City Profiles

Elmshorn - Germany

Main motivation for taking adaptation action

Elmshorn's main motivation for taking adaptation action is to ensure that the city's development, growth, and inhabitants are resilient in the face of future changes in the climate.

Adaptation strategy

Have you already developed an adaptation strategy?
We (will) integrate adaptation into existing relevant plans
Name of the strategy/ plan (If adopted)
"When the water comes from both sides": Building blocks of a mission statement on climate change adaptation in Elmshorm and the surrounding area
Summary of the strategy/plan
When the water comes from both sides", which aims to raise awareness about climate change and the necessity to respond accordingly to the risks, was developed in 2014 with the help of city representatives, public service agencies and five institutions of higher education in the Hamburg area. A key focus of the work was the scientific quantification of climate change impacts and risks such as heavy precipitation and flooding. In addition to raising awareness with this research, Elmshorn also hopes to unite relevant stakeholders and develop common adaptation strategies and measures.

Planned adaptation actions

Seeing as rainwater drainage poses the biggest risk to the city, Elmshorn plans to implement a number of rainwater drainage measures including the KAREL project (Klimaanpassung der Regenentwässerung Elmshorns und des Umlandes). This project, which will likely begin in 2016, facilitates the development of an integrated and regionally comprehensive concept for climate adaptation and makes improvements to the drainage situation in Elmshorn and neighbouring communities.

Good practice / spotlight item

The construction of multifunctional bodies of water
"Steindammsee" in the center of Elmshorn was originally designed as a recreation area but will now be used for additional purposes, namely as a retention basin. Seeing as Elmshorn is increasingly at risk of flooding as a result of climate change, the water level in the Steindammsee will be intentionally reduced when long-term weather forecasts predict severe weather. In order to do so, technical equipment such as the effluent weir must be converted, allowing pond drainage to be temporarily blocked. Such a dynamic body of water will give Elmshorn the ability to retain 20,000 cubic metres of water and thereby minimize the risk of flooding in the city. Biotope protection and the protection of species have also been taken into consideration throughout this project.
What sectors are concerned
  • Urban
  • Water management
  • Biodiversity
The Steindammsee in Elmshorn is used for recreation and storm water retention.

Climate change impacts

  • Sea Level Rise
  • Flooding
  • Storms

Key vulnerable sectors

  • Financial
  • Buildings
  • Health
  • Transport


Volker Hatje


50000 inhabitants

Contact person

Jörg Schmidt-Hilger


Mayors Adapt signatory

Date of officially joining Mayors Adapt

Oct 02, 2014

Last Update

Oct 18, 2016

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