Standing at the gateway to Denmark’s largest national park, the wetlands of the Wadden Sea, I’m immediately struck by the volume and size of the sky and the immense thatched roof of The Wadden Sea Centre, nestling in perfect harmony under it.
These vast coastal wetlands, stretching from the southern part of Jutland in Denmark, through northwest Germany to Holland, serves as a vital touch-down point for 15 million migratory birds, en route to their breeding and nesting destinations. This impressive landscape, rich in plant, bird, marine and wildlife, was added to UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2014, empathizing the Wadden Sea National Park’s ecological and global importance.
Not only are the vast colonies of mullets and starlings finding their way to this corner of Denmark. Bird watchers, ornithologists and tourists have come here for years to witness and study the phenomenon, Starling Magic (Sort Sol), an event, where large constellations of starlings literally perform an aerial ballet at sunset during the Spring and Autumn.
This unique landscape has now an exhibition and information centre worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage status. The Danish architect, Dorte Mandrup, was behind the project in collaboration with the exhibition architect, Johan Carlsson and together they have created a space that externally harmonizes with its environment and internally engages the visitor intelligently and playfully. Dorte Mandrup’s studio have masterfully embraced locally and regional craftsmen to create the stunning thatched roofs, which harvested the straw nearby.
The Wadden Sea Centre opened its doors to its 2.800m² exhibition space in February 2017 enthralling already 24.000 guests. The centre also provides valuable educational tours of the nearby plant, marine and wild life for its visitors. The leader of the center, Klaus Melbye, emphasized the importance of this function along with the centre’s role as a knowledge sharing partner with its regional neighbors.
Thanks to Klaus and his team for their warm welcome and valuable information.
Content & Photos: Phillip Mills