The Netherlands is a small country that is continually changing in a globalising world. Spatial policy has to respond to that situation. It is important to look to the future from the baseline of the past and present when developing plans for land usage. Spatial policy helps ensure strong cities and vibrant rural communities. Government policy must safeguard important national and international values like nature, landscape and cultural history and increase public safety while at the same time allowing ‘space for development’.
Act of 20 October 2006 containing new rules for spatial planning (Spatial Planning Act) (08/10/2008)
English text Dutch Spatial Planning Act. Fewer rules, less central control where possible, and an implementation-oriented approach. These are the guiding principles behind the new Spatial Planning Act (Wet ruimtelijke ordening, Wro), which got into effect on 1 July 2008.
Click to download: English text Wro (Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment , 278 KB)
The National Spatial Strategy (13/11/2007)
The Dutch Government has recently adopted the National Spatial Strategy (Nota Ruimte). Although this new spatial planning policy is based on the Fifth National Policy Document on Spatial Planning and the Second National Structure Plan for the Rural Areas, the new Government has revised the content to reflect its own priorities and the whole tenor of the document has changed. The economy now plays a greater role and the Government wants to create more space for development. This gives greater responsibility for action to other actors: the provincial and municipal councils, the institutions of civil society, and not least to individual citizens.
Click to download: Summary National Spatial Strategy (Summary National Spatial Strategy, 278 kb)
Brief Overview of Country System
Spatial Planning and Spatial Development (13/11/2007)
The Netherlands is a small country that is continually changing in a globalising world. Spatial policy has to respond to that situation. It is important to look to the future from the baseline of the past and present when developing plans for land usage. Spatial policy helps ensure strong cities and vibrant rural communities. Government policy must safeguard important national and international values like nature, landscape and cultural history and increase public safety while at the same time allowing “space for development”.
Role of the DG Spatial Policy in the coming years
The Directorate-General of Spatial Policy advises the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in fulfilling responsibility for establishing and implementing cohesive government policy for the Netherlands’s spatial development. The DG monitors and strengthens the quality of the country’s spatial organisation. The National Spatial Strategy is the pivotal policy product of DG Spatial Policy and sets out policy up to the year 2020. The document includes an implementing agenda that is amended from time to time. Similarly, the Spatial Planning Act and land usage policy are subject to revision. Another responsibility of DG Spatial Policy is the evaluation of spatial policy coupled to accountability to the Lower House of Parliament.
National Spatial Strategy: basis for developing spatial policy
The National Spatial Strategy has shifted the emphasis in the policy of DG Spatial Policy from “imposing restrictions” to “promoting developments”. The ability to develop is the central consideration. It translates into less detailed regulation by central government, fewer barriers and greater latitude for other levels of government, members of the public and market parties. This approach is anchored in the National Spatial Strategy. Working together from the start on an integral spatial vision for a particular area makes it easier to deliver quality and achieve an equitable distribution of costs and benefits. Members of the public, government authorities and companies at local and regional level will be in a position to ensure strong cities and vibrant rural communities.
The National Spatial Strategy includes an implementing agenda. The agenda is a new instrument to link the objectives contained in the policy document to current and planned implementation tracks. The matters addressed in the agenda include central government’s investment priorities, the effects of policy on local planning and zoning schemes and the use of implementing instruments. The agenda is an overarching way of giving integral form and substance to the implementation of plans. More than ever before, this kind of approach is essential because of the growing importance of and need for co-operation between different stakeholders in addressing spatial issues. A central theme is the integral development of supra-local areas. Areas must be developed through ‘development planning’.
Central government faces complex spatial issues in the northern and southern wings of the Randstad (the highly urbanised western part of the Netherlands), in the country’s ‘Green Heart’ and in southeast Brabant. Various ministries are tackling these issues. For each area the Cabinet is producing a programme that brings together the principal issues and couples them to investments by local governments and private sector parties. Government-wide co-ordination, harmonisation and decision-making are being handled by central government. A government minister or state secretary has been named to take charge of each programme, including responsibility for good harmonisation of the projects in the preparatory and implementation phases.
Members of the public, companies and community organisations take initiatives every day to improve spatial quality. DG Spatial Policy wants to provide more scope for such initiatives by creating good conditions for developing areas. This will align spatial policy more closely to society’s wishes and allow their earlier fulfilment. Provincial governments, the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment and other stakeholders will undertake model development planning projects to show the way forward.
Mr. C.P. Anderton
Ministerie van VROM
Postbus 30940 (ipc 360)
2500 GX DEN HAAG
Ms. N. van Wijk – van Gilst
Instituut voor Bouwrecht
2508 CN DEN HAAG