Kalmthoutse Heide landscape biography is the basis for the National Park Master Plan process

Kalmthoutse Heide Border Park is one of the candidates for recognition as Flemish National Park and the New National Parks Standard in the Netherlands. Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has drawn up a landscape biography as a stepping-stone towards the Master plan process.


Kalmthoutse Heide en omstreken


Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide


Hesselteer (landschapsecologische analyse) en Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide

Surface Area

3750 ha

Design Year



2022 -

Kalmthoutse Heide Border Park is a diverse nature area on both sides of the border between Belgium and the Netherlands with heath, fens, woods and dunes. The park hopes to be one of the candidates for recognition as Flemish National Park and the New National Parks Standard in the Netherlands. A Master Plan process involving various interested parties is under way. As part of this, Strootman Landschapsarchitecten has made a landscape biography in collaboration with Hesselteer and the Kalmthoutse Heide Border Park.

The landscape biography tells the story of how the landscape originated. It deals not only with the formation of the natural subsoil, but also with how people have cultivated and modified the landscape over the last couple of thousand years. The document backs up the formation of a vision in the Master Plan process and helps all those who are involved with the landscape professionally or out of interest to understand and make better use of the landscape heritage: residents, farmers, nature conservationists, designers and policymakers.

The biography shows how the landscape tells the story of human activity. The border, for example, has been the scene of more than one battle, and the traces of that can still be seen in the landscape. It is a story about a unique area. The border that was drawn by the lethal electric fence during the First World War lives on as non-material heritage in memories, but the area also forms the boundary between the Campine region, a sandy landscape, and the fertile clay soils of the valley of the River Schelde. That is why it contains so many different landscapes and nature areas in close succession, each with its own heritage values.

The landscape biography also shows how by interpreting the landscape properly, we can find points of contact for today’s challenges, by taking into account the logic of the landscape in relation to the soil. The hydrological system of the Brabant embankment and the Campine microcuesta, for example, is highly complex. At some points there is a , clayish layer of loam in a shallow subsoil that prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground. This makes it wetter here, and you often find fens and at any rate more moisture-loving plants. At other points this layer is not found and they are dry. This results in a large-scale alternation of dry and wet areas, including higher parts of the landscape. If you have some idea of what to look for and try to interpret the landscape, you will understand the hydrological system better and be more able to anticipate there.

The focus of the landscape biography is emphatically on how you can read history into the landscape and which traces are still visible. The last part of the landscape biography is about the present-day nature values; how the nature areas cohere with and mutually reinforce one another; and about the current challenges and what is needed to restore the landscape ecological system. This is the landscape ecological system analysis indicating bottlenecks and opportunities. The motivation for making a landscape biography came from the need for a sound foundation for the Master Plan process. The principal has referred to it as an inspiring document that examines the past and present of the extensive nature area and has made it available digitally and in print via the tourism retail points in the region.

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