Man cleaning the water weeds and garbage the Crn Drim River in North Macedonia by Tomislav Georgiev

Winner announced for Water = Life photo competition

In the run up to the COP27 in Egypt -with water being one of the main themes- and with the 2023 UN Water Conference in view, the Netherlands called on photography enthusiasts from around the world to create and share inspirational and thought-provoking environmental photography in our Water = Life photo competition. Photos that encourage us to take care of water, photos that help us understand water challenges better, photos that inspire us to take action. Here are the winners...

Announcement of grand prize winner Water = Life photo competition

"The winning image captures a visual phenomenon that shows harmony between humans and the environment."
Nathalie Olijslager, Programme director of the UN Water Conference

Too dry, too wet, too filthy

Rising sea levels, drought and extreme weather are becoming more and more frequent, as climate change is coming closer to home. But how to capture that in a picture? We invited all amateur and professional photographers to capture images that show how regions are becoming too dry, too wet or too filthy, and to enter in our photo competition. With the aim to inspire people to understand the water challenges we face and to take action so that the world unites for water. 

And the winner is...

The grand prize is awarded to Tomislav Georgiev, from North-Macedonia. His picture of a man cleaning the water weeds and cleaning the garbage from the bottom of the Crn Drim River in North Macedonia, left us in awe. 

We’ve also selected 18 runners up, whose photos will be featured in the travelling exhibition, along with those of the grand prize winner:

  • MD.Musfiqur Rahman (Bangladesh)
  • Ahouandjinou Chanel (Benin)
  • Jose Nunes (Brasil)
  • Manar Gad (Egypt)
  • Avijit Ghosh (India)
  • Billy Miaron (Kenya)
  • Shaebi (Libya)
  • Souleymane Tangara (Mali)
  • Justine Ellul (Malta)
  • Armando López Castañeda (Mexico)
  • Boujemaa Otmani (Morocco)
  • Cremildo Alexandre Alberto (Mozambique)
  • Bernard Kalu (Nigeria)
  • Manoj Kumar (Pakistan)
  • Charles Mayer Zevallos Villamar (Peru)
  • Prince Loyd C. Besorio (Philippines)
  • Simon Cop (Slovenia)
  • Shamim Wasii Nyanda (Tanzania)

Winners have been contacted personally by the Netherlands Embassy in their countries.

Thank you to all contestants!

We really enyoyed seeing your creations and the way in which you portrayed the water challenges in your parts of the world. Sharing these images really raises awareness about the urgency to take water action.

Enjoy browsing the winning images below.

Winning photo and runners up

  • Tomislav Georgiev's winning picture shows a man cleaning the water weeds and cleaning the garbage from the bottom of the Crn Drim River in North Macedonia.
  • Water is an important factor for our survival. To live well we must unite. The image shows us a form of solidarity around a village water pump. Photo: Ahouandjinou Chanel
  • Fisherman pulls up his nets full of plastic waste on a lake in Brasil. Photo: Jose Nunes
  • Boats on Lake Burullus - one of Egypt's most ancient lakes on the Nile - which suffers from drought and pollution. Photo: Manar Gad
  • Sea level rise, coastal erosion and flooding in India have caused high migration rates, like these people wading through floodwaters. Photo: Avijit Ghosh
  • Farmers in northern Kenya have lost over 70% of their livestock due to severe drought. The image shows cattle waiting at a watering point. Photo: Billy Miaron
  • If we don't move now and take action to solve water scarcity, there will be no blue and no green, like here in the Libyan Sahara desert. Photo: Shaebi
  • Every second, 100 tons of waste end up in our rivers, seas and oceans, as shown in this image in Mali. Photo: Souleymane Tangara
  • Here, the photographer documents how ground-fireworks during a traditional event in Mexico polluted the area and water. Photo: Justine Ellul
  • High levels of fertilizers contaminate Lake Pátzcuaro in Mexico, affecting fish stocks as this fisherman catches a tiny fish. Photo: Armando López Castañeda
  • Our sheep are dying of drought. Everything is dry and there is no food in Morocco affecting livelihoods. Photo: Boujemaa Otmani
  • Photo: Cremildo Alexandre Alberto
  • The image shows a man fetching water contaminated with pollutants from a river next an abattoir in the city of Aba in Nigeria. Photo: Bernard Kalu
  • The boat is on flooded agricultural land in Sindh, Pakistan's worst hit area, affecting 33 million people leaving 1545 people dead. Photo: Manoj Kumar
  • The  photo shows children bathing in the waters of a river in Peru. Photo: Charles Mayer Zevallos Villamar
  • Two children smiled as they enjoyed swimming through algae-choked waters off the marsh of Pagadian City, Philippines, which covers 75 percent of the entire marsh area. Photo: Prince Loyd C. Besorio
  • The Sava river near Ljubljana, Slovenia floods following heavy rain after a drought, taking rubbish thrown into the river. Photo: Simon Cop
  • This image creates awareness protecting water for humans and aquatic life in the ocean. Let's not feed them plastics. Photo: Shamim Wasii Nyanda

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.