The Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Staatsbosbeheer (National Forest Service), ING Real Estate, Grontmij Advies & Techniek and AM Wonen have jointly started a feasibility study into the possibilities of a public-private partnership for the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. To this end, the directors of these five parties signed a collaboration agreement in Driebergen on Wednesday 23 July. The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie National Project aims to turn this important area of Dutch cultural and natural heritage into a distinctive, unified landscape while ensuring its conservation.
The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie is a line of water defences constructed between 1815 and 1940, which runs from the town of Muiden to the Biesbosch wetlands. The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie comprises 46 forts and five fortified towns and is linked together by a total of 1000 specific features (including many casemates, sluices and hideouts). The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie was designated as a National Project in the 1999 Belvedere Policy Document. The past three years have seen ministries, provinces, municipalities, water boards and non-governmental organisations work intensively at creating a design for the WaterlinieÃ¢â¬â¢s future layout. The core of this design lies in conserving the essence of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie by carefully adding contemporary facilities. The definitive decision-making phase on the Waterlinie design is to be finalised before the end of 2003.
Since the beginning of this National Project, the strategy has been to involve private parties in the planning process at an early stage. Talks have since been held with these parties and with Staatsbosbeheer (the National Forest Service, which owns an important portion of the land concerned) to investigate possible forms of collaboration. The government is now looking for concrete possibilities for private financing to realise the spatial design of the Waterlinie. This will be the focus of the feasibility study, which will additionally draw up a list of possibilities for arriving at a public-private partnership. The study (which is to be completed before 1 November 2003) aims to lay out the scope and content of agreements to be made initially among government parties, and subsequently between the government and private parties. These agreements are to be concluded in 2004, and will set down and detail many issues, including whether a Waterlinie development programme will be given shape under a public-private partnership.
Source: ING Real Estate