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Frequently asked questions

Gewone zeehond tijdens vrijlating.

Opening hours

When is Sealcentre Pieterburen open?

The Sealcentre is open to visitors every day. From 1 April to 31 October, you can visit between 10am and 5pm. Outside these dates, we are open from 11am to 4pm.

Tickets and admission (prices)

What are the ticket prices?
All our different tickets and corresponding prices can be found on our ticket information page  .

Why do I have to pay an entrance fee?
We receive no subsidies and are not supported by the government. To do this work, we depend entirely on donations and entrance fees. Therefore, it is necessary to buy an entry ticket. 

Which ways can I buy tickets?
You can buy a ticket through our online ticket shop, one of our sales partners or at our cash register upon entry.

Where can I purchase tickets online?
You order your tickets via our ticket shop. The tickets will be sent to the e-mail address you use to complete your order. The QR codes on these tickets are your admission ticket and will be scanned at our cash register. You need to bring them with you (digitally or printed) when you visit.

I have not received any tickets, what now?
Check that the email with tickets has not ended up in your junk mail. Is this not the case? If so, please contact  us. We can check for you if something went wrong with your reservation.

Can I cancel my online ticket?
You can. Because we do not sell our tickets ourselves, but through Ticketcounter, we cannot refund the money to you. If you want your money back, you need to contact them via the email address Would you like to visit on another day? Then you can simply take the tickets you ordered for the wrong day. We will arrange it for you here at the cash register.

Who are your sales partners?
You can buy our entrance tickets not only from us, but also from a number of partners. Valid tickets are available through:

  • DoeZoo Leens
  • Waddenweelde
  • Trippr
  • Tiqets

How do I use tickets bought through a sales partner?
The same way you turn in a 'regular' ticket: take it to the cash register and we will scan it on the spot.

I am a donor and/or adopter. Should I indicate in advance that I will visit?
No, that is not necessary. We check this on the basis of your details that we request at the cash register. But if you are an adopter, it may be useful to mail this in advance. Then we can prepare for your arrival and schedule time to walk with you to your adopted seal (if it is visible to visitors). When it is busy and you drop by spontaneously, this is often not possible.

I have a Burenpas. Do I need to indicate in advance that I will visit?
No, that is not necessary. Do bring your Burenpas with you. Otherwise we cannot check it. 

I have been given a "Kom-je-langs-kaartje". Do I need to indicate in advance that I will drop by?
There is no need to make a reservation before visiting. You can hand in your ticket at the cash register. Please note that the ticket is valid for 1 person.

I am over 60 years old. Will I get a discount?
No, we do not offer discounts based on age. The exception is our lower prices for children aged 12 or under and babies.

I am a student. Do I get a discount?
Yes, as a student you get a discount. You can read more about this on our ticket information page  . Do bring your student ID to prove you are actually a student.  

I have an ANWB pass. Do I get a discount?
For the ANWB pass, you only get a discount if you book tickets through the ANWB website. You will not get a discount at the cash register by showing your ANWB pass.

Is my ... pass valid?
We do not do a special rate for the following passes or cards:

  • Museumkaart
  • CJP-pas

I am visiting with a group. Do we get a discount?
Maybe. You can find more info on our group booking page. To qualify for this, please book in advance and indicate that you want to take advantage of the group discount.


What are your house rules?
Nice of you to ask so spontaneously! We have a separate page for that: read our house rules and practical information.

Are you multilingual?
All information in the visitor centre is available in three languages: Dutch, German and English. Guided tours can also be given in German or English, but only by appointment.

Are you accessible to people with disabilities?
Yes, the entire grounds of the Sealcentre are accessible. There is also a suitable toilet for disabled people. However, people in a wheelchair may find it difficult to see the seals in their enclosures. We are happy to help you with this to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. Feel free to contact  us in advance about your visit. Especially during busy periods, it is nice if we know in advance that you want to visit.

Do companions of disabled people have to pay entrance fees?
Yes, they are considered regular visitors.

Can I borrow a wheelchair?
Yes, we also have a wheelchair you can use. It is convenient to reserve it. Please contact  us.

