Urban green areas are not Staatsbosheer’s responsibility, right?
“We do not only maintain large and renowned nature reserves, for instance, at the Veluwe or the Oostvaarderplassen. We also take care of green areas nearby or in cities, such as the nature reserves in Midden-Delfland, located between the Hague and Rotterdam, and the Haagse Bos. Especially the recreational areas, most of which were created forty years ago, do not meet the current needs anymore.
Maybe, recreational users were less demanding at that time. You could go for a walk in the woods, a picknick in a sunbathing area and a swim in a pond. Nowadays, people walk, cycle and run a far greater distance than they used to do in those times. They are out to find a variety of activities and interesting areas. That is why we need to connect all those big and small nature reserves to one another. In order to achieve this, we established the Groene Metropool programme three years ago.
It is our mission to connect every Dutchman to this green network. In line with this vision, we examine people’s needs and how we can fulfil those with our existing green areas. To do so, we need to collaborate with other parties, both inside and outside of the city. When we first spoke with municipalities and project developers, we got off to a slow start, as we took a mainly supply-driven approach. Focusing mostly on the classic vision on nature and recreation. That is why I decided to drastically change our course and start thinking demand-driven, from the city’s point of view. As a result, we did get an enthusiastic response to themes such as flooding, heat stress, mobility, health and their link to nature.”