For Staatsbosbeheer (the Dutch nature management agency), Flevoland Province, and the municipalities of Almere and Lelystad, we developed a vision document for the future development of Oostvaardersplassen National Park in the Netherlands. The document offers a vision, mission, performance goals, and principles for a national park that will be internationally acclaimed by 2030 for its ecological sustainability, societal value, and economic resilience. A accompanying Inspiration Booklet introduces interesting practices from around the world to offer inspiration and specific ideas for actions to realize the formulated perfromance goals.
Established in 1968, Oostvaardersplassen National Park is the Netherlands’ youngest national park sitting on land reclaimed from the sea after World War II. It is known for its minimal-intervention, or rewilding, approach, which has led to an ecosystem resembling European prehistoric times.
To further guide the future management of the park, we designed a development framework based on the ELSIA model, which comprises the following performance areas: Energy (energy & materials), Life (ecosystem & biodiversity), Society (culture & economy), Individual (happiness & health), and Actions (interventions & projects). ELSIA is part of our Symbiosis in Development (SiD) methodology.
Under this framework, we set goals for renewable energy, local material loops, green and quiet mobility, biodiversity and connectivity with European nature reserves, organizational culture, stakeholder engagement, human well-being, economic impact, and financial resilience. Nine park principles regarding circularity, transparency, and fairness guide the daily work toward these goals.
Adoption of this framework by the park’s permanent teams and project teams will facilitate internal planning and control and enhance external communication and accountability.
The Inspirational Anthology, the companion document, briefly describes successful sustainability projects elsewhere that could be adopted or adapted to achieve the park’s goals, such as power-producing buildings (Wales), renewable energy (Grand Canyon NP), CO2 neutrality (Zambezi NP), BREEAM building design (Pembrokeshire), circularity passports (EPEA, Germany), halophyte water purification (Netherlands), soil enrichment (Loess Plateau China), and many more.
Under the name of Excellent Areas ("Excellente Gebieden"), a number of Dutch home construction companies and municipalities are engaged in an experiment to use the building standards of 2015 and 2020, today. By the nature of these future building standards, there is much to learn for these actors before they can profitably apply them.
AgentschapNL is the facilitator of the Exemplary Neighborhoods project, and they asked us to evaluate the instruments they have set up for the learning trajectory.
The Hortus Celestia is a vertical farm tower, designed for Naaldwijk, the Netherlands. The tower rises 28 stories high above the greenhouse-filled landscape, offering 14 farming floors with embedded expo centers.
The tower functions as a demonstration center for innovative Dutch greenhouse industry partners, and attracts international visitors from around the globe.
Jeroen van der Vlist
Chief Operating Officer (COO)