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National circumstances relevant to adaptation actions

The circumstances making the Netherlands vulnerable for the impacts of climate change – and hence the biggest drivers for taking climate adaptation measures – are:
- The relatively long coastline, combined with the fact that about a third of the country is situated below sea level, makes the Netherlands vulnerable for sea level rise.
- As the Netherlands consist for a large part of lowlands in a delta, it is vulnerable for flooding from rivers. Critical situations may arise when flood barriers in the coastline have to be closed while rivers continue to bring rain- and melting water into the delta area.
- The Netherlands is densely populated, with a large fraction of the surface area covered by urban areas and roads and a very large fraction being used for agriculture. As a result, nature in The Netherlands is relatively sparse and scattered making it more vulnerable to climate change, particularly drought, and vice versa not suited to temper the effects of climate change.
- As many people live in urban areas, the population is vulnerable for heat stress with rising temperatures and the creation of ‘heat islands’
- As The Netherlands has been dealing with water for centuries, infrastructure has been developed to drain and dispose of (excessive) water as fast as possible, which is counterproductive in longer periods of drought.
- Due to changing weather patterns the Netherlands faces more and more relatively long drought periods (April-August). At the same time, changing weather patterns may also result in heavy rainfall causing flooding in urban areas.
- The Netherlands is 2nd most densely populated country in Europe, with 17.4 million inhabitants concentrated on an area of 41,545 km2 (including water surface, the land surface being 33,481 km2).
- There is a trend of an aging population in The Netherlands, making the country more vulnerable for heat related events.
- As the part of the country that is situated below sea level is the most densely populated part, a relatively large part of the inhabitants face risks of flooding.
- The Netherlands has a gross annual domestic product of about 800 billion Euros.
- The Netherlands has an excellent infrastructure of ports, airports, roads, rail and (inland) waterways. It also has a highly developed energy and telecommunications systems.
- Nearly 60% of the country's area is susceptible to large scale coastal and river flooding. About 26% is below present mean sea level, making flood risk management and adaptation to sea level rise essential for its existence.
- The so called “national Delta Programme” is in place to protect the Netherlands from flooding, to ensure a sufficient supply of fresh water, and to contribute to rendering the Netherlands climate-proof and water-resilient.

Reporting updated until: 2021-03-07

Item Status Links
National adaptation strategy (NAS)
  • actual NAS - adopted
National adaptation plan (NAP)
  • actual NAP - adopted
Sectoral adaptation plan (SAP)
Climate change impact and vulnerability assessment
Meteorological observations
Climate projections and services
Adaptation portals and platforms
  • Established
  • Established
  • Established
  • Established
Monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE) indicators and methodologies
Key reports and publications
National communication to the UNFCCC
Governance regulation adaptation reporting
Monitoring of the National Climate Adaptation Strategy (NAS) will start in autumn 2021, based on a plan developed in 2019-2020. It entails monitoring the progress of the implementation programme, monitoring the extent to which climate adaptation measures are effective in terms of risk reduction and monitoring the development of climate change risks to all sectors. The results will be added to the website klimaatadaptatienederland.nl.

Next to the NAS-monitoring, the monitoring programme of the Dutch Delta Programme (‘Monitoring, Analysing, Acting’) focuses on the questions whether the implementation (1) is on schedule and within budget (output), (2) is achieving the set goals (outcome), (3) is addressing the tasks in an integrated manner and (4) takes place with participation of other parties (authorities, companies, NGO’s and citizens).

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) provides observations on atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial indicators including data on extreme weather. The indicators can be grouped into three main categories: economic damage, damage to the environment (including nature) and to human society (including casualties). The KNMI uses red/orange/green codes to inform the general public about extreme weather events.

The KNMI developed climate scenarios for the future climate change in the Netherlands. The most recent scenarios are the KNMI’14 scenarios and are based on the fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC. The KNMI’14 contains four scenarios for future climate change around 2050 and 2080, differing in the amount of global warming (Moderate or Warm) or possible changes in the air circulation pattern (Low or High). The four scenarios provide the changes of 12 climate variables, including temperature, precipitation and sea level. A new set of climate scenario’s for the Netherlands and related products will be published in 2021, aligned with the sixth assessment Report (AR6) of the IPCC in order to deliver state-of-the-art climate information.

