CV Co Verdaas – Delta Programme Commissioner

Professor Johannes Cornelis (Co) Verdaas was appointed government commissioner for the National Delta Programme effective 1 December 2023. He is also part-time Professor of Area Development at Delft University of Technology. 

As an independent government commissioner, Co Verdaas monitors the progress of the National Delta Programme in which government authorities and knowledge institutes work with stakeholder organisations and business to protect the Netherlands in the long term from flooding and weather extremes, and to maintain adequate supplies of fresh water. The Delta Commissioner reports annually on Prinsjesdag (the state opening of Parliament in the Netherlands) about the implementation of the National Delta Programme and advises the Cabinet, either upon request or at his own initiative, about climate adaptation issues. 

Co Verdaas has worked at the interface of spatial development, science and governance for more than 25 years. His employers have included the University of Wageningen, the municipal authority of Zwolle and the SWZ housing corporation. He has been a Member of Parliament, a member of the Gelderland provincial executive and, for a short time, State Secretary for Economic Affairs in the Rutte II government. Verdaas studied planology at Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he completed his doctorate "Plans won’t be planned", a study of the functioning of the planning system in the Netherlands. He is the third Delta Commissioner, succeeding Wim Kuijken and Peter Glas.

Career of Johannes Cornelis (Co) Verdaas (b. 5 August 1966, Breda)

  • June 2018 – present: Professor of Area Development at Delft University of Technology
  • 2019  – 2023: Dike reeve of the Rivierenland water authority
  • 2015 – 2019: Consultant with ‘Over Morgen’, a consultancy firm active in the field of sustainability, the energy transition, electric transport and area development
  • 2014 – 2018: Chairman of the Wadden Sea Board, the international consultative body for Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands for the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site
  • 2016 - 2019: Chairman of the Mijnraad, an independent advisory body that advises the Minister of Economic Affairs about mining permit procedures
  • 2016 - 2020: Member of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure, an independent advisory body for the government and parliament with respect to the broad domain of the physical environment
  • 2014 - 2019: Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ROVA, a social enterprise in the field of waste and the recycling of raw materials
  • 2015: Wageningen University & Research, advisor to the Board of Governors
  • 2013 - 2014: Director of the Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR
  • 2012: Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in the Rutte II government
  • 2007 - 2012: Member of the Gelderland provincial executive for the Dutch Labour Party
  • 2003 –2006: Member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party
  • 2002 - 2003: Manager at SWZ housing corporation, Zwolle
  • 2000 - 2002: Director of the Radboud University UOBN Foundation
  • 1999 – 2000: Team leader of the development department of the municipality of Zwolle
  • 2000: Lecturer/advisor at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences
  • 1997 - 1999: Strategist with the Development department of the municipality of Zwolle


  • 1996: Ph.D. in Policy Sciences
  • 1990: Faculty of Policy Sciences, Radboud University, Planology diploma

Secondary positions

  • Professor of Area Development at Delft University of Technology with the Area Development Knowledge Foundation 
  • Member of the Advisory Board for the Environmental Sciences Group (ESG) of Wageningen UR. 
  • Member of the jury for the Rotterdam Maaskant prize