Understanding integration within the Dutch multi-layer safety approach to flood risk management

Mattia Bosoni*, Barbara Tempels, Thomas Hartmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The multi-layer safety approach was introduced in 2009 in the Netherlands as a result of the shift from flood prevention to flood risk management. It aims at reducing flood risks by integrating defensive measures against floods (layer 1), resilient spatial planning measures (layer 2), and effective disaster management measures (layer 3). But how are these measures integrated? This contribution explores that question with a qualitative case study in Zwolle. In particular, policy and territorial integration among the multiple stakeholders are analysed. The analysis shows that the defensive approach (layer 1) still prevails, but that flood risk management is integrated into spatial planning (layer 2) in terms of policy integration and territorial integration. That is not the case for disaster management (layer 3), which remains detached from the other two layers. This contributes to the debate on integration in water management with other sectors through an in-depth analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of River Basin Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2021


  • Flood risk management–multi-layer safety–integration–policy integration – territorial integration

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