Location: Werkendam, The Netherlands
Status: Area perspective for the Merwede riverbanks
Client: Municipality of Altena
In cooperation with: Lievense

The Municipality of Altena is located at the river Merwede, which is an important shipping corridor with connections to Antwerp, Rotterdam and Duisburg. Due to this favourable location at the river, a leading and innovative maritime cluster developed in Werkendam. By now, the harbour has reached its capacity and possibilities to extend the harbour in the future are being explored.

This is not an isolated challenge: different tasks from the municipality, the federal government, the provinces and the water board collide in this area. There is a sever flood risk management task, insufficient depth of the waterway, demand for overnight mooring places for shipping, a task for water quality (KRW). Next to that there are ambitions with regard to nature development and the ambition to improve the connectivity of the village fronts with the river as well as to utilize the recreational potential of the nearby National Park The Biesbosch.

Together with the municipality, Defacto developed an integrated cohesive vision for the area, which connects the different challenges of different stakeholders from the national, regional and local level. This integrated future perspective has been developed in work sessions with multi-disciplinary experts and stakeholders. Together, opportunities for the integrated vision as well as a timeline indicating a phased development and investment agenda is developed.

The vision of the area adheres the improvement of functions and available qualities along the river. In the harbour, this includes the combination of the dike reinforcement with the extension of the harbour and the strengthening of the maritime cluster, with a focus on innovation and sustainability. On the trajectory between Woudrichem and Werkendam, the natural values of the flood plain and the opportunities for recreation are strengthened. By combining room for the river principles with a natural flow channel, longitudinal dams and an integrated riverwards dike enforcement, additional space is created for nature, improved water quality, recreation, overnight mooring places and a recreational bike path along the river. This unlocks the opportunity to improve the relation between the river and the village front.