Joining forces to tackle the coast and Voordelta in Zeeland and South Holland

An exploration of the challenges and opportunities

Strootman Landschapsarchitecten and OAK consultants charted the challenges facing the coast and Voordelta (the coastal area of South Holland and Zeeland around the deltas of Haringvliet, Grevelingen and Oosterschelde).


Kust en voordelta van Zeeland en Zuid-Holland


Provincie Zuid-Holland en Provincie Zeeland


OAK consultants

Surface Area

Ongeveer 2500 km2, waarvan het grootste deel zee

Design Year




The coast and Voordelta of Zeeland and South Holland are not just beautiful, they also play many important roles for residents in both administrative regions. The dunes are an essential coastal defence and supplier of drinking water. The continuous natural areas have a high biodiversity, valuable bathing spots and harbours, historic estates and very fertile agricultural soil. And of course it is an attractive area for recreation.

The are, however, many challenges in store. The climate is changing, there is a sustainable energy challenge, biodiversity is under pressure, and the agricultural sector is looking for new perspectives. All of these challenges come together in the coastal zone and are itemised in the Environmental Agenda South-West Netherlands for the regional administrations of Zeeland and South Holland. The national government and the two regional administrations are working on this together to achieve an integral approach to the challenges facing the coast and the coastal delta.

Strootman Landschapsarchitecten and OAK consultants charted the short-term and long-term challenges, such as housing, nature conservation, energy transition and climate adaptation, in an exploratory study. Many of these challenges are already urgent and will become even more pressing in the future. Future bottlenecks are foreseen for many of the challenges. To what extent is the current strategy valid and flexible, and at which point must an alternative be introduced? The study goes on to formulate opportunities for the future, in accordance with the following three criteria:

1. Integral added value: can an integral approach create an added value for various functions?

2. Linking of short-term and long-term challenges: are the short-term challenges consistent with the long-term ones, and is the approach to these thus a ‘no regret’ measure?

3. Added value of collaboration between regional authorities and national government: is the collaboration between the regional authorities and the national government necessary, and/or does it have added value? Is there interest on the part of the local parties in the region?

On the basis of these criteria, we pinpointed seven synergy areas with the following opportunities: Clever with sediment (in the shallow North Sea); Integral quality impulse for coast and dune (in the coastal and dune area);  Fresh water as catalyst (on the inner edge of the dune area); Future-resistant, diversified agriculture and vital villages (in the polder); The North Sea farm (on the North Sea)

The possibilities for these synergy opportunities were explored for the different areas in the coast and delta zone. A long-term integral approach to the area is necessary for future development and to take advantage of the opportunities for synergy. Existing area approaches connected with a specific theme (such as water security and nitrogen) may offer momentum for that. It is important for the authorities, social parties, entrepreneurs and residents to join in finding solutions for the challenges. Still, not everything either needs to be nor can be done immediately. The exploratory study incorporates points for attention for the next stage with a number of specific follow-up steps.

Related projects