Dutch Wadden Sea

The Dutch section of the Wadden Sea World Heritage lies between the Marsdiep by Den Helder and the Dollard in Groningen. Together it covers a total surface area of 2,550 km². The region contains 11 islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, which decline in size moving from west to east. When you look at the sizes and positions of the islands, you can see that the Wadden Sea is still influencing them. The islands erode along the western shore and expand on the eastern shore. In order to protect the Dutch inhabited islands from the sea, many dikes have been built along their Wadden Sea coast. Sometimes, salt marshes have evolved on the seaside of these dikes.

Changing landscapes

Just like in Germany, you find the characteristic channels, gullies and mud flats in the Dutch Wadden Sea which make this region so exceptional. The currents in the seawater and tidal influences (ebb and flood) are continually changing the wadden landscape. This is unparalleled. There are very few places in the world where the sea still has so much influence on the appearance of its surroundings.

Plants and animals

In the Dutch part of the Wadden Sea, you find large amounts of plants and animals. Seals swim in water and haul out on the various banks to rest or give birth. Around 8,000 seals are found in the Dutch Wadden Sea, including more than 2,100 grey seals. This is the majority of the grey seal population in the Wadden Sea. Fish, such as plaice, sole, herring and sprat, use the Wadden Sea as a nursery. Innumerable young fish grow up here, migrating later on to the North Sea. You also find a number of areas that are important for migrating birds and serve as breeding grounds. The uninhabited island Griend is an example, where thousands of birds breed yearly. Many migrating birds use the island as a high-tide refuge. During the hours around low tide, they forage for food in the vicinity.

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National Protection Area The Netherlands