Best Practice

Waddengoud and Texel lamb


Texel is the region´s largest island and this name is known worldwide for the local sheep breed. Still at present, Texel is a sheep island par excellence.


Until recently, however, most of the lambs sold on the island were cheap lambs imported from New Zealand. At the same time, farmers on the island themselves had difficulties selling their products and the local slaughterhouse almost had to close down due to lack of income. In 2003, the “true Texel lamb” project was started under the umbrella of Waddengoud.

Waddengoud (which means Gold from the Wadden area, the internationally recognised wetland area in the north of the Netherlands) is one of the best-known regional brands in the Netherlands. The brand Waddengoud is developed and managed by the regional development organisation Waddengroep. Waddengroep is active in the area for over 15 years and has developed an extensive network of farmers, small-scale food processors and handicraftsmen, trade organisations, restaurants, tourist service providers and fishermen. About 150 small businesses in the region use the Waddengoud brand for over 300 products. Waddengroep is very successful in development of new sustainable initiatives and small businesses in the region. These initiatives vary from sustainable fishery to energy generating techniques, from small processing plants to farm shops and touristic packages.

Waddengoud tries to communicate the ‘Wadden feeling’, which is familiar to a great part of the Dutch population. The region´s islands are tourist hotspots and most of the Dutch people have visited the area.

Development of the Texel lamb is a good example of Waddengoud activities.

The project aimed at creating a market for lamb meat from the island in order to provide better income possibilities for the farmers, restaurants and local butchers and slaughterhouse. Only lambs that meet the SPN criteria are certified and granted the Waddengoud regional brand. The certification involves all partners in the local supply chain: the farmers, slaughterhouse, butchers and participating restaurants. Together with the local tourist board and municipality, and with support from the provincial authorities and the Leader+ programme, various promotional activities and campaigns have been developed, e.g. the annual culinary lamb event.

At present, 28 sheep farmers participate in the ‘true Texel lamb’ project, together with one butcher and slaughterhouse, two processing companies, which make local specialities such as a lamb croquet, and 36 certified restaurants on the island. Apart from the restaurants, the products are sold in the local butcher´s shop, local supermarkets and restaurants on the mainland and also via internet with home delivery service in special boxes.

The Texel lamb case shows that a regional brand can provide guarantees for the products´ origin and serve as a communication and promotion tool and it also provides a good framework for regional development activities. In other words, regional branding is mainly a regional development strategy. In this respect, the results of the ‘true Texel lamb’ project are convincing. Based on the evaluation that was made for the Leader+ programme, which co-financed the project, we can conclude that the ‘true Texel lamb’ project strengthened local entrepreneurship and employment. All together, in 2008, over 300 lambs were granted the Waddengoud brand and sold on the island or through various market channels. This resulted in an extra value added of € 400.000 on the island, which is the equivalent of 11 new full time jobs or the conservation of 26 jobs in agriculture. The project also has had a significant positive effect on tourism on the island and has encouraged the farmers to care for the characteristic island landscape with its typical sheep sheds (schapenboeten) and landscape elements.


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Co-financed from the European Social Fund and the State Budget of the Czech Republic Spolufinancováno z Evropského sociálního fondu a státního rozpočtu ČR