Symposium The changing futures of islands

16th ISISA Islands of the World Conference 2018

10 – 14 June 2018 Leeuwarden - Terschelling The Netherlands

The Waddenacademie, University of Groningen, KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Leeuwarden Cultural Capital of Europe 2018, Oerol and Sense of Place are organising the 16th Islands of the World Conference 2018 (ISISA2018) The changing futures of islands,  June 10 – 14 2018 in Leeuwarden and Terschelling (the Netherlands).

The conference will take place in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only such site that consists in an aquatic zone shared between three countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark).
The Wadden Sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world, with natural processes undisturbed throughout most of the area. In the Wadden Sea, over 6 million birds can be present at the same time, and an average of 10 to12 million birds pass through the area each year. The Wadden area includess 25 inhabited islands in three countries and several smaller vegetated islands and barren high sands. The total area of the islands is about 2,000 km2 and the Wadden Sea itself covers around 8,000 km2. The adjoining mainland is one of the oldest and most complex cultural landscapes in Europe and has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years. The Dutch and German part of the Wadden Sea was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. With the extension of the Danish part in 2014, the entire Wadden Sea is now on the World Heritage List.

The conference starts in Leeuwarden. The second part of the conference will unfold on the Island of Terschelling, which is the largest island in the Dutch part of the Wadden Sea.

The Conference is fully booked. You can sign up for the waiting list by sending an email to isisa2018(at)

Themes of the conference are:

-    Identity and people;
-    Geography and nature;
-    Economic development and
-    Governance

Read more about Themes and Sessions

Key note speakers:

Prof.dr. Beate Ratter (University of Hamburg)
Identity in „Liminality“; The Wadden Sea islands in a constant state of flux
Professor Harvey Armstrong (University of Sheffield)
The Economic performance of small Islands: challenges and oppurtunities
Prof. dr. Gert Oostindie (director KITLV)
Small-scale, insularity and (non-)sovereignty: postcolonial legacies and practices in governance
Dr. Pieter van Beukering (Deputy Director IVM / Director ERM MSc programme, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
The value of natural capital in small island societies: evolving perspectives”

Call for abstracts

The call for abstracts is closed now. 100 abstracts were submitted by scientists form all over the world.

More information

Important dates
Practical information

Preliminary programme

Preliminary Programme

Organising parties

International Small Islands Studies Association
Logo Leeuwarden European Capital of  Culture
Logo Sense of Place
logo Waddenacademie
Logo KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies
Logo Leiden University
Logo University of Groningen
Logo Oerol