The International Blue Flag Jury has awarded 140 Blue Flags in the Netherlands this year, an increase of nine percent on 2011. The distinction was awarded to 52 Dutch beaches and 88 marinas, setting the country squarely among the leaders in Europe. Pieter Bosma received the certificate and Blue Flag on behalf of De Valk Monnickendam’s watersport centre De Zeilhoek at a recent ceremony in Noordwijk aan Zee.
The ceremony took place on 25 May in Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk aan Zee. Jury president Patrick Poelmann declared that watersport centre De Zeilhoek was authorised to fly the Blue Flag in 2012 in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Willem-Alexander, who subsequently opened the season by hoisting the flag on the beach of Noordwijk.
Twenty-five years of Blue Flag
The Blue Flag campaign was launched worldwide in 1987. The Dutch municipalities of Ameland, Noordwijk, Veere and Schouwen-Duiveland, as well as Marina Dellewal on the island of Terschelling, participated in the campaign from day one. De Zeilhoek received the Blue Flag for the seventh time this year.
Safe and clean beaches and marinas
The Blue Flag is an international distinction awarded every year to beaches and marinas that satisfy certain safety and hygiene criteria. In practice, this includes clean water, proper sanitation and a high degree of safety. The Blue Flag is valid for one year – beaches and marinas are inspected again every year to see whether they continue to meet the requirements.
With its Blue Flag campaign, the Foundation for Environmental, Safety and Quality Certification (Stichting Keurmerk Milieu, Veiligheid en Kwaliteit, KMVK) involves Dutch authorities, businesses and holidaymakers in caring for clean and safe water, nature, a healthy environment and sustainable marinas. The Blue Flag is an international symbol of recognition for the efforts of coastal resorts and marina owners, while tourists and holidaymakers recognise it as a well-known guarantee of good beaches, clean swimming water and safe harbours. Blue Flags are awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an independent international organisation.