Dutch illegal militarism in Wadden Sea region


This 2016 video says about itself:

Dutch Wadden Sea (Waddenzee) – UNESCO World Heritage @ We Love Earth

On Earth, where water meets land, often life is most abundant. Here the two are in a very intimate dance – the ever-lasting tidal play in the Dutch Wadden Sea, one of the most beautiful landscapes of Europe, and one of its ecologically most important nature reserves, a UNESCO World Heritage site in its entirety.

Here life is at every level. Millions upon millions of migratory birds, with many populations depending on these feeding grounds for their survival. From a tiny hermit crab to the system itself, alive as it breaths, as it flows, floods and settles and forms – forms the most beautiful art of nature, only to redraw it all the very next day.

There are large populations of two different types of seals, the harbour seal and the grey seal – weighing up to 350 kilos, the largest mammal (on land) of western Europe – since the elk [moose in American English] and brown bear are gone.

Land is taken here, and land is formed. On those ridges that are dry long enough for the wind to catch the sand tiny dunes are formed – kept in place by marram grass, one of the bravest little plants of our planet, collecting fresh water from the rain and making a soil from nothing but sand. Furthest from the gullies clay is deposited in salt marshes, adding greens to a landscape of greys, browns, ochers, blues and white – and offering a shelter and spawning ground to many types of fish.

In other words, the Wadden Sea is vibrant – it is wild, it is strong, and it is very much alive.

The Wadden Sea is also threatened though. Threatened by forecasts of escalating sea level rise, threatened by an increasingly greedy gas industry – that wants to drill and even frack for gas, even though the land subsidence this extraction causes may speed up the relative sea level rise.

The Wadden Sea is strong and sturdy. But we cannot stand by idle as it drowns. We have to prevent the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the several metres of sea-level rise this causes. This means we have to stop fossil fuels. We also have to stop that same industry locally. No gas extraction under UNESCO World Heritage nature reserves. No gas drilling in the Wadden Sea!

For more information and to express support, please take a look at Gasvrij Waddenzee – the special page devoted to removing the gas industry from this unique natural landscape, one of the pearls of Europe and our planet.

Translated from the Dutch Wadden Sea Association today:

Until now, the Ministry of Defense has been flying illegally above the Wadden Sea region

You can hardly imagine it, but it is still true: Defense has been flying above the Wadden Sea Region for years without a conservation act permit. Last week a big article appeared in the northern press in which the facts become painfully clear. The flight movements of Defense above the Wadden Sea Region are increasing, they are disruptive and there is no conservation act permit for the activities. The Wadden Association has been urging for years that Defense should also comply with the Nature Conservation Act.

How bad is that, all those military activities?

Military activities have a negative impact on nature. The activities take up a lot of space and in large areas around military training grounds the peace of birds, seals, tourists and local residents is disrupted by military flying war games. For example, F16s that sometimes fly over the Wadden Sea to the Vliehors have a negative effect on the availability of habitat for birds. Furthermore, ammunition residues pollute the water, the soil and the air. Finally, sometimes something goes wrong during the war games. For example, a sand dune fire started on Vlieland last week due to a training bomb that ended up wrong. …

What does the Wadden Association do?

The Wadden Association has been critical of Defense for many years. After various legal proceedings and many questions in parliament, there appeared to be a breakthrough in 2008. The then Minister of Defense promised that a permit would be requested for all activities above the Wadden Sea Region. That has not happened to date. We continue to insist, ask questions, lobby and if necessary we will take legal action. We are pleased that various political parties in both the Lower House and the Provincial Councils are asking critical questions about this.

This is a July 2019 Wadden Association Dutch video on Wadden Sea problems.

New wetland wildlife film Wad, review


This Dutch video about the new film Wad, about the Wadden sea wetlands in the north of the Netherlands, says about itself (translated):

A film that portrays the ecosystem like never before; from very small organisms at the bottom of the food chain like diatoms and shellfish to the peregrine falcon and the gray seal at the top of the food chain. A film that shows the special aesthetic aspects of the area. A film that shows how incredibly dynamic and great the area is. A film that shows once and for all how valuable this UNESCO World Heritage area is. In the autumn of 2018 in the cinema to see.

On 26 October 2018, I went to see this new film by Ruben Smit (who earlier made the succesful wildlife film The New Wilderness).

The film starts in winter, the season when grey seal pups are born, and ends in the next winter, when a one-year-old grey seal returns to where it was born. Later in the film, one sees the smaller common seals as well.

