Water and spatial development: the implementation of the water framework directive in the Netherlands

W.G.M. van der Knaap, M. Pijnappels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper discusses how water managers and spatial planners could co-operate on local level in combination with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Birds and Habitats Directives in the Netherlands. Recent evaluations of the European Commission show that implementation of environmental directives prove to be a challenging task for the responsible authorities. Studies show that legal and procedural aspects of planning and decision making gain the most attention at the EU level, the formal side, while environmental goals are fading into the background, especially on the EU level. The difficulties that arise in the implementation process on a local and regional level are discussed combined with the integration of both directives from policy and practice. The local co-operation between water managers and spatial planners depends heavily on its basic element: competing interests. Aspects that shape this cooperation and define its effectiveness are: language (discipline related jargon), contracts, trust, personal competence, policy tuning & policy instruments, institutional innovations, instrumental innovations and mental innovations. These aspects will be discussed based on two case studies with water management and spatial planning aspects. This local co-operation is mainly informal of character
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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