Between tradition and innovation: developing Flood Risk Management Plans in the Netherlands

Pieter Jong*, Margaretha van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
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Traditionally, governmental authorities in the Netherlands have a strong focus on the construction and maintenance of flood defences, such as dikes and dams. The last decades, however, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of spatial planning for flood risk management. With the arrival of the Floods Directive (2007), it is likely that even more attention will be paid to sustainable spatial planning to reduce flood risks. From an institutional perspective, this paper explores the way in which the Netherlands is now attempting to further integrate water management and spatial planning in the preparation of its first Flood Risk Management Plans. The current internal policy debate centres around five important issues concerning the required measures, instruments, rules, governance styles and time perspectives. Maintaining its strong, engineering-based water management tradition, and at the same time institutionalising a framework for a more holistic flood risk management that comprises not only rules and regulations for probability reduction but also for impact reduction through sustainable spatial planning turns out to be a challenging task. The recently established national Delta Commissioner (2012) could be an important stimulus for the further integration and innovation of water management and spatial planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2017


  • Flood Risk Management
  • Flood Risk Management Plan (FRMP)
  • Institutions
  • Spatial Planning

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