Tool is driving force behind future-proof Fryslân 2050 water recreation project

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Fryslân without water is unthinkable. For centuries, it was virtually the only way to travel in the province. Today, water represents a valuable economic and social asset in terms of recreation and tourism. To foster and develop this ‘blue gold’, Witteveen+Bos was commissioned by the province of Fryslân to draw up the Vision Document for Utilising Water Recreation Fryslân 2050. Although the report is a vision document, it is above all a tool to ensure the ‘blue gold’ does not slip through our fingers.

Like every province in the Netherlands, Fryslân also faces major challenges. These include such pressing matters as climate change, the agricultural and energy transition, housing and the nitrogen issue. Challenges that demand radical changes and require space. It is not clear what Fryslân will look like in 2050, but the province would nevertheless like to see water recreation integrated into the plans. The drafting of the vision document provides substance to the Implementation Programme set out in the Gastvrij Fryslân 2028 policy document.

‘Formulating the vision was like piecing together a puzzle, so we came to the conclusion that we had to make assumptions along the way. To be able to safeguard the interests of water recreation amid all the ongoing or upcoming transitions, more was needed than just a vision,’ explains project manager Dedjer Wijmenga. ‘This awareness formed the starting point to develop a tool to achieve future-proof water recreation in Fryslân. A tool to provide insight into opportunities, challenges and obstacles to help find supported solutions within the field of influence regarding the available space for both safeguarding and strengthening the province’s ‘blue gold’.’

The result is the Vision Document for Utilising Water Recreation Fryslân 2050: a vision and tool in one. A tool with which local authorities, policy makers, entrepreneurs, residents and planners can enhance designs. It enables every stakeholder in the water-recreation sector to anticipate changes and spatial demand. To make the right spatial choices.

Choices that not only bring one’s own goals closer, but also do justice to the importance and significance of the water-recreation sector. With the ultimate goal being to safeguard Fryslân’s quality as a water-based province in the coming decades. Both in an economic and social sense. Prior to drafting the vision document, more than eighty parties were consulted in various stakeholder meeting.

The tool is structured along logical steps to be able respond to upcoming changes. The vision outlines a promising future for Fryslân. By making assessments on the basis of the ‘water recreation atlas’, ‘promising future perspectives’ and ‘design principles for different water typologies’, local authorities, policy makers, entrepreneurs, residents and planners in the water-recreation sector can continuously anticipate changes and spatial demand.

Following the steps in future spatial developments will facilitate informed assessments to be made to ensure the quality of Frisian water recreation for generations to come. The colours in the diagram correspond to the different parts of the vision. The atlas is shown in blue, the main principles and perspectives in yellow, while the assessment framework is coloured in orange-red.