Spatial Planning in The Netherlands

The Spatial Planning Act (WRO) sets down how the spatial plans of the state, provinces and municipalities are to be effected. A municipal land-use plan is an example of a spatial plan.

Spatial vision

Spatial planning decisions are made at the national, regional and local levels. The spatial visions of the government, provinces and municipalities describe the spatial developments they expect as well as how these developments will be directed or implemented.

Spatial visions are policy papers that have replaced the key planning decisions (of the government), the regional plans (of the provinces) and the structure plans (of the municipalities).

Role of the state, provinces and municipalities

Spatial planning policy and its implementation are, in so far as possible, shaped at the municipal level. The municipalities are able to set appropriate regulations based on their knowledge of the local situation.

The state focuses on subjects that are of importance to the entire country, such as improving accessibility. These national interests are set down in the Spatial Vision on Infrastructure & Spatial Planning (SVIR).

The provinces focus on provincial interests, for example, landscape management, urbanisation and the preservation of green spaces. Provincial interests are set out in the provincial spatial visions.

Land-use plans

Land-use plans are the most important tool in spatial planning. Such plans set down where construction may take place, what may be built, the size of the structure and what it may be used for. The fixed components of a land-use plan are:

  • the rules and regulations for the area concerned;
  • an illustration (planning map) that indicates and explains the various zones.

Public participation in spatial developments along the Dutch-German border

Spatial plans can affect people's lives on both sides of the Dutch-German border. What can you do when there are plans for a wind farm across the border, or a factory farm, a power plant, or a new road or railway?

People who live near the border can obtain information about developments in their region, including developments across the border. It is also useful to know more about the scope for public participation and for submitting views or objections. This information is set out in the brochure Planungs- und Bauvorhaben in den Niederlanden: Was kann ich tun. Here you can find links to more information.