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The Island of Hiddensee

This small island on the west coast of Ruegen seems to possess its own special charm. Whoever has been to Hiddensee once, almost always comes back again. Certainly, the unusual and varied countryside along the coast, which ranges from gentle and peaceful to rugged and wild, is fascinating. Precipitous rocks and wide sandy beaches form the coastline, while fields and marshes overgrown with reeds extend to the shores of the calm inland bays. If you climb through the thorny bushes to the top of the round grassy hills, the panorama stretches over the flat area of the island to the Island of Ruegen and, even farther, to the distant mainland. The scenery is varied and extraordinarily lovely; including dunes and heaths, thickets of sea buckthorn, salty meadows and nesting places for sea birds. ...

Here you are far away from the stress of day-to-day living. It is unusually quiet on the small island which the inhabitants themselves lovingly call "sötes Länneken" (silent little land). There is no mass tourism here and no cars are allowed on the island, instead there are wonderful hiking trails, visitors can bathe and relax in the sun, collect stones or watch the birds and generally get away from it all! On the 16 kilometers of clean, fine sandy beaches, there is a quiet spot to be found for anybody who wants to be alone. It is well worth getting to know Hiddensee in all seasons -is it glorious not only when the broom and heather are in bloom or when the birds are migrating and new snow has fallen but also during the winter storms, which bring rain and fog.

Hiddensee is one of the few coastal regions of Germany where nature and countryside are completely unspoilt. For this reason, the island is strictly protected and most of its area forms part of the recently created Western Pomeranian Boddenlandschaft National Park. Within this national park there are valuable nature reserves (Dornbusch, Bessin, Faehr Isle, Duenenheide and Gellen) which, for the most part, can be explored on foot. Only the areas at the south end of Bessin and Gellen as well as the Faehr Isle where the sea birds breed and which are looked after by the Ornithological Station in Kloster, are out of bounds. However, many interesting species of birds can be observed outside these protected areas, in particular during the breeding season in spring and before migration in the autumn. In the island's Local History Museum exhibits show the flora and fauna of the island, the sea and the inland bay, as well as presenting the geological evolution of the island.

As a visitor to the island you can also actively make a contribution to nature conservancy by observing the following rules:

  • Do not leave the paths when walking or cycling through the nature reserves
  • Do not enter protected areas for sea birds
  • Do not scare any wild animals and do not pick any wild flowers
  • Do not attempt to climb the cliffs or go into the dunes
  • Camping is not permitted
  • Do not leave any litter
  • Do not land your boat or surf board on the salt meadows or reedy shore.

By abiding by these guidelines, you will help preserve the unspoilt beauty of Hiddensee for coming generations.

At the end of the last century, many artists and scientists came to Hiddensee, captivated by its charm and untouched quality. First, painters and illustrators spent the summers here - to be followed by more and more summer guests. The list of famous visitors is long and includes Sigmund Freud, Asta Nielsen, Thomas Mann, Kaethe Kollwitz, Albert Einstein, Max Reinhardt ... The German dramatist, Gerhart Hauptmann, was especially fond of Hiddensee. He wrote many of his works here and lies buried on the island. His summer residence "Haus Seedorn" in Kloster, was turned into a memorial and is open to the public.

Today, Hiddensee's main source of income is tourism - but the island still manages to retain that particular aura which, long ago, attracted the very first visitors.