Successful weekend of marine litter picking and sustainability with Oris in the Dutch Wadden Sea


As part of the collaboration with the Swiss watch maker Oris, and in celebration of World Clean Up Day, this weekend saw specially invited guests spend two days in the Dutch Wadden Sea in order to pick marine litter and learn more about local efforts to make the Wadden Sea more sustainable
Over 20 specially invited guests spent this past weekend, 17th to 19th of September, in Lauwersoog in the Dutch Wadden Sea, in order to learn about the Wadden Sea, local sustainability initiatives and experience the Wadden Sea by sailboat.

Saturday was spent abord a flotilla of recreational sailing crafts, including traditional Dutch Wadden Sea boats, generously provided and excellently skippered by the Wadvaarders Association. The day was perfect for sailing, with mild winds and clear blue skies, and the 16 or so vessels took off from the harbour at Lauwersoog for the sandbanks of Het Rif, west of the island of Sciermonnikoog. Here guests and sailors spent a beautiful afternoon collecting over 240 kgs of marine litter, including glass, plastic containers and much litter from the fishing industry.

Marine litter is one of the key areas of work which the International Wadden Sea School (IWSS), one of the benefactors of the Oris Dat Watt collaboration, is currently involved in. The event was filmed with the aim of creating educational and instructional videos to be used by the many visitor centres who are core network partners of the IWSS. The removal of the litter was generously organised by the Noord Nederlandse Reinigingsdienst, a circular economy champion, who will recycle as much of the marine litter which was collected as possible.

The Watvaarders is a special interest organisation, with over 2000 members, which has worked for over 30 years as an ambassador for the sustainable use of pleasure craft in the Wadden Sea. The group is committed to treating the nature of the Wadden Sea with respect and are co-instigators of the Code of Honour for pleasure sailing in the Wadden Sea. They often consult with management parties on the development and protection of the Wadden Sea, in relation to water sports and sailing.

On Sunday the group was introduced to the harbour of Lauwersoog, which is currently working towards becoming a sustainable harbour. Several local initiatives where introduced, including the Great Plastic Bake Off and the yet to be built Wadden Sea World Heritage Centre. Participants were particularly impressed by the “Ecolution”, a sailing vessel that runs on hydrogen instead of diesel. Lunch was enjoyed at ‘t Ailand, a restaurant run by two local fisherwomen. The event was concluded with a Dark Sky Park excursion in the evening. Although there was full moon, the group learned a lot about the interaction between humans and darkness. The event was supported by the Prowad Link project, and was intended to show how the project partners can engage with SMEs in order to improve in opportunities for brand campaining.

The collaboration, which saw the launch of the Dat Watt watch in May of this year, is a part of a series of watches which Oris have produced with the aim of celebrating our marine heritage and while also highlighting the importance of the conservation of our oceans. Over the past decade, Oris has worked with non-profit environmental organisations and clean-up movements all over the world, so the collaboration with the Wadden Sea, a marine World Heritage Site, was a natural fit. 2021 is also the year that Oris SA became climate neutral.  

A further two events are planned in the next two years in Germany and Denmark, also with a focus on change for the better, education and marine conservation.

Wadvaarders ships. Copyright: CWSS