Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Private gardens, De-sealed areas

Operatie Steenbreek

A short description of the NSB

In early 2015, the project 'Operatie Steenbreek' was established as a result of the cooperation between multiple organisations. It is a national partnership between 'green' knowledge institutes, businesses, governments and citizens. The aim is to counteract the current trend of paving residential gardens and thereby improving the urban living environment, in particular trying to make citizens enthusiastic for greening their garden. The attention is mainly on the negative effects of paving, such as less biodiversity and the pressure on the sewage system during cloudbursts. At the beginning of the project, five cities were chosen that deliver this message. These cities were Leeuwarden, Groningen, Den Haag, Amersfoort and Eindhoven. Currently, the project is converted to a foundation and two other cities also joined: Maastricht and Leiderdorp. Each other municipality can implements Operatie Steenbreek and supports its citizens in its own way or they can use the methodology to greening gardens offered by Operatie Steenbreek. The project is financed by the municipalities. Other stakeholders are knowledge institutions, water authorities, foundations, companies like garden centres, citizens, ecologists and city planners. The national project was initiated by Alterra, a part of the Wageningen University, and the University of Groningen. Operatie Steenbreek offers several activities to cities. First is the so-called 'garden ambassadors', people who can offer information about how to make your garden more natural and animal friendly. Secondly, they offer a course on garden reservations, in which members learn about nature friendly gardening. The last is the BIMBY method, which stands for ‘Biodiversity In My Backyard’, in which citizens are guided by collecting information about making their gardens more natural and animal friendly. The different cities all have their own strategy to promote Operatie Steenbreek among their citizens and to make them aware of their goal.

NBS Implementation context
Location The Netherlands
Status (from - to) Ongoing (since 2015)
NBS Scale Object (private gardens) Neighbourhood City
NBS Impacts scale Object (private gardens) Neighbourhood City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center)
NBS Typology

NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 0
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 0
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
NBS Stakeholders & Governance

The national project was initiated by Alterra (Wageningen Environmental Research), a part of the Wageningen University, and the University of Groningen. At national scale, Operatie Steenbreek is managed by a foundation; at local level, it is managed by the municipalities. Citizens can take their own initiative in greening their gardens. The foundation works together with a variety of organisations. Municipalities are sharing knowledge by means of a platform.

Initial actors (Leaders) Community Research institutions
Involved actors Governments Local government/municipality Semi-government organizations / institutions, Community NGOÍs / CSOÍs / interest groups Citizens Research institutions, Market Private sector
Ecological scale Local scale green area
Governance model CLUSTER 5: Network Governance Collaborative governance
NBS Financial aspects

The project is financed by the municipalities. Different stakeholders cooperate on a voluntary basis.

Global (estimated) cost of the project -
Financing mechanism CLUSTER 1: Public financingCLUSTER 3: Citizen inclusion Volunteering
NBS Business Models Archetype
Technological Substitute with renewables and natural processes
Social Non applicable
Organisational Develop scale-up solutions
NBS Success and limiting factors
Process enablers
Knowledge Information accessibility and sharing Knowledge platforms, Awareness Climate Change
Governance Process efficiencies Collaboration, Co-creation and participation Co-production
Economy De-risking Public de-risking strategies, Self-financing and self-management
Process inibitors
Knowledge -
Governance Participation and awareness Lack of participation
Economy Budget constraints NBS not a priority
IM Keywords
  • Collaborative governance

  • Local scale green area

  • Public financing

  • Volunteering

  • Substitute with renewables and natural processes

  • Develop scale-up solutions