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Free Flow 2024

Let’s connect, get inspired, and mainstream river restoration!

About the conference

The conference is organised by the World Fish Migration Foundation and the Institute of Fisheries Management, and supported by several partners and sponsors. This 3-day conference (including a day for excursions) revolves around the protection and restoration of Free-Flowing Rivers in Europe. Special emphasis is given to the role of science around barrier removal as a tool to achieve the EU 2030 Biodiversity goal of freeing up 25,000 km of rivers. This topic is more relevant than ever as the biodiversity of free-flowing rivers is under great human pressure while climate change is acting as a threat multiplier. This has also been recognized at the COP15 of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, where calls for urgent action to protect and restore our rivers have been strong. It is in this light that the Free Flow Conference seeks to connect practitioners and scientists, promote knowledge sharing and spur implementation while building on the amazing work that has already been done by our partners worldwide!

The conference highlights best practices and latest developments regarding the protection and restoration of free-flowing rivers with a focus on Europe, with dam removal taking as a central focus. 400 international experts are expected, and the target audience are policymakers, river managers, ecologists, researchers, companies, and students. Sessions cover major environmental conservation topics including: successful international and national policies, habitat restoration, research and evaluation studies, the value of free-flowing rivers, food security, species protection, nature based solutions, rewilding concepts, climate change resilience, river connectivity, and others. Alongside the conference there will also be side events, exhibitions, poster sessions, film screenings, and an evening celebration at which the winner of the European Dam Removal Award 2023 will be announced.

The SWIMWAY conference

As a special benefit, the Free Flow 2024 will take place in close association with the SWIMWAY conference 2024 to be held later the same week also in Groningen. We strongly encourage you to register for both conferences!* This will facilitate the exchange between the two communities, expand the network and provide the opportunity to learn from each other.

*Their topical relatedness notwithstanding, the two conferences are organized separately, so please register separately for each one. For details and registration at the SWIMWAY conference 2024 please visit their website.

Important dates


June 15, 2023

Save the date & call for abstracts launch

September 5, 2023

Registration opens

October 13, 2023

Call for abstracts closes

November 15, 2023

Speakers selected and invited

December 5, 2023

Announcement: Preliminary programme on the website

January 25, 2024

Updated programme

February 15, 2024

Second announcement

March 15, 2024

Final call for registrations and final programme

April 15-17, 2024

Free Flow Conference