DU Wiki > Ă„mnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > The Netherlands by Sander Christiaan de Vries > The Netherlands, de Waddenzee by Sander Christiaan de Vries (Seminar 1)

The Netherlands, de Waddenzee by Sander Christiaan de Vries (Seminar 1)

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    Description of Wadden Sea (Dutch: Waddenzee)

    The Wadden Sea was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list by the World Heritage Committee on 26 June 2009. Both the Dutch and the German part [1]. The UNESCO describes it as: ‘the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world’. The site covers the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area, the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, and most of the Danish Wadden Sea maritime conservation area (see figure 1) [2]. A wide range of different plant and animal’s species are living in this area. Such as: seals, mammals and porpoise. It is therefore not strange that the area, even before being added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, has been protected for more the a hundred years [2]. This has been done by setting up laws, agreements, directives and treaties. Not only national level, but also on European and worldwide level. In Germany several national park have been developed for the Wadden Sea, and in the Netherlands the Wadden Sea is even being designated as a ‘State Natural Monument’. The label as a World Natural Heritage site has not altered the status of these protected parts. No new laws or regulations have been added [3]. 


    Figure 1: An overview of the Wadden sea [1].

    Why is the Wadden Sea Important?



    The Wadden Sea is an area that keeps changing all the time. The area has been doing this throughout several centuries. It’s unique because it has a lot of different landscapes which make up homes for more than a 10,000 animal and plant species [3]. It’s due to the change of tides from the water that makes the Wadden Sea an area like no other. Dikes, dry sand and beaches can be found, and the area also offers food for many kinds of animals in the area. It is also an essential stop and resting area for millions of traveling birds [3]. Without the perseveration of the Wadden Sea, all these animals and plant would be endangered.


    National Parks & Touristic regions



    The Wadden Sea National Parks in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are located along the German Bight of the North Sea [5]. They have been built in order to protect the ‘ecoregion’ of the Wadden Sea.  The regions also have a lot of tourist agencies, which have been working together. Providing the tourists the information they need, like the types of accommodations, events and tours the area has. Also a lot of information can be found on their official websites. Figure 2 gives an overview off the main tourism organizations surrounding the Wadden Sea [4]. Activities that people can enjoy at the Wadden Sea include tidal flat walking, birds and seal watching, going to the beach and swimming, hiking and cycling (see figure 3) [4].



    Figure 2: Overview of the main tourism organizations off the Wadden Sea indicated by an yellow dot.


    Figure 3: Tidal walking at the Wadden Sea [4].

    Managerial Challenges



    To protect and keep the integrity of this area, its first important that the tidal flat system (ecological process in which mudflats are created) of the Wadden sea is being maintained [2]. For this several factors are essential: conversation of marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems. For the protected area it’s also important that other activities are being integrated in the management of the property. These activities in the area include: fisheries, shipping and tourism [2]. 



    The Wadden Sea area has several threats that might endanger the protection and perseveration of the area. Fishing activities is one of them, too much of it will leave the sea empty. Harbors also have to be maintained and developed, and business facilities near the area can do harm through their oil and gas pipes. But also the impacts from climate change shouldn’t be forgotten as a threat to the area [2]. The three countries bordering the Wadden Sea, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, make up the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation which has been established in 1978 [1].  Together they discuss issues concerning the protection of the area and policies. Once every four years they all meet [1]. In this way a structure for the conservation and management of the Wadden Sea has been coordinated between the three countries. Topics that are being addressed include: finances, human resources, research, monitoring, resources, planning and management [2]. All of them are being discussed in order to keep the property of the Wadden Sea preserved, throughout all the three countries.


    Reference list

    [1 Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (2014) Celebrating 5 Years Wadden Sea World Heritage. Available at: [Accessed on 14-11-2014].

    [2] UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2014) Wadden Sea. [Online] Available at: [Accesed on: 13-11-2014].

    [3] Nordseetourism (2014) UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 13-11-2014].

    [4] Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (2014): Touristic Available at: http://www.waddensea-worldheritage.o...ristic-regions [Accessed on 25-11-2014]

    [5] Wikipedia (2014) Wadden Sea National Parks. [Online] Available at: [Accessed on 04-12-2014].

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    Comments (2)

    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all

    I really like your layout of the text meaning the headings that make reading more easier, also the reference system was good and clear. :) I was just hoping for a map where this is located and maybe some picture to give an idea what it looks like.

    Posted 14:11, 16 Nov 2014
    I think you should consider Marianne's comment, you need more pictures, especially in order to explain what attracts people to become tourists here. I think it would be also quite interesting to know more about who are the 'owners' of this heritage on the Dutch side. What are the organisations tourist/public/private that preserve it or try to take care of it, are there a national park or something like that, how the access to the areas is organised? Are there any restrictions? Best, Albina
    Posted 23:11, 21 Nov 2014
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