Skip to main content

Young Wadden Academy

The first five members of the Young Wadden Academy were installed on June 30 2016, during the 16th Symposium of the Waddenacademie, by Prof. dr. Pavel Kabat, member of the Supervisory Board of the Waddenacademie. May 13, 2019 the Supervisory Board appointed Melanie Bakema as the sixt member of the Young Wadden Academy.

The Waddenacademie decided to establish the Young Wadden Academy to encourage researchers to study the Wadden Sea Region, preferably in multidisciplinary teams.The Waddenacademie also wants to inspire young researchers to involve themselves more explicitly in policy that affects the Wadden Sea Region – policy that is sometimes of a politically sensitive nature.

The Young Wadden Academy also represents the next step in the plan of the Waddenacademie to rejuvenate research on the Wadden Sea. Thanks to its efforts, many dozens of young researchers – ranging from ecologists, economists, and public administration specialists to historians, geophysicists and so on – are now involved in Wadden-related research. The Waddenacademie believes that it is important for disciplines to work together now. New scientific breakthroughs must encourage and guarantee that we preserve and properly manage the Wadden Sea as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The six members are, in alphabetical order:

Dr. Melanie Bakema, Safety Region Groningen

Melanie finished her PhD at the University of Groningen (March 2019) about research into opportunities to make society more resilient and sustainable after disasters. Melanie is currently working at the Groningen Safety Region, who gave her the opportunity to contribute her expertise to the Young Wadden Academy.

Linkedin profile Melanie Bakema

Dr Bas Borsje, University of Twente

Bas has an MSc in Civil Engineering (cum laude) and a PhD for his research at the interface of ecology and sediment transport (cum laude). He has also received a prestigious VENI grant for designing nature-friendly floodplains as an innovative coastal defence measure. Bas combines three jobs: he is an assistant professor at the University of Twente, a researcher at Deltares, and an expert at Boskalis.  Right now he is involved in innovative dike reinforcement projects along the Frisian coast (POV Waddenzeedijken) and in planned mega sand suppletion measures in the outer delta of the Wadden Islands (Kustgenese2). As an expert in hydraulics and climate change, he is working closely on these projects with ecologists, policymakers, physical geographers and dozens of users, site managers and interest groups.

Profile Bas Borsje University Twente


Dr Stefan Hartman, Stenden University of Applied Sciences

Stefan recently completed his PhD in spatial planning and environment. In his research, he studies the tension between preserving and developing the environment and the quest for balance and synergy. In terms of theory, he is interested in how we can build the adaptive capacity and resilience of socio-ecological systems. As a senior researcher for the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), Stefan is involved in various projects in the Wadden Sea Region and in studies of relevance to that region, either as a project coordinator or as a researcher. He is also linked to the Wadden Sea Region as a senior lecturer at the School of Leisure & Tourism, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, for example in student projects, graduation research and in research assignments for the Master’s in International Leisure & Tourism Studies.

Profile Stefan Hartman on Stenden-ETFI


Dr Nora Mehnen, University of Oldenburg

Nora received her PhD in cultural geography from the University of Groningen in 2013. From 2013 to 2015, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the same university, where she participated in the WaLTER project, focusing on the socio-economic aspects of the trilateral Wadden Sea Region. Nora is currently working at the University of Oldenburg, where she has just launched a three-year project on population decline in four tourist communities in the German part of the Wadden Sea Region. She is also interested in protected areas, rural development and regional economy. Thanks to her German background, she is excellently placed to take the lead in achieving trilateral ambitions of the Young Wadden Academy.   

Profile Nora Mehnen