Policy and rulings in the area of spatial planning have important consequences for the architectural profession. The most important ministries making architectural policy are the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW), Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK).
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Infrastructure and Water Management and architectural policy
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment. The Ministry strives to create an efficient network of roads, railways, waterways and airways, effective water management to protect against flooding, and improved air and water quality.
Structural vision Infrastructure and Space
In the Structural Vision for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning (SVIR), the national government outlines the ambitions of spatial mobility policy for the Netherlands in 2040. The Ministry's website contains information about the consequences for the spatial designer. This concerns residential locations and urbanisation, nature and sustainability, landscape and water management, accessibility and infrastructure, spatial diversity and economic functionality. Central government only interferes with the main points of policy and design principles. Municipalities take decisions about the layout of the immediate living environment.
OCW and architectural policy
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is working on a smart, skilled and creative Netherlands. In the "Action Program Spatial Design' policies for the upcoming period are explained. Strengthening the role of designers and excellent 'private patronage' take a prominent place. The Ministry also is important because it provides money to subsidy funds and architectural organizations.
Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and architectural policy
The Ministry BKZ deals also with the quality of housing and other buildings and creates conditions for a proper functioning of the housing market.
The Government architect is the first advisor of the National Real Estate Company, which is part of the Ministry of the Interior. The Government architect is the president of the Board of Government Advisors (CRa). It is an independent advisory body that gives solicited and unsolicited advice on spatial quality. The Government architect promotes and monitors the quality of architectural and urban planning and landscaping. CRa advises on the use of visual arts of government buildings. CRA investigates possible rezoning of land and buildings and promotes the education and skills of architects.
Anyone who is (re) building must comply with the Building Regulations. In this Decree the minimum technical requirements for the construction, safety, health, energy and the environment. For this purpose, there are certain defined limits: for example, the minimal size of the door height, of the staircase and of the height of the ceiling. You can consult the Building online.
Any building plan that an architect makes has its external appearance, or 'welstand', assessed. The national government sets out the guidelines and the municipalities are responsible for the final outcome. Welstandscommissies (buildings aesthetics committees) evaluate the plan on the basis of local conditions and the skill and care shown by the architect. Proportions, detailing, the form of the façade and roof, the relationship to adjoining premises, and more, is taken into account.
Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and architectural policy
The Ministry of EZK promotes a sustainable, enterprising Netherlands. This ministry is responsible for the Public Procurement Law and the business climate. It is also engaged in the Environment Act which should simplify the process of building projects from 2022. Till then the Crisis and Recovery Act (Chw) already makes this possible, for example by adjusting existing rules.