Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management

The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management[1] (Dutch: Rijkswaterstaat), founded in 1798 as the Bureau voor den Waterstaat, is part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Netherlands, the former Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. Its role is the practical execution of the public works and water management, including the construction and maintenance of waterways and roads, and flood protection and prevention. The agency was also involved in the construction of big railway projects such as the Betuweroute and the HSL-Zuid.

The mission of the organisation is: "Rijkswaterstaat is de rijksdienst die werkt aan droge voeten, schoon en voldoende water én aan de vlotte en veilige doorstroming van het verkeer" (The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management is the national agency that provides dry feet, clean and sufficient water and a quick and safe flow of traffic). The agency is divided in 10 regional, 6 specialist services and 2 special services.

As of 15 May 2017, the director-general (DG) of the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management is Drs. M.C.A. (Michèle) Blom.[2] Since 1 January 2006, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management has been an (executive) agentschap (agency).


The Dutch word waterstaat denotes the condition of an area in relation to the level and the condition of surface and groundwater, including all relevant natural and artificial features.[3] The component 'rijks' translates as 'national'.

Organisation structure

The Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management is divided in regional and specialist services, formerly known as directies. Every service is managed by a hoofdingenieur-directeur (HID), who together form the board of the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management.

Regional services

The regions are divided in local water- en wegendistricten (water and road districts), formerly known as dienstkringen. In the past, every province had its own regional organisation, but the directies Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe were merged, forming the service Noord-Nederland, the directies Overijssel and Gelderland were merged to form the service Oost-Nederland, the directies IJsselmeergebied and Utrecht were merged to form the service Midden-Nederland and the directies Noord-Brabant and Limburg were merged to form the service Zuid-Nederland. The following regional services exist:

Specialist Services

  • Water, Traffic and Environment, RWS WVL (located in Utrecht, Rijswijk and Lelystad)
  • Programmes, Projects and Maintenance, RWS PPO (located in Utrecht)
  • Major Projects and Maintenance, RWS GPO (located in Utrecht)
  • Traffic- and Water Management, RWS VWM (located in Utrecht, Rotterdam and Lelystad)
  • Central Information Services, RWS CIV (located in Delft)
  • Centre for Corporate services, RWS CD (located in Utrecht)
  • Nova, RWS nova (located in Utrecht)

Projectdirecties (Special Services)

  • Room for the River, RWS RVR (located in Utrecht)

Former (specialist) services

  • Projectdirectie Maaswerken, Tomorrow's Meuse (located in Maastricht and Roermond). 2003 - 2010
  • Projectdirectie HSL-Zuid, High Speed Line South (located in Zoetermeer). 2001 - 2009
  • Waterstaatskerken
  • Deltadienst
  • Rijksdienst voor de IJsselmeerpolders, National Institute for polders in the IJsselmeer
  • Rijksinstituut voor Kust en Zee, National Institute for the Coast and Sea (located in The Hague)
  • Rijksinstituut voor Integraal Zoetwaterbeheer en Afvalwaterbehandeling, National Institute for integral Fresh Water management and Waste Treatment (located in Lelystad)
  • Dienst voor Weg en Waterbouwkunde, Service for Road- and Waterarchitecture (located in Delft)
  • Adviesdienst Verkeer en Vervoer, Advisory service Traffic and Transport (located in Rotterdam)


  1. "Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management". Government of the Netherlands. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  2. "Michèle Blom directeur-generaal Rijkswaterstaat bij IenM". Rijkswaterstaat. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  3. Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal.
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