Focus on Denmark's marine environment. We wish to contribute to a sustainable balance between the use and the conservation of marine resources.

We welcome ideas - let's talk!
We challenge different types of organisations and stakeholders to enter into a collaboration or partnerships to implement innovative projects, which will enhance the sustainable state of the Danish marine environment. We are curious and open to new ideas. Please find our contact information below.

The true state of the marine environment
In Denmark, the sea is always nearby, as you are always less than 52 kilometers from the nearest coast. The coastline spans more than 7000 km, making it one of the longest in Europe. The sea is used intensively for recreational activities such as kayaking for kayaking and other recreational activities. Furthermore, Denmark has a strong commercial marine industry.

However, only a few Danes are aware of what is happening below sea level.

According to the report, ’Status og muligheder for det danske hav’ (in Danish) 95% of the Danish coastal waters do not meet the objective of good environmental status. This is among other things because the marine resources are not always used in a sustainable way. Moreover, the sea is affected by pollution from other countries, climate change and invasive species that challenge the existing ecosystems.

 The report 'Status og muligheder for det danske hav'  (in Danish)

A Danish marine environment in balance

We wish to support projects that will contribute to a Danish marine environment in balance where the resources are used sustainably. A Danish sea with a healthy ecosystem that concurrently represents a diverse base for revenue and experiences.

What do we support?

We prioritise innovative projects with a positive environment effect, that bring knowledge and stakeholders together, e.g. by:

• raising awareness of the Danish sea
• providing strategic analysis across the interests of various stakeholders
• initiating specific demonstration and pilot projects
• focusing on the market and commercial structures that affect the Danish marine environment
• focusing on externalities and pricing

Who can apply?

We support innovative, long-term and scalable projects - like the partnership between multiple stakeholders - that will help make Denmark a more sustainable country.

The application process

All applications must be submitted via our application portal. Please find the link at the bottom of this site.

Read more about the application process, from start to finish here

How to apply?

The grant area 'Environment' can be applied for all year. We have no application deadline for projetcts focusing on the Danish marine environment. 

Before you start writing your application please contact us for a dialogue about your project.

Supported projects about the marine environment 
The effect of the increase in storms on coasts and shallow water areas

Professor Lars B. Clemmensen, University of Copenhagen, Geology

Donation: DKK 2 million

Due to climate changes, storms will increase in both strength and frequency. This will increase the impact on the Danish coasts and coastal seas.

The project will use existing data to increase the understanding of the effect of storms on two different types of coast (barrier/lagoon at Rødstrand on Lolland as well as on the coastline at Gilleleje in North Zealand). The new knowledge will be used in a model to better predict the effect of storms on shallow water areas.

The project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Copenhagen, GEUS and Aarhus University.

The sea forests

Professor Marianne Holmer, Head of Department, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark

Donation: DKK 2 million

Sea forests represent an important element in carbon sequestration, as they store far more carbon per hectare than forests on land. This makes it possible to include sea forests in the national carbon accounts.

The project will use existing map data, environmental monitoring data and sedimentation data to create a national map with an overview of the existing propagation of eelgrass, kelp forests and salt marshland, which constitutes the Danish sea forests. A map will also be created to show the potential for the prevalence of the sea forests. The maps will be used for recommendations for administration as well for economic valuation of the sea forests.

The project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, Aarhus University, GEUS and DTU Aqua.

A plan for Øresund sea (Havplan Øresund)

Professor Bo Riemann, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Donation: DKK 2.5 million

The project 'Havplan Øresund' will create a model for sustainable development of the marine environment in Øresund, which includes both environment, industry, economy, job creation and welfare. The model will be based on an ecosystem-based approach.

The marine plan is being developed in collaboration with authorities and other administrators of the sea areas, commercial interests and NGOs. It will incorporate knowledge and data from existing sources. This will highlight the economic and social conditions and consequences of the utilisation of the coastal and seas area of ​​Øresund.

The many layers of data and knowledge of the area have not previously been collected and analysed to assess synergies, conflicts and scenarios for future development in the region. Thus, the project will be the first example of a plan for the Danish marine areas.

The project is a collaboration between researchers from Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen, GEUS, DTU Aqua and Niva Denmark.

