European rural landscapes are in transition due to macro changes in climate, agriculture and public policy, combined with various forms of urbanisation. These changes are affecting the resource basis of agriculture, the socio-cultural identity of rural communities, and are challenging the policy regimes affecting European landscapes. Therefore, they demand new forms of landscape governance if the diversity and quality of the landscapes are to be protected and further developed in the future. New analytical tools supported by revised conceptual frameworks are needed to assist identification and assessment of future development options. This article is based on a book published earlier this year. It presents and discusses the current patterns of change and their implications for policy. Three major policy challenges are identified: integration of agricultural and environmental policies; pro-active approaches to landscape change to cope with non-agricultural demands including recreation and nature conservation; and stakeholder involvement in policy design and implementation including farmers and other primary managers, public agencies at all levels and local communities in various forms. Key points are illustrated in a case study involving the development of a landscape strategy in the Karby parish in northwest Denmark.