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Neuwerk is located in Germany
Location North Sea, Elbe mouth
Area 3 km2 (1.2 sq mi)
State Hamburg
Borough Hamburg-Mitte
Population 39 (as of (2007-12-31))
Density 13 /km2 (34 /sq mi)

Neuwerk (3 km², 39 inhabitants) is a Wadden Sea island on the German North Sea coast. Administratively, it forms a homonymous quarter of the city of Hamburg, Germany, which is part of the borough Hamburg-Mitte. This quarter includes the nearby uninhabited islands Scharhörn and Nigehörn. It is located northwest of Cuxhaven, between the Weser and Elbe estuaries. The distance to Hamburg's center is about 120 km.

Other English names for the islands are New-Werk[1] and Newark.[2]

During low tide the island can be reached on foot or by horse carriages from Cuxhaven, at other times by ship.

The smaller islands Scharhörn and Nigehörn are bird sanctuaries, closed to the public. All three islands and the Wadden Sea around them form the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park.


Neuwerk lighthouse of 1369.
In this aerial picture, the island Neuwerk appears in green.

The oldest existing document that mentions Neuwerk is a Frisian contract of 1316, where its old name Nige O is used.

Since the Elbe river was vital to the Hanseatic League's member Hamburg, in 1299 a 35 meter tower was built as lighthouse and protection against pirates. The lighthouse existing today was built around 1300 and was originally uaed as a watchtower.[3] It is Hamburg's oldest existing building as well as Hamburg's last fortification.

Escape from HMS Proserpine to Neuwerk (1799)

HMS Proserpine (1777) stranded in thick ice and snow February 1, 1799 on the Scharhörn Reef, about 6 miles from Neuwerk. Among the 187 crew and passengers was the British envoy Thomas Grenville en route to Berlin in secret misson. 14 people died during the escape from the wreck over then wadden sea and ice to Neuwerk. In a repeated attempt to retrieve bread from the vessel a few days later a small party of five got trapped aboard the crushed remains of the frigate and floated back to the open sea. 36 hours later the Proserpine stranded again near Borkum, where they reached safety again and the wreck remained.

Due to the Greater Hamburg Law Neuwerk became part of Prussia in 1937, and thus after World War II it was given to the new state of Lower Saxony. In 1969 Hamburg waived older rights on harbour estate in Cuxhaven in favour of Neuwerk and Scharhörn.[4]

In the early 20th century, tourism became important for Neuwerk.


On 31 December 2007, Neuwerk quarter had 39 inhabitants, 26 female and 13 males. 11 were resident aliens.[5]


  1. ^ The New Seaman's Guide, and Coaster's Companion, Cornhill, 1809
  2. ^ Proserpine Frigate – Official Account of the Loss of that Ship; a letter addressed by Captain Wallis to Vice Admiral Dickson; Feb 18, 1799; "The Naval Chronicle"; January–June 1799; (Bunney & Gold, London); pp. 332–335.
  3. ^ "Neuwerk Lighthouse". Lighthouse Digest. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Law about the agreement with the state Lower Saxony ... [1] (in German)
  5. ^ Statistische Berichte A I 1 - j/07 H (in German), Statistisches Amt für Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein, 2008-09-11, retrieved 2009-10-31 

External links[edit]

Media related to Neuwerk at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 53°55′N 8°30′E / 53.917°N 8.500°E / 53.917; 8.500