Can I bring my dog or other pet inside?
No, no dogs or other pets are allowed inside. This poses a risk of transmitting communicable diseases between animal and seal. Assistance dogs are allowed in certain areas by prior arrangement. Please contact us. There are two dog kennels at the entrance to our building. Locks that fit these benches are available at our ticket office. You may leave your dog in the crate during your visit.

Please note that it is illegal in the Netherlands to leave your dog in the car. We are forced to call in the police when we receive reports of this. Do not do this under any circumstances.

Visit and activities

How long does a visit take?
This differs for each visitor. Want to explore every square metre of our terrain, count every whisker of every seal and read all the information? Then you'll easily be here for two hours. Just want to say hello to the current patients? Then you can be done in half an hour. That way we fit into everyone's schedule for the day.  

What can you see at the Sealcentre?
Sealcentre Pieterburen is a hospital for seals that you can visit. After buying a ticket, you get access to the visitor centre and can watch the seals in the three phases of seal care from an appropriate distance. From the heated areas in the first phase to the large pools in the final phase.

We also have a permanent exhibition about our work. For more than 50 years, we have been caring for seals and committed to their habitat. And in those years we have learned and experienced an awful lot. Not only about how best to take care of seals, but also when our seal guards should or should not intervene. We share our knowledge and experience with you in our visitor centre.

Can I celebrate my (birthday) party at your location?
We have put together a special arrangement for children's parties. More information can be found here .

Are there any guided tours or other extra activities at the Sealcentre?
Yes, we offer guided tours. You can ask for more information at our cash register or contact us.

How can I participate in activities?
You can participate by buying a ticket at the cash register or register via our activity calendar . For free activities, such as presentations, there is no need to sign up.

Do I need to make reservations for the activities?
This varies per activity, some are bookable and others explicitly not. Our staff can tell you more.

The tickets are sold out on the website, can I buy a ticket at the Sealcentre?
No, that is not possible. If the website indicates that tickets are sold out, there are also no more tickets available at the cash register.

I see available tickets on the website but cannot book?
Some activities work with advance booking, such as the behind-the-scenes tours. When tickets can still be sold at the cash register on the day, it is no longer possible to buy tickets via the website as well. This is because there are only a limited number of places available and to avoid double booking.

Can I feed a seal?
No, feeding seals is only done by our trained seal nurses.

Can I come and help out for a day?
Everyone who works with the seals is 18 years or older and has first completed the Sealcentre's internal training. Without this training, you cannot volunteer for a day at the Sealcentre. There is a special arrangement where you can join seal care for a day , but this is not for free.

The seals

How many seals are there at the Sealcentre?
This can vary. Ill, injured or orphaned animals are taken in and after they have recovered, the animals are released. No animal stays in care permanently. The number of animals present at the Sealcentre therefore always varies. Sometimes there are more than 50, but sometimes there are less than 10 animals.

How can I be sure there will be many seals during my visit?
You can't, but you are most likely to see many patients during the two pup seasons. These take place for the common seal  in summer and for the grey seal  in winter. On average, in the months of July to August we rehabilitate the pups of the common seal and December to January the pups of the grey seal.

Can I see all seals?
No, not all of them. The animals that are very sick or need intensive care are in an intensive care unit where only the vet and seal nurses come. This gives them the rest they need. When they have recovered sufficiently, we move them to the large pools, where they can also be seen by the public.

Are the animals indoors or outdoors?
Both. You can watch from the indoor visitor centre in the first phase of the centre and also look into some outdoor pools. Other pools can be found in the outdoor area.

Can I take photos?
Yes, you can. You are not allowed to use the flash. The flash is very disruptive to the seals at the centre. If you want to take photos not intended for your own use during your visit, please (on beforehand) contact us.

Can I touch the animals?
No. All animals at the centre are wild animals that will be returned to their natural habitat when they have recovered. We have rules and regulations to minimise contact with humans.

How are the animals cared for?
That's kind of a complicated question for this page. We explain it to you in full on our website. Some interesting articles are: Day in seal care, Care protocols, Phases of rehabilitation and Nutrition and medication.

