The Dutch National Spatial Strategy (Nota Ruimte) has identified cluttering as a problem for the Dutch landscape. Cluttering seems to be most prominent in the Kop of Noord-Holland (top of the province of Noord-Holland), along the west flank of the Randstad (urban agglomeration in the western part of the Netherlands), and in the southern provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg. Overijssel and Gelderland also contain many areas with disturbing elements. But what is 'cluttering' actually, and where did the term originate?
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP) has in this report endeavoured to answer this question through special maps constructed from country-wide databases on disturbing elements in the Dutch landscape. Earlier research showed two essential factors for defining 'cluttering'. One is the prevention of potential disturbing elements, which explains about three-quarters of the cluttering. The other factor is the heterogeneity of land use, which explains about one-quarter. Both these factors are brought into focus in this report. Disturbing elements in the landscape vary in scale, ranging from local objects, such as billboards and the white fences to protect horses, to elements with a large radiation such as wind turbines and greenhouses. The land-cover maps in the report are only concerned with elements with a radiation beyond local levels.