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The sea and us

Welcome to our exhibition for young and old!

The sea! Mystical, exciting, beautiful! About two thirds of the earth's surface are covered by the sea. Therefore, the sea is an enormously important space for mankind. It serves as a habitat, as a transport and trade route, as a source of food or simply as a place for recreation and sports. And although the oceans play such an important role in the history of mankind, only about 5% have been explored. At the same time, these 5% are excessively exploited and managed to supply people around the world with marine products. Often at the expense of ecosystems and marine organisms. On top of that, the sea also serves directly and indirectly as a trash can and garbage disposal for all kinds of pollutants. Whether it’s heavy metals, oil, microplastics or any kind of garbage - all of these can now be found in the world's oceans. There is no doubt that the sea needs our help!

In the exhibition "The sea and us" we deal with exactly these topics - the uses of the sea and marine pollution - and we want to show you what everyone of us can do, to contribute to the protection of the oceans. Of course, a huge and recurring topic is garbage, especially plastic waste. Throughout the whole exhibition, care has been taken in using materials that would have been generated as waste in the daily operation of the Haus des Meeres. So, it is not surprising, that recycling and upcycling are important focal points of the exhibition and can be found at several stations.

The topic is designed to be exciting for both adults and children, and our shark "Sharky" will guide you through the different areas of the exhibition. At some stations there is the possibility to participate actively. We invite you not to be shy and to join in.

Sharky and the team of the Haus des Meeres wish you a lot of fun at "The sea and us".

World Ocean Day 2023

According to rough estimates, up to 12.7 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans every year. There, it causes immeasurable and sometimes irreparable damage to wildlife and entire ecosystems. 
It is high time to take action against the causes of pollution. In 2009, among other reasons, the United Nations established World Ocean Day for this purpose.

Ocean’s end?

On June 8th this year the Haus des Meeres depicted the escalating pollution of our oceans with a captivating, interactive installation. For this purpose, we strategically covered the mural at the entrance, depicting an underwater landscape, with plastic waste that visitors could remove themselves. However, you can contribute even more: try to avoid plastic waste whenever possible and recycle it when it cannot be avoided. Because every plastic bag that doesn't end up in our oceans is an important step in the right direction.

More information about the pollution problem:

General Info

  • Only about 5% of the world’s oceans have been explored so far
  • Only around 7% of the world’s oceans are currently protected
  • Humans are accelerating natural extinction by a factor of 1000

Mass tourism

Half of all garbage found on Mediterranean beaches is due to tourism. A great majority of this waste is plastic.


  • Annually 13 million tonnes of garbage end up in the oceans. That’s more than a full garbage truck per minute!
  • The biggest garbage patch is located in the North Pacific Ocean and covers an area the size of Central Europe.
  • Annually 1 million seabirds die because of ocean garbage.
  • 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to waste in the ocean.
  • Ghost nets are fishing nets which have been lost and float in the ocean, posing a danger to marine life.

Plastic waste

  • The majority of plastic finds its way to the ocean via wastewater and rivers.
  • 150 million tonnes of plastic are in the oceans (80% originated on land). Half of this total is from single-use plastics.
  • 70% of plastic waste sinks to the seafloor.
  • For sea turtles, plastic bags are especially problematic, as the turtles confuse them with jellyfish and eat them.
  • Plastic waste breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually becoming microplastics. Microplastic is defined as plastic bits which are smaller than 5mm.
  • Microplastics are eaten by animals in the ocean and travel through the food chain, ending up on our dinner plates.
  • By the year 2040, there will be more plastic waste than fish in the ocean.
  • Bioplastics (plastics made from renewable resources) break down only somewhat faster than normal plastics in cold water.

Degradation times for waste

  • Newspaper – 6 weeks
  • Apple core – 2 months
  • Cardboard packaging – 2 months
  • Milk carton – 3 months
  • Plywood – 1-3 years
  • Wool socks – 1-5 years
  • Cigarette butts – 1-5 years
  • Plastic bag – 10-20 years
  • Foam buoy – 50 years
  • Styrofoam cup – 50 years
  • Tin can – 50 years
  • Aluminium can – 200 years
  • Plastic cup holders – 400 years
  • Plastic bottles – 450 years
  • Fishing line – 600 years
  • Disposable diaper – 450 years
  • Glass bottle – undetermined

Ocean’s end?

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Recycling & Handicraft

Animal plant pot
Bottle yarn dispenser
Finch bank
Bottle Turtle
"Catch-me-if-you-can" shark game