Short note on a long history

Zoölogisch Station Den Helder
'Zoölogisch Station' Den Helder

Coordinated research on animal life at sea in the Netherlands began in 1872 with the founding of the Dutch Zoological Society. The Society owned a dismountable building that soon was referred to as "de Keet", which would be used as a field station until 1890. In general, no more than five people were at work here, including the first directors who would carry out their research unsalaried. In 1877 the building was stationed in the city of Vlissingen. From here, a schooner departed for a fist scientific cruise to the English coast and Helgoland during which the five crew members collected marine animals with a 'schrobnet'. From 1931 onward, the Dutch government financially supported the Zoological Station, which significantly strengthened its ties with the biological faculties of universities by organizing student courses. The economic crisis however set a limit to the expansion with additional staff. After World War II, the workforce expanded with reserachers on temporary positions, financed by ZWO, the forerunner of the NWO. In 1957, director Verweij submitted a proposal to widen the scope from biology to chemistry, physics and geology, which was instantly approved. In 1960 the Zoological Station was renamed the 'Netherlands Institute for Sea Research' and a year later the first issue of Netherlands Journal for Sea Research was released. The institute expanded and soon appeared too small to accommodate some 150 employees. Besides, the potential for intake of sea water in Den Helder was too limited. In 1969 the NIOZ moved to the 'provisorium' a temporary housing in polder 't Horntje at the Frisian island of Texel and only in 1977 the new building was opened. Since 1990, NIOZ is part of NWO and has been disincorporated from the Dutch Zoological Society. As per 1st of January 2012, NIOZ has merged with the former NIOO-CEME (Centre for Estuarine Marine Ecology) in Yerseke. The institute now has two locations, one on the Island of Texel at the border between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, and about 100 km north of Amsterdam, and one in Yerseke, southwest Netherlands, in the delta area, some 150 SW of Amsterdam.