Governance of the Wadden Sea

Adriaan F.L. Slob*, T.R.A. Geerdink, Christine Rockmann, S. Vöge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Wadden Sea is a unique area from ecological, geological and cultural perspectives and lies in the territories of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The trilateral cooperation on the protection of the Wadden Sea can be marked to start in 1978, although the countries already cooperated before that date. This article describes the evolution of the governance of the Wadden Sea during the more than 35 years of existence of the trilateral cooperation and shows the co-evolvement of issues and institutional arrangements over that period. The trilateral cooperation is built upon concerns from the 1960s and 70s about the ecological status of the Wadden Sea and has a focus on nature conservation, while later the sustainability paradigm came up which is covered by the Wadden Sea Forum. The latest development is the inscription of the Wadden Sea as UNESCO World Heritage Site, which gives an extra boost to the trilateral cooperation. This article describes several aspects that are important for the governance of the Wadden Sea, such as the levels of coordination, conflict regulating mechanisms, the role of science and scientific information, stakeholder participation, and juridical arrangements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Governance
  • International cooperation
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Sustainable development
  • Wadden Sea


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