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Werelderfgoedcentrum Dark Sky

Working hub
of the Wadden

The entire Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO’s recognition of the uniqueness of the Wadden was the inspiration behind the creation of the new Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre, located in Lauwersoog harbour. Here at the centre, we are committed to fostering a healthy balance between people and nature in the Wadden, for the sake of future generations.

Join in

See, feel, hear and taste the extraordinary ecosystem of the Wadden, with your feet in the mud and the salt wind in your hair. Our community of scientists, students, volunteers and entrepreneurs works here all year round. They invite you to join them for a day.

Experience

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The World Heritage Centre Experience takes you on a journey of discovery. Learn about life in and around the Wadden Sea, watch how we take care of seals, find out how the tides work, roll up your sleeves and lend us a hand. Hungry after all that activity? Visit our restaurant and try one of our locally and sustainably sourced dishes.

Learn

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Dare to dream of a whole new world: a world in which there is a healthy balance between people and nature in the Wadden area. Together with the Dutch Institute for Nature Education and Sustainability (IVN), we are busy developing an inspiring educational programme for children, parents and schools.

Research

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In the World Heritage Centre, you will meet researchers and students: ecologists, biologists and other scientists, all studying life on and around the Wadden. Their goal is to learn more about the Wadden Sea’s extraordinary ecosystem. And you are invited to learn alongside them.

Meet

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Be part of our Community: a group of individuals, united by their shared love of the Wadden. Local entrepreneurs, conservationists and residents gather here. Students work here. Visitors hold meetings here. A place where people meet to work towards a common goal.

Hands-on

The World Heritage Centre is the working hub of the Wadden. Hard-working scientists, students, volunteers and entrepreneurs are on a journey of learning and discovery. And we invite you, as a visitor, to join us on that journey.

Where experiences are shared

Buy your ticket for the special Wadden Sea Experience at the desk in the entrance hall. As a ‘Wadden researcher for a day’, immerse yourself in the world of the Wadden, walking alongside ecologists, biologists and vets on their journey of discovery. Explore the secret lives of our tiniest creatures, such as viruses, bacteria and algae. Learn what the Wadden was like when nature had free reign and how the area has changed over the years. The Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre also triggers reflection. How can we preserve this beautiful region? And what role can I play?

Go out onto the roof of the World Heritage Centre to meet this country’s largest native predatory animal: the seal. While caring for seals here, we also study them. What do they use their whiskers for? And how do they ‘talk’ to each other? The roof area offers these beautiful creatures the fresh air, daylight and peace they need whilst visitors observe them at close hand.

Having enjoyed the Experience, treat yourself to lunch at our café, where all the food we serve is sourced locally and sustainably. In the evening, you can dine in our gastronomic restaurant offering beautiful views over the Wadden Sea. And if you’d like a tangible reminder of your visit, our shop sells products crafted by local artisans.

The World Heritage Centre is also the starting point for outdoor excursions. Sign up for a local mudflat hike, join a fisherman on a fishing trip or discover the best walking and cycling trails. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

Where learning is a joint activity

Here at the World Heritage Centre, we believe in learning together and learning from each other. Together with the Dutch Institute for Nature Education and Sustainability (IVN), we are busy developing educational programmes for all age groups. These range from programmes for primary schools to a ‘living lab’ where students and businesses can work together to build a sustainable future. The Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre is all about exploring, experimenting and learning new things.

Where research happens

Scientists and students gather here to learn more about the Wadden area and the relationship between people and nature. Biologists, ecologists and vets all spend time here observing sea creatures, conducting measurements and taking samples of life on the Wad. As they pool their findings, our knowledge about the area continues to expand. As well as being a field station for researchers, the centre also welcomes visitors. And students from around the world come and stay here in Lauwersoog to learn about the Wadden Sea.

The Sealcentre at the World Heritage Centre conducts studies into seals’ health and behaviour. It also conducts research relating to fishing and marine biology in collaboration with the Integrated Fisheries Foundation (Stichting Geïntegreerde Visserij).

