Kromme Rijn (Netherlands)

Habitats and biodiversity in the “Kromme Rijn” area in the Netherlands

© Franziska Komossa

© Franziska Komossa

© Franziska Komossa

The Dutch case study region – the Kromme Rijn area – is located in the Central Netherlands. This dynamic area (219 km2, 86.090 inhabitants) is characterized by a rich cultural landscape with differences in scale, openness and relief, attracting around 1.8 million recreationists yearly (Provincie Utrecht, 2016). Its location adjacent to the city of Utrecht adds to the popularity of this peri-urban area as a leisure-time destination. The main recreation areas are defined by diverse landscapes, offering a variety of landscape elements, including riversides, small forests, and cultural heritage sites such as estates and forts belonging to the monumental ‘Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie’ (Will, 2002).

The name ‘Kromme Rijn’ refers to a 28-km long river that flows through the area, a former branch of the river Rhine. The fluvial deposits of the river have strongly influenced the current land use pattern, as fruit orchards are established on the sandy and clay levee deposits of the former riverbed. Fruit cultivation (e.g. apples, pears and cherry) is a financially important sector and is currently expanding. Fruit cultivation takes place in both high-stem and modern orchards and the sector currently consists of 109 farms (1200 ha). A second important agricultural sector is dairy farming, which mainly takes place on lower lying grassland areas. The area has 234 dairy farms (7496 ha), with an unknown area of grassland also used for feeds. Arable land plays a minor role, with cereals (27 ha) and vegetables (1 ha) (CBS, 2016; Provincie Utrecht, 2011).

PG Recreation
PG Biodiversity

The main sources of tension related to public goods/public bads within the case study region – as stated by stakeholders during stakeholder workshops or personal interviews (March 2016 and December 2017) – concern tensions between different landscape functions. These functions relate to the agricultural character of the area, the natural environment and an increasing demand for outdoor recreation. The higher demand for outdoor recreation – here mainly short-term recreation such as daily hikes, biking, picnicking – potentially leads to various effects, including environmental pressure (e.g. tranquility, biodiversity), residents’ fear of losing rural identity, increased traffic on the road network etc.

Simultaneously, agricultural land use (dairy farming, fruit cultivation and arable farming) – especially agricultural intensification without sufficient agrobiodiversity measures – is likely to negatively influence the natural environment in terms of the supply of biodiversity in the case study region. The aforementioned tensions call for well-designed management strategies for the preservation and maintenance of the multi-functionality of the area.

Increasing demand for outdoor recreation requires an increasing need for comprehensive landscape management, capable of maintaining or improving the touristic infrastructure and the quality of landscapes attractive for outdoor recreation. Read more…

Other Methods

We investigated a potential future location advantage tax charged on recreational facilities as a means to finance landscape management and maintenance through the demand for outdoor recreation. Read more…

Financial Incentives

Stakeholder Portal

Stakeholder Portal

Here you find outcomes of the participatory workshops and material in national language.


Contact for case study region