Scaling Down: Introducing an Inner-Boezem Landscape in the Polder-Boezem System of the Dutch Lowlands

I. Bobbink, M.T. Pouderoijen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The Faculty of Architecture at TU Delft lies in the low-lying part of the Netherlands; we research and teach water management and its spatial and social impact.

For decades, the land was successfully drained and reclaimed, resulting in a comfortable life below sea level. However, due to various causes, this way of managing the delta is problematic today: the sea level is rising while land subsidence is ongoing. On the one hand, there is a surplus of rain- and river water, and at the same time, the land and the plants suffer from drought and water pollution; the country is densely occupied, and the world's second-largest agricultural exporter and therefore lacks space for many other programs like renewable energy harvesting, recreation, and nature development.

Considering the pressure on the landscape, we need to rethink our delta. That’s why a research team proposed to the province of North Holland to test the installation of inner-boezem landscapes, which can keep water in the polder instead of pumping it out via the boezem network (discharge system) into the open water of rivers and sea. This water system scaling-down operation allows for more site-specific water management and can serve as a starting point for integrated landscape development.

Preparing the brief for the design assignment based on the research included civil engineers and technical and ecological experts. Forty master students of the landscape architecture track worked for eight weeks on testing designs of inner-boezem landscapes in different locations: the peat polder landscape, a lakebed polder, and along the dune ridge.

The designs showed that the inner-boezem landscapes deal well with flexible water levels and create opportunities for new ecological and recreational values. At the same time, the inner-boezem landscapes are initiators for developing innovative, more sustainable agricultural practices.

The research by design results are discussed within the province of Noord Holland. Like in the “Room for the River ” project, the inner-boezem landscape, which can be seen as a “Room for the Polder Water” project, simultaneously allows for technical, ecological, and socio-economic improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLabyrinth of the World – Landscape Crossroads
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts – Conference Guide ECLAS 2023
EditorsJiří Dohnal, Barbora Dohnalová
Place of PublicationBrno
PublisherMendel University Brno
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-80-7509-934-1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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