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Friesland at Sea

A dynamic marshland coast that protects Friesland ánd reconnects it with the sea
Friesland at Sea

Northern Friesland literally feels like the end of the world. Roads and waterways end before or on the sea dike that disconnects Friesland from the sea. It has become an area that has to be passed in order to get to the Wadden Islands, but not a destination in itself.

This design takes one the most unique qualities of the Wadden Coast as a starting point: the tidal marshes. These marshes are not only very valuable from an ecological perspective (this type of biotope has almost completely disappeared in the Wadden Sea) but they are also beautiful, empty, open, rich, and tasty. Besides these qualities the marshes break the waves coming in from the sea, thereby reducing the pressure on the sea dike: an excellent coastal defence system. By enlarging the marshes, the necessity for strengthening the existing sea dike disappears. The result is a magnificent and ecologically valuable coast.

The elements and the open space are best experienced standing in the middle of the tidal marshes. These experiences are also vulnerable: by organizing all kinds of attractions they may disappear. This is why the design ‘Fryslan at Sea’ proposes to enrich this new marsh zone outside the dikes with new, accessible ‘Dobbes’ (round, elevated fresh water basins). These Dobbes can be used for camping, bird watching, swimming or sunbathing, while all these activities remain completely unnoticed for people on the other side! The Dobbes are constructed at the end of long dams that make the area accessible and stimulate the formation of the marshes.

Besides making a new marsh coast and making it accessible, the third step is connecting the Wadden landscape with the rest of Friesland. Friesland is famous for its lakes and the fantastic water network with numerous routes for sailing and ice-skating. Restoring these connections and making them accessible for boats and slow traffic on the roads next to it, once again connects the North to the rest of Friesland. This way, the Frisian Wadden Coast is an intermediary between the Wadden Sea and the Frisian lakes: an exclusive destination by itself, and a fantastic coastal experience. Once again, Friesland is at sea.

Design: Harro de Jong