IJsselmeer Region

The national Delta Programme strives to preserve and wherever possible enhance all the functions of the IJsselmeer Region, now and for the future. A Delta Decision and a Preferential Strategy have been drawn up for this area.

The IJsselmeer Region plays a pivotal role in Dutch water management. The region is of great value in terms of the natural environment and cultural history. The IJsselmeer Closure Dam (Afsluitdijk) has made the entire region safer and has enabled land to be reclaimed. A freshwater reservoir has been created which is of benefit to agriculture, industry, and nature in a large part of the Netherlands. Society uses the lakes and their banks in many different ways such as recreational activities, the extraction of drinking water, and shipping.


The sea level is continuing to rise, possibly at a pace faster than was originally assumed. This has already made it more difficult to discharge water from the IJsselmeer into the Wadden Sea. At the same time, climate change is adding to the volume of river water to be discharged into the IJsselmeer in extreme weather conditions. Conversely, during prolonged drought, supply volumes may decrease, as was manifest in the summer of 2018, when Lake IJsselmeer salinised. Level management must be capable of responding to such developments, especially because climate change and economic trends are expected to result in an increased demand for fresh water.

Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer Region

In order to preserve the functions of the IJsselmeer Region for the future, it is important to respond flexibly to new developments and insights. The basis for such a response is outlined in the three Delta Decisions of the Delta Programme: pertaining to Flood Risk Management, Freshwater Supply, and Spatial Adaptation. In addition, a Delta Decision on the IJsselmeer Region has been set down, which specifically pertains to the IJsselmeer water level management in relation to the freshwater supply and water discharge to the Wadden Sea. The Delta Programme stipulates that the central government will maintain the average winter water level of Lake IJsselmeer in accordance with the IJsselmeer Water Level Ordinance that came into force in  2018. Water discharge from Lake IJsselmeer to the Wadden Sea is effected through a combination of discharge by gravity and pumping at the IJsselmeer Closure Dam.

Preferential Strategy for the IJsselmeer Region

A Preferential Strategy for the IJsselmeer Region has been drawn up to substantiate the Delta Decision. The Strategy outlines the goals and measures aimed at keeping flood protection and the freshwater supply up to par and at enhancing the flexibility.

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