Final conference

On June 6, 2013, the final conference of the STEP project was held in the Energiehuis in Dordrecht,(NL). During the conference the guideline and a short film (5 minutes) about STEP were presented. The  guideline gives an overview of the results of the STEP project in the 3 areas. The learning points and extras from the cross border cooperation are mentioned also. The film focuses on the highlights of three and a half years of STEP, thanks to the cooperation of the areas. You can download the programme of the final conference here. The presentations of the speakers and the reports of the workshops you can find here: Biesbosch&hospitality (report), Broads&branding (report), Polders of Kruibeke&visitor management (report), Sustainable entrepreneurship and green schemes (report), Business models and nature (report) and Sustainable energy sources in nature areas (report).




Final coordination meeting STEP

On tuesday April 16th, we held the last coordination meeting for the STEP project. We gathered in Kruibeke to show each other the results of our labors, and talked about future goals for each of the areas. During this meeting, we were being filmed by moviemaker Jeroen Neus from Lumineus. This footage will be used in the STEP projectfilm.


After lunch, we visited the local CNR shipyard, where volunteers of Tolerant vzw told us about their work; restoring ships. In the meantime, a group of us could experience the joys of the famous Quattrocyle, a bicycle for 4 people, perfect for going off-road to explore the area.


In the evening, we were joined by Jos Stassen, the new mayor of Kruibeke, who gave a small speech. With this, we succesfully concluded our last coordination meeting.



Winners STEP competition visited the Polders of Kruibeke

On May 11 -13, Waterwegen & Zeekanaal NV was proud to welcome the STEP competition winners from the UK and the Netherlands, who had won a trip to visit the Polders of Kruibeke. During their visit, they took a trip around the city of Antwerp and ended up in Kruibeke, where they visited the future flood control area of the Polders of Kruibeke. Lisa and Mark (UK) were kind enough to write this little review of their experiences during that weekend.


Winners STEP competition visited the Biesbosch

April 20-22, Lena Belhomme (reaction in Dutch) from Flanders and David Armitage (reaction in English) from England visited the Biesbosch with their partners. They had won the last year’s Estuary Trip Competition. They had a sustainable weekend trip with a canoe trip, a bike ride and a meeting with the Chairman of Parkschap The Biesbosch, Harry Wagemakers. Together they toasted on sustainable tourism in the STEP areas.


The Polders of Kruibeke invite local entrepreneurs for an information session about their possible role in the near future.

On April 23rd, W&Z and UNIZO (organisation of independent entrepreneurs) will hold an information session where entrepreneurs of Great Kruibeke will be able to discuss their future opportunities in the area. Guest speakers will explain the impact of the new touristic beacon that will soon shine its light on Kruibeke and beyond, and hope to warm up the local businesses to the unique opportunities that will present themselves once the area is open for the public.

Join us at the Scheldt Happening!
On Easter Monday (April 9th ), you are invited to join us a the Scheldt Happening in Kruibeke, Bazel & Rupelmonde. From 11am to 6 pm, you will be able to participate in various activities, such as walking, biking, ferrying… , while enjoying the Scheldt and its surrounding areas.

For the occasion, our infocentre at Kallebeek (Bazel) will once more open its doors for you to visit our exposition about the construction of the flood control area Kruibeke-Bazel-Rupelmonde.

Learn more about Kruin, one of the local nature organizations, or join us on a guided tour where a guide will reveal the secrets of the birthplace of Mercator. You will also be able to participate in another guided tour through the future tidal area.

For more information, contact us at or call us at 0032 486 90 77 43 -

Conference Communication on sustainability
On February 14, 2012 a conference took place about ‘communication on sustainability’. Presentations and workshops about sustainability and communication, by experts in this area, were held. Also there was room for exchanging experiences and ideas between people from different fields. For more information click here.

Polders of Kruibeke announces winners of Estuary Park Trip competition
The Belgian winners of the online quiz organised by STEP partners have been announced. Lena Belhomme from Sint-Niklaas will take a trip to the Biesbosch National Park, while David Van de Velde will go and visit the Broads.


