PROJECT: Crisis- en herstelwet

The Crisis- En Herstelwet (CHW) is a Dutch law, aimed at accelerating spatial projects throughout the country. Introduced in 2010 as a temporary act, the law stimulates major projects, which combines spatial and infrastructural tasks in the field of sustainability, energy and innovation. One of its main short-term goals is to give an economic impulse to the construction sector in times of crisis. Recently, it progressed as a permanent character towards a new law on the physical environment. 


  • The global financial and economic crisis of 2008 had a huge impact on the Dutch building sector. 
  • Projects were delayed, postponed or cancelled causing large-scale unemployment in the construction industry. 
  • A threatening financial imbalance was posed on communities whose income was based on project development. The Dutch government was then forced to find a way to speed up spatial and infrastructural projects in order to stimulate the construction sector.
  • The Dutch government had also struggled for several (pre-crisis) years to simplify and integrate certain laws and attached procedures.


  • Generate employment and stimulate sustainability, innovation and legislative innovation within the projects.
  • Develop a new dynamic movement within existing situations, creating a new negotiation position for public parties involved in spatial developments.


  • There was many high developed projects.
  • The legal innovation did not begin at zero, due to earlier work on simplification and integrality.
  • High sense of urgency throughout political parties and also within the society and major economic players.
  • High political pressure on the simplifying (incl. cost-reduction) of the administration.


  • The Crisis and Recovery law was enforced so that new and enhanced procedures would encourage new developments and speed up existing procedures. 
  • The combinination of three elements where short term measurement is used to stimulate a specific sector, with structural changes in the juristic context, in the same way the dutch arial development will be done in the future.
  • Create space for innovation within existing projects - without starting from zero and renewing existing legal positions and deals.
  • Using CHW as a test-case to learn from structural challenges.


  • In September 2009, the Crisis and Recovery Law was submitted to the parliament.
  • The CHW distinguished three types of projects that were introduced with intervals ranging from a month to a year (tranches).
  • Special development areas- parties had more time to compensate dues, resulting from national laws . It was possible to ‘switch’ planned functions from existing territorial planning instruments. 
  • Experiments- There was possibilities to implement successful approaches into the development of a new law consisting of spatial/territorial planning. 
  • A new permit procedure for projects and area development combined the permits of sectors and laws into one. 
  • Priority was given to some local and regional projects of ‘national interest’ under the condition that all parties committed themselves to the goals of the structural plan (Structuurvisie).


  • CHW improved the mindset and co-operation between market and government, encouraging integral thinking.
  • The procedural time was shortened drastically and the simplification of environmental laws.
  • Rules were changed to generate better negotiated positions for public parties, stimulating the dynamics in several projects.
  • There has been good acceptance for the iterative development of the law. CHW was used as a test case. Its evaluation has still to show more results.
  • CHW has learned from the experiences of ‘development-paths’, and step-by step approaches, lessons were learned from a community of practice.

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