The distribution and cover density of macroalgae (Chlorophyta, Ulvaceae) were estimated by means of aerial surveys in 1990 1992 in the Wadden Sea of Niedersachsen, an intertidal area of some 1200 km2 situated at the German North Sea coast. Each year, up to a maximum of 15% of the total area was covered by algae. The spatial distribution was heterogeneous. In some subregions the macroalgal carpets covered from 30% up to 60% of the tidal flats. The cover density was at its peak in 1990. Additionally, tentative ground truth investigations were carried out on species composition. Reviewing other reports of macroalgal mass development at various sites in Europe, it is assumed that in the German Wadden Sea the recent macroalgal blooms have to be regarded as a response to eutrophication, and will presumably remain a chronic problem for many years to come.