National Park the Biesbosch announces winners of Estuary Park Trip competition

The Dutch winners of the STEPquiz got their prize on Monday February 13. Both winners, Marcel van Dongen and Thomas Hakvoort, wins a trip to an estuary park involved in the STEP project. The vouchers for the trip were given to the winners by the alderman of Dordrecht and chairman of the national park Harry Wagemakers. Because the only 8-year old Thomas had to go to school, his father received his prize. One of the vouchers represents a trip for two persons to the Polders of Kruibeke and Antwerp in Belgium and the other voucher represents a trip to the Broads in England.
National Park the Biesbosch announces winners of Estuary Park Trip competition.




Sustainable entrepreneurs in the Biesbosch


On Monday the 12th of December, seven Biesbosch entreperneurs received a GreenKey certificate. The GreenKey is an eco-label for entrepreneurs working in the tourist recreational sector.


Hotel De Korenbeurs in Made, Hotel De Watertoren in Dordrecht and Biesboschcentrum Dordrecht been awarded the gold level award. Hotel Golden Tulip in Zevenbergen, Team Biesbosch from Hank and Maia Ligfietsen in Dordrecht got the silver level and the Groene Camping in de Polder in Lage Zwaluwe got the bronze level.


Parkschap Nationaal Park De Biesbosch support the entrepreneurs to make their company more sustainable. It is the first National Park in Holland that tackles sustainability in this collective way.

Broads announces winners of Estuary Park Trip competition
The UK winners of an online quiz organised by STEP partners have been announced. The quiz was based on wildlife and landscape questions concerning the three estuary parks involved in the project. Lisa Howard from Norfolk wins a weekend for two to the Polders of Kruibeke and David Armitage, also from Norfolk, wins a trip to the Biesbosch National Park. Winners from the Netherlands and Belgium will be announced shortly. They make a weekend trip to the Broads in the spring as their prize.

Broads Authority is re-awarded accolade for sustainable tourism
The Broads Authority has been awarded the prestigious European Charter for Sustainable Tourism for the second time.

The Authority was the first member of the family of English national parks to receive the Charter five years ago and a great deal of work has gone into assuring its renewal, culminating in a two day visit by a Europarc assessor.

The Authority came in for special praise for its work in sustainable tourism, for its communication including promoting the new brand for the Broads – Britain’s Magical Waterland - and for providing opportunities and facilities for disabled people. Read the full report here.

Broads Green Boat Show promotes groundbreaking initiative for hire boats
Boat owners interested in a new green initiative for hire boats were able to view the first boat in the UK to receive green certification at the Broads Green Boat Show in September. Norfolk Broads Direct’s diesel electric hybrid cruiser ‘Fair Princess’ has been awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme’s new Green Boat Mark. The initiative was launched in July by the Broads Authority, GTBS and Broads Tourism with funding from the STEP programme. The public also had the opportunity to get out on the water in a wide range of craft from canoes, rowing boats and pedal boats to electric and sailing boats and were able to watch boating demonstrations. Children designed and built boats from recycled materials and then raced them and a variety of stands promoted green boating materials including fuel cells, solar panels and wind turbines.

Volunteers and guides of the Biesbosch visit the Polders of Kruibeke
On Saturday, September 17th 2011, guides and volunteers from the Dutch National Park Biesbosch visited the Polders of Kruibeke for their annual excursion. Together with experts and guides from the Belgian side of the border, they exchanged ideas and techniques on how to improve future tourism for tidal parks. Today, these volunteers have already proven themselves to be real ambassadors for the area.

