In early October 2016 the Lauwersmeer National Park was officially proclaimed a Dark Sky Park, which is special because it is the second Dark Sky Park in The Netherlands after the Boschplaat on the island of Terschelling. Nights in the Lauwersmeer lake area are dark enough to sometimes see the northern lights.
A Dark Sky Park is an area where darkness is maintained and visitors are welcome at night to experience the darkness and see the starry sky, something that is becoming increasingly rare as a result of nocturnal artificial light.
Humans are not the only creatures to enjoy a starry sky; animals also benefit from it because nocturnal artificial light can affect their life cycle and behaviour. Bats, for instance, don’t sufficiently look for food if darkness is limited.
The province of Groningen and the Dutch Forestry Commission jointly applied for the Lauwersmeer area to be designated a Dark Sky Park. Worldwide there are just 41 areas that can call themselves a Dark Sky Park.
Experience the darkness of the Lauwersmeer yourself during the Nacht van de Nacht (Night of the Night) that will be held on Saturday 29 October, during which a forester will take you from De Bosschuur into the Lauwersmeer National Park to explore what happens in the darkness. The walk is from 8 to 9.30 pm.