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Why this program?

The Ems-Dollard is a beautiful and rare natural area, the only estuary of the Wadden Sea. One of the last places in the Netherlands where fresh and salt water come together. This makes it a special habitat for animals and plants. The Ems-Dollard lies next to important Dutch and German industrial areas. Nature and industry can go well together if there is a good balance. That is not the case now. If we do nothing, this beautiful nature area will be lost!

What is going on with nature?

Nature in the Ems-Dollard is seriously disturbed. There is too much silt in the water, causing a decline in the number of fish, birds and plants. The turbid water also prevents fish from migrating properly. In addition, there are too few suitable habitats for birds, fish and small benthic animals appropriate for an estuary.


In recent years, a lot has been happening around the Ems-Dollard and the Wadden Sea. Eemshaven is transforming into a national energy port and the chemical industry in Delfzijl is becoming more sustainable. Due to climate change, the sea level is rising and less fresh water is available for agriculture and industry. The quality of life is also under pressure, due to earthquakes, population shrinkage and subsidence.


In the Ems-Dollard 2050 Program (ED2050), governments, nature and environmental organizations and companies are working together to strengthen nature, the economy and quality of life. We want to achieve three goals: reducing turbidity,
strengthening natural habitats and mitigating climate change. Read here how we will achieve these goals in the periode 2021-2026.


In recent centuries, large areas around the Ems-Dollard have been reclaimed. This left little space where silt could settle. In addition, the channels have been made deeper and wider over time. Due to the stronger tidal current, more silt enters the Ems-Dollard, while less silt can settle. The silt particles constantly swirl up due to the frequent dredging and dumping. Because of all these changes, the waters of the Ems-Dollard became increasingly turbid.