Broads business awarded first Green Mark for boats
A Broads boat hire company is the first business in the country to be awarded a new Green Mark accreditation for eco-friendly boats.
Norfolk Broads Direct of Wroxham received the grading when the Green Tourism Business Scheme launched its Green Mark for holiday cruisers in partnership with Broads Tourism and the Broads Authority.
The award, which has been funded through the STEP programme, is based on 25 criteria specially developed for boats including eco-friendly design, energy efficiency, waste management and providing "green‟ information for hirers. Find out more about the scheme in the Broads here.
STEP excursion ‘Best practices’, June 15 – 17, 2011
June 15 – 17, 2011, STEP partners made an excursion to best practices of STEP issues in The Netherlands and Flanders. Subjects visited and discussed were bike & pedestrian ferries (Hoeksche Waard), camprafts (De Heen), floating tents (Eersel), visitor centres (Meinweg and Hoge Kempen National Parks), gateways and information points (Hoge Kempen and TOP Ameide (criteria, information board, project description, catalogue)) and ICT games (Bergen op Zoom).
In all locations there was a presentation or a speech by the entrepeneur or organiser. Evenings were spent on presentations and discussions about gateways (Polders of Kruibeke) and visitor centres (Meinweg, Broads, ANB Flanders, Biesbosch Museum, general).
Among the 25 people from the different STEP areas who joined the excursion were entrepeneurs in the different areas, people from tourist offices and people working on the different projects in STEP.
You can read the report here.
The things learned these days will be very useful for the further realisation of the different actions in the STEP project.

Recreational fishing, also in tomorrow’s polder
In the northern part of the polders of Kruibeke, the Agency for Nature and Forests (ANF) is building two fishing ponds.
One will be reserved for local fishing clubs. A number of fishing basins and their club houses will disappear with the future arrangement of the flood plain. Local clubs use these ponds for their fishing competitions. The new fishing pond will be constructed with a focus on intensive competitive use and will have a broad open bank for bank fishing.
The other pond will be a natural arrangement with reed beds and other aquatic plants, resting and spawning places for the fish and a few small islands. The arrangement will constitute a varied pond with different biotopes and it will be equipped with angler jetties. The works will be carried out in the second half of 2012.
The plan also includes a swamp zone and a walking trail. “It is going to be a park where everyone can enjoy nature”, Laurent Vanden Abeele (ANF) emphasises. “The northern area will contain some more ponds, but those will be non-fishing basins. The largest will also serve as a buffer basin for surface water, which will attract plenty of birds. In addition there will be smaller pools for amphibians. The plan further includes a walking trail around the entire area and bird watching locations. We expect lots of hikers here.”
“Together with Waterwegen en Zeekanaal (Waterways and Sea Channel (W&Z)) we will also be looking at opportunities for anglers in the remainder of the flood control area.” Future users of the polders of Kruibeke – nature organisations, farmers, inhabitants, fishermen, catering businesses, local entrepreneurs – are invited to share their ideas about what 'their’ future polder should look like. “All visions and suggestions will be examined and gathered in an acces-plan for the area”, says Stefaan Nollet of W&Z. “We will give a brief idea of what can be expected at the Open Site day on 5 June.” For more information visit or

Innovative interpretation in the Broads
Visitors to the Broads will be able to get a snapshot of the amazing range of wildlife that exists in this magical waterland - at the touch of a screen.
They can enjoy the high tech experience on a giant 42inch touchscreen at the Broads Authority’s information centre at Hoveton. A second screen will be installed at Whitlingham Visitor Centre during the summer. Find out more about this exciting new technology here.

Open Yard Day at the Polders of Kruibeke
The polders in Kruibeke are still closed for the public as the construction of the flood control area is in progress. On the 5th of June, however, Waterways and Seacanal and The Agency for Nature and Forest invite everybody to come and take a look at the future of this safety and nature project on our fourth Open Yard day. You can find your own way or tag along with a guide, revealing you all there is to know about the already magnificent and various habitats. A boattrip on the Scheldt gives an alternative view on the site. Families are treated to a playful encounter with local mascot Xavier the roa-deer and a specific information expo presents the interim results of the future visitor management study and STEP in general. Hungry for more? Snacks and drinks are provided in the local tavern Kallebeek, where a permanent exhibition and the project movie awaits you. We'll see you soon!
The detailed programme of the Open Yard Day is found on

