Maribosøerne Nature Park

- an area with a rich culture and diverse wildlife

In the heart of Lolland, the Maribo Lakes - Maribosøerne - lie in one of Denmark's most outstanding natural areas. It is a unique nature park of international interest. The Maribo Lakes and their surrounding reed beds, marshes, meadows, and broadleaved forest constitute an area of extremely high biological interest because of the unique plant, bird and animal life found there. There are many cultural and historic attractions and ancient remains in the area.

The Nature Park
The Maribo Lakes Nature Park comprises four lakes: Soendersoe, Roegboelle, Hjerede, and Noerresoe. Together with the surrounding land, they constitute an ecological and cultural/historic whole. Soendersoe is Denmark’s eighth largest lake (852 hectares). Surrounding the lakes are large manor houses with woodlands, cultivated fields and fallow farmland, in some places free-standing oaks.

The concept of the Maribo Lakes Nature Park was introduced by the County of Storstroem in 1991 in cooperation with the four surrounding municipalities of Maribo, Holeby, Sakskoebing, and Nysted together with the local landowners. The purpose was to underline the great natural and cultural/historical importance of the area and to focus on its use and protection. 

In Denmark today, efforts are made to create a number of national parks. Moens Klint on Falster is one of the pilot project areas. The creation of the Maribo Lakes Nature Park as a regional nature park was a forerunner for this kind of thinking.

Nature worth protecting
The Maribo Lakes is one of the most highly classified natural areas in Denmark. The lakes have a rich bird population and, besides being protected by the EU Birds Directive, they have also been designated a Ramsar site. To protect animals, plants and fungi and their biotopes the area is also protected by the EU Habitats Directive. Traces of settlements date as far back as the Stone Age. In 2000, the Maribo Wildlife Preserve was created, which restricts access and use of the area, including limitations on sailing and hunting.

The Lakes
Soendersoe is the largest of the Maribo lakes, with a water area of 852 hectares and a shoreline 32 kilometers long. It consists of three basins and has more islands than any other lake in Denmark: 13 islands, 6 islets and 3 bog islets. The average depth is 1.7 metres and the greatest depth is 5 metres.

Roegboelle Soe is a 197 hectare lake with four forested islands. The average depth is 1 metre, but small holes can be as deep as 4 metres.  Almost sealed off from Roegboelle Soe's southeastern corner is the Soerup Soe with an additional 8 hectares.

Hejrede has an area of 51 hectares, with an average depth of 90 centimeters and holes of up to 3.5 metres deep.

Noerresoe has an area of 40 hectares, an average depth of 1.3 metre and holes up to 3.3 metres deep.

Culture and Traditions
The Maribo lakes' roots reach far back in history. Traces of habitation from the Stone Age and almost 3000 year-old mounds from the Bronze Age lie spread around the area. There are also remains from an Iron Age fortification and traces of several medieval castles.

The town of Maribo is closely associated with Queen Margrethe I of Denmark and with the Bridgettine cloister built on the site of the present Cathedral. The two large manor estates, Engestofte and Soeholt, dominated the area for centuries right up to the present, when they have been combined under a single owner.

Efforts are being made to preserve traces of our most recent history, for instance the living hedge of pollarded poplars at Alsoe and the village pond in Bursoe. In the woods there are traces of a form of a coppice forest, now obsolete but maintained by Maribo Municipality in Kidnakkes Wood. Local landowners and the municipality are cooperating to preserve the historic grazing meadows by the lakes, both for their cultural and natural value.

Nature school and guided tours
The nature guides in Maribo Lakes Nature Park arrange public tours which focus on both natural and cultural aspects. There is a Nature School by Soendersoe, which is owned and run by Lolland Municipality. Schools and other educational institutions can use its facilities year-round. 

For more information and to make reservations for teaching or guiding, please contact:
Naturpark Maribosoerne
Nature guide Uffe Nielsen
Lolland Kommune, Udvikling og Erhverv
Kidnakken 12
DK-4930 Maribo, Danmark
ufni@lolland.dk

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