The Delta Programme uses Delta Scenarios, which are plausible views of future climatic and socio-economic trends, looking ahead to 2050 and 2100. The Delta Scenarios are based on the KNMI climate scenarios and the socio-economic scenarios of the Netherlands Central Planning Agency (CPB) and the Netherlands Environmental Agency (PBL). In the latter the potential impact of socio-economic trends on the use of land, water, and space up to 2050 are considered. The Delta Scenarios have been actualised several times, for the last time in 2017.

Under the Delta Programme, the “Knowledge Programme Sea Level Rise” has been established. This programme primarily focusses on the impact of sea level rise on water safety and fresh water supply. Effects of sea level rise on the Dutch economy, spatial planning, agriculture and nature. The programme is not limited to effects and solutions in this century, but also explores the period after 2100.

The national agency Rijkswaterstaat is responsible for measuring all kind of parameters with regard to the North Sea, coastal waters and the main rivers, including the water levels along the coast and in the main rivers. Rijkswaterstaat provides online information on water levels along the coast and in the main rivers and predicts these six hours before they occur.
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) provided downscaled climate scenarios for the Netherlands in 2006 and updated scenarios for the National Adaptation Strategy (NAS2016) in 2014. These scenarios are available for the climatological (30-year) periods centred at 2030, 2050 and 2085. They contain a broad range of climate variables, from long-term annual average, to the frequency and intensity of climate/weather extremes. In-depth description of specifications and justification of the construction of the latest scenarios can be found in the KNMI library.

Climate impacts are included in the Dutch Climate Effect Atlas, which has been published in September 2017 and updated in 2020. Municipalities and other actors use the Climate Effect Atlas to make a first assessment of possible consequences of climate change through a stress test.

The NAS2016 is built on a three-step analysis: an effect analysis; a risk analysis; and an urgency analysis. Following a coordinated bottom-up process, key actors in vulnerable sectors, such as Rijkswaterstaat (on transport infrastructure) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Safety are initiating action on assessing climate vulnerabilities and risks in cooperation with project groups involved in drafting and carrying out the NAS.

Several action programs haven put up under the NAS, such as the Action Program Nature (published in March 2021), the Action Program Climate and Built Environment (published in 2020), the Action Program Climate Adaptive Agriculture (published in February 2020), the Knowledge Agenda Climate Change and Health (published in June 2019) and a study on climate and vital and infrastructure under the research program knowledge for climate (published in 2014). Also published in 2020 was the study on Impact of Drought on Foundations.

Many KNMI and PBL publications and several sectoral studies provide the scientific underpinning to the NAS2016. In 2016, three national workshops on adaptation action, including identification of knowledge gaps were held. These workshops have been attended by sectoral stakeholders working on health, security, water quality and quantity, finance, urban planning and construction, nature, insurance, agriculture, transport, and fisheries (next to many local and regional governments and research organisations). In 2017, an additional workshop was held in preparation of the NAS Implementation Plan 2018-2019. Further knowledge development is coordinated between the NAS, National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme (NKWK) and the Delta programme. The Delta Programme has funding for research on flood prevention (1% of its total contribution of EUR 1 billion per year). The Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation continuously evaluates the existing knowledge gaps.
The Netherlands faces rising temperatures and heat waves, resulting in changes in ecosystems and impacts on health and mortality among the vulnerable and wildfires, resulting in destruction of ecosystems, health problems due to increased soot concentrations.

Heavy rainfall in short periods causes flooding, economic losses and health risks, while on the other hand longer periods of droughts also cause economic losses, ecosystem deterioration and reduced navigability of rivers. Sea level rise requires reinforcement of coastal protection and creates difficulties in discarding river water. It also leads to saline intrusion, affecting nature in coastal areas, drinking water quality and agricultural activities, and coastal erosion.

