Norderney is one of the seven populated East Frisian Islands
East Frisian Islands
The East Frisian Islands are a chain of islands in the North Sea, off the coast of East Frisia in Lower Saxony, Germany. The islands extend for some from west to east between the mouths of the Ems and Jade / Weser rivers and lie about 3.5 to 10 km offshore...

 off the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 coast of Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It is also a municipality in the district of Aurich
Aurich (district)
Aurich is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is bounded by the North Sea, the districts of Wittmund and Leer, and the city of Emden.- History :...

 in Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...


The island is 14 km long and about 2.5 km wide, having a total area of about 26.3 square kilometres (10.2 sq mi) and is therefore Germany's tenth largest island. Norderney's population amounts to about 6,200 people. In 1946 Norderney gained municipal status and belongs to the Aurich "Kreis" (county). On the northern side of the island lies a 14 km long sandy beach.

The neighbouring island to the east is Baltrum
Baltrum is a barrier island off the coast of East Frisia , in Germany, and is a municipality in the district of Aurich, Lower Saxony. It is located in-between the chain of the seven inhabited East Frisian Islands...

, which lies about 800m (half a mile) away. To the west is the island of Juist
Juist is one of the seven inhabited East Frisian Islands at the edge of the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea in the southern North Sea, located between Borkum Island , Memmert Island and Norderney...

, about 3 km away.

The entire eastern half of Norderney belongs to the Wattenmeer National Park of Lower Saxony. Access to the park is restricted, as it is subdivided in zones of different accessibility for the protection of the wildlife. The status as a National Park also affects all kinds of traffic on the island, while especially car traffic is subject to strict regulations.

The mainland is easily reached via ferry operated by AG Reederei Norden-Frisia from the harbour, Norddeich pier near the northern German city of Norden
Norden, Lower Saxony
Norden is a town in the district of Aurich, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the North Sea shore, in East Frisia.-External links:* *...

. Norderney also possesses an airport with a 1,000 meter runway.

Coat of arms and flag

Since 10 July 1928 the coat of arms of the city of Norderney depicts the local landmark, the "Kap," or cape building. A dune and water is shown underneath. Such high structures helped mariners identify the island and orient themselves in earlier times. There are similar buildings on Borkum
Borkum is an island and a municipality in the Leer District in Lower Saxony, northwestern Germany.-Geography:Borkum is bordered to the west by the Westerems strait , to the east by the Osterems strait, to the north by the North Sea, and to the south by the Wadden Sea...

 and Wangerooge
Wangerooge is one of the 32 Frisian Islands in the North Sea located close to the coasts of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. It is also a municipality in the district of Friesland in Lower Saxony in Germany.Wangerooge is one of the East Frisian Islands...

. The Norderney cape building was built in 1848 from wood, and was replaced in 1870 with a stone building. At night a fire was lit in the top part of the structure. Today lighthouses have taken over this function. The island painter Poppe Folkerts designed the coat of arms.

Norderney is one of the smallest German communities to fly its own flag. The small city flag has horizontal blue and white stripes and a black and white checkered area on the left side. The blue colour stands for the sea, white symbolizes the colour of the sand, and black stands for the Norderney sea sign.


Of the seven East Frisian islands, Norderney is the youngest. The island has only existed in its present form since the middle of the 16th century, being the eastern remnant of the larger island Buise
Buise was one of the East Frisian Islands off the North Sea coast of Germany that was almost entirely engulfed by the sea in the second half of the 17th century. The only remaining part is the eastern end, known today as the island of Norderney. Buise itself was formed by the breakup of a bigger...

. The larger island of Buise was split into two parts during the Grote Mandrenke
Grote Mandrenke
The Grote Mandrenke was the name of a massive southwesterly Atlantic gale which swept across England, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Schleswig around January 16, 1362, causing at minimum 25,000 deaths. January 16 is the feast day of St...

 flood of 1362, the eastern half at first being called Ostrende. What was left of Buise shrunk in size over the years and finally disappeared into the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 during the St. Peter's Flood
St. Peter's Flood
St. Peter's Flood refers to two separate storm tides that struck the coasts of Netherlands and Northern Germany in 1651. During the first storm tide, on 22 February, the East Frisian island of Juist was split in two...

 of 1651. Ostrende, on the other hand, grew in size, and is noted in a 1550 census as "Norder neys Oog" (Northern New Island), and having a church and 18 houses. The inhabitants at this time worked principally as fishermen. In the second half of the 18th century the sea trade industry grew in importance. Next to fishing, tourism became important to the island economy. In 1797, Norderney became the first German resort on the North Sea.

