Between 2000 and 2003, a city the size of Rotterdam was added to the total built-up area in the Netherlands. The built-up area in the provinces along the A2 motorway and in the province of South Holland – already highly urbanised regions – is expanding.
Farmland, nature and water
Nearly 62 percent of the Netherlands is farmland. Thirteen percent consists of woodland and open natural land and nearly 10 percent of the country is covered by inland waterways. Less than 9 percent consists of built-up area. The remaining 7 percent is occupied by roads, partly built-up area and recreation area. The total area used for farming is declining as the area used for other purposes is expanding.
Land use, 2003
New building activities predominantly found in Randstad region
Extensive built-up areas are mainly found in the Randstad conurbation with in its centre the relatively sparsely populated Green Heart. But also the city belt in the province of North Brabant running from Bergen op Zoom via Breda, Den Bosch and Nijmegen to Arnhem is now an uninterrupted stretch of heavily built-up area. The vicinity of Eindhoven and the province of Limburg are also highly urbanised areas. In the rest of the country, provincial capitals and other towns stand out in an otherwise green environment.
West and south part of the country subject to change
Between 2000 and 2003, an area of approximately 660 km² in the Netherlands shifted to another land use category, i.e. 1.6 percent of the total area of the Netherlands. Many areas initially labelled as farmland are now used for different purposes. Prepared sites are used for residential and non-residential building, particularly in the west and south part of the country. In the provinces of South Holland, Utrecht and North Holland respectively 2.9 percent, 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent of sites are used for different purposes. The provinces of North Brabant, Limburg and Flevoland are also rapidly changing. Zeeland is an exception in this respect.
Land use change per province
Large infrastructure projects
The large infrastructure projects in the Netherlands, like the Betuwelijn, the High Speed Railway, Schiphol’s new Polder runway and the construction of the A5 motorway in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer can be viewed on the map. The municipalities along the A2 motorway, connecting Amsterdam with Maastricht, are bustling with construction activities. The route can be traced on the map. Around the Green Heart, there are also many building activities under way. The Green Heart is increasingly under pressure.
Proportion of built-up area, relative to the nationwide average (14.6%), 2003
Built-up area, relative to the nationwide average (0.6%), 2000-2003