Headquarters of Rijkswaterstaat in Utrecht (2014)

Rijkswaterstaat, founded in 1798 as the Bureau voor den Waterstaat, is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, 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" (Rijkswaterstaat 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.

The director-general (DG) of Rijkswaterstaat is as of 1 February 2010 mr. ing. Jan Hendrik Dronkers.

As of January 1, 2006, Rijkswaterstaat is an (executive) agentschap (agency).


The 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.[1] The component 'rijks' translates as 'national'.

Regional services

Rijkswaterstaat is divided in regional services, formerly known as directies. Every regional service is managed by a hoofdingenieur-directeur (HID). 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

The vessel Speurder, of Rijkswaterstaat

Projectdirecties (Special Services)

Former (specialist) services


  1. Groot Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal.
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