Thursday 21 November 2019

On Tuesday, 19 November Nynke-Rixt Jukema, on behalf of the Programme for a Healthy Wadden Sea (PRW), gave a presentation on Dark Sky for the Wadden Sea Forum. This is an independent platform of stakeholders in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands devoted to the sustainable development of the trilateral Wadden Sea. Sustainable development also involves recognition of the importance of dark night skies and opportunities to promote their economic potential through tourism. These efforts help to make Dark Sky a permanent fixture on the trilateral agenda.

Letter of intent

During its previous programming period (2015-2018), the PRW engaged in intensive collaboration with many parties to stress the importance of dark nights, the opportunities to increase nocturnal darkness and exploit its economic potential. In 2016, 43 parties in the Dutch section of the Wadden Sea region signed the letter of intent for the Dark Sky Wadden Sea Region World Heritage Site.

Experiencing dark night skies

A variety of parties, including the Society for the Preservation of Nature in the Netherlands (Vereniging Natuurmonumenten), the National Forest Service in the Netherlands (Staatsbosbeheer), the Federations for Nature and the Environment in the three Wadden Sea region provinces, the University of Groningen and Keunstwurk, have submitted a Wadden Fund application for an initiative to create more opportunities to experience dark nights. The PRW has played a connective role in the joint formulation of this programme .

Trilateral programme

Our present focus is on developing a trilateral programme. We recently had a meeting with our partners from the islands of Spiekeroog, Pellworm and Mandö, all of which are on their way towards achieving Dark Sky Park certification. The main purpose of this first meeting was to share experiences. While we are all working to make our night skies darker, it appeared that here in the Wadden Sea region, we have already gained a fair amount of practical knowledge when it comes to promoting the ‘dark sky experience’, for example by organising Night of Nights activities and offering special Dark Sky package deals. The other parties were quite interested in what we have learnt so far. Together, we confirmed our intention to set up a joint Dark Sky programme.

Dark Sky on the trilateral agenda

After having highlighted dark sky promotion in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site at the trilateral ministers’ conference in 2018, we were now invited to give a presentation to the Wadden Sea Forum. We have also scheduled a similar presentation for the partners in PROWAD. We seem to have reached a stage where more and more people recognise the importance of dark skies and the associated opportunities for tourist activities. We will certainly continue our efforts in this regard.

For more information, please contact Sonja van der Graaf, process and project manager at the PRW. 

E sonja.vandergraaf@rvo.nl 

T 06 1148 7120