The Netherlands also faces increasing presence and spread of species (insects, plants) which cause damage in agriculture and forestry (beetles) or cause health problems (caterpillars with irritating hairs, poisonous invasive plants).
Observed climate hazards Acute Chronic
Temperature
  • Wildfire
  • Other: spread of species.
  • other
  • Other: spread of species.
Wind
Water
  • Heavy precipitation (rain hail snow/ice)
  • Water scarcity
Solid mass
  • Soil degradation (including desertification)
Key future climate hazards Acute Chronic
Temperature
  • Heat wave
  • Changing temperature (air freshwater marine water)
Wind
Water
  • Heavy precipitation (rain hail snow/ice)
  • Sea level rise
Solid mass
Temperature-related hazards faced in the Netherlands are
v(1) Changing temperature (abnormally warm overall temperatures during one or more seasons, resulting in changes in ecosystems an impacts on health),
v(2) Heat waves (causing health problems and death among the vulnerable (elderly, sick)),
v(3) Wildfires (resulting in destruction of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, health problems due to increased particulate matter concentrations).

Water-related hazards occurring in the Netherlands are
v(4) changing precipitation patterns and (5) precipitation and/or hydrological variability (heavy rainfall in short periods causes flooding and corresponding economic losses and risk of drowning / longer periods of drougths also cause economic losses as well as biodiversity loss),
v(6) saline intrusion (affecting nature in coastal areas and creating a risk for both drinking water quality and agricultural activities in coastal areas),
v(7) sea level rise (requiring reinforcement of coastal protection as well as creating difficulties in discarding riverwater),
v(8) water scarcity and (9) drought (resulting in ecosystem deterioration, reduced agricultural productivity, reduced navigability of rivers) and
v(10) floods (resulting in economic damage).

Hazards related to solid mass faced in the Netherlands are
v(11) coastal erosion (resulting in additional costs for renovation and repairs)
v(12) soil degradation and soil erosion (resulting in reduction of agricultural and ecosystem productivity).

Other hazards faced in the Netherlands:
(13) increasing presence and spread of species (insects, plants) which cause damage in agriculture and forestry (f.e. some beetles) or cause health problems (caterpillars of some butterflies with irritating hairs, poisonous invasive plants).

Key affected sectors

Overview of institutional arrangements and governance at the national level

The Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), is legally obliged to provide observations on atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial indicators; this includes data on expected extreme weather conditions.

Vulnerability assessments are generally realised through national studies and European research projects. The most important national efforts include reports from the Delta Programme, The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the Knowledge for Climate programme.

The national agency Rijkswaterstaat has a programme on Climate resilient networks. In the context of this programme, Rijkswaterstaat works together with other partners, te examine the impact climate change has on the main roads, rivers and canals in the Netherlands and to identify possible solutions.
The National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) describes the main climate risks facing the Netherlands and sets the course for addressing these risks. Under the NAS Programme plans and actions have been identified, set out in the NAS Implementation Programme 2018 – 2019. This Implementation Programme does not specify which party will take up which actions, nor which budget is allocated.

The Delta Programme 2015 (and continued by its successors) contained five Delta Decisions and preferential strategies for each of the topics and regions. The Delta Programme monitors, reports and evaluates the Delta decisions and the preferential strategies and the actions addressed in its three Delta Plans.

The Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management comprises all the Delta Programme studies, measures and provisions, scheduled or to be scheduled, pertaining to flood risk management. The measures are funded from the Delta Fund, and, in some cases, from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management budget. Where appropriate, the Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management also features regional measures not subsidised by the central government.

The Delta Plan on Fresh Water Supply comprises all the measures, studies, and knowledge issues relating to a sustainable freshwater supply that have been scheduled, and that are funded – in whole or in part – from the Delta Fund.

The Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation comprises the measures aimed at rendering the Netherlands climate proof and water-resilient.

Each year the Delta Programme reports on the implementation of these decisions and strategies.

