The aim of the present study was to assess the impact of surrounding land use on the structure and functioning of lowland stream ecosystems. To this end, five different land use types were selected (forest, extensive grassland, intensive grassland, cropland and wastewater treatment plant) each represented by four replicate streams, in which diel dissolved oxygen concentrations were recorded, sediment and water quality parameters were measured and macroinvertebrate community composition was determined. Chironomus sp., Oligochaeta and Gastropoda dominated the cropland and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) streams, while Plecoptera and most Trichoptera only occurred in forest and extensive grassland streams. Forest streams communities were related to a high oxygen saturation, a high C/N ratio in the sediment and woody debris and coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) substrate cover. Macroinvertebrate communities in cropland and WWTP streams were related to a low oxygen saturation in water and sediment and high concentrations of dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon. It is concluded that land use specific impacts on lowland streams are likely exerted via fine sediment accumulation in deposition zones, affecting oxygen regimes, sediment oxygen demand and stream metabolism, ultimately changing macroinvertebrate community composition. This study supports therefore the importance of including the catchment scale in ecological stream quality assessments, combining structural and functional endpoints.