20 May 2019
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima advocated for scientific research into the risks of plastic pollution and climate change by attending the North Sea Meets Baltic Sea Science Workshop held in Warnemünde (Rostock), Germany on 20 May 2019 in the presence of the international press. They were introduced to Baltic Sea scientific facts by Prof. Ulrich Bathmann, Director of the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW), who hosted the Royal Couple, Minister-President Manuela Schwesig, and 50 invited scientists from Germany and the Netherlands. The Dutch King and Queen also were treated to a live micro-lecture on marine microplastics on the Baltic Sea beach adjacent to the IOW.
With the power of attorney granted by the VU’s Rector Magnificus V. Subramaniam, Dr. Heather Leslie of the VU’s Dept. of Environment and Health signed the Letter of Intent to intensify cooperation between 12 Dutch and German scientific institutions. The goal is to facilitate the scientists who are addressing marine scientific issues of marine pollution including plastic, eutrophication, climate change, sea level rise and coastal protection. The Letter of Intent on research regarding marine systems is the prelude to a Memorandum of Understanding to be developed and adopted in the coming months. The 12 signatory institutions include, from the Netherlands: VU Amsterdam, NIOZ, Deltares, TU Delft, WUR, NWO, and from Germany: IOW, HGZ, Leibniz U of Hannover, U of Rostock, Kiel University, Jülich.