Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

A Comparative Study of Polarization Management Around Energy Transition-Related Land-Use Conflicts in The Netherlands

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Abstract:  The Dutch national government has decided to push the implementation of the “energy transition” it aspires to by inviting clusters of municipalities (so-called RES regions) to develop a regional energy strategy (RES). However, since the new renewable energy land-use claims compete with a growing number of land-use demands, RES implementation confronts land-use conflicts, resulting in complex trade-offs for conflict resolution and planning around polarization. In the Dutch context of land scarcity and a rich planning tradition that arose specifically to deal with this and ensuing conflicts, the need for integrated landscape management seems obvious. This article offers a comparative case study of two RES-related land-use conflicts and their management in South Limburg, focusing on the question of how far these cases display elements of an integrated landscape approach (ILA). The ILA is applied as an analytical framework to evaluate the land-use conflict management processes of the case studies by assessing which elements of ILA are present and whether their relative presence and quality help to resolve the conflicts. Based on document and media content analysis and 15 interviews, this article analyzes the different land-use claims, objectives, and landscape values identified in two RES areas and how they overlap or compete, resulting in conflicts or synergies. Our findings show that the ILA provides useful guidelines for tackling RES-related land-use conflicts, but does not pay sufficient attention to the political dimension.

Keywords:  energy transition; integrated landscape approach; land-use conflict management; land-use conflicts; renewable energy development; the Netherlands


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© Christian Scholl, Eline Coolen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.