Climate adaptation

Rijkswaterstaat plays a key role in addressing climate challenges in the Netherlands. One of the priorities is protecting the Netherlands’ vulnerable low-lying regions. To achieve this, Rijkswaterstaat is spearheading climate adaptation initiatives to ensure resilience against rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

Key projects, such as bolstering dikes and creating room for rivers, epitomise its commitment. We work with European partners to develop innovative adaptation strategies, incorporating both natural and engineered solutions. As a knowledge-driven entity, we share our insights internationally, highlighting the importance of cooperation in combatting the ongoing threat of climate change.

Climate adaptation requires an integrated transition approach

The role of Rijkswaterstaat in water management is expanding due to evolving climate-related challenges. These include rising sea levels and erratic river flows, intense rainfall and changing wind patterns. However, climate adaptation goes beyond just water issues. 

It involves broader transitions, such as energy shifts and agricultural changes triggered by the nitrogen debate, all impacting nature. The Netherlands is on a transformative crossroad, necessitating an integrated approach to multiple challenges. 

The reconstruction of infrastructure and systems, both urban and rural, must be carried out with precision to ensure all transitions are addressed simultaneously. Indeed, as the country rebuilds, it is vital to get it right the first time.

Localised solutions: Rijkswaterstaat’s collaborative approach to climate adaptation

Rijkswaterstaat’s approach to climate adaptation is grounded in collaboration and understanding local conditions. Recognising that mitigation is a global issue, Rijkswaterstaat believes that adaptation provides localised solutions tailored to each nation’s unique context.

Through the DELTA programme and a multi-level governance model, we foster inter-governmental cooperation. The Room for the River project in Nijmegen serves as a testament to this approach, where collaboration with local authorities ensured solutions attuned to local needs.

This tradition, though demanding, embodies Rijkswaterstaat’s dedication to effective climate adaptation.


Discover the international projects Rijkswaterstaat is working on within the field of climate adaptation.

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