The NAS will be evaluated and updated in 2021 and 2022 in the light of the new EU Climate Adaptation Strategy. The Delta Programme is reviewed, revised, updated and finally published every year. An evaluation of the five Delta Decisions and the preferential strategies has been published in 2020.
The integration of climate change impacts and resilience into environmental assessment procedures is guaranteed via the National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment (Nationale Omgevingsvisie - NOVI), in which the national government presents its long-term vision on the future development of the living environment in the Netherlands. The NOVI comprises a new, integrated approach that brings together all levels of government and civil society, with greater control from national government. When working on space for climate adaptation and energy transition, sustainable (circular) economic growth potential, strong and healthy cities and regions and the futureproof development of rural areas all affected interests have to be taken into consideration.
The Dutch Safety Regions address disaster risk management on a regional level, in a collaboration of fire brigades, police, medical services and sub-national governments. The Steering Group National Security covers policies on vital critical infrastructure. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management participates in this Steering Group and different projects thereunder. In 2015, the programme ‘Water and Evacuation’ began with the aim to improve the preparedness of the Dutch Safety Regions to the consequences of floods due to climate change. Instruments are available to assist the Safety Regions. The programme links to other programmes, such as ‘National Vital and Vulnerable Critical Infrastructure.
Climate-related disaster loss and risk data can be found in the Climate Impact Atlas and the Climate Damage Atlas. The first one provides an initial impression of (future) threats of flooding, waterlogging, drought, and heat at national, regional and local level. The latter estimates the damage that will be caused by waterlogging, heat, and drought during the period 2018 to 2050. For each municipal resident, the tool provides an estimate of various types of damage, such as additional hospitalisations resulting from heat and damage to buildings as a result of waterlogging. In addition, the tool presents the residual risk with respect to primary water system flooding. The information is available free of charge and all data is public.

Overview of institutional arrangements and governance at the sub-national level (where “sub-national” refers to local and regional)

The implementation of the NAS is governed by a board of directors from all relevant ministries of the Dutch Government. They supervise a programme, cooperatings in networks of national, regional and local governments, NGOs, knowledge institutes and the private sector. The approach in the NAS is to provide an overview of the adaptation needs for different sectors. This approach leads to broad support from the sectors because they understand why they are expected to contribute to adaptation.
In order to coordinate climate adaptation, the Netherlands has formed 45 regions. When governments in these regions finish their stress test – meant to gain insight into climate related vulnerabilities constitutes – the municipalities, district water boards, provinces, and Rijkswaterstaat will launch regional risk dialogues with all the relevant partners aiming at raising awareness of an area’s vulnerability to climate extremes, and discussing specific measures to reduce such vulnerability. Another good practice is the network “Samen Klimaatbestendig”, a network by and for professionals on climate adaptation.
Climate risks that need to be addressed most urgently are (NAS): greater heat stress, more frequent failure of vital systems (energy, telecommunications, IT and transport infrastructures), more frequent crop failures, shifting climate zones, greater health burden and loss of productivity and cumulative effects whereby a systems failure in one sector or at one location triggers further problems elsewhere. Based on these most urgent risks, the adaptation priorities are: warmer, wetter, dryer and rising sea level.
The Netherlands would like to get more insight in the effectiveness of tools and measures, hence we’re taking steps from pilots to upscaling and involving the private sector, particularly the financial sector. More knowledge is necessary regarding possible measures regarding drought and heat as well the effects of shift of climate zones.
Dutch adaptation policy comprises of the National Climate Adaptation Strategy 2016 (NAS) and the Delta Programme (2012).

The first NAS (2007) and Delta Programme did not address all aspects of climate change. In 2013, the work on a new NAS started, leading to the publication of the current NAS in 2016, aiming at broad climate adaptation. The NAS describes six climate impacts which are considered the most urgent to address in the Netherlands, next to water management covered in the Delta Programme (heat stress; critical infrastructure, ie energy and ICT; agriculture and horticulture; nature; allergies and infections; and cascading effects).

A board of directors from all relevant ministries of the Dutch Government governs the implementation of the NAS. The approach in the NAS is to provide an overview of the adaptation needs for different sectors. This approach leads to broad support from the sectors.

The threat of sea-level rise combined with storm surges, coastal flooding and fluvial flooding events led to a long tradition of water management in The Netherlands. Since 1999, climate adaptation has been integral to flood resilience plans and projects in the Netherlands. The Dutch Delta Programme re-evaluated Dutch water management policies, land use and spatial planning in the context of a changing climate. The Delta Programme is built on the legal framework ‘the Delta Act on flood safety and freshwater supply'. This Delta Act anchors the Delta Programme, the Delta Fund and the role of the Delta Commissioner into legislation.

The Delta Programme is structured around flood risk management (improving dykes, maintaining the coast through sand replenishment, and more room for rivers), freshwater supply (securing a sufficient supply of fresh water) and spatial adaptation (redesigning the Netherlands to cope with nature’s extremes).

