Exhibitions at NATUREUM Darßer Ort

Natural Region Darßer Ort

The exhibition focuses on giving you an impression of the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park and Darßer Ort in particular.

Alongside the national park, there is one of the world’s largest brackish water areas. It is home to diverse flora and fauna and the spawning ground of 48 fish species like the Baltic herring. But also seals and porpoises can be observed from the shore. The national park provides an ideal living environment for the European otter, too. The park’s landscape is characterised by vast pine and beech forests and coastal wetlands. Native animals are red deer, fallow deer, wild boars, roe deer and foxes. More than 160 bird species are native to the national park.

Once you have entered NATUREUM’s compound, you will inevitably notice the nicely arranged plots and gardens in front of the main building that show the typical flora of the different surrounding biotopes – dunes, arid areas (Reffe) and wetlands (Riegen). The coastal landscape, as reproduced in the dune garden, consists of different dune areas. When watching from the sea, the foredunes, also yellow dunes, are comparatively young and scarcely overgrown with beach grass and lyme grass. Grey dunes are older and covered with a continuous layer of vegetation such as grey hair-grass and sand sedge. Finally, brown dunes are more densely vegetated with hawkweed, sea thrift, pine trees and juniper. They mark the transition from dune landscape to native pine forest.

Baltic Coast

The Baltic coast exhibition displays impressive large-format photos of the most prominent and interesting nature spots on the Baltic coast.

Hunting for fossil treasures is the motto of many Gotland visitors. Gotland is the second biggest island in the Baltic Sea. 410 – 440-million-year-old Silurian layers originate from former coral reefs and are abundant with fossils. In the last decades, researchers from the German Marine Museum frequently visited Gotland as well. A showcase in the “Baltic coast – landscapes and nature reserves around the Mare Balticum” exhibition displays the findings of these research and collection trips. It shows the typical Gotland limestone-boulder beach.

The “Baltic coast” exhibition features a special original: A limestone slab with unusually big fossils, cephalopods - Orthoceras limestone or “Öland stone” from Sweden. In spring 2003, true museum pieces of Öland stone were found in the Sandvig quarry on Öland. The one piece that was meant to be displayed at NATUREUM had to be lifted to the main building’s exhibition room on the first floor. The heavy slab of rather brittle limestone had been carefully split lengthwise before it could be moved to its destination.

After heavy landward storms and high tides, amber hunters go on their search for this valuable fossil. Their hunting grounds are the thick and entangled seaweed remains in the surf zone and along the shoreline. This technique will do for a handful of amber if you are lucky. The beaches along the Western Pomeranian Baltic coast are real treasure chests when it comes to collecting this fossilised tree resin. The yellow-brown amber pieces can become real gems when finished by a professional jeweller.

Coastal Dynamics

Discover the rich diversity, dynamics and need for protection of the unique nature and landscape of the Darß region. Especially during winter and spring, Baltic coast visitors can witness rapid geological processes. Rain, frost, wind and the devastating power of the waves take out a lot of the region’s cliff coast. When visiting NATUREUM you can observe another process of beach evolution. Steady surf and current cause continuous changes along the coastline. During summer, a wide sandy beach that attracts sun-seeking holiday makers stretches in front of the lighthouse. Often, all it takes is a heavy storm to let this beach disappear and wash it up somewhere else.

History of the Lighthouse

Learn about the history, details and interesting facts of this remarkable structure.

The red brick lighthouse was built in 1848. It is the oldest lighthouse still on duty along the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – a truly exceptional building. Its long-range beacon warns ships of the Darß Sill. The lamp beams with a FI (2+4) W 22s characteristic, which means that every 22 seconds two and four flashes are emitted across the Baltic Sea. The light flashes are even visible from a distance of 23 nautical miles. A lighthouse keeper has not been on duty in the light room for a long time. The lamp has been radio-controlled since 1978. In the 1930s, lighthouse operation was switched from petroleum to electricity.

When the Darß Forest is getting gradually thinner and the lighthouse suddenly appears in front of you, you have almost reached your destination. There is just one last challenge of your journey ahead: climbing the tower. But walking up the 126 steps of the vibrant green wrought iron stairs with the open-work floral design will pay off. And when stepping out onto the viewing platform at a height of 28 metres, you will not only be out of breath from climbing to the top but stunned by a fantastic view over of the Darß, the Baltic Sea and even the Danish island of Møn if the weather is fine.

More than 84 shipwrecks that have been discovered off Darßer Ort bear witness to the importance of a beacon in this area. Many of the ships had sunk due the local dangerous shoals before the lighthouse was taken into operation on January 1, 1849. Walkers often come across stranded wooden frames and planks. Underwater archaeologists made a sensational find east of Darßer Ort. Washed in deep sand they found wreckage that could be identified as a 700-year-old cog. The Hanseatic ship was loaded with stockfish, Icelandic sulphur and reindeer antlers. It was a Merchant Adventurer  that had sailed around Skagen into the Baltic Sea.