Connected by the land

  • Spatial Development

A vision for the future of the polder (reclaimed land), baes on conversations and gatherings with people in and outside of Nijbroek. The collective vision is a tool for Nijbroekers to work on the realisation of a self-determined future. It offers a guideline for Nijbroekers and local parties to weigh choices, work together and enhance that which makes the polder unique.

Design Brief

How do we ensure that Nijbroek remains an attractive place to live, work and stay, now and for the future?

This question was the departure point for Open Kaart and residents to develop a vision for the future. This vision highlights not only the existing qualities, but also provides connections for private initiatives.

Project Details

Nijbroek, municipality Voorst, Nederland


Vision, Spatial Development, Rural Area

Project Leader
Hanneke Stenfert

SteenhuisMeurs, DaF-architecten, Universiteit Wageningen, Paul de Graaf


A Unique Area Between the Dikes

The Nijbroek polder is an approximately 1700 hectare area between Ijssel and Veluwe. It is a centuries-old landscape, land reclaimed in medieval times with a unique water structure, and a small village at its heart.  The rich history is apparent in the landscape and tangible in the community.

At the same time, this exceptional and culturally valuable area is in motion. The countryside is changing. Challenges of sustainability, energy, recreation, liveability, and economics are emerging. Plaatselijk Belang Nijbroek (a local interest group) and the Voost municipality, together with the Cultural Heritage Agency (Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) asked Open Kaart to sketch a vision with Nijbroekers for the future of the Nijbroek polder.

Nijbroek literally means ‘new swampy land’. This swampy land in Nijbroek was reclaimed early in the fourteenth century to make use of the fertile river clay. To this day, the land is used chiefly for agriculture.

The spatial structure has remained relatively unchanged over the course of many centuries. This is really the case for the social structures as well. It is particular that the polder not only had its own water management body but also an independent administration, judiciary and church. The DNA of the landscape is interwoven with that of the community.



Residents were involved from the very beginning of the vision forming. They shared what is valuable to them, helped in the search for special characteristics of the area and the definition of relevant themes. Where conflicting interests arose, we worked toward an ambitious and widely supported vision with a concrete plan for its realisation.


Added Value

The project Nijbroek Polder resulted in not only a shared story for Nijbroek, but also in concrete initiatives. Various groups of Nijbroekers worked on the future of Nijbroek. A regional cooperation was founded, along with a work group for biodiversity and an initiative to diversify the housing types available in Nijbroek.

Project Location

Related to
Polder Nijbroek

Projects, news and articles related to the Polder Nijbroek.

Want to know more?

E-mail Hanneke via
or call 06-30281636