Conference program

Monday, 2 October 2023

  Travel Day  
14.00 - 21.00 CET Registration At Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden
18.00 CET EUROPARC Council meets Youth Core Team  

Tuesday, 3 October 2023

From 8.00 CET Registration Conference At Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden
10.00 - 11.00 CET Registration EUROPARC Members General Assembly At Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden
09.00 - 10.30 CET Meeting EUROPARC Sections representatives On invitation
09.00 - 11.00 CET Outdoor nature activity for youth To be prepared by Youth Core Team
11.00 - 13.00 CET EUROPARC General Assemby for members EUROPARC Federation  


14.45 CET

Welcome in Leeuwarden

15.00 - 16.30 CET

Inspiration Kick Off: Nature of humans - pathways to a true partnership

This session is co-created by Prof. Matthijs Schouten (Professor of Nature and Landscape Conservation at University College Cork (Ireland) and the Youth Core Team. Prof. Matthijs Schouten is Emeritus professor of Ecology and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University. Senior strategist at the National Forest Service of the Netherlands.

16.30 - 21.00 CET

Landscape Festival

The conference focuses on networking, knowledge transfer, information exchange. During this festival, conference participants, such as managers and policymakers, can learn about innovative developments, new or already applied approaches, methods and techniques useful for nature management and related areas. During the Landscape Festival, the focus is on experiencing.
We invite companies and organisations (National Parks, Protected Areas, Periurban Areas, Management and Implementation Organisations, EUROPARC Sections, EUROPARC Commissions, partners and entrepreneurs) to present their innovative products, processes and applications in the field of nature management and nature experience. Exhibitors are asked to respond to this as much as possible by presenting interactive demos or experiences.

Registration for presentations is still possible. Click here for more information.


18.00 - 21.00 CET

Networking and walking dinner

20.00 - 21.00 CET

Meeting EUROPARC Council and Section Representatives

On invitation

Wednesday, 4 October 2023

9.15 CET Different keynote speakers will help us set the tone for the Conference. Discover the questions that they will ask, and help us answer:

At Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden


Keynote speakers:

Opening session with Youth

  • Princess Laurentien van Oranje, director & co-founder number 5 foundation + Special Advisor for Rewilding Europe. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands is a social entrepreneur, writer, strategist and dialogue facilitator. Her work revolves around social and ecological innovation and intergenerational dialogue on socio-economic issues.
  • On behalf of outgoing Minister van der WAL keynote by Ms. Geertje van Hooijdonk, Director for Nature and deputy Director-General for Nature and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
  • Mr. Virginius Sinkevicius. European (Video Message)  Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries ; 2017-2019. For Minister of Economy and Innovation, Lithuania ; 2016-2019. - What is the significance of the Green Deal and European Nature Restoration legislation for our common future? What are the opportunities for nature, biodiversity and people? How can governments and protected areas, at European level (European Union) and within countries, cooperate and strengthen each other to achieve these objectives.
  • Prof. dr. Louise E.M. Vet, former director Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and Emeritus Professor in Evolutionary Ecology (Wageningen University), How to improve biodiversity together?
  • Signing of partnership agreement between EUROPARC Federation and Rewilding Europe
  Coffee Break  
11.20 - 12.30 CET

Our Landscape: learning from the past, preparing for the future 

  • Prof Dr. Ir. Theo Spek (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) together with students: ‘Landscape’: the relation between earth, nature and humans
  • Learning from 50 Years of EUROPARC: in this session, young people will meet and talk with the current and 5 former presidents of the EUROPARC Federation. How can we build upon our legacy? What are the lessons from the past that help us build the future?
12.30 - 14.00 CET Lunch  
14.00 - 17.00 CET

Workshops: interactive, relevant and practical

During these three hours, participants will have the chance to dive into a topic of their choice to co-learn and discuss with experts. Together, we will look at some of the most burning topics in nature conservation today, to learn how we can create the landscapes of the future.

Click here to find a description of each of the workshops.

