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Ditching Dikes?

June 22 2017, Stenden Leeuwarden

9:30-17:00 hrs

Rethinking our coastal defenses

The Young Wadden Academy (as part of the Waddenacademie) organizes a conference on the theme “Ditching Dikes”. The dikes along the Wadden Sea coast are the most prominent icons of our coastal defense system and strict legislation considering their management is prescribed by the government. At the same time, sea level rise forces us to rethink their form. Various initiatives, both in the Wadden Sea area and other parts of the Netherlands, are currently being carried out to explore alternative designs to ensure our safety.

The Young Wadden Academy organizes a conference to exchange ideas, perceptions, and visions on our attitude towards the sea and the dikes that separate us from it. The purpose of the provocative title ‘Ditching Dikes’ is to stimulate free thinking regarding consequences and possibilities of a Wadden area without dikes.  What are the implications for morphological, ecological and economic development? Could a landscape without dikes offer potential for agriculture, leisure and tourism? How would we manage and govern such landscapes? The multidisciplinary conference hosts state-of-the-art projects and research and addresses radical ideas from multiple perspectives.

June 22 Morning program:

09:30 Registration
10:00 Bas Haring (philosopher) will kick-off the program
10:35 Karsten Reise
10:55 Coffee break
11:10 Nynke Rixt Jukema
11:30 Stefan Hartman
12:10 Reflection
12:30 Networking lunch

June 22 Afternoon program, workshops: 

14:00 Workshop round 1
14:45 Workshop round 2
15:30 Workshop round 3
16:15 Drinks & Networking

Workshops by: Waterschappen, Waddenvereniging, IVN, Vogelbescherming, Archeobuild, Unesco, ETFI, Fryske gea,RUG resilience group

June 23 Excursion

The conference will be followed by an excursion on the 23rd of June.

Depature: 09:30. The location of departure is Stenden University, Rengerslaan 8. We will meet in the central hall of Stenden ( in front of the auditorium, right when you enter the main entrance of Stenden).

Around 17:00 the bus will be back in Leeuwarden.

We will visit three locations which show the existing relation between people and the coast in the Wadden Sea area:

  • Esonstad, a pseudo-historic tourist holiday resort, which is a portal to both the inland Lauwersmeer area and the Wadden Sea area.
  • Robbengatsluis, the sluice gate between the aforementioned freshwater Lauwersmeer and the Wadden sea.
  • Paesens-Moddergat, two fused villages at the foot of the Wadden Sea dike. The villages are a strong visual reminder of the importance of reliable coastal defences.

The excursion is free of charge and including lunch. However, we kindly request you to bring your own snacks since besides lunch, no food will be provided.

Interested in participating or contributing? Register free of charge with the form below. Please contact for any questions.