Delta decisions exist on these topics, as well as on the Ijsselmeer and the Maas-Rhine regions, which are embedded in the National Water Plan, the Water Act and administrative agreements with other governments. All relevant authorities have implemented the Delta Programme. The regional water authorities are essential for the implementation of water management and for the management and maintenance of dykes and coastal dunes. Provincial and local authorities are responsible for spatial planning, nature conservation and area development. Governments work together in the sub-programmes of the Delta Programme. Regional steering groups provide advice on decisions, strategies and measures as well as on opportunities for using an integrated approach following the common Multi-Annual Programme for Infrastructure and Transport Projects.

Risk dialogues based on the Delta Programme on Spatial Adaptation will be held as a follow up to stress tests, addressing an area’s vulnerabilities to waterlogging, heat stress, drought, and flood risks. Participants collectively determine which risks they deem acceptable or not and develop ambitions that may be specified in a climate adaptation strategy. This will result in implementation agendas for each region regarding what will be implemented, when and by whom, in the period from 2021. The agreements pertain to, e.g., specific measures, actions aimed at activating other stakeholders, embedding in policy and organisation, raising awareness, and further research.

By early 2021, decisions will be taken regarding measures for the second phase of the Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply. A list of 150 promising measures has been established, related to infrastructural modification of engineering structures, innovative projects, adaptations to the water system, use of alternative freshwater sources; and improvements in the information provision (monitoring and modelling).

Under the Flood Protection Programme, the 21 Dutch district water boards are collaborating with Rijkswaterstaat to make the Netherlands flood-proof. This will ensure a minimum protection level of 1 in 100,000 per annum for every resident of the Netherlands living behind a primary dyke or dam by no later than 2050. Nearly 1300 kilometres of dykes and nearly 500 sluices and pumping stations will be improved.

The Foreshores Deposits programme involves stone deposits at 27 locations in the province of Zeeland to reinforce the foreshores of the flood defences by 2026.

The renovation of the IJsselmeer Closure Dam (Afsluitdijk) started in 2018 in order to improve the dam and expand the IJsselmeer discharge capacity.

The Delta Plan on Flood Risk Management features a combination of dyke improvement and river widening in order for the rivers Rhine and the Meuse to have sufficient capacity to discharge river water to the sea. This combination is being substantiated in the new Integrated River Management programme under which integrated measures are being prepared that will be effective in both high water level and low water level situations.

Selection of actions and (programmes of) measures

Not reported


Adaptation strategies adopted at subnational levels

In 2009, the Dutch provinces signed an agreement with the national government to mainstream climate adaptation into spatial planning by 2015. Most provinces have now developed climate adaptation action programmes. Ten out of the twelve provinces have published key vulnerability assessments; nine have published key policy or planning documents aimed at adaptation.

A number of municipalities started to develop adaptation policies and even released local adaptation strategies, for example, the cities of Rotterdam (the Rotterdam Climate Initiative) and Amsterdam (Amsterdam Rainproof). Many more examples exist, as summarised in the Spatial Adaptation portal.

The National Knowledge and Innovation Programme Water and Climate (NKWK) started in 2015 and is a cooperation of governments, scientific organisations and the private sector. The partners invest in pilots, operational projects and long-term developments with the aim of adapting to climate change.

The Delta Programme, including the recently published Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation (2017), is a reflection of the close cooperation between the national government, provinces, regional water authorities and municipalities. The Association of Provinces of The Netherlands (IPO), the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and the Dutch Water Authorities (UvW) published their Investment-Agenda on 10 March 2017. This agenda contains goals, concrete objectives and actions on climate adaptation. A common priority is the mainstreaming of climate adaptation into water management, spatial planning, nature policy, agriculture and economic policy.

Adaptation plans adopted at sub-national level

As aforementioned, ten out of twelve provinces had published key studies and assessments of the climate impacts and vulnerabilities affecting their respective regions. The NAS2016 gave a new momentum to planning by provincial governments. About half of the municipalities have published plans on climate adaptation. In many cases, groups of municipalities with similar problems work on regional (sub-provincial) adaptation plans. As a follow up to the Deltaplan Spatial Adaptation, provinces, Rijkswaterstaat, regional water authorities and municipalities will carry out an adaptation stress test and start risk dialogues in order to identify their priorities for adaptation. As of 2018, municipalities, regional water authorities and provinces are committed to cooperate in forty-five regions to implement the Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation.
The NAS incorporated the six main climate impact issues in its implementation programme:
(1) Greater heat stress leading to increased morbidity, hospital admissions and mortality, as well as reduced productivity,
(2) More frequent failure of vital systems: energy, telecommunications, IT and transport infrastructures,
(3) More frequent crop failures or other problems in the agricultural sector, such as decreased yields or damage to production resources,
(4) Shifting climate zones whereby some flora and fauna species will be unable to migrate or adapt, due in part to the lack of an internationally coordinated spatial policy,
(5) Greater health burden and loss of productivity due to possible increase in infectious diseases or allergic (respiratory) conditions such as hay fever and
(6) Cumulative effects whereby a systems failure in one sector or at one location triggers further problems elsewhere.

