Double winners of a Dutch nature contest win a trip to the Danube Delta

April 19, 2013

A contest for young professionals in The Netherlands on ideas to double nature in the country, has delivered two winners. An essay of Iris de Boer, together with a short film from Stefan Sand, Merijn Biemans and Christoph Janzing to “rewild” Dutch cities by adopting flagship species and support their comeback through an online platform, were the price-winners.

They received a price from Princess Irene from The Netherlands: an inspirational and learning trip to the Danube Delta rewilding area, organized by Rewilding Europe in cooperation with WWF in Romania. A second part of the price is an interview with the winners in the daily newspaper Trouw.

The contest “Wanted: Doubling Dutch Nature” was initiated by WWF Netherlands – one of the initiating organizations of Rewilding Europe – and the State Forest Service, with the goal to stimulate new thinking in how we deal with nature in this country. Nature today is too much associated with losses and problems, while nature should be a source of inspiration. The organizations wanted to challenge young professionals in the age between 18 to 35 years to come with ideas that could double the number of plant- and animal species by 2030. In total, 73 proposals where submitted.

Essay and online platform

The essay of Iris de Boer, a 20-year old student, impressed the jury. She expressed a desire not to be told by older people that in the old days, spring was full with sounds and new life. She wants to experience this herself, and wants to wake up and inspire her own generation for more nature and wild animals, in particular in and around cities and urban areas. Following actions for tiger and panda, she wants every town or city in The Netherlands to announce its own, native flagship species. People, young and old, should start actions for the protection and comeback for these species and their urban habitat.

Iris’ idea to bring nature more close to people, connected very well with the online platform designed by Stefan, Merijn and Christoph. These enthusiastic young professionals made a nice little film in which they show how nature can be part of our daily life again:

Their website is meant to bring together ideas of bringing nature and species back again, use each others’ knowledge how to do this, and inspire others.

The award

Frans Schepers, Managing Director of Rewilding Europe, explained more about the price the 4 young professionals won: a 5-day trip to one of the five rewilding areas. As The Netherlands is a delta itself, the choice was obvious: the Danube Delta. The extensive reed marshes, the natural flooding regime and the extra-ordinary birdlife in this area is a great reference for large parts of the Dutch delta.

In June, the price winners will be guided through the delta and can learn about the rewilding work on-going in this area, by the local team members of Rewilding Europe.

The jury of the contest “Wanted: Double Dutch Nature” consisted of Princess Irene, Stientje van Veldhoven (member of Dutch Parliament), Willem Schoonen (Chief Editor of Trouw), Theunis Piersma (Professor of bird migration at Groningen University), Chris Kalden (CEO of State Forest Service) en Johan van de Gronden (CEO of WWF Netherlands).

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