VLIZ turns 20! | Compendium Coast and Sea

VLIZ turns 20!

We are writing on 1 October 1999. With the support of the Flemish Government, the province of West Flanders and the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), VLIZ is officially launched. The institute takes up its temporary residence in the caretaker's house of the Valcke company in the Victorialaan on the eastern bank of Ostend, with Jan Mees as its director. A year later, a ten-member 'crew' forms the still young institute that wants to be a point of contact and support for the marine sciences.

They threw themselves into a very varied range of tasks with full dedication and always ready to serve anyone with a fascination for the coast and the sea. They developed - later on at the InnovOcean site at the Wandelaarkaai and at the Marien Station Oostende at the Slipwaykaai - a wide range of services to support the more than 1500 marine scientists in our country: coordination, point of contact, oceanographic data management, sea library, scientific communication, research infrastructure, etc.

Since then, the institute has continued to grow and break down boundaries, both in terms of scope and effectiveness, as well as in terms of the range of tasks, the workforce and the available infrastructure. Twenty years after its creation, the VLIZ workforce has increased tenfold, we own a state-of-the-art research vessel (RV Simon Stevin), three unique marine robots in addition to many other highly specialised equipment, and we are ready for the construction of a brand new accommodation. VLIZ is a fully-fledged scientific institution, anchored nationally and internationally in numerous networks and projects.

In just about every field of work, we have always explored the boundaries of innovation, and from time to time we have managed to break those boundaries as well. Our field of work now covers the world's oceans, and even when measured in terms of time, there seem to be hardly any restrictions. The government has granted us an extension of our mandate, so that for some years now we have also been able to put a great deal of effort into top-level multidisciplinary research, well-founded policy advice in relevant dossiers and support for the 'blue economy'.

The focus is always on building a sustainable world from a professional yet warm institute and on the basis of sound scientific studies. A world that offers future generations every opportunity and in which the seas and oceans receive the attention they deserve.

To celebrate this anniversary with its network, VLIZ is organising various activities throughout the festive year 2020. On Thursday evening 28 November, the kick-off was given with a festive session in Ostend. Other activities will be announced on the VLIZ website and various news channels.