Upon registration, you will be asked to indicate your first and second choice for these workshops.

Own choice
17.00 - 21.00 CET

Market Place 

As at previous conferences, there will also be a Market Place in Leeuwarden where networking is central. Here, we can meet, inspire and share information.

For whom?

All European Protected Areas, as well as EUROPARC Sections, Task Forces and Commisions of the EUROPARC Federation will have the opportunity to present themselves to the delegates of the EUROPARC Conference 2023.

Registration for the Market Place is still possible. Click here for more information.

18.00 CET

Networking and walking dinner

20.30 - 21.30 CET

Individual meetings of EUROPARC Sections 

On invitation

Thursday, 5 October 2023

08.00 - 9.00 CET

Start Field trips

A wide range of field trips is organized. Each trip will be inspiring and enable participants to learn and also share their experiences.

During the outward journey to National Parks and sites located in and around the Wadden Sea area, interpretive guidance about different landscape features will be provided by students.

Buses will leave Leeuwarden depending on the Fieldtrip between 07.00 and 09.00 CET. The buses will be in front of the Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden.

We ask participants in the registration form to choose which fieldtrip is preferred. Registration is on a first come first serve basis. 

Click here to find a description of each field trip wth the maximum number of attendees. 

Own choice
17.00 CET

Cultural Event 

Discover the museum and its exclusive underwater experience!

at Natural History Museum Leeuwarden
17.30 CET

Welcome and Dinner

A traditional Dutch regional "stampot' buffet

at Natural History Museum Leeuwarden
20.00 - 20.45 CET

Concert ‘Plant’ with Nynke Laverman

singer, songwriter and theatre-maker. After five albums she has released “Plant”, a whisperingly beautiful, penetrating musical trip. At the Jacobijner Church

in the Jacobijner Church 

20.45 - 21.45 CET

Dessert and Coffee

in the Jacobijner Church 

Friday, 6 October 2023

09.00 CET

Welcome and Where are we now? 

Led by Henk Smit (Former director agency WING Partner in space and development ) and Carol Ritchie (Executive director Directorate - EUROPARC Federation).

A joint back look at Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Introduction on Friday inspiration sessions

At Hotel Westcord WTC Leeuwarden
09.30 - 10.30 CET

Varieties of values and parks in our Landscapes.

Elements we need to find long-term harmony.  How do we harmonize?

Led by Kristian Bjornstad (Director. Norwegian Parks Association & Chair of the Nature Regional Landscape Parks Task Force) 

An interactive search

10.30 - 10.00 CET Coffee Break  
11.00 CET

Inspiration Sessions

This is the moment to get inspired! Let’s take one step away from our day-to-day work to ensure that when you leave the conference, you are full of new ideas.
Therefore, during these sessions you will hear about relevant topics, new developments in different national parks or other area’s, lessons learned during on the ground management within different cooperations. Be welcome to get into discussions with peers and to both bring in your ideas and get new ideas during these inspiration sessions!

During the three rounds you can pick three different sessions.

These sessions last up to 30 minutes each and are done three times in a row with 10 minutes changeover time between sessions.

Click here for the 14 topics are programmed for all three rounds.

Own choice
12.50 CET Lunch  
14.15 CET

Plenary completion meeting (statement)

Henk Smit, Carol Ritchie and Jan van de Venis:

Building a joint Conference Statement, based on experiences and findings during the Conference, with conclusions and take home messages, prepared by Jan van de Venis with youth, to be finalized in this meeting and handed over to EUROPARC Federation.”

15.15 - 17.00 CET Break, Free Time  
17.00 - 19.00 CET

Award Ceremony, Flag Handover

Signing session or Partnership Agreement

We will enjoy a special musical guest

Theatre De Harmonie (Middenzaal)
19.00 CET Closing dinner Theatre De Harmonie (Middenzaal)
21.00 CET Farewell party

Theatre De Harmonie (Accentzaal)

Saturday, 7 October 2023


Travel Day



We reserve the right to change or modify this program without prior notice. 

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