Where valuable encounters take place

The World Heritage Centre welcomes researchers, students, volunteers and local entrepreneurs. Together we make up a community of people, united in our commitment to the Wadden and to a sustainable future. We meet regularly to share ideas about how to make the best use of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre. We look forward to enjoying similarly valuable encounters with visitors and local residents as soon as our doors open. The World Heritage Centre will continue to be a place where people can gather, hold meetings, host events and learn.

Building

The new Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre, located in Lauwersoog harbour, was designed by Danish architectural firm Dorte Mandrup. The materials used for the construction of this energy-neutral building were carefully selected to fit into its unique setting.

The assignment was to design a building to be constructed outside the dikes that would fit into the Wadden landscape. The materials used had to be able to withstand the local climate. Danish architect Dorte Mandrup came up with a wooden building that follows the contours of its surroundings, sloping down towards the sea.

Building

The new Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre suits its surroundings perfectly. Wood is an ideal construction material in areas prone to high wind, such as the Lauwersoog harbour.

The Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre will be built according to a design by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup. The assignment was to design a building to be constructed outside the dikes that would fit into the Wadden landscape. The materials used had to be able to withstand the local climate. The result is a wooden building that follows the contours of its surroundings, sloping down towards the sea.

The ingenious design includes vertical blinds that make optimal use of the natural light. They protect the inside of the building from the sun during the day and cut out light pollution at night. The glass facades create a near-seamless transition between the indoors and the outdoors. And the light and the ambience inside the building alter subtly each time the weather changes.

Sustainability

Sustainability is a key value of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre. The building will be energy-neutral and the materials we use will be recyclable. Our seal pools will be fitted with state-of-the-art water purification installations that comply with the latest sustainability and environmental standards.

Dorte Mandrup

Dorte Mandrup is a Danish architect, known for her analytical approach to architecture. Her designs are conceptually strong and innovative in terms of both form and material. She is known for her iconic designs, such as the Wadden Sea Centre on the west coast of Denmark and the Icefjord Center on a UNESCO-protected site in Greenland.

In the building

Entrance hall

The entrance hall of the World Heritage Centre is open to everyone. You don’t need a ticket. Our boat trips and mudflat hikes start from here, as well as various workshops, such as ‘cooking with seaweed’. You can also access the gift shop from here. Buy your entrance tickets to the rest of the World Heritage Centre at the reception desk, where our tourist information staff will be happy to answer questions.

Experience

From the first floor to the second floor and onto the roof: allow the World Heritage Centre Experience to activate and inspire you as you explore the Wadden Sea’s fascinating ecosystem. Discover the close bonds between people and nature here. Learn about the positive impact we can have on our environment, now and in the future. Find out how we take care of rescued seals, study the underwater environment and seek to unravel the mysteries of the night sky. This is your chance to meet us and work alongside us. And, who knows, your visit might inspire you to get involved in other ways in the future.

Research centre

Our building is a working hub where scientists and students study the extraordinary ecosystem of the Wadden. Our core focuses are marine biology and veterinary and microbiological research on seals. We are a living laboratory, researching a range of topics from fish and soil life to sustainable tourism and educating others about them, while making scientific research accessible to a wider public.

Wadhal

The Wadhal is our central foyer and can be accessed via the entrance hall. You can meet the local community here: the students, researchers, volunteers and other users of the building. This is where organisations that care about the Wadden Sea and the Lauwersmeer coast hold presentations, exhibitions and events, ranging from exhibitions of nature photos to presentations about the various green initiatives in the harbour. There will be something new to discover every time you visit.

Seal pools

There are seals swimming around on our roof - not just as a tourist attraction but because they need medical care. Some are sick; others have been injured by floating debris. We have one of the best equipped seal hospitals in Europe. We take care of the seals until they are ready to be released back into the wild. These icons of the Wadden Sea are our country’s largest native predatory animals. So while they are with us, we take the opportunity to study them. The one-way glass between you and the seals enables us – and you - to observe them without disturbing them.

