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What we do International Dark Sky Places

Mandø

A star-filled night sky and Milky Way over the Wadden Sea.

About

Mandø is a small island (approximately 8.456 square kilometers) located in the Wadden Sea off the southwestern Danish and northwestern German coast. The expansive Wadden Sea spans Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark and is the largest unbroken tidal landscape. Since 1978, these countries have collaborated through the Trilateral Cooperation on the Protection of the Wadden Sea, aiming to preserve its ecologically significant resources. The Wadden Sea was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014. Natural nighttime darkness has always been part of Mandø’s character, referred to as “pitch darkness” among the island’s inhabitants. 

On Mandø, one can have a stunning and moving stargazing experience, but the island also provides a critical habitat for wildlife. Mandø is a diked island primarily comprising grasslands and cultivated marsh areas. The island is one of the world’s most important bird areas, hosts several million migratory birds annually and has a diversity of flora and fauna.  

The application process to become an International Dark Sky Park was initiated in 2018. The effort involved the collaboration of several entities, including the Mandø Joint Council, the Wadden Sea National Park, the Wadden Sea Center, MYRTHUE, Aarhus University, Port of Esbjerg, Ribe Cathedral School, and volunteer astronomy enthusiasts. As part of their efforts, all of Mandø’s street lamps were replaced with dark sky-friendly bollards, and a lighting curfew was initiated. All street lamps are turned off nightly between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM. 

The Danish Minister for the Environment, in conjunction with the Municipality of Esbjerg, three other Danish Wadden Sea municipalities, and representatives from the Netherlands and Germany, have recognized the Dark Sky Park as a crucial resource for raising public awareness of natural darkness over Mandø and the Wadden Sea. The Wilhelmshaven Declaration, signed by the Ministers for Environment in Denmark, Nature in the Netherlands, and Environment in Germany, showcases their commitment at the national level and on the international stage, conveying our strong acknowledgment of the significance of dark skies.

Regular outreach and education efforts are underway, and advocates will continue to educate the public about the importance of night sky conservation and preservation. 

A 6-kilometer-long gravel road on the seabed connects Mandø to the mainland, and the road is only passable when the tide permits. Mandø has 31 permanent residents, but the island hosts over 80,000 tourists annually and offers ample opportunities for dark sky experiences and educational opportunities.

Area

8,46 Sq. Km

Designated

2024

Category

International Dark Sky Park

Address

Midtvej 7, 6760 Ribe
Denmark
Google Maps

Website

Mandø International Dark Sky Park

Contact

Claus Christensen
Jesper Frost Rasmussen
Esbjerg Municipality
John Frikke
Hans Peter Folmann

Documents

Application
Announcement
Annual Reports

Weather

Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for enjoying dark skies near Mandø, Denmark (55.27, 8.54).