After a chance encounter with a wild dolphin, followed by over two decades of fascination with cetaceans, artist Marijke Sjollema founded the Dolphin Swim Club in 2015. The art-project quickly grew into an organization that uses the healing power of art and nature to craft therapeutic experiences in Virtual Reality. The unique VR content is currently being used as a drug-free medicine in over 3500 hospitals and healthcare institutions worldwide and is present in several scientific studies. In 2017, the organization developed waterproof UnderwaterVR goggles that allow users to swim in real water, with virtual wild dolphins, and experience real therapeutic effects. As well as providing an entirely cruelty-free alternative for so-called dolphin-assisted therapies with captive dolphins.
the Dolphin Swim Club
Sjollema | Founder & Creative Director
Marijke divides her time between her studios located in Sweden, at the seaside, and ‘the Dolphin Swim Club House’ in the Netherlands, situated well below sea level. Ever since she first encountered, by chance, a wild bottlenose dolphin in 1993, she has been enchanted. Resulting in a journey for over two decades to meet and sometimes swim with free dolphins and whales all over the world.
‘Nothing has spoken more to my imagination than staring into the eye of a cetacean, there is a sense of a very soulful being good willingly looking back at you. There always seems to be this element of magic around whales and dolphins. In all these years I have seen so many people being profoundly moved. This is the experience we would like to share with you. For anyone who can’t be out there in the oceans (all the time) the amazing technology of VR will bring them home to you! And better still, the dolphins stay in their own home, the free oceans of the world!’
Brada | Producer
Benno Brada has a long background in business consultancy (Nijenrode University, Harvard). He brings in all his expertise and energy to manage the Dolphin Swim Club. With his wife Marijke Sjollema he shares a profound love of cetaceans and he has accompanied her on many oceanic adventures.
Lysanne | Communications
As a little girl, Lysanne Zalm was already fond of dolphins and her dream was to become a dolphin trainer someday. A dream she has now exchanged for a nobler mission: the conservation of cetaceans in their natural environment. She does this by promoting the goals of the Dolphin Swim Club as broadly as possible, for example through communication consultancy and giving presentations and demos.