dunes + dynamics

Strategic agenda for the Katwijk coastal area

The beaches, dunes, inner dunes and coastal polders of Katwijk are an attractive ensemble, with a lot of potential for real estate development, recreation, ecology and energy generation. How might future developments respond to these attractions in a strategic way?


Many of the qualities of Katwijk are derived from its proximity to the sea, but also from connections to the hinterland, the river “Oude Rijn”, the metropolitan areas nearby and the neighbouring coastal municipalities. Therefore the region has a lot of potential, but it is also faced with a number of major spatial challenges in the near future, such as increasing coastal safety and the energy transition.

Weighing ambitions

With the “Omgevingsvisie” on the horizon, the municipality of Katwijk aimed at collecting the ambitions and principles for spatial quality for its coastal area in an agenda, which was executed by H+N+S Landscape Architects. Next to that, this agenda will serve as a framework for assessing the spatial quality of current and future claims on the coast in the near and distant future.

The coastal landscape of Katwijk is its core quality and main attraction

The heterogenous nature of this small seaside town, with its extensive dunes and polders, is the most important value for the future of the coast of Katwijk and will be instrumental in all future developments.


From ongoing developments in the region and existing vision and policy documents, the team formulated an overarching programme. This programme was broken down into four area-specific challenges. We projected these challenges onto the landscape of Katwijk and visualised how future initiatives might contribute to those.


Qualities and values

Most of the core qualities of Katwijk can be traced back to the strong landscape types in the coastal area and the transition areas from the city to the dunes. Next to that, the selection of tourist attractions in and around the city and the excellent accessibility of the boulevard and beach are major attractions for visitors and residents alike.

Core qualities of Katwijk (left to right): a hospitable coastal city for both visitors and inhabitants, the estuary and its marine activities, interlacing of city and garden; the accessible coast


Besides being a source of quality, the coastal zone and the river landscape are protected from disturbances by multiple regimes, including preservation strategies for cultural heritage, measures for water safety and -quality and nature protection. These regimes form an important framework in which the ambitions of Katwijk should be realised.

Dynamic dunes

Multiple plans and initiatives for the coast of Katwijk are already under construction, including the reconstruction of the Savoy hotel and the development of the Limes route. These development coincide with the long term ambitions of the agenda, like increasing the number of (eco)recreation facilities. However, the challenges related to climate change, energy and water will have a major impact on the landscape. The map of potentials below combines all developments, ambitions and challenges that face the coast, in order to find hot spots and opportunities that might be developed.

Map of potentials

Themes and challenges

The four most important themes for the coast of Katwijk are: increasing the mobility opportunities, enhancing the landscape identity of the coastal zone, investing in renewable energy and further utilising the coastal reinforcements as a catalyst in the development of the area. These translate into the following concrete tasks: developing the beach, dunes and boulevard as part of coastal safety; developing the surroundings of the discharge channel and Oude Rijn; and the development of the transition at the dunes of Coepelduynen and Berkheide.

Four visualisations

A detailed design for the coast of Katwijk does not fit this assignment. Therefore, a visualisation was made of a possible course the area might develop into for the four landscape types where developments are likely to take place in the near future. Based on these projections, future plans can be evaluated on their compatibility with the sketched outlines and ambitions for the area.

Combining parking with a landscape gradient form the dunes to a residential area can be a valuable addition to the existing calcareous young and grey dunes

Strategic challenges

The main challenges for Katwijk are to stay rooted in and grow based on its existing qualities, and to be able to use these qualities to respond to developments in the region at the same time. New types of tourism, changes in the economy, increased mobility and developments in public space might eventually even add new qualities to the mix.

Towards the “ Omgevingsvisie”

This agenda provides the current urban and landscape potentials for Katwijk, that offer both opportunities and limitations to the growth of Katwijk. With the upcoming “Omgevingsvisie” in mind, choices have to be made for a direction to grow in. These choices will guide the quest for a spatial framework that can strategically steer the development of the area.