Mandø, an island depending on the low tide

When I first heard about the small island in the Wadden Sea called Mandø, the first thing that came to my mind was the French island Mont Saint Michel, where the magnificent Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel is located. According to BBC News (*1), this is the second most visited tourist site in France with over three million visitors a year.

I believe that Mandø and Mont Saint Michel are quite similar in many ways. You might say “what does Mandø, a small Danish island with about 100 000 visitors (*2) every year have in common with a world known tourist destination such as Mont Saint Michel?” Well, to explain that I am going to mention only one but significant detail that has a major impact on these islands “to be, or not to be”.

You see, the one thing that makes both Mont Saint Michel and Mandø to the unique places that they are is the fact that they are only accessible by ground transportation during low tide. There is no bridge that connects these islands with the mainland. In other words; In order to be as attractive for visitors as they are today, both these destinations are depending on their unique surroundings to keep their magic touch. The delicate eco-system is of course, in my opinion, the main thing to be concerned about in this matter, but the aesthetics of a destination is also worth to protect. Especially when the money tourists spend on these destinations help to keep thousands of people occupied with tourism related jobs.

As there has been a constant increase in tourism at Mont Saint Michel, the intervention by humans have resulted in a damaged natural environment with erosions that will fill up the bay with slit which by year 2040 will result in that Mont Saint Michel won’t be an island anymore, but only a landlocked salt marchland without a functioning eco-system (*3)

With this said I would like to shed some light on an ongoing project called “La Baie – Réinvente le Mont”. Behind it stands an organization called Syndicat Mixte Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel. Their mission is to restore the natural landscape that surrounds Mont Saint Michel and to their help they have a €200 million budget. Out of that €200 million, €176 million is covered by public investments where the French tax payers are one of the stakeholders that will need to open up their wallets in order to make this project come true (*4).

This is an enormous amount of money to be spent on a problem that could have been avoided by adapting a sustainable tourism strategy already before the harm was done. In this case I would recommend that the  tourism organization that has Mandø under its wing should create a sustainable tourism development strategy as soon as possible. This will help them to save money in the long run and by protecting the surroundings that makes Mandø to the pearl in the Wadden Sea as it is today I am sure that they will reach their goals in time (*5).




BBC News – Mont Saint Michel to be restored. (n.d.). BBC – Homepage. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from



Mandø Joint Association & Small Islands Action Group (2010). A PLAN OF ACTION. Mandø – an island of possibilities, 1, 13. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from /Mandoe_action_plan_english_short.pdf



Project Mont Saint Michel, Restoring Mont Saint Michel to a marine setting. An operation of national interest, 1, 13.

Retrieved September 3, 2012, from



Project ownership – Official website of the restoring operation of the Mont-saint-Michel’s maritime character . (n.d.). Opération de rétablissement du caractère maritime du Mont-Saint-Michel. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from



The Inter-regional Wadden Sea Cooperation, (2000). Sustainable Tourism Development and Recreational Use in the Wadden Sea Region. NetForum, 1, 81. Retrieved September 3, 2012, from


2 Responses to “Mandø, an island depending on the low tide”

  1. Johan Adermalm says:

    *future goals (unfinished ending)

  2. Gabriel Blchac says:

    I found some interesting thoughts in your blog. Mont Saint Michel also came to my mind as we were crusing on the sea bottom. so they may use some of their strategy to preserve the island from complete outflow of people and tourists.

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