Why are there no water bowls in the care units?
Seals do not drink. They get the hydration from their food. Do they need extra fluids? Then our seal nurses administer it via tube feedings.

What about animal welfare?
Animal welfare is top priority at the Sealcentre. This means that the choices to take in animals, how to care for them, whether or not to show them to the public and to release them are always considered in relation to a seal's wel-being.

What do seals eat?
Animals that still need to strengthen are mainly given fish porridge. This is made from salmon. If the seal switches to (solid) fish, they are given herring.

Are there people at the Sealcentre at night?
Yes. The nurses always do an evening and night round with the animals. In addition, 20-30 students and volunteers live on campus at the Sealcentre. Which means there are always people around.

Can we see seals in the wild?
You can. But not in Pieterburen. This is because Pieterburen is not directly next to water but about two kilometres from the dike. Beyond that are several kilometres of meadow before you reach the sea. From the harbour in Lauwersoog, our boat tours regularly go out to spot seals in the wild. Thirdly, there is a seal observation wall during the period when the common seals have their pups. You will find this observation wall on the edge of the Dollard, an area between the province of Groningen and Germany. Note: this area is still about an hour's drive (about 60 km) from the Sealcentre.

Boat tours

What kind of boat tours do you offer?
You can find our boat tours and the scheduled dates we sail out on our boat tours page .  

Which ways can I buy tickets?
Tickets for our boat tours are available at our cash register and via our online ticket shop. You book the same seats both ways. Are no more tickets available online? Then we can no longer offer you tickets at the cash register either.

Can I cancel my tickets?
Yes, you can do that up to 24 hours in advance.  You can then get a refund minus the transaction fee. Please contact us.

Can I combine my boat tour with a visit to the Sealcentre?
Of course you can! However, you need to buy different tickets for both activities. A ticket for a boat tour does not give you access to the centre and vice versa. Also note that the boat departs from Lauwersoog harbour. The Sealcentre is located in Pieterburen. These two places are 20 kilometres apart. It takes about 25 minutes by car.

Can I join the seal release?
You can. We sell tickets for our seal releases via our online ticket shopIf you would like more information about this special boat tour, you can read about it on our boat tours page.

How far in advance is it announced when any seals are released?
We can never plan releases far in advance. When an animal has recovered, we aim to return the seal to the sea as soon as possible. Therefore, we plan releases seven to ten days in advance on average. Are there no dates on our calendar? Then there are no animals that have recovered sufficiently to be released.

There are no tickets available to release seals. Can I join a waiting list?
No, we do not have a waiting list. However, we do send out a newsletter so that you are the first to know when there are new dates when we set sail. Would you like to receive this e-mail too? Sign up via our seal release page.

Can my dog join the Wadden excursions or seal release?
Only after prior consultation, it might be possible to bring your dog on board. Please contact us.

Can I take my baby on a boat tour?
You can, but we advise against it. There are no life jackets for children under 4 on board and for babies, a tour is very long. Due to the nature of the tours, a crying baby can disturb the animals passengers want to see and the size of the boat offers no extra space for a pram or buggy. Bringing one would take the place of a passenger, which is why buying tickets is required.

Other questions

I have lost something. Where can I report it?
Always report it if you have lost an item. Then we can pay extra attention to it. Or if it has been found, we will make an appointment for you to come and collect it. You can report it by getting into contact with us.  

Can I rent a locker or put my coat in a wardrobe?
No, we do not have public lockers or a wardrobe. Do you really want to put something away? Then check in at the cash register.  

Can I change my baby somewhere?
Yes, we have a fold-out changing table inside of our toilet for disabled people.

The Sealcentre is not on Texel?
No, we are in the north of the province of Groningen. There is another seal rehabilitation centre on the island of Texel, called Ecomare. Don't worry, you're not the first to ask this. And you won't be the last either. However, we can't let you in with tickets to Ecomare. If you accidentally ordered the wrong tickets, you'll have to buy new ones before visiting us.