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Large amounts fine sediment accumulate in some lakes, disturbing the ecosystem. EcoShape is developing knowledge about how to restore the ecosystem by removing this fine sediment from the lake and using it as building material for several purposes.

The Marker Wadden project shows that the natural and economic value of fine sediment is underestimated. EcoShape is exploring how fine sediment can be used for soil improvement, dike reinforcement, nature development or land reclamation.
The construction of the Marker Wadden has created a unique ecosystem: biodiversity has been enhanced, water quality has been improved and more leisure facilities have been created. Furthermore, a unique area has been established for scientific research.

Water Quality

The Marker Wadden is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Western Europe. Since the lake was closed off from Lake IJssel, the ecological situation has deteriorated severely because of the turbidity caused by fine sediments. The nature conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten and the Dutch government have joined forces to improve the natural environment in Lake Marken by capturing silt from the lake and using it as building material for an archipelago of marsh islands. The result has been the arrest of the ecological decline. The islands will be an attractive location for birds. After the construction of a ten-hectare trial island in 2014, the construction of a 600-hectare island began in 2016.

Knowledge Development

The development of the Marker Wadden is being monitored closely to develop knowledge about building with mud as a form of Building with Nature. Clay and weak sediment were used in the Marker Wadden to establish a productive marsh landscape. Each type of sediment is being studied to see how it behaves. This ecosystem has been opened from the outset for sustainable leisure activities; other sustainable features may eventually also be possible.

Export Potential

A lot of dredging takes place around the world. Dredged material is often considered useless. The Marker Wadden scheme will demonstrate that silt can be used for land reclamation, dike reinforcement and soil improvement. If the Marker Wadden scheme turns out to be successful, the knowledge acquired about building with mud in freshwater systems can also be used in saltwater environments in the Netherlands and other parts of the world.

Knowledge and Innovation programme Marker Wadden (KIMA)

The construction of the first phase of the Marker Wadden catalysed this development of knowledge and innovation. This programme will contribute to the efficient and effective construction of the first and subsequent phases of the Marker Wadden. The goals of this programme go beyond the goals of construction, not only geographically but also in terms of time and research themes. The KIMA comprises three components:
1. Fundamental and applied research and scaling-up of the practical applications of this research in the following areas:
• Building with sediment
• Development of ecological systems
• Adaptive Governance
2. Monitoring of the Marker Wadden
3. Coordination of all monitoring and research in Lake Marken and strengthening of the knowledge base in this area.


The applied research is being conducted under the KIMA programme. Valorisation will take place in a programme to be developed in the future and KIMA will therefore be managing the entire process from fundamental to applied research.


Fokko van der Goot
Fokko van der Goot
Programme manager


  • Deep sand extraction and ecosystem-based landscaping 18

    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

  • Deep sand extraction and ecosystem-based landscaping 10


  • Deep sand extraction and ecosystem-based landscaping 20