Café

Take a well-earned break. Enjoy a cup of coffee or treat yourself to a lunch prepared with local products. Just what you need at the end of a long mudflat hike or the ferry journey from Schiermonnikoog.

Restaurant

Discover our range of gastronomic delights created from the best local organic products. Tip: our exclusive restaurant is worth visiting just for the beautiful views over the Wadden Sea.

Auditorium and meeting rooms

Here at the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre, we have all the facilities we need to host events and activities that reflect our ambition to shape the future of our world. Our auditorium seats 120 guests. We also have smaller meeting rooms and spaces for more informal gatherings. Plenty of opportunity to meet, learn and do business. The nearby overnight accommodation options also make this the perfect location for multi-day seminars, conferences or summer schools.

Learning by doing

How do we achieve a healthy balance between ecology and economy, fisheries, nature conservation and tourism? Everyone who has a heart for the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site is welcome to meet here to discuss such issues. And together with the Institute for Nature Education and Sustainability (IVN), we are busy developing a full range of educational programmes and activities for all age groups. No matter how many lectures, workshops and other events you attend, there will always be more to discover about this special area.

Location

Where land meets water. Between the Lauwersmeer and the Wadden Sea. The new World Heritage Centre in Lauwersoog nurtures the bonds between and people and nature in and around the Wadden Sea, the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands.

UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is this country’s only natural World Heritage Site. Around the globe, there are only 213 natural sites in total that are considered so important that they have been placed on the World Heritage List.

To be included on UNESCO’s international World Heritage List, natural and cultural sites must be deemed to be of outstanding universal value to humanity. UNESCO protects the sites on the list. These sites also advance mutual understanding between cultures.

The Wadden Sea became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. It was granted this special status because it is a young, dynamic area that is home to landscapes at all the different stages of development and it has an exceptionally varied ecosystem with over 10,000 different animals and plants. The Wadden area is the only natural World Heritage Site in the Netherlands. It is our duty and privilege to protect and maintain it.

Lauwersoog harbour and the Wadden coast

The World Heritage Centre will be located in the Lauwersoog fishing and yachting harbour, where people gather for work, research and recreation. The harbour is one of the drivers of the economy of North-West Groningen and North-East Friesland. Its ambition is to become the most sustainable and welcoming harbour in the Wadden area. The Sustainable Harbour Coalition (Duurzame Haven Coalitie) is an alliance that has been created specifically to encourage fishermen, recreation businesses, restaurants and nature organizations towards realizing this goal.

The Wadden Zee World Heritage Centre offers a platform for all local parties, entrepreneurs and authorities wishing to contribute to the innovative and sustainable development of the area. The Centre has an important role to play in attracting visitors from near and far to this unique tourist region.

Community

The World Heritage Centre exists to support a community of people with the shared ambition of fostering a healthy balance between people and nature, for the sake of future generations.

Join our community

The Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre’s mission is to enable people to experience the Wadden area first-hand and to show the world how unique and indispensable the Wadden Sea Heritage Site is. Our strength lies in our community – people with a heart for the Wadden. Day visitors and school parties. Students and researchers. Local residents and entrepreneurs. And all the partners involved in developing the Lauwersmeer area.

Would you like to get involved too? Join our community! Contact our relationship manager Miriam van Dijk: miriam.vandijk@wec-waddenzee.nl

Our partners

Entrepreneurs in the Lauwersoog area • Municipality of North-East Friesland • Dutch society of nature conservation (Natuurmonumenten)• The Wadden Academie • Noorderzijlvest Water Board (Waterschap Noorderzijlvest) • Lauwersoog Sustainable Harbour Coalition (Duurzame Haven Coalitie Lauwersoog) • Restaurant Schierzicht • NDC Mediagroep • Wadden Sea World Heritage (NL) • Hulp in Nood fishermens’ association • NG Shipyards • WadDuurzaam Foundation • University of Groningen • Lauwersoog Harbour Exploitation Working Party (Exploitatie Haven Lauwersoog) • Integrated Fisheries Foundation (Stichting Geïntegreerde Visserij) • Maniifest Lauwerskust • Dutch Institute of Nature Conservation and Sustainability (IVN) • Dutch forestry Commission (Staatsbosbeheer)

