Challenges to National Urban Policies in the Netherlands

Jan van der Meer*, Erik Braun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


Recently, a new consensus about the role of cities as the motors of the regional, national and European economy has emerged. However, there is also substantial evidence that social problems are growing in many cities. Linking economic competitiveness to increasing social inclusion is a crucial challenge for policy-makers at all levels of government. The article intends to shed light on the way the Dutch central government tries to support cities to develop into sustainable, vital, complete and competitive entities. As response to a powerful plea by the largest cities themselves, an integrated policy (linking spatial, economic, social, environmental and safety policies) explicitly focused on cities, was given shape. Prime issues are covenants between central government and each city, based on tailor-made long-term strategies, including measurable objectives. To get a clear picture of the policy’s effectiveness – after 13 years of experience – appears to be difficult. Reviewers argue that a lot of aspects could be improved. For the current phase most of these comments have been taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRaumforschung und Raumordnung
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)178-190
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • The Netherlands
  • National urban policy
  • Integrated urban development
  • Lisbon Agenda

Cite this