• Country: 
    Netherlands (Kingdom of the)
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    5,754 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    53°22'N 06°10'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The Site is a dammed estuary, which was part of the Wadden Sea until it was closed off in 1969. It includes a shallow freshwater lake, marshes, wet grasslands and arable lands. The Site boundary was aligned with that of the Natura 2000 Site in 2014, with a road and parking areas on the north side excluded, reducing the area by 36 hectares. It hosts more than 20,000 wintering birds and over 1% of the biogeographic populations of nine species of waterbirds. The Site supports threatened mammals such as the otter (Lutra lutra) and pine marten (Martes martes), and endangered breeding birds such as the ruff (Philomachus pugnax), bittern (Botaurus stellaris) and Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus). It plays an important role in water supply and the maintenance of the hydrological balance of the region. Human activities include tourism, commercial fishing, shipping, boating and farming. The main threats to the Site’s ecological character are the disturbance of birds by military training and tourism, non-industrial pollution and eutrophication.

Administrative region: 
Groningen and Friesland

  • National legal designation: 
    • National Ecological Network (NEN) - Lauwersmeer
    • National Park - Lauwersmeer
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • EU Natura 2000
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

Additional reports and documents