Connecting wetland centres across the world

Het Zwin

Het Zwin

Name of organisation: Province of West Flanders i.a.w. Agency for Nature and Forest Management

Funding support:  public funds, EU funds

Number of staff: 5

Number of visitors per year: 80,000

Overall aims of the centre

1: maintain the Zwin Nature Reserve as an important link within the N2000 network on the East Atlantic Flyway

2: to be a main ecotouristic attraction point at the coast based upon the surrounding nature values and a contemporary environmental educational interpretation thereof

3: to act as an entrance gate for the entire Zwin region

4: to be a leading example of sustainability out of respect for the surrounding nature values

Description of the centre

Size: 158 ha (after 2013: +120 ha).  Types of habitat: mud flat, salt marsh, dune. Species supported: European Tree Frog (Hyla arborea), White Stork (Cyconia cyconia). Activities run: guided tours, Interantional Bird Spotting Day, The Zwin on Stilts, …  Exhibits: temporary exhibitions on biodiversity, arts, etc.  Location: North Sea coast at the border between Belgium and the Netherlands (20 km from Bruges)

Main CEPA work areas

Specific activities aimed at: the broad public, primary schools, secundary schools

Organisation of workshops and congresses (e.g. annual Honey Bee congress)

Top three successes


Top three challenges

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage; site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre;  Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre;  Building / maintaining structures


Working with disabled people;  Engaging hard-to-reach groups; Engaging young people; Engaging the local community;

Working with volunteers

Education and communication

Early years education; Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools;  Developing resources / materials


Auditing / assessing effectiveness;  PR and marketing; Running effective administration;  Project planning

Website address:

Address: Graaf Leon Lippensdreef 8, 8300, Knokke-Heist, Belgium
T: 050 607086  F: 050 622000  E:
Description: Coastal sanddune site – Includes large numbers of White Storks – Also captive collection of shorebirds.
Contact: Kris Struyf

The WLI network is endorsed by the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and coordinated by WWT.


Wetland Link International
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, GL2 7BT, UK
T: +44 (0) 1453 891214
E: Twitter: @wetlandlink