Stakeholder participation and alliance management

Water Governance and Climate

Stakeholder participation and alliance management in ‘Room for the River’ Nijmegen

Municipality Nijmegen – National programme Room for the River

The ‘Room for the River’ programme has been set up to guarantee the safety of the Dutch river delta. Out of a total of 30 projects, the largest project is located in Nijmegen – the oldest city of the Netherlands. The project entails moving the main dyke 350 meters inland and the construction of a new flood channel. Space for the river Waal would be made through the creation of an elongated peninsula between the new secondary channel and the river Waal. However, the planned work caused huge social unrest as the enlargement of the riverbed would come at the expense of over 50 family homes, agricultural land and industrial properties. Creating political support and social understanding became crucial for the success of this project.



  • A new urban river park at the heart of the oldest city of the Netherlands
  • 150 people moved without any major court cases
  • No delay to project and even lower project costs than previously estimated
  • Increased water safety for citizens of Nijmegen and communities downstream
  • Through a transparent process, open communication, clear agreements and attention to the ‘soft’ side of the ‘Room for the River’ project at Nijmegen, Twynstra helped create a water management plan that can meet the approval of almost all the parties involved.

Twynstra’s role

Twynstra was asked to take on the role of stakeholder and alliance manager in the project’s management team. Using our strategic stakeholder participation methodology, we actively involved citizens in the process, incorporating their concerns and interests in the plan and forming a strong coalition between the public and politicians. As a result, Twynstra enabled the creation of an integrated spatial development plan. The plan not only increased the space for the river but also encouraged urban development near Nijmegen and improved the ecological value of the area – both important local ambitions.


In December 2009, up to 250 participants showed their appreciation for the project’s management team, giving them a huge round of applause at the project’s information meeting. This remarkable sign of appreciation is testimony to Twynstra’s strategy of open communication, transparent processes and, above all, having a genuine interest in stakeholders’ concerns and interests – all of which are key aspects of strategic alliance management.

Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honor Award

In 2011 Room for the River Nijmegen was awarded with the Excellence on the Waterfront Top Honor Award in New York for its innovative design approach and stakeholder process. In 2011, the project also won the Red Dot Award in Berlin for its successful communication strategy.