The coastal zone as a purification plant

Professor Jacob Carstensen, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Donation: DKK 2 million

Emissions of nutrients from land make up 70% of discharges into the marine environment. Most readings of the marine environment have been carried out on deep water, and therefore there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how the coastal zone is affected by the nutrient discharges.

Based on new and existing marine environment data, the project will develop models for the coastal zone's turnover for nutrients from land. The models will contribute to recommendations for better administration of the coastal zone.

The project is a collaboration between researchers at Aarhus University, GEUS and the University of Copenhagen.

Micro-plastic in sea

Senior Researcher Jakob Strand, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Donation: DKK 2 million

There is a lack of an overall knowledge about sources, occurrences and environmental impacts connected to different types of (micro) plastic in the sea as well as relevant analytical methods. Increased knowledge of these conditions will contribute to more focused research, technology development and administration.

The project will continue with existing knowledge about micro-plastic in the Danish sea and focus on the difference between micro-plastic types to identify the most environmentally harmful types as well as their occurrence in the marine environment.

The project is a collaboration between researchers at Aarhus University, DTU Aqua, University of Copenhagen, GEUS and Aalborg University.

Five new synthesis projects

DKK 10.5 million for five projects on the Danish marine environment that will gather knowledge, researchers and stakeholders with a focus on the balance of the ocean's ecosystem.


Plastic waste in the sea is a growing problem for animals, ecosystems, tourism and business, and it is necessary to stop the unsustainable situation that plastic waste currently ends up in the marine environment.

In December 2015, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS granted DKK 8.9 m to the project 'A sea of opportunities'. Through unconventional partnerships, new business models, green technology development, behavior modification as well as dissemination activities, the project will investigate and reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. The project is spearheaded by Plastic Change, the Ecological Council and the Danish Plastics Federation.

Plastic Change

Read more about the project here


Rocks and reef structures on the seabed are vital habitats for many animals and plants. During the past century, large rocks from the seabed have been collected for use in e.g. harbor buildings and piers. Today, only 5 % of the rocks and reef structures are left on the seabed, as compared to the situation 200 years ago.

In December 2015, the Association Als Stenrev was granted DKK 10.4m from THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS to the project "Restoration of five boulder reefs."

The Association Als Stenrev will conduct a restoration of five boulder reefs in the waters around the island of Als as well as establish a shallow dissemination reef at Sønderborg Beach. The shallow reef can be accessed by people of all ages without diving experience.

Foreningen Als Stenrev

Read more about the project here.


It is crucial that fishing is done with respect for nature, fishermen and consumers.

In December 2015, WWF Denmark was granted DKK 7.7m to the project ‘Low impact fish – from sea to plate’. The project is a unique partnership lead by WWF Denmark and includes the Danish Association for Low Impact Coastal Fishing (FSK) and Fiskerikajen. 

The partnership will work for a better distribution system, that the coastal fishermen receive a better price for their catches, and to improve FSK’s the political influence.

WWF Denmark

Read more about the project here.


The small coastal fishing communities are under pressure. There is a need to develop and demonstrate how they can thrive as communities through a sustainable use of the naturally rich waters of Skagerrak.

In December 2015, Han Herred Havbåde was granted DKK 8m to the project "Jammerbugt in balance" from THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS.

The project will help coordinate the value chain from the building of new fishing boats, to landing, processing, labeling, distributing and selling fish to the consumers' dinner table.

Han Herred Havbåde

Read more about the project 'Jammerbugt in balance' here.



A Baltic Sea expedition will make it be possible to collect documentation about the status of the marine environment which can be used to develop proposals regarding new marine protected areas.

In 2012, Oceana was granted DKK 5.9m To the project "Baltic Sea Recovery Programme", which included an expedition in the Baltic Sea and Kattegat in the summer of 2012.


You can find a complete list of our  grants for environment and sustainability here.

Our grants


Article: new sustainable agricultural models for Denmark's future

If you have any questions, project ideas or want to discuss new initiatives regarding the Danish marine environment, please feel free to contact us:

Mikkel Klougart
Senior Adviser, Head of programme, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+ 45 23 28 36 74
Conni E. Cederholm
Project Coordinator, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 23 82 75 62