Coast + spatial quality

Coastal Quality Studio

During a period of two years Coastal Quality Studio conducted research into the possibilities to boost the spatial quality, ecology and economy of the Dutch coast on the long term by way of protective measures. The collaboration resulted in an independent workshop focussed on developing, designing, elaborating, disseminating and discussing new adaptive coastal landscapes.


Coastal Quality Studio served as an independent and creative workplace during the development of the National Coastal Vision (the Delta Programme) and the provincial coastal visions. The key question of this collaboration was how to prepare the Dutch coast for a rise in sea level, by way of a joint effort and protective measures (time line until 2100), in such a way that the use of the Dutch coast will increase and the coastal landscapes will become more powerful and varied.

The development of a varied coastal landscape that breathes and moves with the natural dynamics

Connecting research by design

The ambition of Coastal Quality Studio was to integrate the hydraulic engineering principles fully into the spatial design. The studio acted as a multidisciplinary working method where coastal morphology, ecology, economy and (landscape or urban) design were aligned.

Long-term perspective

The different interests (safety, ecological quality and earning capacity) were thoroughly explored and linked with one another. The studios focussed on a long-term perspective and a planning horizon in the year 2100. Subsequently, vistas that arose from this were jointly translated into long term and medium term designs together with the parties concerned.

Towards an adaptive coast

One thing is certain: the next hundred years and far beyond we will further reinforce the Dutch coastal foundation: initially with about 12 million m3 of sand per annum and later this century possibly even 60 million m3 of sand per annum. The four principles that emerged during Coastal Quality Studio should form the basis for further action by the parties concerned.

Four development principles:

  • Reinforce the coast in such a way that the natural dynamics (current, tides, wind, salt - sweet) can contribute to creating a robust coast.
  • Aim for an adaptive coastal system instead of a fixed system; soft measures, temporary usage and a changeable coastal landscape are preferred.
  • From an ecological and economic perspective, the coastal base is a very productive and cost-effective system. Coastal reinforcement may create room to optimise this.
  • ​Apply the coastal reinforcement measures in such a way that they lead to diversification of coastal areas and coastal landscapes.

The Sandmotor © beeldbank RWS


In the studios coastal researchers (TU Delft and Deltares), stakeholders from everyday practice (municipalities, water boards, entrepreneurs and interest groups in the field of recreation, (water) sports, cultural heritage and nature) and designers were searching for solutions for different parts of the Dutch coastline. In fourty workshops participants worked on visions for seventeen parts of the Dutch coastline and on three coastal themes.

Coastal week

During the Coastal week in 2013 a scale-model of about eight metres long together with a film about the past, the present and the future of the coast, travelled from Middelburg to Terschelling. During lively debates the results from sessions that were held for a period of two years were presented and discussed.

Coastal community

The methodology of Coastal Quality Studio combined central coordination, which secured long-term goals and ensured embedment on higher scale levels, with bottum-up customisation. This was achieved by focussing on local initiatives, interests and information in the studios. The methodology of Coastal Quality Studio contributed to the formation of a coastal community, a network of involved and well-informed people from various organisations and backgrounds.


The results of the studios were incorporated in ten workbooks, each with a specific theme. The workbook ‘The city by the sea’ examined how a protective strategy can increase the scope for a new urban programme for the Hague and Scheveningen (in collaboration with: De.Facto). For ‘Urban identity of coastal towns’ eight coastal towns in the province of North-Holland were examined and history, recreation and landscape qualities were applied to shape and flesh out coastal protective measures (in collaboration with: Fabric). In the province of South-Holland the so-called ‘silent dune areas’ were examined (in collaboration with: van Paridon & de Groot).

Furthermore, perspectives for the Dutch coastal arch were developed for parts of the Southwestern Delta and Wadden coast (in collaboration with: Feddes & Olthof, LINT and XML).

Together with ecological (in collaboration with: Bureau Landwijzer), economic (in collaboration with: Decisio) and cultural (in collaboration with: SteenhuisMeurs) research, the various studies lead to a final publication with the results of Coastal Quality Studio.


The strength of Coastal Quality Studio is to be found in creating a framework, principles and a methodology to deal with coastal issues integrally rather than developing a plan for the Dutch coast. The core values that designers, administrators, (civil) engineers and dredging companies can use and the methodology (studios, coastal community) ensure that everyone can deploy the acquired knowledge.

Other partners

Studio 1:1 Decisio, Defacto, Deltares, Fabric, Feddes & Olthof, Fugro, The Hague municipality, LINT, province of Friesland, province of North-Holland, province of South-Holland, province of Zeeland, RHDHV, Steenhuis Meurs and Bureau Landwijzer, van Paridon & de Groot, XML.