Expedition Denmark 2018

Join us for an unforgettable journey!

Expedition Denmark 2018

Wednesday August 1, 2018, we set sail for Denmark on the fourth and fifth By the Ocean we Unite sailing expedition for cleaner oceans. Together with scientists, filmmakers and impactmakers from around the globe we will conduct scientific research, increase global awareness and activate people, organizations and governments to work on solutions for our global plastic problem. Hop on board the ‘Fantastiko’ and learn all about plastic pollution on the experience of a lifetime!

Leg 1: Rotterdam (the Netherlands) – Copenhagen (Denmark) (August 1 – August 10)

Leg 2: Copenhagen (Denmark) – Rotterdam (the Netherlands) (August 13 – August 22)


”My invitation to you: join these guys on one of their expeditions, it’s an awesome experience!” – Anoûl Hendriks, DJ @ Talpa Radio (538 Hitzone)

”This trip has been impressive in so many ways, the By the Ocean we Unite crew has been very inspiring with their views and gave the expedition members a lot to think about” – Fabio Bartali, expedition member @ Expedition Up to Norway 2016

”By the Ocean we Unite has given me an unforgettable journey “Up to Norway”; a beautiful sailing experience combined with contributing for cleaner/plastic free oceans” – Nadim Bou-Rached, expedition member @ Expedition Up to Norway 2016

Why join?

Sailing with By the Ocean we Unite is a unique experience. On one hand you get to experience magnificent nature in all her rugged beauty, out at open sea and on land. On the other hand you will be confronted with the widespread problem of plastic pollution in our waters and learn all about it. Plus, by joining this expedition you help make our work possible: preventing more plastics from ending up in our seas through research and education.

So.. with plastic pollution becoming one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, our time spent behind screens increasing rapidly and our moments in the wild becoming more and more scarce.. we invite you to join this life-changing expedition!

The ship

Sailing ship ”Fantastiko” (see pictures below) is a beautiful 26-meter long two-master ketch. It is perfectly suited for sea sailing expeditions! We have used the ship for all our major expeditions.

The vessel was built at a specialized shipyard, Chinook in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The construction, from 2002 till 2012, was carried out as a Youth Care project of the province of North-Holland. Two hundred youngsters build the ship together with dozens of experts. The Fantastiko received a Register Holland quality label. The fully equipped ship offers room for 15 persons.

By the Ocean we Unite charters sea sailing ship ”Fantastiko” including professional crew for every expedition. Click here for more information on floating hotel Fantastiko.

”I want as many people as possible to enjoy the endless possibilities of this ship. My mission is for people to be able to fully relax and enjoy when we’re out on the water. Maybe they can even discover new sides of themselves. It gives so much energy and inspiration to for example be sailing at open sea in the middle of the night and watch the stars while drinking a cup of coffee, or watch a dolphin that suddenly swims along with the ship.” – Captain Huub Veeneman

He knew..

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” – John F. Kennedy

What to expect?
  • be a scientist: help us with our research into plastic pollution
  • be a true sailor and sail the open sea; join in keeping watch during the night, steer the ship and help with the handling of the sail (no sailing experience needed, our experienced crew will teach you all the ins and outs)
  • enjoy fresh food daily by our chef, mostly organic & vegan
  • spot wildlife from deck (dolphins, whales, fish, birds)
  • learn all about plastic pollution and what you can do about it from our experts on board and the people we meet
  • extensive program centered around plastic pollution; on board as well as in the places we visit in Denmark & Germany
  • learn about the marine environment from our (marine) biologists
  • all parts of the program are optional though: it is after all your holiday
  • enjoy the magnificent views of Denmark from the water
  • witness the beautiful rising sun over the boundless blue horizon, and at night the countless stars that sparkle in the dark
  • experience the bonding of a group on board a sailing vessel at sea (Fantastiko has room for 16 persons)
  • support other startups fighting plastic pollution by joining the expedition (see below for the ‘PIFF’)
  • sleep on board the ship every night
  • just to let you know: it’s not a canal cruise, the sea can be quite rough at times 🙂
  • also good to know: you might appear in different media (please inform us if you don’t want to)
  • help us further develop ‘Heal the Oceans’, the new version of Michael Jackson’s ”Heal the World’
  • become a karaoke expert when it comes to sailor songs
  • main spoken language: English
  • want to contribute to the program? Feel free!
  • become an ‘Ocean Ambassador’
Leg 1 or leg 2?

Both legs are ten days and contain the same on board program around plastic pollution. The program on land differs, since we’re visiting different places. The major difference is the North Sea crossing; leg 1 contains a 4-day crossing, leg 2 consists of single days of sailing.