Broads Outdoors Festival a big success
The first Broads Outdoors Festival was a big success, getting hundreds of people out walking, cycling and canoeing in Britain’s Magical Waterland. Over 60 varied events were held over nine days from May 7 -15 in an effort to boost tourism during a traditionally quiet time between two bank holidays. Free canoe taster sessions at the 10 Broads canoe hire centres were extremely popular with 254 people paddling in one morning compared to 40 at a similar event last year.

June 15 – 17, 2011 there will be a STEP excursion in the Netherlands and Flanders. Topics are best practices in small scale accommodations, hike&bike ferry connections, gateways & information points and the use of ICT in education. Also there will be discussions on visitor centres and public-private cooperation. Here you can read the programme.

STEP Biesbosch Open Days
The Biesbosch participated in ‘Europe around the corner’ which was organised by Kansen voor West on May 13 – 15, 2011. There was a presentation of some STEP products in Biesboschcentrum Dordrecht and one of the project managers told about the local STEP activities going on in het Biesbosch during a boat trip.

Over 60 events at first Broads Outdoor Festival
A packed programme of over 60 events will kick off the first ever Broads Outdoors Festival, showcasing the best of the Broads, which will run from Saturday May 7 to Sunday May 15. The
new nine day festival is designed to give a boost to tourism in the lull between Easter and Whitsun.
The festival was the brainchild of Bruce Hanson, Head of Tourism at the Broads Authority, who inspired Broads businesses, organisations and charities to work together to promote collectively the many different ways to enjoy the Broads.

Sustainable Tourism Seminar in the Broads
The Broads Authority and Broads Tourism organised a sustainable tourism seminar aimed at encouraging businesses to sign up to the Green Tourism Business Scheme - the UK’s only eco-tourism accreditation.
‘Greening the Broads - and Boosting your Business’ was held at The Waterside, Rollesby on 1 March 2011.
The Broads has the largest cluster of accredited green businesses in the Eastern Region with around a dozen businesses belonging to the scheme and three having gained the coveted Gold Award. This year new criteria are being developed to include boating businesses. A full report of the seminar can be found here.

Biesbosch seeks cooperation with tourist businesses
The authority of Nationaal Park De Biesbosch has registered officially to obtain the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.
Making the Biesbosch more sustainable is only possible when tourist businesses cooperate in this. To inform business about the plans and to find out if businesses are interested, a meeting for tourist businesses in the Biesbosch region took place on February 24, 2011. More than 50 businesspeople were present.
Bureau Buiten is making a Strategy and Action Plan on sustainablity for the Biesbosch, which is necessary to obtain the Charter. Anneke van Mispelaar informed the businesses about the possibility of forming a Business Forum as a partner for the authority of the National Park. There was a lively discussion on the aims and possible forms of such a cooperation. About 20 businesspeople would like to participate in the next meeting.
Thereafter Erik van Dijk held a presentation about the Green Key, which is an instrument with which businesses can become more sustainable. STEP can help businesses to obtain the Green Key. More than 10 businesses are interested to participate in this.

The STEP from Kruibeke flood area to European nature park, December 6th, 2010
The Flemish Government gathered an international think tank for the Kruibeke-Bazel-Rupelmonde flood control area. The coming years they will reflect on the optimal visitors management for this area together with the Dutch Biesbosch and the UK Broads. As of today you can also follow the brainwork online on
Read the complete Dutch press release.