At sectoral level, climate adaptation efforts focus on protecting vital and vulnerable functions against (future) climate impacts. Within the framework of the Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation, the programme "Vital and Vulnerable" was published and it is accompanied by a yearly progress report. This programme focuses on the protection of vital and vulnerable functions against the consequences of flooding.

Rijkswaterstaat, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management’s executive arm responsible for transport infrastructure and water management, is developing a working programme for climate resilient networks: roads, waterways and water systems. As part of the programme, research to investigate the vulnerability of the highway network to climate change has been initiated. In the future, levels of acceptable risk will be established, taking into account required service levels and costs and benefits of possible measures for climate adaptation. A similar approach applies to the Railway network.

The Delta Plan Agrarian Water Management (DAW) was initiated by the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO) on request of the Dutch Government. The DAW addresses water issues to support economically strong and sustainable agriculture. DAW provides for cooperation between the agricultural sector and the regional water authorities. Water-related issues addressed are: water quality, salinisation, water deficit and water surplus.

The Delta Approach Water Quality was adopted by Dutch governments, NGOs and knowledge institutes in 2016. It aims to achieve the EU Water Framework Directive’s goals, and reducing water pollution.

The Delta Plan on Freshwater Supply comprises all the Delta Programme measures and studies relating to the availability of fresh water in the Netherlands. It also contains agreements on the financial contributions of the central and regional governments. Agreements on responsibilities, funding, distribution of costs, and the scheduling of measures have been set down in regional administrative agreements.

In addition, there is a structure called the Dutch Safety Regions. These are regional platforms organising cooperation of fire brigades, police, medical services and subnational governments to respond to disasters and crises. The Safety Regions cooperate closely with the Ministry of Justice and Security.
To explore climate adaptation issues under the National Adaptation Strategy in greater depth, stakeholders are holding a series climate adaptation dialogues. These discussion meetings offer an opportunity to clarify the challenges and brainstorm possible solutions. The first topic to be discussed will be the possibility of insuring against climate risks. This dialogue will build upon the many discussions that have already taken place, bringing all stakeholders together around the same table. Prospective participants include the four lead ministries (the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of Finance), UvW, IPO, VNG, industry federations, the Dutch Association of Insurers and DNB (the central bank of the Netherlands).

There are no specific programs for stakeholders that are particularly vulnerable, as the Dutch Government allowed involvement of all stakeholders. However, when prioritizing actions, the interest of the most vulnerable groups are paramount.
See under a. however, the Dutch Government is currently undertaking actions to engage the private sector more.
The Dutch meteorological institute, KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute), is legally obliged to provide observations on atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial indicators; this includes data on expected extreme weather conditions. The national agency Rijkswaterstaat provides online information on water levels along the coast and in the main rivers and predicts these six hours before they occur. Monitoring extreme climate events is a responsibility of the KNMI. This institute maintains long time series on variables such as temperature and precipitation extremes (including heatwaves and hail), and the frequency and intensity of windstorms. The task of monitoring impacts of extreme climate events is distributed across multiple stakeholders in different sectors. In principle, the indicators can be grouped into three main categories: economic damage, damage to the environment (including nature) and to human society (including casualties).