Leg 1: Feeling like a 4-day North Sea crossing? Join leg 1!

Leg 2: Feeling like a little more relaxed sailing? Join leg 2!

Participation costs

Price: €1250,- per leg (including all food and drinks on board, a bed in a two-person cabin, all other costs involved with sailing, BTOWU t-shirt & reusable water bottle) (excluding transport to or from Copenhagen, expenses in bars etc.)

Tip: Want to join but can’t afford it at the moment? Get (part of) your participation sponsored by friends and family! Get in touch for tips & tricks about for example writing a blog, sharing your new knowledge, etc.

How to join?

WE ARE FULLY BOOKED! Any questions? Want to be put on the mailing list for next year’s expedition? Get in touch with Karl Beerenfenger (project manager): +31 (0)6-18632023 or karl@bytheoceanweunite.org

Meet the crew
  • Roos Swart
    Roos Swart Scientific research coordinator

    ”Are you always wondering about marine life? So am I! After having the most interesting conversations on our Mini Expeditions this past year, I will finally participate in a Major Expedition! I hope you are as excited as I am and look forward to sharing ocean stories and contributing to research, awareness and action around plastic pollution.

    Joining leg 2

  • Noortje Schrauwen
    Noortje Schrauwen Catering/hospitality

    Joining leg 1

  • Karl Beerenfenger
    Karl Beerenfenger Expedition Leader

    The fourth By the Ocean we Unite North Sea expedition and it’s going to be an exciting one (ok, they all were :)). With the EU now also targeting plastic pollution these are the times to immerse our passengers and followers in the beauty of our waters and the challenge that stands before us; plastic pollution.”

    Joining leg 1 & 2

    Joined all Major Expeditions so far


  • Nanne van Hoytema
    Nanne van Hoytema Scientific Research Coordinator

    Having been part of all major expeditions so far, I can’t wait for our upcoming voyage around Denmark. Seeing a group of strangers come together on board and giving them the tools to understand and take action against plastic pollution makes each of these expeditions a great experience. Sailing around Denmark will allow us to complete our sampling of North Sea waters and will be our first foray into the Baltic Sea. The Skagerrak is known for high levels of beach litter, so we are eager to sample those waters and compare them against our North Sea data so far.”

    Joining leg 1

    Joined all Major Expeditions so far

  • Thomas van Thiel
    Thomas van Thiel Mate & founder of BTOWU

    Very excited to welcome you all on board so together we can hoist the sails, sail into the blue desert and explore the North sea from the Fantastiko. My role will be as mate, as part of the sailing crew, and I will be more than happy to teach you some sailor skills or songs but I’m also always in for good conversations about plastics and life.” 

    Joining leg 1 & 2

    Joined all Major Expeditions so far

  • Wieteke
    Wieteke Mate

    ”Sailing is my love, my life. I really love to be on the water, on the move, on my way to somewhere over there. It doesn’t really matter where that place might be. Up to Norway 2016 has been the first expedition I joined for By the Ocean we Unite. I loved the atmosphere aboard. Lovely happy people with a mission. They have a goal which they are trying to achieve in a positive manner. They made me be aware of the problem about plastic. Eversince the trip I feel like I can make a difference. Together we can do.”

    Joining leg 1 & 2

    Joined all Major Expeditions so far

  • Huub Veeneman
    Huub Veeneman Skipper

    In 2015, I met Thomas. What a motivating and young visionary who creates, with his great team, new ideas about saving and contributing to our planet Earth. I am impressed by how this organization is communicating with people and their vision for new possibilities for the world. Therefore, me, my ship and my crew are happy to contribute to the goals and the inspiring sailing expeditions of By the Ocean we Unite.

    Joining leg 1 & 2

    Joined all Major Expeditions so far

  • Stefan Steenwijk
    Stefan Steenwijk Mate

    ”Helmsman on the Fantastiko. During the voyages of BTOWU co-responsible for the navigation, sailing and the safety of the ship and passengers. Studying for Maritime Officer all ships, where I will also be dealing with Marine Environmental Awareness. BTOWU has given me a completely different view on the use of plastic and what it entails for the environment.”

    Joining leg 1 & 2

    Joined Expedition Scotland 2017 & Expedition The Channel 2017

News updates
Plastic Change co-organizer Expedition Denmark 2018!
Plastic Change co-organizer Expedition Denmark 2018!

Danish-based NGO Plastic Change is stepping on board Expedition Denmark 2018 as co-organizer. As a figure of speech as well as literally. 🙂

We have sometimes called them the Danish By the Ocean we Unite – better would be to call us the Dutch Plastic Change – as they have been working to reduce plastic pollution among others by sailing the world’s seas and oceans. Plastic Change was founded in April 2014 by marine biologist and sailor Henrik Beha Pedersen – at the same time as our Thomas was preparing for his Atlantic crossing where he would meet with the plastic bottle in the middle of the ocean, leading him to start our foundation two years later.

