You don’t have to look at Tønder Marsh for long before you realise that it’s a unique area of countryside. Wide open spaces, lots of birds and an attractive mix of land and water.
However, although things might be fine as they are, they can usually be improved upon. This is the thinking behind the Tønder Marsh Initiative, which saw the light of day in 2016. The aim of the project is to develop Tønder Marsh into an even more attractive place in which to live, work and visit. The project is sponsored by the municipal authority in Tønder and different foundations. The overall budget is in excess of 200 million Danish kroner.
A number of initiatives have been launched, several of which will be implemented either in full or in part during the course of this year. One of these initiatives involves improving access to the marshes in all their splendour. A 52-km hiking trail has been planned that will run in the marshes. This includes improving the opportunities to see the marshes from above and enjoy beautiful views over the landscape.
Local citizens have been involved in the planning of the 52-km path on the assumption that the locals know the most attractive spots in the marsh. The path will be called “Marskstien”, and in addition to giving the local inhabitants a better chance to experience Tønder Marsh, the path is also designed to attract tourists interested in hiking – both experienced hikers who’ll walk the entire 52-km route, as well as those looking to enjoy a shorter walk lasting just a couple of hours. The path will thus be combined with local loops. During the summer of 2018 a trial version of the path will be opened, which interested parties can try before the final version is completed in 2019.
In addition to the above, a great deal will also be going on in Højer, which is Denmark’s only genuine marsh town. Højer is to be marketed as “the gateway to Tønder Marsh” by restoring a number of the town’s many historic houses and by creating a new urban space of high quality.
Højer has a unique architectural heritage with many different building styles, with no less than 125 houses in the town registered as being worthy of preservation. A walk through the town is already a special architectonic experience today – and such an experience will be given a further boost thanks to the restoration work that is being planned. A lot will be going on in the town, with Storegade being in focus a the key part of Højer’s new urban space – which will include shops and accommodation.
Another key location in the future will be Højer Mill, which, in addition to continuing as a museum, will also be the place in which visitors can acquire knowledge and gain inspiration to experience Tønder Marsh.
Finally, Højer will become the starting point for tours into Tønder Marsh and the Wadden Sea. Such tours will include theme-based experiences such as kayaking, oyster safari, cycling trips and “Black Sun tours”.
Tønder Marsh, as part of the Wadden Sea, has been admitted onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This carries with it a great deal of responsibility, according to Andrea C. Bayer, who is Destination Manager for the Tønder Marsh Initiative.
- It’s a joint task to protect and disseminate knowledge of one of the world’s most acclaimed natural resorts. Tønder Marsh possesses a great deal of potential in terms of tourism, so a broad approach must be taken to promoting the area and this must take place in collaboration between several different players, she says.
The area around Tønder Marsh faces a number of challenges on several different fronts, and according to Andrea C. Bayer it’s absolutely crucial to focus on the location’s strengths, such as the wonderful Wadden Sea, exciting towns like Højer and Tønder, the unique scenery, art and crafts and food from the marsh.
The Tønder Marsh Initiative is scheduled to run for five years, and the final projects are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.