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Adopted motions mark an important moment of national recognition for the transport needs of the Wadden Islands.

The House of Representatives recently took two important steps that may change the future of transport between the Dutch mainland and the Wadden Islands. Firstly, a motion was adopted calling on the cabinet to investigate what is needed to designate the ferry services between these islands and the mainland as public transport. Secondly, a proposal has been approved to investigate the possibility of using water taxis as small ferries.

The initiative for the first motion came from Tjeerd de Groot, member of the D66, and was co-submitted by Habtamu de Hoop of GroenLinks-PvdA and Eline Vedder of the CDA. These MPs note a remarkable gap in the Dutch public transport network: the absence of a public transport connection between the Wadden Islands and the mainland. The need for this connection is underlined by the high costs of reaching the islands and the fact that students cannot use their student travel product on the current ferry services. This situation goes against the principles of accessibility and affordability that generally characterize the Dutch public transport system.

The second motion, submitted by BBB MP Cor Pierik, focuses on the potential of water taxis. These smaller vessels, which operate both day and night, can provide a more flexible alternative to traditional ferry services. However, strict regulations currently limit their speed, especially at night, limiting their effectiveness in an emergency. Pierik therefore calls for a quick meeting of relevant parties to investigate the possibilities for these water taxis to be officially recognized as small ferries, which would increase their operational capabilities in the event of emergencies.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - House of Representatives

MPs note a remarkable gap in the Dutch public transport network: the absence of a public transport connection between the Wadden Islands and the mainland.

These developments can have significant consequences for the quality of life and accessibility of the Wadden Islands. Recognition of ferry services as public transport could drastically reduce travel costs for residents and visitors and improve mobility for students. In addition, relaxing water taxi regulations could increase responsiveness to emergencies, contributing to the safety of island communities.

The debate on these issues reflects a broader discussion about the role of public transportation and the need for innovative solutions to unique geographic challenges. It is clear that the connections with the Wadden Islands are not only crucial for the daily lives of the islanders, but also for the thousands of tourists who come every year to experience the unique nature and culture of the Wadden Sea.

If the proposals are implemented, this would represent an important step forward in ensuring sustainable, accessible and efficient transport options for one of the Netherlands' most unique and valuable regions. Time will tell how these plans will unfold, but the adopted motions mark an important moment of national recognition for the transport needs of the Wadden Islands.

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