The shrinking reserves of fossil fuels in combination with the increasing energy demand have enhanced the interest in renewable energy sources, including wave energy. In order to extract a considerable amount of wave power, large numbers of Wave Energy Converters will have to be arranged in arrays or farms using a particular geometrical layout. The operational behaviour of a single device may have a positive or negative effect on the power absorption of the neighbouring WECs in the farm (near-field effects). Moreover, as a result of the interaction between the WECs within a farm, the overall power absorption and the wave climate in the lee of the WECs is modified, which may influence neighbouring farms, other users in the sea or even the coastline (far-field effects). Several numerical studies on large WEC arrays have already been performed, but large scale experimental studies on near-field and far-field wake effects of large WEC arrays are not available in literature. Within the HYDRALAB IV European programme, the research project WECwakes has been introduced to perform large scale experiments in the Shallow Water Wave Basin of DHI, in Denmark, on large arrays of point absorbers for different layout configurations and inter-WEC spacings. The aim is to validate and further develop the applied numerical methods, as well as to optimize the geometrical layout of WEC arrays for real applications.