We are happy and proud to co-organize the program in Denmark with the experienced team of Plastic Change. Their extensive network and knowledge makes for the perfect partner to reach out to as many people as possible. From Skagen till Aeroe they will have one of their crew members on board, to support the expedition.


Atlantic solo rowing record holder Kiko Matthews joins the expedition
Atlantic solo rowing record holder Kiko Matthews joins the expedition

In recent years she survived two tumors both which caused a life-threatening illness, called Cushing’s Disease, after which – in March this year – she became the fastest woman to row solo across the Atlantic. It took her only 49 days to row from Gran Canaria to Barbados. Now she has set her mind on fighting plastic pollution, and her participation in Expedition Denmark 2018 is a harbinger for what she has planned in the UK in 2019.

Kiko, now that she is slowly gaining fame, is setting up an extensive campaign around plastic pollution in the UK. Next year she’ll be cycling 6700 km along the shoreline, involving schools and local organisations as well as famous ambassadors for every leg.

Newsfeed Denmark 2018

An Ocean of Opportunities

Tuesday March 7th 2017 we organized the first edition of ‘An Ocean of Opportunities’, together with the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Jessie Kroon, co-founder of the first Dutch zero [...]

Bahamas Plastic Movement

Maaike de Waele (student Water Management) & Tiffany de Jong went to the Bahamas to raise awareness on plastic pollution for their minor International Cooperation and Sustainable Development. [...]

Main partners By the Ocean we Unite
Supporting partners Expedition Denmark 2018

Want to be become an expedition partner? Call or send an email to Karl Beerenfenger (project manager): +31 (0)6-18632023 / karl@bytheoceanweunite.org 

Supplying partners
Scientific research

We will assist research projects from a range of institutes and universities. We will use a manta trawl to sample free floating sea surface plastics to determine their abundance per sea surface area and we will collect sediment samples from a range of beaches for measurements of plastics along the high tide line.

Since conducting scientific research at sea is usually costly and time consuming, and we are sailing the sea anyway, we will open the ship to any research program that needs samples.

Could we help you out with your research by collecting samples? Please get in touch with Dr. Nanne van Hoytema (research coordinator): +32 4-84460898 or nanne@bytheoceanweunite.org

  • The Ocean Cleanup (the Netherlands)
  • 5 Gyres (United States)
  • Leiden University (the Netherlands)
  • NIOZ (Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) (the Netherlands)
  • Roskilde University (Denmark)
  • GEOMAR – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany)
Other collaborations

For this expedition we collaborate with several people and organizations from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries to share knowledge and increase our impact.

  • eXXpedition (United Kingdom)
  • Plastic Change (Denmark)
Research partners
Expedition partners
Communication partners
Selection of media coverage (previous expeditions)
Pay-It-Forward-Fund (PIFF)

The powerful energy of giving

Plastic pollution is a global problem which we believe we can only solve by working together and helping where possible. Therefore we created the PIFF: Pay-It-Forward-Fund. It works as following: startups working on reducing plastic pollution can get in touch with us to explain their concept – sometimes we pick organizations we come across ourselves. During the expedition we’ll discuss ideas with the expedition members. All ideas, network and suggestions are forwarded to the organization after the expedition. Also we take part of the participation fee and put it in a fund, of which the expedition members themselves eventually decide which organization(s) they will support financially. Expedition members may also suggest projects themselves, or organize a project together, as long as its main goal is reducing plastic pollution.

10% of the expedition fee is put in the fund. Expedition members of Expedition Denmark 2018 (leg 1 and leg 2) have got till the end October 2018 to make a decision. We’ll keep you updated!

Call or send an email to Karl Beerenfenger (project manager): +31 (0)6-18632023 / karl@bytheoceanweunite.org if you want to participate with your organization or project!

PIFF so far: through our previous three expeditions we’ve backed other projects with a total amount of €4,050.-, plus numerous ideas and relevant contacts

Organizations sponsored so far: Seaweed farm IJmond, The Great Bubble Barrier, Bahamas Plastic Movement, Eco Bali, Straw by Straw

  • Natr
  • Cleanforgood Foundation
PIFF participants
Facts about the expedition!
Nautical Miles (both legs)
Nautical Miles (all expeditions)
Beds on board
Participants so far
Whales and dolphins so far
Largest catch (visible pieces of plastic per km2 surface water)
Surface samples so far
Surface samples without visible plastics so far