Holwerd originally emerged as a terp village (mounded village) alongside the edge of the Wadden Sea. Fishing and trade were once important sources of income. Today, the village is best known as the departure point for the ferry service to Ameland, but it has also since been cut off from the Wadden Sea by the construction of a large sea dyke. Subsequently, the village and surrounding region of North-east Friesland has decayed: facilities are diminishing, unemployment is on the rise and historically valuable homes are left vacant.
For decades, countless plans have been developed to get the village and region out of this negative spiral. The citizens set up a working group themselves, aspiring to restore the connection between the village and the Wadden Sea. According to them, the plan for the fresh-salt water transition in the sea dyke does not just mean an economic opportunity for the whole region, as it offers opportunities for recreation and population growth; the dyke breakthrough is also an opportunity for increased biodiversity, water safety and improvements to the quality and sustainability of nature. What began as an ambitious dream in 2013, now seems to be slowly becoming a reality. The residents, various political parties and (social) partners have collectively embraced the plans.