The Nationalpark Wattenmeer (Wadden Sea Conservation Area) is one of the most popular natural reserves in Germany. However, many young seals get split from their mothers in the area frequently. Some of them are brought to Norddeich, where the Seehundstation, the Seal Rescue Station is located. While this is a very important place to protect the biosphere of this very special location, it is also one of the most famous touristic attractions in Northwest Germany. We visited the place in summer 2021.
Seehundstation Norddeich – Location & Admission
The Seehundstation is located South of central Norddeich. The borough of the city of Norden is majorly well-known due to its harbor, which is connecting to some East Frisia islands, mainly Norddeich and Juist. The direction to the Seal Rescue Station are well signed and there is a large parking lot next to the place. The area also features a lot of other tourist infrastructure like hotels or the water park Ocean Wave.
The exhibition is opening daily in the summer months from 9:00 to 18:00 hrs. In the winter season, times are reduced to 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. Adult admission is 10 Euro. The website suggests to book an admission with a fixed time slot online. However, there were a lot of walk-in guests during our visit as well – and even though the queue looked rather long, it was served very quickly. Time slot ticket holders may pass the queue, though.
Seehundstation Norddeich – The Visit
Right after you made it through the queues, you are already at the key attraction of your visit: the seals: first you can have a look at the habitat for the larger and more robust seals, just a few steps later you can have a glimpse at the area in which they cocker up the small and weak seals and potentially quarantine them. You see on the pictures that this part of the visit was rather relaxed, even though our visit was during strong Covid-19 measures. Asking people not to stand at the stairs was practically not enforced by the staff.
Apart from just watching the seals (which is likely the key reason people go there), you can also learn a lot about them and also how the rescue station is working. The key section for this part of your visit is a series of comparably small and narrow rooms. They are really informative, but they were not suitable for the pandemic situation. I could even imagine that this part of your visit is bothering during non-pandemic peak days. It is very hard to really read all the information provided. To avoid getting too close to each other, you had to wait quite long at the end of each room. As said, the information provided (which is, surprisingly, in German only, neither English nor Dutch) is good, but the circumstances just make you feel too tired about the place.
At the end there are some more open exhibits, which make it easier to get a museum feeling. Some stuff is a bit of goofy, though – for example, I did not see a single child which followed the idea of getting down to the floor and moving like a seal.
Seehundstation Norddeich – Service
At the end of the visit, there is a really nice souvenir store. The rescue station itself does not provide a cafe or similar service.
Seehundstation Norddeich – My View
I feel the Seehundstation Norddeich could be great. You learn so much about the animals and how they help them. They just let too many people in (why shall I buy tickets online if I get in easily into a packed place anyway?) and they don’t have a good concept how to give them a good time at their good exhibition. That still leaves their key feature on the plus side: watching the cuddly seals. This gives some sort of a good time – but it is not that breathtaking that I would visit the place again.