Norderney timeline
  • 13th-14th centuries — There are no sources concerning the first settlements on Norderney, but it is believed that the first durable settlements were established during the 13th and 14th centuries. A town developed in the western part of the island, protected by high dunes.
  • 1398 — First documented mention of the island.
  • 1650 — The island is about 8.3 km long and the town has about 18 houses and 101 inhabitants.
  • 1717 — Severe storm flood. (Christmas Flood)
  • 1744 to 1806 — East Frisia
    East Frisia
    East Frisia or Eastern Friesland is a coastal region in the northwest of the German federal state of Lower Saxony....

     and its islands belong to Prussia
    Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

  • 1797 — Founding of a resort on the island. Meeting and bath houses were built. The resort offered bathing machine
    Bathing machine
    The bathing machine was a device, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, to allow people to change out of their usual clothes, possibly change into swimwear and then wade in the ocean at beaches. Bathing machines were roofed and walled wooden carts rolled into the sea...

    s for men and women. Islanders boarded guests in their houses.
  • 1799 — One of the first wooden, straw covered resort houses was built.
  • 1800 — Official opening of the resort with 250 guests.
  • 1806 — Napoleon
    Napoleon I of France
    Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

     defeats Prussia. East Frisia becomes part of the Kingdom of Holland
    Kingdom of Holland
    The Kingdom of Holland 1806–1810 was set up by Napoleon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country...

    . The resort operation comes to a standstill.
  • 1811 — Reopening of the resort with 618 guests.
  • 1819 — "Royal Institute of Seabathing."
  • 1830 — Shellfish
    Shellfish is a culinary and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from saltwater environments, some kinds are found only in freshwater...

     harvesting becomes the most important activity of the islanders.
  • 1836 — Crown Prince Georg of Hannover, Herzog von Cumberland
    George V of Hanover
    George V was King of Hanover, the only child of Ernest Augustus I, and a grandchild of King George III of the United Kingdom. In the peerage of Great Britain, he was 2nd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, 2nd Earl of Armagh...

    , visits Norderney for the first time and from 1851 holds court each summer on the island. During this time the resort gained a strong following of the rich and famous.
  • 1858 — A 950 meter long deck with Promenade
    An esplanade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. The original meaning of esplanade was a large, open, level area outside fortress or city walls to provide clear fields of fire for the fortress' guns...

     is built.
  • 1862 — Building of the island's Windmill.
  • 1866 — Prussia annexes the Kingdom of Hanover
    Kingdom of Hanover
    The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

    . Norderney becomes again a Royal Prussian sea bathing
    Sea bathing
    Sea bathing is swimming in the sea or in sea water and a sea bath is a protective enclosure for sea bathing. Unlike bathing in a swimming pool, which is generally done for pleasure or exercise purposes, sea bathing was once thought to have curative or therapeutic value. It arose from the medieval...

  • 1899 — The island has 4,018 inhabitants and 26,000 resort guests. Norderney features a number of improvements, including a hospital, central school building, a water system, electricity for the promenade, stables, gas works, and a pier.
  • 1901 — Establishment of the angelfish catching operation.
  • 1914 — Resort operations ceased due to the Great War
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

  • 1919 — The resort re-opens, but with only 14,000 guests.
  • 1921 — The city of Norderney and the northern German Lloyd rent the resort.
  • 1925 — 5,564 inhabitants and 38,140 guests. Deutsche Luft Hansa
    Deutsche Luft Hansa
    Deutsche Luft Hansa A.G. was a German airline, serving as flag carrier of the country during the later years of the Weimar Republic and throughout the Third Reich.-1920s:Deutsche Luft Hansa was founded on 6 January 1926 in Berlin...

     commences scheduled flights to the island.

Cultural references

  • The island features in The Riddle of the Sands
    The Riddle of the Sands
    The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service is a 1903 novel by Erskine Childers. It is an early example of the espionage novel, with a strong underlying theme of militarism...

    , the 1903 novel by Irish novelist Erskine Childers
    Robert Erskine Childers
    Robert Erskine Childers DSC , universally known as Erskine Childers, was the author of the influential novel Riddle of the Sands and an Irish nationalist who smuggled guns to Ireland in his sailing yacht Asgard. He was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish...

  • The island features in Seven Gothic Tales the 1934 collection of short stories by Danish novelist Isak Dinesen.


  • Lager Norderney
    Lager Norderney
    Lager Norderney was a Nazi concentration camp on Alderney, in the Channel Islands, named after the East Frisian island of Norderney.The Germans built four concentration camps on the island, subcamps of the Neuengamme concentration camp...

    , the Nazi
    Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

     labour camp on Alderney
    Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. It is long and wide. The area is , making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick...

    was named after the island.

External links

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