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Connected River creates more accessible waterways

Within the Connected River project, Flanders Environment Agency (VMM), together with its partners, is investigating the liveability, safety and accessibility of watercourses and waterfronts. VMM is aiming to develop new and better digital solutions for stakeholder management within the Kleine Nete pilot project and to extend these solutions to other areas.

Connected River: what and why?

Watercourses and waterfronts are vital to the economy, ecology and quality of life in the North Sea region, but because different stakeholders are involved, conflicts regarding water use can arise. Problems such as accidents and pollution are also common in the shared watercourses and waterfronts in the North Sea region, putting pressure on urban and commercial developments, among others.

Logo Connected River + Interreg + co-funded tagline

Connected River is a project within the Interreg North Sea Region programme. This is a transnational programme aimed at supporting, developing and promoting sustainable economic growth in the participating countries in the North Sea Region. Cross-border cooperation is essential because problems with water (e.g. pollution) do not stop at national borders. Therefore, Connected River is implementing three pilots in six pilot areas:

  1. Mobilisation of multi-stakeholder ecosystems, focusing on user-friendly, agile innovations;
  2. Implementation of user-friendly, agile innovations relating to the challenges shared by watercourses and waterfronts;
  3. Acceleration of development of digital/smart solutions to improve services to stakeholders.

Purpose of the project

Larger cities have developed innovation hubs (such as Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg), within which they boost their ecosystems, accelerate innovation and incorporate digital/smart solutions. The Connected River project uses those innovation hubs and ecosystems to explore the challenges facing waterways and waterfronts. The project operates in urban areas such as Amsterdam, Hamburg and Lille, as well as in more rural areas such as the Kleine Nete in Flanders, Masnedø Island in Denmark and the (Spiegel)Waal in the Netherlands.

By connecting various multi-stakeholder ecosystems transnationally, Connected River encourages collaboration between rural and urban partners so that all areas can reap the benefits of collaboration.

Based on the results, Connected River aims to formulate advice on how to ensure the liveability, safety and accessibility of watercourses and waterfronts in these multi-stakeholder ecosystems.

Connected River in Europe

Connected River is commissioned by the European Commission within the Interreg North Sea programme led by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. In the Connected River project, 13 partners from six countries will work together from 01/01/2023 to 31/12/2026.

Project partners


Flanders Environment Agency


Ecoloop AB 

the Netherlands

Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat (Lead)

PortPay B.V. 

Gemeente Nijmegen 

InnoValor Advies B.V.


Logistik-Initiative Hamburg Management GmbH

Digital Hub Logistics GmbH 

Hamburg Port Authority 


Vordingborg Kommune 


Association Internationale Villes et Ports

Ports de Lille

Would you like to know more? Then do be sure to take a look at the project website.

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).