See our Special Issue of Noorderbreedte for the most tangible outcome of the event!

YWA first conference

On the 22nd of June 2017, the YWA had its first conference, followed by an excursion the day after. The conference would not have been possible without the enthusiastic cooperation of Stenden University Event Management students.


The event, entitled 'Ditching dikes?' aimed to openly discuss our attitude towards the sea, or as stated in the original advertisement:

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.

Speakers included philospopher Bas Haring and thought provoking ecologist Prof.Dr. Karsten Reise, who gave a surely inspiring talk.



Aftermath and media attention

The well attended conference hosted a number of organizations and did indeed cause quite some debate. As YWA, we were happy with the results, yet also saw some room for improvement. One of our goals is to make a next event even more international.

The regional television interviewed Eelke and Mans at the Wadden Sea coast and invited us over to the studio to explain the necessity of the discussion to a broader audience. We made a special issue of Noorderbreedte as a more lasting and widely distributed reminder of the day.