Living environment

The Netherlands is changing. We are facing all sorts of developments that influence how we design our country. Many homes need to be built, alternative forms of generating energy are crucial, challenges are posed in the field of water safety, and a good balance must be found between agriculture and nature. The position of cultural heritage is becoming increasingly better embedded in design plans.

National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment

The quality of our living environment is high on the agenda of national spatial policy, in the form of the National Strategy on Spatial Planning and the Environment (Nationale Omgevingsvisie or NOVI) and its successor, the Spatial Policy Document (Nota Ruimte). Cultural heritage is an important factor for our living environment. Not only in terms of maintaining this heritage but also by safeguarding and continually developing the core qualities of our cities and countryside. Every place in the Netherlands has its own story about how and why it has become what it is today. By using these stories, we can give direction to the future and to the challenges and developments that we face in the Netherlands. This involves protecting and developing our cultural-historical values (in landscape heritage and in constructed and archaeological heritage), as well as the characteristics and identities of each area.

The role of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands

The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed | RCE) is active at various levels to safeguard cultural heritage within our living environment by providing advice and knowledge tools. We are implementing a number of focused programmes in accordance with the four major spatial challenges as stipulated in national spatial policy:

  • The Heritage, Water and Climate programme
  • The Heritage, Agriculture and Nature programme
  • The Heritage and Urbanization programme
  • The Heritage and Sustainable Transitions programme

By implementing these four programmes, cultural heritage gives a voice to the past in future developments and we can ensure that the Netherlands remains beautiful and meaningful.