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Special Projects

Het huis dat met je hersenen speelt

Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture: Het huis dat met je hersenen speelt

By Special Projects
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Leeuwarden is not only the home base of the Dolphin Swim Club. In 2018, it was the Cultural Capital of Europe as well.
The event is an excellent opportunity for celebrating and highlighting local art. So naturally, when we were asked to participate in one of the first interactive expositions in the area of e-Mental Health and innovation, we couldn’t say no.

Het huis dat met je hersenen speelt

Het Huis dat met je hersenen speelt (the house that tricks your brain) is a collaboration between Jamzone and different parties from the North of the Netherlands. All professionals and pioneers in the area of healthcare, innovation and digital technologies. The house itself is an architectural masterpiece, where psychology, serious gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and design go hand in hand with healthcare. All innovations in the house are focussed on positive influence on the brain. 

Dolphins in Leeuwarden

 Hier een kleine omschrijving van de expositie van the Dolphin Swim Club.

VR goggles

Customised VR-goggles for World Animal Protection and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI)

By Special Projects
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fishing gear can be lost at sea for many reasons. This ‘ghost gear’ continues to fish and entangles and kills wildlife. Fishing gear now makes up over 10% of all marine debris. With 640.000 tonnes of fishing gear lost in our oceans every year, the ghost gear problem is growing dramatically. But, people everywhere are becoming part of the solution.

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI)

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is a global initiative for bringing players together from all over the world. The oceans have no borders, so what happens in Indonesia might affect people elsewhere in the world. In 2015, the World Animal Protection started off with the idea that the GGGI as a concept, could tackle the problem of ghost gear worldwide. The GGGI unites those committed to Reduce, Remove and Recycle ghost gear and Rescue impacted wildlife. 

Dedication to bringing dolphins and people together

Through our Virtual Reality content, we aim to bring people back in touch with nature, and especially cetaceans. Our UnderwaterVR goggles will be produced from recycled ghost nets. In doing so, we hope to inspire people and create awareness about this huge problem. 

Customised VR-goggles

The Dolphin Swim Club partnered with the World Animal Protection to raise funds and awareness for the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. To thank people for their donation, we created customised carton VR-goggles and two shorts from our Seal it with a Kiss and Wild Dolphin VR films.

VR goggles

Rotary Club: Isa swimming with virtual dolphins

By Special Projects
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Meeting Isa was a very special experience for us.
Isa, a very positive young teenager, suffers from a serious muscle disorder.
She had a long-cherished wish: to swim with dolphins in the wild.

Together with Rotary Koggenland, a community service organisation in the Netherlands, we organised an experience she will never forget.
Many thanks to Isa and her family, Rotary Koggenland, Anneke Koeckhoven, Rosalien van Dolder, Alex and of course our wild dolphin friends.


Seal it with a kiss

By Special Projects
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After the success with our dolphins, we decided to record a 360 degrees Virtual Reality experience with seals. We produced the film together with our partners from VIEMR at the Dutch seal rescue centre in Pieterburen. The seals in this video are released back into the wild as soon as their treatment is over.


Children in the hospital will especially enjoy this footage. It’s not easy to be young and hospitalized.
We hope to provide a sense of comfort when children see the seals in a similar hospital setting.

Six lenses

We shot the video using specialised gear, including a camera with six lenses. We opted to film rescue seals as the water in their home – the Wadden Sea – is too dark and visibility isn’t great. Besides, it’s a real challenge to find so many curious seals in the wild.


Nevertheless, filming this special wasn’t easy. You can’t tell seals what to do or where to look.
Yet we still managed to present the viewer with a sense of interactivity when watching the film using VR-goggles.
There are some curious seals, so we managed to shoot some awesome scenes.

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

By News, Special Projects
Reading Time: 2 minutes


In February 2019 our research assistant Georgia Smith accompanied the Dolphin Swim Club’s Marijke & Benno to California to start a collaboration with the Chariot Project in Stanford Children’s Hospital. Georgia is an MSc Human-Animal Interaction student from the University of Stirling (UK), and was provided with a scholarship by SCAS
During her research at Stanford, Georgia came into contact with Melissa Winke.
Melissa is the owner of Dogwood Therapy Services and President of Animal Assisted Intervention International.
She was very interested in her patients swimming with our wild dolphins.
And so Georgia and the dolphins made their way to Albuquerque!

“The dolphins are amazing.  I can see the applications for this could be huge for so many people.”

Dogwood works with people with a variety of disabilities, to participate in activities that are meaningful to them regardless of physical, cognitive or psychiatric disabilities. Georgia helped 22 of their patients to experience the virtual wild dolphins. It turned out the be a special day with so much joy!

Wild dolphins in Albuquerque

Georgia prepared a questionnaire about how the children experienced their first encounter with our wild dolphins. And while some of them were initially worried about sharks, they all had a wonderful time.
“You really feel like you are there.”
“The dolphins are cute – I like that the divers are saving us from the sharks.”
“I felt my breathing slow and calm. It made me want to go to a lake where we always used to go to. It brought back memories of that.”

And their reply to the question if they would like to do it again?
“Oh my god, thousand times over, every day!”

Photos courtesy of Melissa Winkle

Students of Olivijn organize inspiring activity with the Dolphin Swim Club

By News, Special Projects
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Every June, the Dutch primary school Olivijn organizes the Olivijnfestijn. This year, teacher Onno challenged the students of their Talentlab (an extracurricular class for bright children) to come up with an activity that they could perform together with children living with a disability. Student Sem wanted to have these kids experience swimming with wild dolphins. He wrote a beautiful letter to the Dolphin Swim Club, asking if we could help. And of course, we did not want to miss out on this inspiring activity!

Swimming with wild dolphins in Virtual Reality

So our intern Michael visited Olivijn last Wednesday. Together, the children swam with the wild dolphins in Virtual Reality. They had such a great time! The whole team, including teacher Onno and photographer Julia, had stars in their eyes. Thanks to Sem and the Talentlab, over 100 children could swim with the wild dolphins, and our seals as well! And on top of organizing this great event, the staff of Olivijn decided to donate the proceedings of the day to the Dolphin Swim Club. Thank you so much. You are heroes!

Special projects

Do you have an inspiring idea and do you want to organize a special activity together with the Dolphin Swim Club? Check out our Special Projects and get in touch with our team!