Peatlands in the Rhine-Meuse delta

A large part of the Rhine-Meuse delta consists of peatlands which are currently mainly used for dairy farming. Human interventions, such as land reclamation and peat harvesting for fuel, have been taking place for more than 1000 years. The drainage of these lands, for instance to maintain suitable conditions for agriculture, results in peat oxidation causing land subsidence and CO2-emissions.

Social-ecological challenges

Nowadays, the peatland area (“veenweidegebied” in Dutch) faces multiple social-ecological challenges, such as the need for an energy transition, to reduce carbon and nitrogen emissions, increase housing construction and sea-level rise, while ensuring room for nature and recreation. This emphasizes the need for long-term vision and adaptation for the peat land area in the Rhine-Meuse delta.


The project on pathways development for the peatland area, led by Martin Wassen, professor of environmental sciences, aims to develop sustainable pathways until 2100 for the Green Heart of Holland, a rural area mainly used for agriculture, nature and recreation between Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. To address the social-ecological challenges in this area, he works together with participants from science, policy and practice. A series of workshops have been organised to explore the vision for the Green Heart and the development and sequencing of measures that are required to realize this desired future.

Contact persons

External contact persons