Kromme Rijn (Netherlands)

Image source:

Kromme Rijn (central Netherlands): The Kromme Rijn area is a landscape around a former branch of the Rhine river. The landscape combines several functions: recreation (cycling, hiking), agriculture, agrobiodiversity, cultural heritage, residential and groundwater provision. As the landscape is positioned near the 4th largest city of the Netherlands (Utrecht) and several large municipalities, the residential and recreation pressure is high. Almost two-thirds of the area has an agricultural function. Agriculture in the area is characterised by fruit orchards (e.g. apples, pears and cherry) and dairy farms. Ongoing changes include scale enlargement, minor discontinuation of farming and increased multifunctionality in response to (peri-)urban demands and environmental concerns. Water management is an important issue. Several initiatives exist that are focussed on a more sustainable production, mainly within the fruit cultivation sector. This includes organic production, following of voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products, integrated pest control, regional product certifications and cooperatives focussed on green energy linked to farming. Furthermore, more than 30% of the farmers in this area engage in agro-biodiversity and nature protection initiatives on their land.