Sameness and difference in delta planning

Arjen Zegwaard*, Margreet Zwarteveen, Gerardo van Halsema, Arthur Petersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Triggered by an increased awareness of the possible effects of climate change, many deltaic regions around the world are undertaking planning initiatives to address the problems they expect to face in the future. Dutch delta planning knowledge and expertise figure prominently in some of these initiatives. We use this article to ask why this is so. What makes Dutch delta knowledge special, and how does it become generic enough to travel to other places? The pertinence of these questions stems from the realization that deltas do not pre-exist human interventions, but are as much the effect of different planning cultures, trajectories and objectives, as they are their cause. Through a discussion of some telling anecdotes of delta planning, our analysis shows that while the Dutchness of delta planning expertise is a powerful branding, this expertise can only travel through a conscious and simultaneous process of un-Dutching: by packaging and scientizing Dutch Delta planning to turn it into a more generic Adaptive Delta Management approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Coevolution
  • Delta planning
  • Dutch delta knowledge
  • Masterplanning


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