German national treasure and long-time healing spa: The island of Norderney
To restore body and soul, some seek the seclusion of a city spa. But the truly lucky go to a spa island that lives and breathes its beneficial values every single day of the year.
Set in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Wadden Sea, Norderney is one of the seven populated East Frisian Islands. With thalassotherapy as its biggest asset, the health-inducing climate of the island forms its nature-given magnet, attracting tourists from all over the world.
Founded in 1797, Norderney is the oldest beach resort of its kind on the German part of the North Sea. Over the past two centuries, tourism has continuously been developing and today forms the island’s most important economic factor. Last year, numbers rose to 520,000 overnight guests and 240,000 day tourists; marking a third of the whole East Frisian archipelago.
White Dune. Photo © SKN/Ostfriesland Bild
Modern beach life is a major factor of attraction on the island. With 15 kilometres of sandy beach in total featuring a modern infrastructure, the island will earn the international Golden Quality Coast Award this year. The expansive strips provide space for everyone, promising the ideal beach for each taste: the diversity and summer events at the Northern Beach attract the young crowds, while the family bathing area lies to the west. There is the chilled out hipster El Dorado of the ‘White Dune’ and, last but not least, the ‘Oase’ is ideal for those seeking untouched nature. On Norderney, anyone and everyone will find their individual spot of freedom, air and expanse. Five supervised bathing beaches provide for safe and relaxed swimming in the North Sea.
In addition to the outstanding coastline, the island is well known for connecting modern lifestyle with its own thalassotherapy competence. Countless secular buildings from the 18th and 19th century, when Norderney was used as summer residence for the King of Hanover, have been restored and welcome the guests equipped with the latest technology and a timeless interior. Especially picturesque examples are the ‘Kurtheater’, the ‘Conversationshaus’ and the ‘Inselloft’ building.
‘Kurtheater’, historical spa theatre. © Staatsbad Norderney GmbH, Ingo Jahn
The ‘bade:haus norderney’ is the biggest thalasso house in Europe. On no less than 8,000 square metres, the sea health spa provides all imaginable variations of thalasso-based treatments. Relating to the Greek word thálassa, standing for health generated by the sea itself, the various forms of thalassotherapy include cold or warmed sea water, sea air, sun, algae, mud and sand. Based on 25 years of research at the Norderney institute for rehabilitation, the healing powers of thalassotherapy for people suffering from insomnia and burnout have lately been confirmed by long-term expert Dr. Friedhart Raschke. From salt bath to sauna, from massage to original Norderney mud baths, the ‘bade:haus’ can turn into a true thalasso home, even offering overnight stays in one of its apartments, a good choice for everyone who looks for a truly outstanding experience. Outside, thalasso can also be enjoyed through dune paths and the so-called thalasso platforms; beautiful viewing platforms that offer unique views over the sea, the untouched island landscape and that provide information on both thalasso and the Wadden Sea.
Sauna at bade:haus norderney. Photo © Staatsbad Norderney GmbH, Nicholas Chibac
The Wadden Sea national park is a unique attraction in itself. The specific biological and geological processes it contains and the resulting biodiversity are the reason why the Wadden Sea became a UNESCO heritage site in 2009. A visit at the Watt Welten events centre allows an in-depth look into the unique Eco system while the joy of experiencing it through a guided walk or as part of a birdwatchers’ group during bird migrating season will stay with you for years. Due to the interactive and informative quality of its special events and exhibitions, the centre will most probably be christened a UNESCO world heritage centre by next year.
While the curative benefits of Norderney’s natural environment provide its highest asset, they are not forming the only attraction. Events like the yearly White Sands Festival on Pentecost weekend, with its beach volleyball tournament and the windsurf world cup, attract 50,000 guests alone while the open-air live event Summertime@NORDERNEY at the Northern Beach features multiple musical events, from Irish singer Rea Garvey to concerts with the Warsaw symphony orchestra. In total, 1,200 events a year make for the island’s brimming cultural and entertainment calendar.
Mud treatment at bade:haus norderney. Staatsbad Norderney GmbH, Nicholas Chibac
Because of the span of attractions and the manifold qualities making a stay unique and colorful, this goes also for the range of yearly visitors. Overall, people who come to Norderney are attracted by the combination of high-quality accommodation, the sophisticated lifestyle, culinary temptations and high-level entertainment. All these aspects together have given Norderney its excellent reputation and those who have visited the island once tend to come back again soon. In numbers, 70 per cent of visitors return to this magical place of beauty that heals, restores and celebrates life at the same time.
TEXT: CORNELIA BRELOWSKI
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