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(Be)Leefbare Schelde

The Centre for Sustainable Business and Digital Experiences is a partner in the (Be)Leefbare Schelde project.  The main aim of this ambitious Interreg Flanders-Netherlands project is to promote the further development of the tourism potential in the cross-border Scheldt-Delta region. This region forms an essential part of the future UNESCO Global Geopark Scheldt Delta and catalyses sustainable, social, and cultural growth.


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Interreg Vlaanderen-Nederland en Provincie Antwerpen

What is the Scheldt Delta?

The Scheldt Delta, located on the border of Flanders and the Netherlands where the Scheldt flows into the North Sea, is an area of immense ecological richness and significant economic activity. It is renowned for its unique fauna and flora, its strategic location near major ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp, and its cultural heritage. Not only the world-famous Delta Works, a testament to Dutch expertise in water management, but also the natural landscapes and the rich history of the region attract thousands of visitors annually.

Visit the Dutch-language project website
Natuur in de Schelde Delta met Doel op de achtergrond

The (Be)Leefbare Schelde Project

Within the Scheldt estuary, the Flemish-Dutch border region is closely linked by its shared history, water influence and cultural history. The shared geology of the area further strengthens this connection. The region's coordinating provinces have jointly taken the initiative to apply for Geopark status for the Scheldt Delta region because of its unique features and character. To increase the chances of recognition by Unesco, the Interreg (Be)Leefbare Schelde project was launched. This Unesco status would be invaluable for the entire (Be)Liveable Scheldt area, resulting in a prestigious quality label.


Launched in response to the region's popularity as a tourist destination, the (Be)leefbare Schelde project aims to improve the experience for both visitors and residents. Its name, combining 'Experiential' and 'Liveable', reflects its sustainable and social development goal across the Flemish-Dutch Scheldt area. 

Specifically, this project focuses on the following objectives: 

  • Enhance recognition of the Scheldt Delta as a valuable tourist area.
  • Improved accessibility: creating gateways and routes to increase the area's accessibility. 
  • Expanding the tourist offer: the project aims to expand the tourist offer so that visitors can take full advantage of the rich experiences the Scheldt Delta area offers. The offer will also be better connected.  
  • Quality improvement: efforts are being made to increase the quality and strengthen the connection between tourist pearls in the Scheldt Delta, strengthening the network.  
  • Increase involvement of residents and local stakeholders, stimulating sustainable tourism. 
  • Climate change, climate and water influence become guiding principles in the developments and investments in this project.

Enhanced Tourist redistribution and sustainability

Addressing the challenge of high tourist and resident density, especially in coastal areas, the project emphasizes the redistribution of visitors to the hinterland. This strategy not only alleviates overcrowding but also showcases the diverse attractions throughout the region.
Furthermore, the initiative prioritizes eco-friendly transportation, like biking and water-based travel, and the development of local sites that benefit and engage the community. These efforts aim to bolster the Scheldt Delta's unique charm and support sustainable tourism practices.

Funding and Collaboration

The (Be)leefbare Schelde is part of the Interreg Flanders Netherlands program, funded by a 4.801.094,47 euro grant from the European Regional Development Fund. With a total budget of 9.602.188,98 euros, the project unites 22 partners, including Thomas More and HZ Universities of Applied Sciences, various Belgian and Dutch municipalities, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and other regional governments and organisations. This collective effort aims to leverage diverse expertise and resources for the betterment of the Scheldt Delta.



Marco Scholtz

Marco Scholtz is a senior researcher in Innovative Tourism. He currently focuses on cultural heritage tourism and tourist accessibility. He is also a lecturer for the courses 'Tourism Research' and 'Tourism Destinations'.


Eveline Smolders


Vicky Steylaerts

Vicky Steylaerts is a researcher specialising in both academic and practice-based research.