KNMI also provides a National database with Observation with regard to Climate Change. This includes an overview of national observations about temperature, precipitation, sea level, wind and storm, hail and thunder, clouds and solar radiation, evaporation and drought. These national observations are compared with the observations of the IPCC. The Climate Impact Atlas provides an initial impression of the (future) threats of flooding, waterlogging, drought and heat. It has a zoom function, and includes several indicators for each threat. Several map layers are available for each of the topics. The Atlas is based on national data, and is among others connected to the KNMI’14-scenarios. Use of the atlas is free. The State government, provinces, district water boards and municipalities have agreed upon executing a standardised stress test in the Delta Plan Spatial Adaptation. Each governmental body will investigate for its area the possible future consequences of four climate threats: water logging, heat, flooding and drought. In the stress test there is a focus on vital and vulnerable functions. The Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation has developed a guidance for performing the test, including standards for the change of impacts of climate change, and guidance for the interpretation of the results of the test. The next step after the stress test is to organise a Risk Dialogue with all stakeholders to evaluate the outcome of the risk analysis and to see which measures needs to be taken.
In the NAS Implementation Programme 2018-2019 reference is made to an Action Plan for NAS Monitoring which was drawn up in 2017. In this plan, the monitoring ambitions are elaborated into four specific objectives:
- Monitoring the progress of the implementation programme;
- Monitoring the extent to which climate adaptation measures are effective in terms of risk reduction;
- Monitoring the development of climate change risks to all sectors.
- Setting up a ‘digital workspace’ on the website ‘Spatial Adaptation’.

Indicators have been developed for sectors and climate impacts that are not addressed by the Delta Programme. The Netherlands Environmental Agency (PBL) published a preliminary design for monitoring of adaptation in 2015.

The Delta Programme uses the monitoring programme ‘Monitoring, Analysing, Acting’. This system focuses on four key questions:
- Is the implementation on schedule and within budget? (output)
- Are we on the right track? Are we gaining our goals? (outcome)
- Are we addressing the tasks in an integrated manner?
- Participation: are other parties (authorities, companies, NGO’s and citizens) participating on a wide scale, wherever necessary?

A Signal Group has been installed, to monitor developments that could be relevant to the steering course of the Delta Programme. This group has selected eight indicators to enable the timely and reliable identification of any needs for adjustment of the Preferential Strategies, which are open to annual adjustment.

In addition, the Delta Decisions and Preferential Strategies will be subjected to a systematic review every six years. The result of the first six-year review is presented in Delta Programme 2021.
As climate adaptation is a new policy area in the Netherland, in contrast to protection against water (sea and rivers), assessing expenditures for climate adaptation is not straight forward since many existing policies also add to adaptation. Besides, investments are also made by local and regional governments and there is no complete overview regarding costs yet.

The part of the state budget for 2020 that can be linked to climate adapation is 346 mln EURO. However, this is an understatement of the real expenditures as other policy areas indirectly touch upon climate adaptation (agriculture, housing, inland shipping) which are not included in the above estimation.

The largest part of the expenses are for water safety (290 mln EURO) and fresh water supply (28 mln EURO). (https://www.rijksfinancien.nl/[…]/bmh-8-klaar-voor-klimaatverandering.pdf).

