For centuries now, humans have been shaping the Dutch landscape to suit their own purposes. The country’s surface is marbled with dikes, waterways, terps, lines of defence, estates, villages and cities. Cultural heritage contributes to the quality of our living environment, which is ever developing.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed | RCE) is committed to maintaining the cultural landscape by stimulating conservation of landscape qualities and by guiding any changes to it. To this end, we research the history, character and cultural-historic value of the landscape. We also award subsidies for the maintenance of green heritage. By doing so, the history of our living environment will remain recognizable.

The RCE is active at various levels to safeguard the landscape within our living environment:

  • We advise governmental bodies and professionals working in the field of spatial development, nature conservation, water conservation and cultural heritage.
  • We develop knowledge, methods and tools to make landscape qualities visible and in keeping within their respective areas. For example, via timelines, regional biographies, the principal structure of the landscape, and the Landscape Monitor (Monitor Landschap). We do so on behalf of governmental bodies, designers and initiators of spatial developments. An important tool in our collection is the Heritage Atlas (Erfgoedatlas).
  • Our advisors play an active role in involving heritage and landscape qualities in practical implementations.

In this way, we encourage landscape qualities to be taken into consideration in spatial design in the Netherlands at an early stage, as both a prerequisite and source of inspiration.