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'Artist impression' of Leffinge in a natural tidal landscape before dike building (10th century AD), © Middelkerke

5000 years of coastal evolution

The Flemish coast has a long and complex history. The modern landscape is the result of the interaction between both natural processes and human interventions. Although research into the history of this region has already provided us with a lot of information, many detailed questions still remain, for example, exactly how the coastline evolved over the past 5000 years.

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The Testerep project


Gain insight into how our coastline has evolved over the past 5000 years, through state of the art interdisciplinary scientific research

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With the use of computer modeling, we'll resurrect Testerep and learn about the human and natural impact on the landscape.

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Who are our stakeholders? How will they apply our research results? Which valorization projects are planned?

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Audio story Katrien Vervaele

The Testerep peninsula and its demise touches many: guides, theatre makers, journalists, coastal inhabitants ... It also inspired Katrien Vervaele, author and coastal lover with a big 'C'. Katrien was eager to write a book about this medieval drama and wanted to take the necessary time to do so. Unfortunately, she was not granted that luxury, and embraced the limited time she had left to write a haunting short story, starring Testerep and its inhabitants. 

Her friend Nancy Zwaenepoel transformed the text into a breathtaking audio story. The agreement was to publish it only after Katrien's passing.

The result: a tribute to Katrien, an audio story diving into the mysteries of our coast, a story of connection. Listen for yourself! 

With music from 'The Drowned Ballads of Testerep' by TG Vagevuur, composed by Peter Spaepen and performed by Elisabeth De Loore on the piano. Audio story edited by Bart De Smet (VLIZ) as part of the project 'Testerep: 5000 years of coastal evolution'.

Listen to the story on Soundcloud (in dutch)



The microworld of Testerep

Information about the evolution and demise of Testerep can be found in unexpected places. One of the most important sources of information is the microworld of Testerep. Not only (remains of) small organisms in the sediment are a treasure trove of information, but also the sediment itself can tell us a lot.

Last week, geologists from the VLIZ conducted intensive research on more than 100 soil samples taken from the Testerep survey area. They analysed the grain size of the sediment using a device developed specifically for particle analysis (MALVERN mastersizer 3000).

The grain size is very important information for hydrogeological modelling. In turn, these models will give us more insight on how Testerep possibly drowned.


First recordings for the Testerep documentary

Last week, the first footage was made for the upcoming Testerep documentary. The camera crew joined our team’s latest offshore survey. They filmed the different activities on board, such as corings and seismics.

The documentary will give an insight into the different scientific aspects of the project and how they all come together to tell the story of Testerep's evolution.

The documentary was made possible through the support of the VUB and the DOCVILLE filmfestival.

Read more about DOCVILLE