Coastal policy and maintenance in the Netherlands

Rena Hoogland, MSc

For the dynamic maintenance policy of the Dutch coast we choose to maintain a reference coastline (Basiskustlijn) and keep up with the demand of sand in the coastal foundation.

Rijkswaterstaat is the executive body of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and is responsible for the implementation of the policy regarding the dynamic maintenance of the coast. Conform this assignment, Rijkswaterstaat nourishes 48 million cubic meters of sand over four years (32 Mm3 + 16Mm3), under water or on the beach.

Every year Rijkswaterstaat assesses the current state of the coast. The inspection is based on the yearly coastal measurements that are measured in cross-shore transects every 250 m along the coast. Based on this test and the available knowledge of the natural behavior of the coastal system, Rijkswaterstaat defines locations that require sand nourishments. These locations are published in the nourishment program, which is updated yearly and consulted with regional stakeholders.

Over the years the Dutch coastal policy is adjusted by adopting new insights gained by the scientific world as well as the experience obtained by the placement of the actual sand nourishment.

State-of-the-art knowledge of the Dutch coast is established through long term research programs, and it is simultaneously used for short term advices to coastal management. This provides a continuum between coastal management, policy development and coastal science.