The Siebengebirge has been a nature reserve for a long time. Today, many endangered plants and animals have found a home here, and there are strict rules to ensure that they can live in peace.
We humans are very welcome among them as long as we follow the rules of conduct. For us, there are hiking paths, forest inns and refuges.
Natura 2000 and Habitat Directive
The Siebengebirge is also a Natura 2000 site. That is to say it is part of a European network of protected areas in accordance with the European Union’s Habitats Directive and Bird Directive.
The Habitat directive, formally the Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, is a nature conservation directive. To clarify, fauna comprises animals, flora plants.
According to the Habitats Directive, the woodrush-beech forests, the woodruff-beech forests, the stitchwort-oak-hornbeam forests and of course the bats convey the Siebengebirge’s significance for Natura 2000. Moreover, there are the birds: nightingale, kingfisher, kestrel, eagle owl and many others.
Natural forest cells
The natural forest cells at the mountains Nonnenstromberg and Petersberg came into being already in 1987. At the Nonnenstromberg, we have 140-150 year old beeches, and oaks near the summit. Moreover, 155 and 120-year-old sessile oaks. In the natural forest cell at Petersberg, 145-165 year old beeches stand together.
Nature reserve since 1922/23
The Siebengebirge has been a nature reserve since 1922/23. Only the nature reserve Neanderthal (1921) and Lüneburger Heide (1921) are older.
At that time, the Weimar Republic, the Rhineland was part of the Free State of Prussia. In the midst of these difficult post-war years, the Weimar constitution of 1919 laid down nature conservation as State responsibility. In 1920, Prussia authorized its provinces to designate nature reserves. On June 7, 1922, the Siebengebirge was classified a nature reserve.
Since the Allied occupied the Rhineland, it was necessary to wait for the confirmation of the Allied High Commission for the Rhineland territories. Finally, on 20 January 1923, the classification came into force.
Nature Park and European Diploma
In 1958, the Siebengebirge received the status of a nature park according to German law.
On 15 October 1971 the Siebengebirge was awarded the European Diploma for Protected Areas. The memorial stone stands at Mount Weilberg. This diploma is awarded by the Council of Europe and is intended to safeguard biological, geological and landscape diversity. Since 1999 it is called “European Diploma for Protected Areas”.
Read more (German)
Natura 2000-Gebiete in Nordrhein-Westfalen – Natura 2000-Nr. DE-5309-301
Verschönerungsverein für das Siebengebirge (VVS)