamic landscape of barrier islands, tidal flats, salt marches and dunes formed by the rhythm of ebb and flow, the waves and the prevailing western winds. But also a landscape where our struggle with or against the forces of nature are very clearly expressed through the unbroken chain of dikes, sluices and canals. Quite often successful but sometimes less so when the Wadden Sea is hit by storm surges like in 1362 when an extratropical cyclone coinciding with a new moon caused the devastating Saint Marcellus Flood – also known as simply “The Great Drowning of Men”. Today it’s hard to tell whether storm surges or sea level rise due to melting glaciers are the greatest threat. But it’s easy to imagine that the combination is dire.

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