History of the Lauwersmeer

The area around the Lauwersmeer lake was given the name Lauwersmeer National Park on 12 November 2003. A turbulent history precedes the development of this unusual area.

Until 1969, the Lauwersmeer area looked just like the Waddenzee today. Streams, channels and the influences of the tides. Zoutkamp was a fishing port. Even as early as 1600, there were plans to dam the lake, but shipping was too important as a source of income at the time to implement this plan.

There were hundreds of victims following the Christmas flood of 1717, after which the Dokkumerdiep was closed with a lock. This resulted in the Dokkumer Nieuwe Zijlen (which means lock). In 1877, the Reitdiep was closed near Zoutkamp in 1877. From now on, tidal influences were no longer felt in the city of Groningen.


After the storm surge of 1953, the decision to close the Lauwerszee took more definite shape. This was a massive project. After it was completed, the flag even hung half mast during the visit of the Queen to Zoutkamp on 23 May 1969. The once bustling fishing village had lost its heart.

But the area around the Lauwersmeer soon magically turned into a fantastic nature area. The highest, most fertile areas were used for agriculture, and some parts were turned into a military training area or recreational area. For the most part, however, nature has been left to its own devices, with amazing results!

Lauwersmeer National Park can be explored in many ways: by foot, by bike, by boat or canoe. Here you are the guest of nature, enjoying the peace, the space, the beautiful skies and unusual animals. Let yourself be amazed by this wonderful place.

Share this page