IJsselmeer Area

The implementation of the national Delta Programme will contribute to the preservation and strengthening of all the functions of the IJsselmeer area, now and in the future. A delta decision and preferred strategy have been drawn up for this area.

The IJsselmeer area is at the heart of Dutch water management. It harbours special values for nature and cultural history. The Afsluitdijk barrier dam provided the entire area with more protection and made land reclamation possible. It also created a freshwater buffer that is good for agriculture, drinking water availability, industry and nature in much of the Netherlands. Society as a whole uses the lakes and their shores in many ways, for example for leisure activities, drinking water extraction and shipping.


The sea level is continuing to rise, possibly at a pace faster than previously expected. In recent years, it has become more difficult to discharge water in the IJsselmeer into the Wadden Sea. At the same time, more river water is flowing into the IJsselmeer when conditions are extreme because of climate change. In longer dry periods, the influx may actually decrease. Indeed, this was seen in the summer of 2018, when there was salinisation in the IJsselmeer. It will be necessary to respond to this using water level management. Particularly since economic developments, reducing land subsidence and the effects of climate change are also expected to result in increased demand for fresh water.

Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer area

To preserve the functions of the IJsselmeer area in the future as well, it is important to respond flexibly to developments and new insights. The basis for this has been set out in the three Delta Decisions of the Delta Programme: Flood Risk Management, Freshwater Supply, and Spatial Adaptation.

There is also a Delta Decision for the IJsselmeer Area. It addresses water level management in the IJsselmeer in particular in relation to the freshwater supplies and water discharge into the Wadden Sea. The Delta Programme states that the national government will maintain the average winter level in the IJsselmeer in line with the IJsselmeer Area Level Decree (which has been in effect since 2018). Water is discharged from the IJsselmeer to the Wadden Sea with a combination of gravity discharge and pumping at the Afsluitdijk barrier dam.

Preferential Strategy for the IJsselmeer area

A Preferential Strategy for the IJsselmeer Region has been drawn up elaborating the details of the Delta Decision. It defines goals and measures for maintaining the standard of flood risk management and freshwater supplies, and for increasing flexibility.

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