Margarete Ida Boie – for a gentle island tourism

Juist is still desirable with its harsh, untouched natural beauty, but all beach islands will sooner or later face the risk of losing their natural character. Only if this document succeeds in reaching those among Juist’s visitors who want to protect its unique island nature, will it have achieved its aim.”

Margarete Boie (1880-1946) first came into contact with nature conservation from 1902 to 1904 when she worked as an unpaid intern at the West Prussian provincial museum in Danzig under its director Hugo Conwentz. At the time, Conwentz was preparing his concept on the conservation of natural monuments. As she lacked professional training, however, Margarete Boie saw no career prospects and decided early on to become self-employed.

Margarete Boie began her writing career in 1906 with her self-published book ‘Juist.’ Through detailed and vivid descriptions of flora and fauna, the young author sought to inspire vacationers to change their behaviour for the protection of the island’s natural riches. Her guidebook offers a practical implementation of Conwentz’s conceptual work.

With her longtime friend, the landscape painter Helene Varges, she intermittently worked for the Biological Institute on Helgoland.  Together they prepared illustrations for scientific papers published by the Institute, and Margarete Boie further improved her skills in biology. In 1911, the women moved to Sylt.

The island of Sylt and its population were the topic of several of Margarete Boie’s 28 books. Published in 1928, her novella ‘Holidays on Sylt” stressed in its lively presentation the need for island conservation through voluntary consideration from visitors.  She mentions: “The more man becomes the master of the earth, the more important it becomes to nurture, to care and to protect.”


Text: Marlies Dittberner, Roswitha Kirsch-Stracke & Dagmar Krüger (1997)
Translation and Editing: Sabine Dentler (Bonn), Anna Gyorgy (WLOE e.V., (2008)