Initiators

The World Heritage Centre is an initiative of Sealcentre Pieterburen (Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen). In 2016, the Sealcentre set up the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre Foundation in partnership with the (Staatsbosbeheer), the Municipality of het Hogeland (at the time: the Municipality of de Marne), the Province of Groningen and the Lauwersoog Harbour Exploitation Working Party (Exploitatie Haven Lauwersoog).

Planning

Development of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre is in full progress. We and our partners are working hard to ensure that we will be ready to open in 2023.

2016

start of project

2021 – oktober

start of construction

2023

opening
2016
Start of project
2023
Opening

Donate via the Capital Campaign

We are looking for committed donors for our Capital Campaign. If you would like to contribute financially to the realization of the Wadden sea World Heritage Centre, contact Conny Oldenhuis: conny.oldenhuis@wec-waddenzee.nl. to discuss what you can do for us and what we can do for you.

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Cookies

Cookies Statement
The World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation makes use of JavaScript, cookies and web beacons to facilitate web browsing behaviour. We have formulated this cookie statement because it is important that everyone knows what is being stored on his/her computer. Of the three mentioned above, only cookies are stored on the computer.

Cookies
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What cookies can you find on our website?
Cookies can be divided into different types of cookies. The types of cookies found on our website are:

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If you want to remove your cookies completely, block specific sites completely or adjust your cookie settings, you can do so in your web browser settings. This process is different for each web browser. The steps for each web browser can be found below:

Privacy

World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation processes personal data. We do this to assist you in the best possible manner. In this privacy statement we try to sketch a clear picture detailing what happens to personal data. Eb & Vloed follows the rules as laid down in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If there are any unanswered questions after reading this document, please email these to info@wec-waddenzee.nl.

What is personal data?
Personal data are any information relating to an identified or identifiable person. Examples of personal data are: name, date of birth, home address, and domicile. This information is shared whenever an order is placed or when an account is created on the website.

Why do we process personal data?
Personal data are used for different purposes. The most important purpose is to finalise an order. Personal data are required for delivering the order to the right address and to correctly process payment of the order. In addition, personal data are stored to allow us to reach out to you in case a problem arises with your order.

What type of personal data do we process?
We process personal information for various purposes. Since this information is left behind in different places, we have compiled a list of all the personal data that are stored:

Data

What do we need it for?

First and last name

These are required for moments of contact and delivery.

E-mail address

The email address is required for all our email contact.

Home address and domicile

The home address and domicile are required for delivering the order to the right place.

Payment details

The payment details are required for processing, administering and verifying the payment.

Telephone number

This allows us to establish contact quickly in case of uncertainties about an order.

IP-address

This is used to adapt a website according to personal preference and allows us to intervene in case of abuse of the website.

We use the personal data for the following purposes:

Customer service

Customer data are left behind for us to know who we can contact and in what manner.

Newsletters

Newsletters are only sent out if and when permission has been granted to do so. It is just as easy to subscribe, as it is to unsubscribe, for the newsletter.

We do not intend to store and process personal information of people younger than 16 years of age. However, we are not always capable of controlling whether the person placing an order is in fact 16 years or older. In case you suspect that personal data are being stored of someone younger than 16, we would like to be informed. For the matter to be dealt with, send an email to info@wec-waddenzee.nl.

Cookies
The World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation makes use of functional, analytical, social media and advertising cookies. More information about cookies can be found on the cookies page.

Access and right to rectification
As stated in the Personal Data Protection Act, you always have the right to access your personal information and make the necessary changes. For access and rectification, you can email info@wec-waddenzee.nl.