STEP project goes Live
A new website, newsletter and brochure has been launched to publicise the European partnership between the Broads Authority, the Biesbosch National Park in the Netherlands and the Polders of Kruibeke in Flanders. The three areas are working together on a project called STEP – Sustainable Tourism in Estuary Parks – which is a joint initiative to promote ‘green’ tourism.
Website. On the website you can find information about joint activities concerning sustainable tourism, visitor management and public-private cooperation - the main themes of the STEP project. In the Broads this includes the recent drive to rebrand the Broads and promote the area as Britain’s Magical Waterland including the relaunch of the Broads Quality Charter which aims to ensure excellence in food establishments plus the Welcome Host scheme for good customer service. The results of the activities from each of the partners, including study and workshop reports, can also be found on the website.
Newsletter. Everyone who wants to stay updated on the progress of the STEP project can subscribe to a digital newsletter, which will appear twice a year.
Brochure. For everyone who wants to know exactly what the STEP project involves and who prefers written information about it, a beautiful STEP brochure has been made, in which the diverse activities are mentioned.
If you want to subscribe to the newsletter or receive the brochure, please send an email to

Cooperation Fair Bournemouth, September 23, 2010
On September 23, an international meeting was organised by the Joint Technical Secretariat INTERREG IVA 2 Seas, to set up new projects in the 2-Seas programme. A presentation about STEP on steps from idea to application was given by Dick Verheijen, director of Natuur- en Recreatieschap De Hollandse Biesbosch.
An overview of all presentations given about running projects can be found here.
An overview of all organisations looking for partners to set up new projects can be found here.
The new brochure on the STEP project was also presented.

Tourism chief admires sustainable tourism in the Broads, 6th August 2010
 A top tourism boss described the Broads as a “truly great destination” and pledged his backing to help local businesses compete on the world stage.
Chief Executive of Visit England James Berresford was visiting the Broads as a guest of the Broads Authority to witness for himself the efforts of the public and private sectors to work together to promote sustainable tourism.
A full report of his visit can be found here.

The Broads is branded “Britain’s Magical Waterland”, 1st July 2010
Tourism businesses are working together to promote all that is best about the Broads in a new campaign which brands the area as ‘Britain’s Magical Waterland’.
The Broads Tourism Forum has been working with the Broads Authority to create a new image for the area which is one of Norfolk’s biggest tourism assets and one of the country’s most popular destinations for boating holidays as well as a national angling hotspot and a haven for some of the UK’s rarest birds and wildlife.
The results were unveiled on Thursday 1st July in Norwich along with a drive to improve quality and visitor experience through the UK’s first gold standard scheme to improve customer service.
Full details of the project can be found here.

Youngsters test their Language Skills on Film
Norfolk school children have been testing out their language skills to tell potential visitors what they love about the Broads.
The 13 and 14-year-olds from Broadland High School at Hoveton joined forces with the Broads Authority to produce a series of short films in French, German and English in which they describe what you can see and do on the Broads. The films feature on the Broads Authority’s new tourism website:
The exercise was part of the school’s involvement in the “Links into Languages” LinkedUp Award Scheme 2010 which supports pupil creativity and independence in modern foreign languages. The films were funded with money from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Interreg 2 Seas programme.
You can read more about the project here.

Conference promotes 'green' tourism
Nearly 60 Broads businesses attended a Green Sky Thinking Day at the Assembly House organised by the Broads Authority with the aim of promoting greener tourism on the Broads. The conference was funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Interreg Two Seas project. Full details of the conference can be found here.
On Saturday, September 17th 2011, guides and volunteers from the Dutch National Park Biesbosch visited the polders of Kruibeke for their annual excursion. Together with experts and guides from the Belgian side of the border which are associated with the Polders of Kruibeke, they exchanged ideas and techniques on how to improve future tourism for tidal parks.

Win a trip to a European Nature area - July 27
The Polders of Kruibeke are growing towards a nature area with European class! An online quiz lures the first tourists from abroad towards the project area for a visit in avant-premiere. The Flemish governement collaborates with the Biesbosch from the Netherlands en the English Broads to focus on the sustainable touristic trump-cards of their tidal nature areas. What's to win? 6 weekends for 2 persons to one of these natureparks!

Language: English Nederlands (Dutch)  
Biesbosch Gogkbr broads zee