Sanderlings play an important role in the film. These birds, which nest in the Arctic, are present in the Wadden sea area most of the year. The film shows some seldom seen images: I, for instance, had never seen a dunlin driving away a sanderling. Also, when it rains, young avocets hide under their parents.

There are also major roles for eider ducks and shelducks. Especially about the arduous journeys of the ducklings with their parents from the sand dunes of the Wadden sea islands to the sea. Journeys where predators may attack them.

There are also many images of how the sand, the water and the wind interact. There is constant change in these wetlands. That may also cause heartbreaking scenes; like when an Arctic tern is powerless to stop its nest and its eggs drowning in unusually high water.

A beautiful film. Worth seeing.

Dutch Wadden Sea wildlife, new film trailer


This December 2017 video is the trailer of a new film about wildlife in the Dutch Wadden Sea region. Including shrimps, fish, seals, eider ducks, peregrine falcon, little tern and others.

Film maker Ruben Smit made this video. The film ‘Wad; leven op de grens van water en natuur’ will be in the cinemas in the autumn of 2018.

Dutch Wadden Sea birdwatching video


This 18 October 2017 video animation is by BirdLife in the Netherlands.

It is about a couple walking in the Wadden Sea region. Suddenly, they see how much more beautiful their walk can be by birdwatching; as a spoonbill, a curlew, an avocet, a male eider duck and others fly past.

Dutch Wadden Sea wildlife, video


In this 11 October 2016 Dutch video, filmmaker Ruben Smit talks about, and shows the birds, seals, and other wildlife of the Wadden Sea region.

Dutch Wadden Sea – UNESCO World Heritage


This video says about itself:

Dutch Wadden Sea – UNESCO World Heritage @ We Love Earth

1 August 2016

On Earth, where water meets land, often life is most abundant. Here the two are in a very intimate dance – the ever-lasting tidal play in the Dutch Wadden Sea, one of the most beautiful landscapes of Europe, and one of its ecologically most important nature reserves, a UNESCO World Heritage site in its entirety.

Here life is at every level. Millions upon millions of migratory birds, with many populations depending on these feeding grounds for their survival. From a tiny hermit crab to the system itself, alive as it breaths, as it flows, floods and settles and forms – forms the most beautiful art of nature, only to redraw it all the very next day.

There are large populations of two different types of seals, the harbour seal and the grey seal – weighing up to 350 kilos, the largest mammal (on land) of western Europe – since the elk and brown bear are gone.

Land is taken here, and land is formed. On those ridges that are dry long enough for the wind to catch the sand tiny dunes are formed – kept in place by marram grass, one of the bravest little plants of our planet, collecting fresh water from the rain and making a soil from nothing but sand. Furthest from the gullies clay is deposited in salt marshes, adding greens to a landscape of greys, browns, ochers, blues and white – and offering a shelter and spawning ground to many types of fish.

In other words, the Wadden Sea is vibrant – it is wild, it is strong, and it is very much alive.

The Wadden Sea is also threatened though. Threatened by forecasts of escalating sea level rise, threatened by an increasingly eager gas industry – that wants to drill and even frack for gas, even though the land subsidence this extraction causes may speed up the relative sea level rise.

The Wadden Sea is strong and sturdy. But we cannot stand by idle as it drowns. We have to prevent the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets and the several metres of sea level rise this causes. This means we have to stop fossil fuels. We also have to stop that same industry locally. No gas extraction under UNESCO World Heritage nature reserves. No gas drilling in the Wadden Sea!

For more information and to express support, please take a look at Gasvrij Waddenzee – the special page devoted to remove the gas industry from this unique natural landscape, one of the pearls of Europe and our planet.

Wadden Sea seals counted


This video says about itself:

Grey Seals (Part 1/3)

18 July 2013

Shortlisted for KFF 2007 – International Documentary Shorts.

A large part of Celtic legend, Grey Seals have been revered in Ireland until recent times. Despite being protected by law, they continue to be prosecuted and in 2004 this culminated in the brutal slaughter of 60 seal pups at the Blasket Islands. This highly charged story is an account of a seal colony living on the very edge of Europe and on the very edge of survival.

Directed by: Jacquie Cozens

These two videos are the sequels.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands:

Seals in Wadden sea counted – 30-12-2015

“A little bit less common seals and a bit more gray seals compared to last year.” That’s the result of the count of the number of seals in the international Wadden Sea this year; researchers saw 26,435 harbour seals and 4,521 gray seals. That somewhat less common seals were counted was already expected. In recent years the growth became less and last year these seals had to deal with a flu virus which mainly in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein killed many seals.

Of the common seals, 7,666 were in the Dutch part of the Wadden sea. Of the gray seals, 3,544.