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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Sustainable Landscapes - The Wadden Experience

How to steer towards sustainability at the landscape level? In the Northern part of the Netherlands lies the World Heritage Wadden Sea Region. Within this region, human and natural landscape development is strongly intertwined. The region has a strong drive towards sustainable development. Many questions are unresolved however. How to combine mass-tourism with a sensitive natural area? How can wind parks, power plants, natural gas extraction, fisheries and agriculture fit in? What role is there for cultural heritage and identity? How to combine competitive economic activities with utter stillness?

The Sustainable Landscapes team of the University of Groningen in cooperation with the Wadden Academy welcomes you to explore these issues, both theoretically and through experiencing the Wadden landscape from within. Join us for a five day sailing trip with lectures by leading experts. The lectures will show you scientific perspectives from different fields. We explore the themes of cultural heritage; coastal tourism; landscape stewardship; regional food production; and sustainable enterpreneurship.

Each lecture is supported by cutting edge literature – which you can study in advance. In addition to the lectures, you will dive into socio-ecological modelling and social innovation. You and your 19 fellow participants will meet several stakeholders and .. you will be actively sailing the Wadden Sea!

Practical information
27 August - 1 September 2023
Advanced BA/MA/PhD students, Postdocs, Practitioners
Fee (TBC)

€ 450
Including the lectures, and five days and four overnight stays on board plus meals and drinks.

The boat trip will start at the harbour (ferry pier) of Holwerd and finish at the harbour of Lauwersoog. Travel to and from the harbours is the participants own responsibility and is not included in the fee. Both harbours are accessible by public transport.

Academic coordinators

Frans Sijtsma – Faculty of Spatial Sciences
Wander Jager – University College Groningen

Information on the ship


This course is developed for talented bachelor students, for master and research master students, PhD students and professionals in the field of spatial (landscape) planning, economics and business, landscape ecology, human geography and fields of interdisciplinary landscape studies.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

In a curriculum that unites critical reading, thinking, and discussion with hands-on experience, the participants

  • are familiarized with recent theories and methods of ecology (bird-migration), cultural landscapes, landscape stewardship, sustainable agriculture
  • develop a keen perspective on the meaning of sustainability for the landscape
  • learn to think across conventional boundaries between landscape, ecology and agriculture


Preparation: 20 hours
Lectures and modelling on board: 52 hours
Written assignment: 12 hours

Upon successful completion of the program, the Summer School offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 84 hours (3 ECTS; 28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions; therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Course schedule

The summerschool starts on Monday August 28 at 10:00 in Holwerd (the pier where the ferryboat for Ameland leaves.

The Willem Jacob will be moored at next to the place where the Ferry leaves

Holwerd can be reached by a train-bus connection from Groningen in about 1.5 hour.

The summerschool ends on Friday September 1 at 17:00 in Lauwersoog harbour. From there a bus connection is available to Groningen.


The Route

We will sail the following route:

Monday August 28 (8:20 hightide at L’oog, 19:48 high tide Terschelling)

Welcome, introduction & sailing instruction

Sailing to the west, setting the ship dry – ecology lecture

Lunch lecture and walk

setting sail for Terschelling

Evening walk


Tuesday August 29 (20:57 high tide at Terschelling)

Cycling tour Terschelling

Lecture history

Evening sailing to Ameland – star gazing


Wednesday August 30

Day on Ameland


Cycling tour

Reflection on sustainable tourism


Thursday August 31 (Nes 9:25 high tide)

Sailing to Schier

Lunch lecture Sanderine

Walk on the island, visit Tuin naast de Branding

Evening lecture

Friday September 1 (12:15 high tide + 149)

Breakfast lecture/village walk

Sailing to Lauwersoog

17:00 closure

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis but spots are limited. Please note that you will be asked to upload the following documents with your application:

  • CV (max 2 pages)
  • Letter of motivation (max 1 page)

There is limited space available on the ship, we can only accept 20 participants. If you want to join this summer school, send in an application sooner rather than later.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants can expect a response within one month. Applications will close on 1 May 2023

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Last modified:04 August 2023 12.07 p.m.