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Millingerwaard Project

  • Health and safety
  • Land-use planning
  • Permitting processes / policy integration
  • Reporting official statistics
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessments

Challenge the practice is addressing: This practice addresses the transformation of the Millingerwaard from an extraction site to a unique nature conservation area in the Netherlands.

Concrete practice to achieve the expected goal: The Millingerwaard was mostly utilized for agriculture until the early 1990s, including meadows, cows, corn, and fences. There is also a long history of clay mining in the region. This clay was deposited by the Waal River, whose banks run along the northern edge of the Millingerwaard. There were many brick companies in the Millingerwaard region that used the excavated clay to make bricks and roof tiles. Conservationists saw how the clay pits left behind by clay miners transformed into thriving wetlands as agricultural development put pressure on nature in the floodplain landscape in the 1960s. This experience showed them that mineral extraction may be used to construct new natural ecosystems. Simultaneously, it became evident that the same Millingerwaard location offered tremendous prospects to further enhance the natural habitat. The so-called 'Stork Plan' (Plan Ooievaar), the brainchild of many environmental organizations in the 1980s, proposed plans for a Millingerwaard that would focus on natural development.

Expected impact/goal of the practice: The goal of this practice is to increase flood protection and to develop nature in the area.

Who is the target user group of the practice/intervention or implementing the practice/intervention? This practice is for companies in the extractive industry.

UEPG Sustainable Development Award Nominee
Data item type
Practice base
Practice type
Report / document
Learning relevance
Case study
Unspecified (universally applicable)
Extractive life-cycle
Post-exploitation phase (i.e. rehabilitation)
Sustainability scope
Planning beyond the mine life
Holistic risk management and emergency preparedness
Water stewardship
Land-use and biodiversity
Waste management
System change potential
the transformation of a clay extraction site to a unique nature conservation area / planning beyond mine-life
increase flood protection and to develop nature in the area