Development of opportunities along the coast

The increasing effects of climate change are giving rise to countless challenges in the Wadden Sea region. The changes in temperature, precipitation (quantity and peak volume) and the rising sea level have made the banks of the Wadden Sea – the connection between people and the ocean – an urgent problem that requires vision and action. In the years to come, administrative bodies will develop measures to improve water safety and quality.

The commissioning parties have asked PRW to encourage the parties involved to use nature and its dynamic processes to our advantage to the greatest extent possible. This will ensure that the tidal flats, salt marshes and foreshores can rise together with the sea level, enabling a more natural defence against the rising tides. The area regularly rejuvenates, resulting in greater silt deposits in the Wadden Sea and gradual rising of the banks. We can allow low-lying agricultural areas to accumulate deposits to compensate for the soil subsidence caused by marsh oxidation, gas/salt extraction or other factors. This will also make them more resilient against the continually rising sea levels. As the Wadden Sea will in all likelihood be capable of rising together with the sea level (providing the sand nourishment volumes remain adequate), then the Wadden Sea can serve its purpose as a climatic buffer.

Role of the PRW:


Results to be delivered:

  • The contribution of salt marshes to water safety will have been incorporated into the dike reinforcement projects along the Wadden Sea coast as of 2021.
  • The management of salt marshes will partly focus on reinforcement of the natural dynamics to boost safety and conserve ecology (e.g. fish, connections between freshwater and saltwater, etc.)
  • As of 2022, allowing the natural accumulation of silt deposits in low-lying agricultural areas will be considered by the agricultural industry and government bodies to be a serious alternative to existing drainage and payment strategies.

Commissioning parties:

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
  • Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management
  • Provinces in the Wadden Sea region: North Holland, Friesland and Groningen
  • Natural Wadden Coalition

Follow-up action by:

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality