Arthur Oosterbaan


Ecomare-conservator Arthur Oosterbaan researches the mermaid's purses. - Photo by Sytske Dijksen

Arthur is an all-round field biologist. He’s been working for many years as curator and nature guide at Ecomare, the center for Wadden and North Sea on the island of Texel. Ecomare is a nature museum, a visitors center, an information center for the Wadden Sea World Heritage and a sanctuary for seals and seabirds.

When something unusual washes ashore on Texel, Arthur is present to find out what it is and make sure it’s handled properly. That is certainly the case when it’s a whale, and happening more often than you’d expect! However, in all those years, ambergris was only found once, in the intestines of a dead sperm whale. The animal was well past midlife, stranded on the sandbank Razende Bol near Texel on December 15, 2012. Ecomare sold the substance. From the proceeds, a wonderful hall was built exhibiting seven complete whale skeletons.

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