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CATCH helps Herentals defend itself against climate change

CATCH (water sensitive Cities, the Answer To CHallenges of extreme weather events) focuses on the specific needs of midsize cities to adapt to climate change. Within the CATCH method, the Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) is working on a pilot project along the Kleine Nete river in Herentals.

CATCH: what and why?

In the North Sea Region, 80% of the population lives in urban areas, with the majority of people living in midsize cities. Due to their limitations in terms of size, resources and expertise, as well as their strong connection with the surrounding region, midsize cities face a number of specific challenges regarding the possibilities to adapt to the changing climate conditions compared with large cities such as Rotterdam and Hamburg. 

CATCH objective

A decision-supporting instrument and a roadmap for midsize cities are being developed in a broad partnership to offer aid with the design of long-term climate adaptation strategies. Inspired by the Water-Sensitive Cities theory, our aim with CATCH is to show that midsize cities and their partners can work together in employing accelerating measures to climate-proof their regions.

The project results will give us inspirational examples in the seven pilot cities (Arvika, Enschede, Herentals, Norwich, Oldenburg, Vejle and Zwolle) as well as a practical and usable set of instruments for further expansion and implementation in the North Sea Region. 

VMM is working on a pilot project in Herentals as part of the CATCH vision: The Kleine Nete river is considered to be an influential driving force for future developments within this vision. By optimising the available space for water and nature in the city's valley, a sustainable, robust and resilient system can be created.

CATCH and Europe

International cooperation facilitates the creation of solutions to common problems. The SCAPE project is funded under INTERREG North Sea Region, a European programme that promotes cooperation among regions from different countries.

Project partners


Flanders Environment Agency


Värmland County Administrative Board (VCAB)

Arvika Municipality

The Netherlands

Vechtstromen Water Board

Zwolle Municipality

Enschede Municipality

Province of Overijssel

University of Twente


Oldenburgisch-Ostfriesische Water Board (OOWV)

Jade University of Applied Sciences (JADE)

United Kingdom

Norfolk County Council



Type of project: INTERREG North Sea Region

Duration: 2017-2020

VMM contributes to the international policymaking and the implementation of environmental obligations.

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Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) covers three main areas: water, air quality and climate (adaptation).