Questions and answers from the sea

A visit to the Ostseestation Priwall

Who'd have thought. Pipefish, jellyfish, shrimp, gurnard and lumpfish – they all live in the Baltic Sea and almost seem to keep us company when we go swimming. The native sea dwellers might not be as famous as the clownfish Nemo, but they are just as fascinating in their own way, amazing around 15,000 visitors a year to the Ostseestation on the Priwall Peninsula.

Marine biologist Thorsten Walter turned his dream into reality here in 2007, establishing aquariums and a small environmental station in an old submarine pen. Not only can you look, but you might actually get to touch a crab or a real starfish. Thorsten Walter calls his concept “oceanography for everyone”, working patiently and passionately day after day and with a flair for education to make it a reality.


Many visitors with children come to him during school holidays and at weekends, but otherwise it is usually large groups, including countless kindergarten and school classes. In addition to tours through the Ostseestation, he also offers the children landing net courses, beach walks or microscope instruction. Adults too enjoy listening to Thorsten Walter reveal the secrets of the local underwater world, which usually finishes with one delicious fish recipe or another. “That's part of it”, grins the congenial marine expert. But does he like eating fish where he so lovingly protects his charges? Sure, and he prefers to buy it from the Travemünde fishermen who sometimes bring him exotic examples for his collection from their cutter trips.

Thorsten Walter is planning a move to the new waterfront project on the Priwall Peninsula in 2017, into a larger exhibition space. The concept is ready – from the visitor circuit and an exhibition on the history of the fishing industry to new display aquariums. He is working with Priwall investor Sven Hollesen, various charitable foundations and the Landschaftspflegeverein Dummersdorfer Ufer e.V. on the financing for the new Ostseestation. Fingers crossed!

And why is the plaice actually flat? Thorsten Walter's response: It isn't really, it just swims on its side!

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