Elevated Sandy Soils

The national Delta Programme pays attention to the specific taskings involving the Elevated Sandy Soils, in particular those relating to the availability and quality of fresh water. A Preferential Strategy has been drawn up for this area.

The Netherlands features elevated sandy soils in Drenthe, East-Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, Noord-Brabant, and Limburg. Examples include the Hondsrug, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, the Veluwe, and the hills of Limburg. These areas are typically criss-crossed with brook valleys. They encompass a mosaic of relatively intensively exploited farmlands, less capital-intensive farmland, and valuable wet and dry nature reserves. The Elevated Sandy Soils account for some 50 per cent of the Dutch surface area. They accommodate 45 per cent of the population and 40 per cent of the added value is established here. In addition, the Elevated Sandy Soils harbour 70 per cent of the National Parks, 55 per cent of the Natura 2000 areas, and 50 per cent of the National Landscapes. Ergo, they are of great importance to the Netherlands.


A large part of the Elevated Sandy Soils does not receive any or receives only a limited supply of fresh water from the rivers. Consequently, they are largely dependent on rainwater. Drinking water companies, foodstuff companies, other industries, and farmers use deep and shallow groundwater for their operational processes. The Elevated Sandy Soils have been struggling with dehydration for dozens of years. Rapid climate change will entail increased water shortages, lower groundwater levels, and brook valleys running dry. This will cause particular damage to agriculture, urban areas, and nature. Furthermore, water quality may deteriorate.

Preferential Strategy for the Elevated Sandy Soils

Under the national Delta Programme, a Preferential Strategy has been drawn up for the Elevated Sandy Soils. The Strategy is aimed at safeguarding freshwater availability and quality, and at boosting the areas’ resilience against the impact of climate change. The framework for this Preferential Strategy is formed by the Delta Decisions on Freshwater Supply and Spatial Adaptation. The Preferential Strategy will be substantiated in a series of measures for the Elevated Sandy Soils.

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