Province of Fryslân

The Province of Fryslân is home to 650.000 inhabitants, and characterised by rurality and agriculture, diverse landscapes, small-medium sized towns (Leeuwarden, Drachten, Sneek, etc.), a network of small villages, nature, and lots of water.

The Frisian surface water and groundwater systems are extremely interrelated. Due to the current way in which the water system functions, and because of future challenges, the Frisian water and soil system are reaching their limits. Drought on sandy soils, salinisation of groundwater and continuous oxidation of the remaining peat layers require measures. Furthermore, the availability of fresh water is under pressure; the water and soil system of Fryslân will eventually be too dependent on the water supply of lake IJsselmeer. Rising sea levels require us to keep working on dike reinforcements. Without intervention, these developments will lead to water safety issues, a decrease in production and consumption, and loss of property value.​

Principal climate change challenges

Fryslân is characterized by high sandy soils (A), low-lying peatlands (B) and clay areas (C)* along the north-western coast. Distinctive are the lakes, the extensive system of interconnected canals and lakes (known as the ‘Boezem’) (D) and the stream valleys in the eastern part of the province. The Frisian water system is an artificial ‘polder’ system combined with free-flowing sections , protected by flood defence along the lake IJsselmeer and Wadden Sea (E). It is largely an artificial system, aimed primarily at draining excess water, with a high dependence on supply of IJsselmeer water in periods of water shortage.

The Frisian Boezem is important for fresh water drainage and supply, is a connector of ecological values, and used for hipping and (water) recreation. Water and soil are closely inked. The soil is important for regulating moisture/water and nutrients, for production capacity and biodiversity and for supporting buildings and infrastructure. It is important to understand the relationship between the soil and water system as well as its functioning. This is depicted in the following figure.

It shows that the peatland areas have a major influence on the entire groundwater system of Fryslân, currently as well as in the future. Analyzing the water and soil system makes clear that measures in the peatlands are crucial to obtain a sustainable and climate-proof soil system and water management in the future. The current system is reaching its limits, even more so by the effects of climate change. Towards 2050 and beyond, we are facing the challenges set out here.​

Fryslân in NBRACER

This region wants to make further steps towards a climate-resilient region. Building upon the recently developed vision ‘FK2050’ (F), Frislân wants to test and demonstrate transformative solutions on climate resilience, mainstreaming nature-based solution in the systemic transformation.​

Fields to be explored:​

  • Coastal, salinizing clay areas: improve soil quality, reducing salt intrusion, raising ground water levels, enlarging water retention.​
  • Low lying, oxidizing peatland areas: reduce/stop peat oxidation and CO2 emissions, raising ground water levels, retaining rainwater, enlarging water retention.​
  • High lying sand areas: combat increasing drought, stream valley restoration, reduce groundwater retraction, enlarging water retention, strengthen culture-historical landscape elements.

Solutions to Be Involved In Replications

We have the best instructors

Marine & Coastal Landscape

Validating NBS water management solutions and spatial planning in mainland and on Frisian Island

Urban Landscape

Integration of green infrastructure in the built environment – validating  participatory approach

Rural Landscape

Validating NBS water management solutions and spatial planning in mainland and on Frisian Island

Regional Partnes

Casper Oukes
Casper Oukes
Fryslân Regional Coordinator
Mindert de Vries
Mindert de Vries
Project Coordinator
Remco Kranendonk & Ingrid Coninx
Remco Kranendonk & Ingrid Coninx
WP3 Lead – WP6 Lead
Thomas Koetz
Thomas Koetz
WP1 Lead