Project 24: Sielmann’s Natural Landscape Wanninchen

Rugged natural beauty

It may sound strange, but large areas of the old mining ground in Lower Lusatia are protected natural habitats – and for good reason. The moonscapes created by mining are only seemingly »dead« – many of these totally new landscapes are biologically very valuable. The bare soil left behind by mining is quickly reclaimed by nature – as a habitat for animals and plants. Wanninchen is one place where high-speed evolution is taking place.


Wanninchen was one of several small villages that were bulldozed before the Schlabendorf-Süd open-cast mine was shut down, with only one farmstead remaining to mark where the vanished community used to be. Shortly after lignite mining ended, life returned to Wanninchen. Specialised plants and animals (some of them rare species) rapidly colonised the site – pioneers like sand grasshoppers, giant earwigs, and wheateaters.
During the mine restoration (needed to make the area safe under mining law), the LMBV created the conditions for a highly structured subsequent development. Important points included creating islands in the lakes, creating varied and interesting bank edges, and developing species-rich plantations. When the ground restoration was completed, the water level – which had sunk by about forty metres – began to rise again. After a few years, nature could be seen dynamically healing itself on several sites. Unlike most of the Lusatian Lake Land’s artificial lakes, the residual lignite cavities here were not flooded. Little by little, the rising groundwater filled the trenches and created expanses of water and wetlands. Ducks, little ringed plovers, hoopoes, and other bird species move in to follow the pioneer species, as do certain amphibious species.


The Heinz Sielmann Foundation purchased over 3,000 hectares of the Naturpark Niederlausitzer Landrücken (Lower Lusatian Ridge Reserve) in order to ensure its preservation and protect it from exploitation for other purposes. Today, the Sielmann’s Natural Landscape Wanninchen is characterised by sand dunes, nutrient-poor grassland colonies, mixed woodland, and expanses of water. Nature has been left to itself here on a large scale. The foundation set up its natural park centre in the sole remaining Wanninchen farmstead. The territory includes meadowland with fruit trees, a pond, a small fen, and a boulder garden. An artificial nesting wall provides brooding space for up to 130 pairs of house martins, creating an interesting spectacle for visitors. Even rare cranes have found their way into the region, and come here regularly every autumn.
Since 2002, there have been plenty of events to choose from. The »Tage voller Wunder« (Days Full of Miracles) – the Heinz Sielmann Foundation’s nature discovery programme – is aimed primarily at children and young people, who get a chance to use all their senses to find out about nature and learn to value it and to treat it responsibly. The Wanninchen Natural Landscape became an IBA project in 2005 in order to make protected natural habitats a firm part of the key IBA theme of »New Landscapes« and to raise awareness of other protected natural habitats in post-mining landscapes – like the Naturparadies Grünhaus at Lauchhammer and Saxony’s Naturschutzgrossprojekt Lausitzer Seenland, which parallels and compliments tourism on the post-mining lakes.

Wanninchen provides natural recreational space for locals and visitors. These include signposted circular rambling routes that help to guide visitors around the region and give them an ideal view of the landscape’s dynamic development. The extensive information and educational opportunities offered by the Heinz Sielmann’s Natural Landscape Wanninchen are vital. The IBA supports the Heinz Sielmann Foundation’s development and marketing of non-invasive tourism with an emphasis on environmental education.


Tourism development will take place mainly in the nearby community of Schlabendorf. A marina is being built there, but the Lake Schlabendorf will also be a place for gentle tourism and for relaxing in a natural setting. It is a question of finding the balance between culture and nature.

Download the flyer: Sielmann's Natural Landscape Wanninchen (827.8 KB)

Opening times

Heinz the Sielmann nature park center Wanninchen is daily opened from 10 to 17 o'clock


Entrance inclusive exhibition "Verschwundene Orte", nature experience playground and observation tower 2.00 Euro, reduced 1.00 Euro


Heinz Sielmann Naturparkzentrum
Wanninchen bei Görlsdorf
15926 Luckau


Phone: +49 (0)3544 – 55 77 55

Our Partners

Heinz Sielmann Stiftung
Naturpark Niederlausitzer Landrücken
Biologischer Arbeitskreis „Alwin Arndt“ Luckau e.V.


Go by public transportation or by car zum Sielmann Naturparkzentrum Wanninchen.

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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13