The weather has been remarkably dry, warm and sunny so far this summer in the north, and going for a swim somewhere in the region is a tempting way to cool off.
But summertime in the Netherlands is also the time of year when blue algae is likeliest to develop. Blue algae, or cyanobacteria, so named because of its characteristic blue-green colour, is a type of bacteria that thrives on photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and animals, with common complaints including skin irritation and respiratory problems.
Prolonged exposure to blue algae has been linked to higher likelihood of developing Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. However, the blue algae is a seasonal occurrence in the Netherlands, so there is little risk of long term exposure.
The provinces check the water conditions between May and October at least once every two weeks, but OOG TV reports that even in natural waters where no warning is in effects, people are encouraged to shower as quickly as possible after going for a swim.
The Northern Times has gathered a list of the spots in the region where swimmers are advised to stay out of the water due to the presence of blue algae. The vast majority of locations are fine for a dip – 75 percent were classified as excellent water quality and 17 percent as good quality as of late June – but if you want to avoid the pool and go for a swim in natural waters, be sure to double check what water conditions are at your nearest swimming spot.
According to Zwemwater.nl these are the swimming spots where a ban or warning is in effect in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland as of 17 July – you can visit the site to find the safe swimming spots in your neck of the woods (Last updated: Thursday, 19 July)
De Diepsprong: Langelilleweg, Langelille
De Leien: Bildreed, Rottevalle
Zwem- en surfcentrum: Markant, Balk
Swimplak Eastermar: Achterweg, Eastermar
Aldegeaster Brekken: Stasjonsleane, Oudega
De Swanneblom: Kleasterdijk, Slappeterp
Duinmeertje Hee: Kooiweg, Midsland (Terschelling)
Grote Rietplas: Emmen
Natuurbad: Zandlust, Tynaarlo
Lauwersmeer strand Brilduiker: Nieuwe Robbengat (near Lauwersoog)
Paterswoldsemeer, De Lijte: Haren
Proostmeer: De Elzen, Wagenborgen
Recreatieplas Kardinge: Groningen
Wedderberge: Urnenhoever: Weddenbergenweg, Wedde
Strand Kleine zwaan: Nieuwe Robbengat (near Lauwersoog)
Lauwersmeer strand Zeearend: Nieuwe Robbengat (near Lauwersoog)
Lauwersmeer, strand Iepelaar: Nieuwe Robbengat (near Lauwersoog)
Strand Meerkoet: Nieuwe Robbengat (near Lauwersoog)
Pagedal, Stadskanaal: Hoveniersweg, Stadskanaal
Plan Zuid, Oude Pekela: Vijverlaan, Oude Pekela
Zuidlaardermeer, Meerwijck: Strandweg, Meerwijck
Langebosch, Borgerswold: Veendam