We investigated short-term changes (two years) in nematode communities (density, diversity, biomass and community composition) in an area on the Kwintebank (Belgian Continental Shelf) that was closed for sand extraction activities and compared these patterns to nematode community characteristics from another area on the Kwintebank were sand extraction was still ongoing. Six stations were sampled in 2003 and 2004 and nematode community composition and univariate measures of diversity were compared with values obtained during the extraction period and with a "pre-impact situation" sampled in 1978. Although nematode density, diversity and biomass did not change two years after cessation of the exploitation, nematode community composition did and was more stable than in the extracted site. This is attributed to the absence of continuous disturbances associated with the extraction activities such as the creation and filling up of dredge furrows. As a consequence of the typical life history traits of nematodes, recovery seems to follow different pathways when compared to macrobenthic recovery from the same impact.