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Waddenlab: Adventure at sea

From Vera Lippold

The Waddenlab was such a valuable and amazing experience for me and five other students from X-Honours! Together with a diverse group of students from Honours’ programmes from eight different universities we went sailing for a week, did a lot of research and learned incredibly much from and with each other.

Photo of the Waddenlab participants​

During the week, I gave a workshop myself on seaweed and nutrition. I study Creative business, but nutrition is a subject that I am fiercely interested in. I’ll come back to that later. Others gave workshops as well.

As a creative business student I have had little to do with physics or biological science stuff, so sometimes it was a little hard to understand because my background is so different. There were also students with a more scientific background, or educational, or students international law. You name it! We were all thrown into the deep end.  But that’s precisely the fun of such a project.

It is not an extension of my own study, but something completely different, with students from completely different studies and fields. Everyone learned totally new things, by studying them themselves and by what we learned from other people’s workshops.

Vera doing research at the Waddenlab.

Before I continue, you should definitely see the aftermovie to get the impression! By the way, I made that movie, which can be viewed as an extra mini-project.

Aftermovie of Waddenlab 2023

Many people had also never sailed before and now we had to sail together for a week. Other than that, there were cool excursions and we learned skills like rope knotting and did creative things. Oh, that’s right! I also took care of an excursion to the beer brewery on Vlieland where I work and I provided a beer tasting.
During the week, I came to know that there was an international conference about the Wadden and we could be selected for that. I applied and got selected. I’ll tell about it in a different story.

It was also incredibly fun and valuable to see what it’s like at honors programs at other universities. As students we have a lot in common and it is nice to find that together.

All in all, this week was an amazing experience that I’ll take with me for a life time!

My development on the X-Honours pillars

You can read about how I think my activities in this project relate to the pillars of X-Honours below. Click on a pillar to unfold the content.

Personal development

Personal development
The week was outside of my own comfort zone. I found myself learning to sail, growing on knowledge that is close to my deepest values. Such a project was exactly what I was hoping for and it has enriched me a lot. I also grew on general skills like collaborating, getting along with a diverse group of students and planning my work for the workshop.

Value driven behavior

Value-driven behavior
We were working on a subject that many people value and find important. The Waddensea is World heritage. And it was about nature. Nature and the planet have my interest, but now I learned to appreciate that in a new way. The fact that I could study a subject of nutrition and teach others about it, is very close to my core values and ambition as well.


You know, I also did a minor on Food Distribution in South Africa; Something that was a project in itself. Or actually two 😊 In another, different project, I started a documentary on the World planetarian diet. That too had to do with food (distribution) and the preservation of our planet. For these two issues I like to make my case! The Waddenlab added to this even more. Also learning and teaching others is one of my deep values.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

As you can read from my story, the approach of the whole week was very interdisciplinary. I went far beyond my own domain of Creative Business. Although we did not solve a particular solution with a team, during the week, we did collaborate a lot: In workshops, in preparing for a workshop, but also while sailing.


Nutritition out of seaweed is quite innovative. I studied this subject for the Waddenlab and was able to share my knowledge.
In my opinion, innovation doesn’t have to be a world-shocking invention. When you apply an excisting solution to a different subject, in a different environment, or a different public, that’s also innovation. On a small scale this was innovative for myself and to the group, as this is a unique event in which we all learned new solutions to problems we weren’t even familiar with.

Entrepreneurial behavior

Entrepreneurial behavior
To go sailing with a large group is something I never did and out of my comfortzone. Also, making a workshop myself about a subject that is totally new to me is quite entrepreneurial.
On top of that I showed a lot of initiative by making the aftermovie, and by hosting an excursion and beer tasting at the company where I work at Vlieland.

My free pillar

Free pillar
The free pillar I chose was called ‘Planet earth’ and you can imagine that studying World heritage The Wadden is a perfect fit with how I want to deepen this subject and experience a journey on The Waddensea.

Vera giving a tour at the Beer Brewery

Vera in front of the ship


Vera finished the three levels of X-Honours in the old format, so without boxes. When she would have done X-Honours in the new format, she could allocate her activities to both box 2 (DO) and box 3 (EXPERIENCE). This project and all that came to it is a great example of how doing and experiencing come together in one larger project or activity.
Box 3

The activity to join the Waddenlab and to be emerged in several subjects during the week, join the programme, collaborate with students etc. is a typical activity for EXPERIENCING (Box 3). You join something. You ‘consume’ activities that make you grow on your pillars.

Box 2
At the same time, Vera did some ‘mini-projects’ during her Waddenlab time that are typical for DOING (Box 2).

  1. She did research, prepared, organized and held a workshop about Seaweed and Nutrition.
  2. She organized a tour and a beertasting for the whole group
  3. She made an aftermovie with all that comes to that (filming, interviewing, arranging and editing and distribution/communication).

These activities can be allocated in Box 2.