How long do we store personal data?
We do not store personal data longer than necessary. The information recorded when placing an order will be removed from our system 30 days after the order. Personal data that are linked to an account are stored as long as the account remains active. In addition, you can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any moment, after which that information will also be removed immediately.

Disclaimer

You can visit our website without telling us who you are or sharing any information about yourself. However, in some situations we may need information from you. Say, for example, that we need to correspond with you or deal with a question you have asked or process an application. We will always make every effort to let you know before we look for personal information online.
This website uses a counter to keep track of the number of visitors to the site, the websites they have used and via which provider they have accessed internet. The results are reported in aggregate form only and cannot be traced back to individuals. Collected data will not be sold - or made available - to third parties other than in exceptional circumstances, e.g. because of a legal requirement. And remember: you can instruct us to remove your details from our database at any time.

Other legal information
The World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation takes the utmost care when producing, compiling and distributing the information on this website, but cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information in any way.
The Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre Foundation accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any form of damage caused by the use of - or incompleteness of – the information provided on this website.
The information and recommendations on this website can be amended without prior warning or notification.The copyright to this website is owned by the World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation or the third parties who made these visual and other materials available to the Wadden Sea Heritage Centre with prior permission. Duplication in whatever form may not take place without the prior permission of the World Heritage Centre Wadden SeaFoundation.

ANBI

The Foundation
The stated objective of the World Heritage Centre Wadden SeaFoundation (Stichting Werelderfgoedcentrum Waddenzee) is to give a qualitative boost to the ecology and economy of the Wadden area. To this end, we are committed to promoting understanding of - and support for - the preservation of nature and natural processes and to strengthening the sustainable economy in the Lauwersoog area.

The World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea Foundation and the Sealcentre Pieterburen Foundation are under the same leadership.

Objective
Our objective is to give a sustainable qualitative boost to the ecology and economy of the Wadden Sea area. To this end, we are committed to promoting understanding of - and support for - the preservation of nature and natural processes and to strengthening the sustainable economy in the Lauwersoog area.

2 The Foundation aims to achieve its objective with the help of the following:
a. exhibitions and awareness-raising initiatives;
b. innovation and education;
c. indoor and outdoor ‘Experience’ routes;
d. promotion;
e. research;
f. a wide range of resources that can be used to support the above activities.

3. The Foundation is a non-profit organization.

4. Collective labour agreement and salary structure:
a. The salaries of the staff of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre Foundation are regularly benchmarked against the salaries of staff employed by other similar organizations. The remuneration policy is reviewed periodically.
b. The Dutch Fundraising Institutions Association (VFI) guidelines and the Code of Governance for Charitable Organizations (Code Wijffels) govern the remuneration policy and the setting of the director’s salary.

c. The staff of the World Heritage Centre Foundation are employed by the Sealcentre Pieterburen Foundation. Since the two organizations form a personal union, the director does not receive a salary from the World Heritage Centre Foundation.

ANBI Status
On 1 January 2017, the Dutch tax authorities granted the World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea ‘ANBI’ status, which means that it was officially recognized as a charitable organization. The advantage to people wishing to make donations is that their gifts are tax-deductible. In 2013, the Dutch government ruled that in order to acquire or keep ANBI status, charitable organizations are required by law to publish certain information on internet. This is why we have included the above information about the World Heritage Centre Wadden SeaFoundation on our website.

Complaints
We have a formal procedure for dealing with official complaints. Official complaints should be sent to info@wec-waddenzee.nl and should include the following information:

- Name, address and email address of complainant
- Description of complaint
- Date of the incident to which the complaint is related.

Policy plan (Dutch)
Project plan
of the World Heritage Centre Wadden Sea

Annual report (Dutch)
Annual report 2016
Annual report 2017

Annual report 2018

Annual report 2019

Annual report 2020


Een samenvatting van het meest recente jaarverslag vindt u hier.

Activities (Dutch)
Activities