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 the surrounding reed beds, marshes, meadows and broadleaved forests constitute an area of extremely high biological interest because of the unique plant, bird and animal life found there. There are also many cultural and historical 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 areas, they constitute an ecological and culture-historical entity. Soendersoe is Denmark’s eighth largest lake (852 hectares). All around the lakes there are large manor houses with woodlands, cultivated fields and fallow farmlands, and 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, Sakskoebin, and Nysted and the local landowners. The purpose was to underline the great natural and culture-historical importance of the area and to focus on its use and protection.
Today, efforts are made in Denmark to create a number of new 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 area is one of the most significant natural areas in Denmark. The lakes have a rich bird population and, besides being protected by the EU Birds Directive (ec.europa.eu), they have also been designated a Ramsar (ramsar.org) site. To protect the local animals, plants and fungi and their biotopes, the area is also protected by the EU Habitats Directive (ec.europa.eu).
Traces of settlements in the area date as far back as the Stone Age. In 2000, the Maribo Wildlife Preserve was created, which restricts access to and use of the area, including limitations on sailing and hunting.
Soendersoe is the largest of the Maribo Lakes, with a water area of 852 hectares and a shoreline 32 kilometres 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 maximum depth is five metres.
Roegboelle Soe is a 197-hectare lake with four forested islands. The average depth is one metre, but small holes can be as deep as four metres. Almost sealed off from Roegboelle Soe in the south-eastern corner of the lake is the Soerup Soe with an additional eight hectares of water area.
Hejrede has a water area of 51 hectares, with an average depth of 90 centimetres and holes up to 3.5 metres deep.
Noerresoe has an area of 40 hectares, an average depth of 1.3 metres 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 of 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 once 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 day, as they have now been combined under a single owner.
Efforts are being made to preserve traces of our most recent history, such as 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 the Maribo Municipality in Kidnakkes Wood. Local landowners and the municipality are cooperating to preserve the historical grazing meadows by the lakes, for the sake of both their cultural and natural value.
Nature school and guided tours
Nature guides working in Maribo Lakes Nature Park arrange public tours that 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 all year round.
For more information, please see: Maribosøerne Nature Park (naturparkmaribo.dk).