Between 2012 and 2015, the amount of land in many municipalities in the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland dedicated to water storage and nature reserves increased.
Translation by Traci White
Figures for the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics found that between 2012 and 2015, 11,000 hectares of land in the Netherlands have become natural terrain, much of which is used for water storage. RTV Drenthe reports that much of the newfound natural land has been reclaimed agricultural ground: there were 15,000 fewer hectares of farmland in 2015 than in 2012.
“An increasing amount of farmland with high groundwater levels are becoming dedicated to water storage and local wetlands”, CBS reports. “The Peizer polder and Eeldermaden in the municipality of Noordenveld in Drenthe converted 800 hectares of farmland into wetlands.” Drenthe also led the nation in terms of added recreational green spaces: between 2012 and 2015, Drenthe added 4.5 percent more parks, leisure areas and sports fields.
Bodies of water
The wider north saw the most growth of reclaimed agricultural lands in the country. Most municipalities across the north added at least some land, with many adding more than 200 hectares. Midden-Groningen had some of the most added natural areas with 632 hectares. In all three northern provinces, much of the new territory became bodies of water.
The Frisian Wadden islands of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland both lost open water or land over the three-year period. Kollumerland (part of Noardeast-Fryslân) in Friesland and De Marne (part of Het Hogeland), both of which are located along the Lauwersmeer, lost nearly 100 hectares of natural land each.
Check out the interactive map from CBS below to see how much natural land your municipality added or lost between 2012 and 2015.