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Natural Capital

What are case studies for Dutch governments on different levels?

On all levels of (Dutch) government, as well as with the water authorities, case studies can be found that indicate the value of integrating natural capital in decision-making.

Municipalities, Cities and Provinces


In the project TEEB City ten municipalities (among which Haarlem, The Hague, Almelo, Delft, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Zwolle and Eindhoven) learned by ways of a local area project when green and water benefits arise, how high these benefits are, and how beneficiaries can be involved as investors. This resulted in the realization that public space projects can garner surprising profits.

The TEEB Stad tool (‘TEEB City tool’) is a freely available instrument that shows the communal benefits of green and blue in the cities quantitatively. The results from the tool indicate in monetary terms the benefits of constructing green and water areas in cities, both in the present and the future.

Ministerie van Economische Zaken (2012).

PBL (2015c), p. 5. (in Dutch)

The tool TEEB-Stad has its own website (in Dutch).

More best practices on urban green in Bade, Smid & Tonneijck (2011).

Ecosystem services for local and regional governments

Pilots indicate that ecosystem services can help local and regional governments with a.o. finding new opportunities for spatial development; gaining better insight in the value of ecosystem services delivered by nature and the development of the business case for applications; and expanding on soil management en connections to spatial planning.

Deltares (2013a).

Water Authorities

Water Authority Noorderzijlvest

The ecosystem services approach may be useful for water management because they provide structure and content in decision and negotiation processes, they connect water management and social benefits, they can help to draft a strategy to deal with new requests from partners, and are a tool for successful European tenders.

Waterschap Noorderzijlvest (2014). (in Dutch, executive summary in English)

Benefits of nature-friendly banks

The municipality of Leiden together with the water authority Rijnland has constructed nature-friendly banks. After several years evaluation shows that these are less costly to maintain than traditional banks. The initially higher investment is more than compensated and a profit arises from exploitation. A stimulating subsidy performed well and is now redundant.

National Level


Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch agency responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands, lets nature contribute to water safety in so-called eco-engineering projects. The services nature provides are consciously utilized, for instance, wave breaking by vegetation or sediment capture by oysters. This brings many benefits. Natural solutions grow alongside sea level rise, which may lead to significant cost savings in the future for maintenance or reinforcement of water barriers. Additionally, cost benefits may arise because ecosystem services provide multiple services simultaneously. Dunes, for instance, contribute to coastal protection, recreation and water purification. Recreants deem eco-engineering solutions more attractive than hard structures. Finally, the permit process is usually accelerated, because the design already takes into account nature or recreation. These additional benefits make eco-engineering a cost-effective option.

Rijkswaterstaat (2012).

More best practices on the national level are described in “Which countries are integrating natural capital in policy?” and in “How can I, as a government, map the role of natural capital?” (“Natural Capital Accounting (for governments)”).