Symposium: Reducing land take - examples from abroad

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The European objective to achieve ‘No Net Land Take in 2050’ has taken spatial planners in the Netherlands by surprise. Other member states, however, have been actively trying to reduce their urban development for years. What can we learn from each other? That is the topic of the symposium on September 27. You are cordially invited to apply.

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In July this year, the European Commission published a proposal for a Soil Monitoring Law to help preserve high-quality soil from, for example, urban development. The underlying objective, stated in the EU Soil Strategy for 2030, is to reduce ‘net land take’ (i.e. conversion of (semi)natural land to urban use) to zero by 2050. After that date, the number of hectares that are urbanized should be compensated by an equal amount of urban land being returned to agriculture or nature. While the legislative proposal itself does not mandate that this target be reached, it does require member states to implement a monitoring system to this end, which can be viewed as a first step.

Where does the Netherlands stand? With more than 60,000 ha net land take over the 2000-2018 period, it ranks sixth in Europe in absolute terms, but relative to its size, it heads the list. There is no indication that this situation will change in the future. On the contrary, given the intense competition for space in the Netherlands, including an ambition to build 900,000 homes over the next decade and many urban development plans in the pipeline, ‘no net land take’ (NNLT) poses a seemingly impossible challenge. Or does it? Some EU member states have been conducting similar policies for years, while others are actively preparing for the European NNLT policy.

What can we learn from each other? The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the ESPON programme have invited experts from several EU countries to share their experiences with reducing land take as well as representatives of the European Commission to explain the policy in more detail. This symposium seeks to offer participants perspective on how a NNLT policy can be implemented. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to discuss potential obstacles and give feedback on the European Commission’s proposal. 


Time Program item
12:00 Registration and lunch
13.00 Plenary session: Land Take in Europe and the Netherlands – ESPON/PBL/European Commission
13.40 Plenary discussion – Q&A
14.00 Coffee break
14.15 Workshops led by national experts
15.30 Plenary wrap-up and reflection
16.00 Drinks and informal discussions


Unfortunately, the register form is closed. 
However, if you do wish to attend this symposium or if you have any questions, please send us an email at