Nature today |  March 19 is the first Dutch Shell Counting Day

Nature today | March 19 is the first Dutch Shell Counting Day

In Belgium, the Naval Institute of Flanders is organizing a ballistic counting day for five years now. This year the Netherlands participates for the first time. Dutch organizations working in the field of biodiversity and knowledge of our beaches will help families, beachgoers and citizen scientists to map the shells on eight beaches. Sharing makes all your visits to the beach more fun, and the data helps the science.

Everyone can count: you stand on the high tide line and collect a hundred shells in an expanding whirlpool. With the help of the search card or the experts on the site, you can get acquainted with it. The data is aggregated and compared with that of the counters on Belgian beaches.

Big Serendipity Counting Day – Method (Source: VLIZoostende)


The count on March 19 is piloted in a limited number of places. There are volunteers on seven beaches in southern Holland (Ouddorp, Hoek van Holland, Kijkduin, Scheveningen, Katwijk, Noordwijk and Langevelderslag), and there is a Texel-based satellite. Naturalis in Leiden has a free day program with activities and a central “Schelpdesk”, where the really challenging genres are identified.

If it succeeds, there will be a national shell count in the future, in which more parties and volunteers will participate. And if you like it, it becomes an annual tradition, just like in Flanders. “Enthusiasts are often indispensable ears and eyes to scientists,” says Naturalis veneer expert Frank Wesling. “The days of shell counting in Flanders show that beachgoers’ observations provide good insights. In addition, participants learn about life on and around the beach.”

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more information

Dutch Shell’s first counting day is a joint initiative of Naturalis, the Dutch Royal Society, the Anemone Foundation, the North Sea Foundation, and the Strandwerk Community. More information and a clear search map can be found at

More information on how many days to count the Flemish crust can be found at

text: Natural Biodiversity Center
Pictures: taco van der eb† Frank Weslinga
Video: VLIZoostende

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