Connected River: innovation for waterways and waterfronts

Connected River is an EU funded (Interreg North Sea) transnational innovation project addressing challenges related to shared use of waterways and waterfronts. The aim is to find solutions for contemporary issues like conflicting usage, accident risks, and pollution with a new approach. As a result, the project aims to increase safety, accessibility, and livability of the main waterways and waterfronts.

Waterways and waterfronts are vital for the economy, ecology, and quality of life in the North Sea region. However, the growing urbanization, commercial developments, recreational pursuits, and other activities is placing an increasing strain on those aquatic areas. By participating in the project, Rijkswaterstaat contributes to enhancing safety, accessibility, and livability, aligning with their goals. 

Their innovation-driven approach enables rapid and sustainable responses to environmental challenges, contributing to Rijkswaterstaat’s innovation objectives. Moreover, international collaboration in the project supports Rijkswaterstaat’s broader goals of global engagement and cooperation.

Flow forward: be like water

The traditional static and linear approach of public authorities to address those issues mentioned above, is unfit to swiftly adapt in a fast-changing environment. Connected River addresses the challenges with a new approach: Flow Forward.

The project's objective is to expedite the resolution of issues related to waterways and their surroundings, all while optimizing budget allocation. This is achieved through getting diverse stakeholder ecosystems involved, the implementation of user-centric, agile innovation methods, and the rapid adoption of digital and smart technologies.

The Flow Forward approach, characterized by its agility and adaptability, embraces the exchange of knowledge and experiences between international partners. Taking inspiration from the enduring principles of water, we tackle water-related challenges with the goal of adopting the innate fluidity and resilience found in water. 

Water, known for its perpetual agility, adaptability, and strength, transcends borders and serves as a timeless source of inspiration. Connected River aims to ‘be like water’. 

Playbook and services

The project aims to deliver a playbook outlining the Flow Forward approach and a roadmap for its seamless integration into innovation strategies. It will outline the core values, processes, and procedures required to effectively address the challenges confronting shared waterways and waterfronts in a way they are fit for the future. 

Additionally, the project results in a range of products and services that ensure the safety, accessibility, and overall quality of life for all users of shared waterways and waterfronts.

Programme period

2023 - 2026

European Programme

Interreg North Sea

Project website



Hamburg Port Authority (DE), Flanders Environment Agency (BE), Municipality of Nijmegen (NL), Port of Lille (FR), Municipality of Vordingborg (DK), Antwerp Management School (BE), Innovalor Advice (NL), Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg (DE), International Association of Cities and Ports (FR), EcoLoop AB (SE), Logistics Initiative Hamburg (DE), PortPay (NL)