Let beautiful estates flourish again

The challenge

As a result of climate change, green monuments in the Netherlands are facing increasing drought. To combat this, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science gave local authorities and social organizations the opportunity to improve water levels on green heritage. One of her recommendations concerned the area of ​​Baakse Beek in the Achterhoek, where the many beautiful estates suffer greatly from the drought. The water council Rijn en IJssel and the province of Gelderland are now working here together with the property owners to improve water management. They do this by keeping the water underground for a longer time, so that high-quality seepage water has more influence. Arcadis contributes to this challenging pilot project with a project manager, a landscape architect and various other specialists.

The solution

The working method is the same for every property. After a water system analysis, the water board coordinates the findings with the landowners, and they enter into a cooperation agreement. This is followed by planning, where the analysis is translated into a preliminary design with hydrological calculations and recommendations for the biodiversity in the soil, water (stream nature and wetland nature) and the landscape. The final phase is the final design and implementation preparation, which in addition to the technical implementation also includes the permit process and regulatory plan changes. Arcadis is mainly – and increasingly – involved in the last two phases, although the water board also uses our expertise for the design of the water system.

The special thing about this project is that it has so many different facets. For example, our hydrologists calculate the consequences of potential measures for the water level and our landscape architect assesses the whole based on the spatial quality and the perception of the landscape and cultural history. A challenging aspect is environmental management, partly because the tenants of the properties also have to deal with the sustainability of the agricultural sector. We aim to involve the farmers as much as possible in the project, even in this pilot phase. They have often lived and worked in the area for generations and therefore have a great deal of expertise and knowledge. They know everything about the landscape’s values ​​and culture and know every place in the natural environment. By rediscovering the morals, mentality and emotions of such an area, we create support for an integrated solution that fits better into the landscape and goes beyond simply adjusting water systems.

“I would prefer to capture the morale and mentality of such an area at an early stage of the project” – Leonieke Heldens, senior landscape architect at Arcadis

The clash

The estates in the Baakse Beek basin are of unprecedented beauty, but climate change is visibly starting to take its toll. It is not only a thorn in the side of the landowners, but also has an impact on the lives of the tenant farmers and the nature experience of the holidaymakers. By restoring the water level, the estates literally and figuratively blossom again and everyone benefits.

Several estates are involved in this project. The knowledge and experience that the involved parties gain during this pilot will later be useful for similar projects and for the further development of the government’s policy for the restoration of nature on green cultural heritage. In the long term, this will create an integrated solution that caters to the interests and expertise of all parties involved and makes an important contribution to the climate challenge. We are proud to be able to participate in this.

For more information and questions, please contact:

Leonie Heldens
Senior Landscape Architect

Leave a Comment