Leeuwarden intends to be climate-adaptive by 2035

In 2018, the municipality of Leeuwarden set up the Volhoudbaar [Maintainable] programme. This sets out the measures that Leeuwarden intends to take to become a climate neutral and climate adaptive city, with a circular economy. The municipality will be addressing the various taskings in an integrated manner. The Volhoudbaar programme comprises an adaptation strategy to combat the impact of climate change.

How has the adaptation strategy been developed?

With its adaptation strategy, Leeuwarden is tying in with the ambitions formulated in the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, dating from 2018. Furthermore, Leeuwarden is participating in the Friesland Administrative Agreement on the Water Chain, under which municipalities in Friesland, the Wetterskip Fryslân district water board, Vitens drinking water company, and the provincial authorities have joined forces in the pursuit of future-proofing the water chain in Friesland.

Leeuwarden 2

What views does Leeuwarden hold?

Leeuwarden intends to be a climate-adaptive municipality by 2035. This means that by then, it will have embedded climate adaptation in its municipal policies. In order to prepare for the effects of waterlogging, drought, and heat, Leeuwarden aims to render the living environment climate-adaptive. The efforts will focus on the public space. In addition, the municipality aims to collaborate with residents, businesses, and NGOs.

What goals are set out in the adaptation strategy?

In order to meet the ambitions of the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, Leeuwarden has formulated the following strategic goals:

  • The municipality aims to prevent waterlogging and damage caused by extreme downpours wherever possible;
  • The municipality aims to prevent water shortages and heat stress caused by dry and hot weather conditions for as long as possible;
  • The municipality aims to raise climate awareness among residents.

What does the adaptation strategy involve?

The Leeuwarden adaptation strategy is based on the Analysis – Ambition – Action method, which is also used in the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. The strategy sets out, for example:

  • Municipal Sewerage Plan: In 2018, Leeuwarden drew up a Municipal Sewerage Plan covering the period 2019-2022. This Plan constitutes the basis for its goal to be climate-adaptive by 2035;
  • Collaboration: Leeuwarden is participating in the Friesland Administrative Agreement on the Water Chain and intends to continue its participation. Furthermore, the city intends to intensify its collaboration with the province and the Wetterskip Fryslân district water board. In addition, it plans to encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to embark on climate adaptation;
  • Attention for and flexibility in implementation: Effective immediately, climate adaptation will be incorporated into new proposals and decisions on policy, maintenance, and investments. Leeuwarden is opting for no-regret measures: measures that will remain worthwhile even when circumstances change. In addition, the municipality is factoring in that changing circumstances may dictate adjustment of ideas and activities;
  • Cross-pollination and capitalising on opportunities: Climate adaptation can be combined with other efforts. For example, is the municipality planning to construct a district heating system to reduce CO2 emissions? That would open up opportunities to climate-proof the surrounding area.

What actions ensue from the strategy?

In the pursuit of climate resilience, Leeuwarden has conducted a stress test for the urban areas, together with all the other municipalities in Friesland and the district water board. A random selection of other actions ensuing from the strategy:

  • The municipality is conducting risk dialogues with residents, entrepreneurs, housing associations, farmers, and nature management organisations;
  • It is drawing up an implementation agenda, which has meanwhile been completed;
  • Climate adaptation will be a condition in tender procedures;
  • In 2021, a study will be conducted into the impact of drought on foundations, greenery, and roads;
  • Via the Operatie Steenbreek depaving campaign, the municipality is informing residents about measures to be taken on their own property. Furthermore, a grant scheme has been set up to encourage residents to green gardens and create water storage facilities;
  • The municipality intends to plant trees in order to create more than 50,000 square metres of additional shade to combat heat stress.

Contact person

Diderick Niehof

Project type
Adaptation plan/strategy
Municipality of Leeuwarden
Drought, Heat, Waterlogging
Type of project
Adaptation plan/strategy