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land-use planning

Builders and Planners
A history of land-use and infrastructure planning in the Netherlands Jos Arts, Ruud Filarski, Hans Jeekel & Bert Toussaint


A richly illustrated and well researched history of 100 years of interactions between builders from the world of infrastructure and planners who sought to organize land-use in the Netherlands.

In the process of organizing space in the Netherlands, spatial planners and infrastructure builders frequently cross paths. Land-use planning and the planning of transport have much in common. Despite this, up to now the relations between the two planning worlds have not been described.

This book is about the long-term interaction between builders from the world of infrastructure and the planners who sought to organize the use of space. The book describes how since the 1920s the communities of builders and planners professionalized and how they sought to impose their views on the shaping of Dutch national space by pursuing their dreams and ambitions. It is a story of cooperation and conflict, of coalitions and confrontation between two groups of experts that operated within the same space.

After road construction had become increasingly planned in the 1920s, spatial planning also began to expand beyond its traditionally urban scope to include regional and national levels. By the 1950s and 1960s both groups of planners had become powerful actors on the national stage. But after 1965 they encountered increasing societal resistance. Vocal citizens wanted a say in the development of visions and projects. Planners were forced to descend from their ivory towers and to enter into often awkward dialogues with interested parties and critical media. Planning now demanded ever more profound thinking about the planning process itself.

Visionary plans, no less than construction projects, are intended to be realized. But practice often proved recalcitrant. In a series of case-studies – including the Wieringermeer polder, the Groene Hart, the Betuwe Route and Leidsche Rijn – the book reveals what came of the plans, which conceptions were ultimately realized and what limits actors came up against.

In order to better understand the uniqueness of Dutch planning development, it is mirrored against its Belgian counterpart. Was the Netherlands really the land of Mondriaan and Belgium that of Breughel? Land-use planning in Belgium was above all different, although in recent times the two traditions have converged. Builders and Planners offers new and exciting perspectives on the history of Dutch land-use planning and Dutch planners.

Edited by Jos Arts, Ruud Filarski, Hans Jeekel and Bert Toussaint. With contributions from Greet De Block, Arjen van der Burg, Nil Disco, David de Kool, Bruno De Meulder, Gijs Mom, Odette van de Riet and Frank Veraart


A history of land-use and infrastructure planning in the Netherlands


Jos Arts, Ruud Filarski, Hans Jeekel & Bert Toussaint