Measures for the IJsselmeer area

In recent years, considerable progress has already been made on preserving and strengthening the functions of the IJsselmeer area. A large number of new projects are on the agenda for the years ahead.

The Delta Plans for Flood risk management, Fresh water, and Spatial adaptation include numerous measures and projects that specifically target the IJsselmeer area. 

Milestones achieved over 2015-2023

Over the past six years, a large number of measures have been implemented in the IJsselmeer area. Some milestones: 

  • Since 2018, Rijkswaterstaat has used a flexible water level in the IJsselmeer and Markermeer in the summer. This can provide an additional 400 million cubic metres in the freshwater buffer in the summer.
  • Work began on the Afsluitdijk barrier dam in 2018. It will be stronger along its entire length and storm surge barriers will be built in both lock complexes. Additional discharge sluices will be built in the complex near Den Oever, together with two large pumping stations to drain more water into the Wadden Sea. 
  • The Integrated Study of Flood Risk Management and Water Level Management in the IJsselmeer Area was presented to the House of Representatives on 18 June 2019. The study described scenarios for water level management in the long term (2050-2175). The results provide guidelines for water discharge, flood risk management and water level management after 2050. 
  • Since 2020, the Houtribdijk between Enkhuizen and Lelystad has complied with the new standards for flood risk management.
  • Important administrative agreements were made in 2020 about freshwater allocation. Concrete results are the IJsselmeer Area Joint Fact Finding study and the Water Demand Forecasting Tool. The IJsselmeer Area Administrative Platform has, in this way, elaborated some of the key recommendations from the Drought Policy Platform.
  • Sixty parties have signed the IJsselmeer Area 2050 Agenda. Under this agenda, the parties aim to prepare the IJsselmeer area for the future. The agenda does not cover water-related issues alone; it also addresses spatial quality and cultural history, the energy transition, leisure activities, tourism and urbanisation. The IJsselmeer Area Administrative Platform coordinates the implementation of the agenda. 
  • Rijkswaterstaat started exploring anti-salinisation measures near the Afsluitdijk in late 2021. The measures focus on improved salinity control, while taking into account location-specific aspects associated with shipping and ecology.  
  • In early 2022, seventeen parties (provincial authorities, water authorities and Rijkswaterstaat) signed an administrative agreement as the outcome of the Updating of Water Allocation in the IJsselmeer Area process. In this way, the area is implementing the recommendation of the Drought Policy Platform on the regional elaboration of the priority sequence and embedding it in administrative arrangements. The process resulted in a clearer picture and better understanding between the parties involved.  

Plans for 2024-2026

In the years ahead, there will be a range of projects and activities for the implementation of the Delta Decision and the strategy for the IJsselmeer area. Striking topics and milestones for the period 2024-2026 include: 

  • A new stress test will follow in 2024, providing new insights about what is needed to achieve the ambition of limiting water shortages in the IJsselmeer area to a frequency of once every twenty years. 

  • The upgraded Afsluitdijk Barrier Dam will be completed no later than 2025. The stronger dike has a larger discharge capacity and new pumping capacity. 

  • In the IJsselmeer area, the objective of ‘Climate-resilient and water-robust by 2050’ is a focus. In 2026, a study will be completed looking at which additional measures are needed to keep the IJsselmeer area climate-resilient, including measures targeting spatial aspects. A clear picture will also emerge at that time of how an adequate flow of water to the Markermeer can be maintained in extremely dry periods. 

  • The optimisation of the regional water system will continue in the years to come. This process includes integrated area programmes for brook restoration, an approach for the areas with sandy soils and flexible level management. 

  • The region remains committed to water awareness and water economies among users. 

  • In the context of the Programmatic Approach for the Main Water System, planning measures are being implemented to restore or develop ecological values in conjunction with the measures from the Delta Programme.


All parties are tackling the three agendas of the Delta Programme in conjunction and, where possible, linking them to other themes such as climate mitigation, the circular economy and other transitions. This was agreed in the IJsselmeer Area 2050 Agenda.