As a result, deltas are facing complex planning challenges that require an integrated approach to strike a balance between living, working, energy, mobility, nature and agriculture in a changing landscape. Knowledge of water and subsurface systems and understanding of future socio-ecological changes in densely populated delta areas are indispensable for the complex design task that follows.

National Growth Fund proposal ReThink the Delta

How will the Netherlands and the rest of our world stay liveable with two to three metres of sea level rise, extreme dry conditions, precipitation and land subsidence? The ReThink the Delta programme offers an answer to this cross-generational, existential question and how we in the Netherlands deal with and prepare for extreme climate conditions.

ReThink the Delta invests in (digital) modeling, interdisciplinary knowledge development, collaboration and faster decision-making to keep up with a faster changing climate. This offers prospects for the Netherlands and strengthens its key position in the global market for delta technology.

Five work packages

There is little time to prepare for acute climate extremes. This threatens the functioning of our society. Current policy and investment programs cannot cope. Starting now is crucial, because in the coming decades the Netherlands will invest hundreds of billions in energy transition, housing construction and replacement of (hydraulic) infrastructure.

With five cohesive work packages taking place at strategic locations throughout the Netherlands, ReThink the Delta addresses this:

  • WP 1. New Digital Delta Technology: simulating and modeling.
  • WP 2: Experimenting and testing
  • WP 3: Transition paths for the delta
  • WP 4: Climate-proof financial system
  • WP 5: Decision-making fast, careful and fair

Through this:

  • we make the basic systems for prosperity and growth climate-proof
  • speed up and deepen decision-making processes for investments and spatial policy
  • strengthen the Dutch water sector's strong international position.

Budget and finance

ReThink the Delta requests an NGF contribution of € 81.4 mln, 75.4% of the core budget. 24.6% of the budget consists of an in-kind contribution from the 74 parties involved. It amounts to 27% of the total mobilized investments on this theme. These remaining funds are raised by a large group of public-private participants.

Impact on sustainable earning capacity

ReThink the Delta has a direct impact on our sustainable earning capacity because it powerfully strengthens the position of the Dutch water sector on the global market, structurally generating additional revenue at home and abroad. In the longer term, the positive impact extends to virtually all sectors of our economy and society.

A powerful consortium

The most powerful organizations involved in the Netherlands are working together purposefully in ReThink the Delta. This 'Delta community' represents entrepreneurs, government, research institutions and NGOs, who have anchored their commitment with letters of intent and financial commitments.

The overall coordination lies with Deltares. In the governance set-up, stakeholders from outside the consortium also have a place from business, civil society organizations and the connection has been made with policy-making governments. ReThink the Delta offers action perspectives for companies, organizations and governments in their decisions for the future, with concrete tools, insights and examples.


The National Growth Fund proposal "ReThink The Delta" did not receive funding in Round 3 of the National Growth Fund. Creating the proposal created a lot of inspiration and connection. We will further develop the thinking, using the feedback and working closely with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Share this page.