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Waterways and waterfronts (ww&wfs) are vital for the North Sea region’s (NSR) economy, ecology, and quality of life. This multiple interest leads to issues like conflicting use, accidents, and pollution. Such issues increasingly occur in shared ww&wfs of the NSR. This is caused by growing pressures exerted by urban development, commercial, recreational, and other activities.

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Project Content & Goals

Time to Innovate

Traditionally, responsible authorities apply a static approach to respond to such issues and pressures. This worked and still works well for their typical tasks, like water management. However, they experience that it is unfit to rapidly respond in a fast-changing environment.

To address this common challenge, some authorities are exploring new, innovative methods of working and introducing digital/smart solutions. Yet, they do so separately and only in larger cities, less so in rural areas.

There is a huge opportunity to share knowledge and experiences between countries and between urban and rural areas.

New Approach

Connected River aims to boost capacities of multi-stakeholder ecosystems to deliver services that guarantee safety, accessibility, and liveability of shared Waterways & Waterfronts in the North Sea Region. It will do so by bringing diverse partners and stakeholders together in 4 work packages for 6 pilot areas.

Components of the so-called Flow Forward Approach are jointly developed and implemented on:

  • Mobilizing multi-stakeholder ecosystems for user-centric, agile innovation
  • Conducting user-centric, agile innovation on challenges that shared Waterways & Waterfronts face
  • Accelerating uptake of digital/smart solutions to improve services to stakeholders
  • Developing the playbook and roadmaps for a fit-for-future response to challenges

Team & Partners

To move the Connected River project forward a strong partnership has been established, comprising of:

  • Host Partners, that will be responsible for hosting and conducting the pilot projects

  • Approach Partners that provide expertise, methodologies

    and a strong knowledge network

  • Solution Partners that will contribute business and subject knowledge to translate and accelerate the project findings

    within the North-Sea region

The project consortium consists of 13 partners from 6 different countries (Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands & Sweden) and brings together scientific expertise, public authorities and economic actors.


Host Partners

  • Rijkswaterstaat - Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (NL)
  • Hamburg Port Authority (DE)
  • Flanders Environment Agency (BE)
  • Municipality of Nijmegen (NL)
  • Port of Lille (FR)
  • Municipality of Vordingborg (DK)

Approach Partners

  • Antwerp Management School (BE)
  • Innovalor Advice (NL)
  • Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg (DE)
  • AIVP - International Association of Cities and Ports (FR)

Solution Partners

  • EcoLoop AB (SE)
  • Logistics Initiative Hamburg (DE)
  • PortPay (NL)