‘Het Waddenfonds’ contributes 1.5 million euros to the project “The darkness of the Wadden region”. This project of the Nature and Environment Federation of North Holland, in collaboration with the University of Groningen, Staatsbosbeheer, Natuurmonumenten and the Nature and Environment Federations of Friesland and Groningen, aims to stimulate sustainable tourism throughout the Wadden region by experiencing the darkness. The total costs of this project are over 3 million euros.
Light pollution is increasing more and more in the Netherlands. If nothing happens, in 25 years the Milky Way will not be seen anywhere in Europe. One place where you can really experience the dark is the Wadden Sea World Heritage. To create new experiences in which darkness plays the leading role, to attract new tourists looking for peace and quiet to the Wadden coast, and to stimulate sustainable tourism, the project joins the forces of several organizations. These are Science LinX, the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute and GELIFES of the University of Groningen, together with Staatsbosbeheer (State Forestry Commission), Natuurmonumenten (Dutch Society for Nature Conservation) and the Nature and Environment Federations of the Wadden provinces. Also local organizations and entrepreneurs are involved and encouraged to participate.
To achieve its ambition, activities are organized all year round on the mainland and the islands in the Wadden area of Groningen, Friesland and North Holland. In Groningen, the Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer is the center of darkness activities. Since this is the darkest place on the mainland of the Netherlands, an observatory is currently being built here. Exactly how dark it is will be determined from measurements to which also visitors contribute. This will be done by for example star counts and darkness meters. The project also involves biological research into the influence of darkness on the life of animals and plants. All kinds of night activities take place under the title Night of the Wad: star gazing evenings, night walks and excursions, candlelight dinners, night music, lectures and workshops. Night of the Wad takes place four times a year around astronomically significant nights.
All these activities will attract new nighttime visitors to the Wadden Sea Region. In this way, the initiators want to use the project "The Darkness of the Wadden Region" to raise awareness about the necessity of preserving darkness. The aim is also to encourage recreation entrepreneurs to make their own lighting more sustainable and to promote darkness as the core quality of the Wadden Sea Region.
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