Old harbours, corn silos, cranes, historical ships, lighthouses, wide, dreamy marsh landscapes and charming stretches of wadden – the varied maritime heritage of the Lower Elbe region is what makes this riverine landscape unique.
To preserve this area of maritime culture and strengthen its potential for sustainable recreation and tourism development, the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape working group was founded in 2002. It groups 23 districts, towns and municipalities that border the Elbe in Lower Saxony und Schleswig-Holstein. The city of Hamburg became a full member of the working group in January 2007.
In its capacity as a lead project of Hamburg Metropolitan Region, the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape is currently being financed out the joint regional planning development fund of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, as well as member contributions.
Tasks and fields of activity of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region lead projects
The managing office of the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape working group, based in the old seafaring school in Grünendeich, Lower Saxony (Altes Land), both initiates and supervises regional projects. It is also the contact point for local projects and mediates between citizens and public administration, as well as between local councils and the Länder. Networking in the region and beyond is a central task.
Through its work, the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape focuses on the “soft location factor” of local recreation. This is an ever more crucial aspect for companies competing for qualified workers for skilled jobs, since they tend to prefer work offers in regions with good leisure opportunities. The Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape makes an important contribution here.
Particularly with respect to marketing and extracting tourism potential from the maritime heritage (historical harbours, ships, lighthouses, waterways), the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape has established itself as an important institution of interregional importance since 2002. It supervises many projects, from idea to implementation – with planning support, by integration with other projects, and funding for feasibility studies. Since the foundation of the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape, many maritime cultural relics have been restored to new life. Some examples are the historical coastal vessel “Greundiek”, which plies the Elbe as ambassador of the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape, the “Tiedenkieker”, the Osten transporter bridge, the Natureum jetty, the rail cycle line from Marne to St. Michaelisdonn, Brunsbüttel Hüttendorf, and the rebuilt Beidenfleth cable ferry, to name just a few.
Another central issue for the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape is to ensure that the Elbe and its tributaries remain an attractive sailing and water sports domain. The managing office is therefore a member of the “Elbe fund foundation“ working group set up by the planning staff of the state chancellery of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The foundation’s objective is to provide financial support for small marinas on the Elbe increasingly threatened by silting.
By coordinating tourism development across state boundaries, a network of tourism businesses has come into being that are increasingly aware of their region as part of the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape and which market themselves as a local recreation destination of the Metropolitan Region. An outstanding example of this cooperation with the tourist industry is, for example, the leisure map of the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape (scale: 1:100,000).
Information point for tourists: Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape centre
Parallel to these activities, the building previously occupied by the seafaring school in Grünendeich (Altes Land) is now a central contact point for the Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape, where a wide variety of (tourist) information about the Lower Elbe area is available. A more virtual information point for tourists and locals is in Internet at www.maritime-elbe.de; here they find information about maritime sightseeing and a diary of current events.