Based on the Administrative Agreement on Climate Adaptation the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management published a financial incentive scheme (impulsregeling klimaatadaptatie) in the purview of expediting the implementation of adaptation measures by local and regional governments. The national government has 200 mln EURO available for adaptation measures. Funding is based co-financing with a ratio of 1/3 from the national government and 2/3 by other governments.
At the moment we don’t have an overview of the spending per sector in the Netherlands.
We recently started a project, together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) regarding the evaluation and monitoring of the work on climate adaptation. At the moment we don’t have the requested information, but will be able to give input at the next submission.
We recently started a project, together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) regarding the evaluation and monitoring of the work on climate adaptation. At the moment we don’t have the requested information, but will be able to give input at the next submission.
We recently started a project, together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) regarding the evaluation and monitoring of the work on climate adaptation. At the moment we don’t have the requested information, but will be able to give input at the next submission.
We recently started a project, together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) regarding the evaluation and monitoring of the work on climate adaptation. At the moment we don’t have the requested information, but will be able to give input at the next submission.
We recently started a project, together with the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) regarding the evaluation and monitoring of the work on climate adaptation. At the moment we don’t have the requested information, but will be able to give input at the next submission.
The National Adaptation Strategy will be evaluated and updated in 2021 and 2022.
In the context of the Delta programme a 7-step approach is designed which helps government at sub-national level to optimize decisions related to spatial adaptation.
(1) Mapping out vulnerabilities. All governments are required to conducted stress tests regarding the four climate themes: waterlogging, heat, drought, and flooding. Guidelines for standardised stress tests are available.
(2) Conducting risk dialogues and drawing up strategies. With the results of the stress tests, the municipalities, district water boards, provinces, and Rijkswaterstaat have to launch regional risk dialogues with all the relevant partners. These dialogues serve two purposes: raising awareness of an area’s vulnerability to climate extremes, and discussing specific measures to reduce such vulnerability. A Risk Dialogue Roadmap and other supporting tools are available.
(3) Drawing up implementation agendas. After the authorities have drawn up an adaptation strategy, they will set down an implementation and investment agenda for their region. Among other things, this agenda features agreements on who is going to do what.
(4) Capitalising on linkage opportunities. In many cases, “breaking up streets” for the sole purpose of spatial adaptation will be neither efficient nor effective. The decades ahead will also see other major spatial taskings (housing projects, repairs to buildings, the energy transition, circular economy). The Delta Plan aims to having all spatial developments capitalise on climate-proofing opportunities. Supporting tools are available.
(5) Promotion and facilitation. Spatial adaptation must become standard practice in cities, villages, and rural areas. To stimulate this, all stakeholders have to share their expertise, instruments, and experience wherever possible. This will obviate the need for everyone to re-invent the wheel, and will enable us to give impetus to spatial adaptation. Several instruments have been developed to achieve this goal.
(6) Regulating and embedding. The Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation stipulates that by 2050, the whole of the Netherlands must be water-resilient and climate-proof. In order to achieve this, spatial adaptation must be embedded in the management, maintenance, and planning of the environment. The authorities and private parties are pursuing this through legislation, visions, plans, and standards. A website on regulating and embedding has been developed, as well as other tools.
(7) Responding to disasters. Water-resilient and climate-proof planning can curb but never entirely prevent the damage and problems caused by extreme weather situations. The authorities aim to be better prepared for calamities caused by waterlogging, heat, drought, and flooding. Special attention will be focused on emergency provisions and the rapid restoration of vital and vulnerable infrastructure. Several parties have developed tools to this end.

See: https://klimaatadaptatienederland.nl/en/tools/

Good practices and lessons learnt

Several projects have been initiated where climate adaptation is one of a series of objectives (such as social cohesion, economy, wellbeing and biodiversity). Projects such as “green in cities” and “building with green” have a focus on nature-based solutions and also a link with the UN decade of ecosystem restoration.

The work on climate adaptation in the Netherlands also contributes significantly to Sustainable Development Goal number 13 on Climate Action. With the National Adaptation Strategy, The Delta Program and the administrative agreement on climate adaptation work on climate adaptation, and hence SDG13, has been given a strong push. Adding to this are the policy on the North sea, the National Waterplan and the National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment.

The work done in the Netherland on Water safety is strongly connected with the objectives from the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Dutch scientific institutions maintain a strong international network and there is a lot of cooperation with international partners.
There is a long history of cooperation between the countries of the rivers basins of the each of the four largest rivers flowing through the Netherlands: the Rhine, the Meuse, the Scheldt and the Ems. For each river basis there exists an international commission. Water quality, water quantity, flood protection and ecology are on the agenda of these Commission, giving international coordination between the member states to the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive and the Flood Directive. The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) is one of the oldest international river commissions in the world. Member states are the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and the European Commission. The member states work closely together with Belgium, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy to safeguard a good development of the river Rhine and its tributaries. The Conference of Rhine Ministers takes decisions in matters of political importance and establishes the basis for coherent, co-ordinated programmes of measure. Wadden Sea In the trilateral Wadden Sea cooperation Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands work together to protect the Wadden Sea as an ecological unity. The Wadden Sea Conference takes decisions in matters of political importance and establishes the basis for coherent, co-ordinated programmes of measure.

There is a trilateral cooperation between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the Benelux. Under the organisation of the General Secretariat of the Benelux a working groups on climate adaptation meets on regular basis.

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

Watersafety, Climate Adaptation and Governance Directorate
National Government, responsible for national policies
Roald Wolters
NFP

Relevant websites and social media source

[Disclaimer]
The information presented in these pages is based on the reporting according to 'Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action' and updates by the EEA member countries. However, for those pages where the information is last updated before 01/01/2021, the information presented is based on the reporting according to 'Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information relevant to climate change' and updates by the EEA member countries.'