AddMire LIFE restoration of the Engbertsdijksvenen raised bog

Gepubliceerd op 19 januari 2022

Unique raised bog area: Engbertsdijksvenen

The Dutch Twente region, close to the German border, is home to Engbertsdijksvenen, one of the Netherlands’ few remaining raised bog areas. Measuring some 1,000 hectares, this is a protected natural area within the European Natura 2000 network.

Staatsbosbeheer (The province of Overijssel and the National Forest Service in the Netherlands) have joined forces in the AddMire LIFE project to ensure the sustainable recovery of the Engbertsdijksvenen raised bogs over the next few years. Active raised bogs are capable of storing carbon dioxide, so these steps will equally benefit the climate.

Running from July 2019 to mid 2024, the project receives financial support from the LIFE Programme, the European Union's funding instrument for the environment.

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Contact with experts

If you would like to know more about how we work, or if you are planning a similar project, we will be happy to share our expertise with you.

Project manager

Guus Ogink, province of Overijssel

Project leader

Corné Balemans, Staatsbosbeheer

Sustainable recovery of the raised bogs

Peat extraction and agricultural use have severely affected the Engbertsdijksvenen raised bogs, and less than one active hectare now remains. The rest of the raised bog area is severely degraded, but has the capacity for recovery. We will support this recovery through the AddMire LIFE project.

Retaining rain water

Active raised bogs need rain water to survive and store carbon dioxide. This means Engbertsdijksvenen must  remain permanently wet with stable water levels and low nutrients. Unfortunately, severe damage to the impenetrable layer of organic materials over the past 150 years has resulted in rain water draining from the area. As its water levels dropped, most of the Engbertsdijksvenen raised bog was left perpetually dry.

As dessication and nitrogen deposition increased, grasses, birches and shrubs grew faster, causing the evaporation of many liters of water every day. Water so desperately needed for the recovery of the raised bog landscape. In 2018 and 2019 Staatsbosbeheer removed large parts of woodland and wood storage to improve rain water retention.

AddMire LIFE’s work on retaining rain water in Engbertsdijksvenen combines filling in ditches and constructing dams in the area.

Water Retention

The area will be compartmentalised by means of embankments. These embankments will retain rain water in the various compartments. Each compartment is assigned its own water level. Water levels are carefully regulated by means of culverts and weirs between the compartments to optimise water retention across the area.

Careful execution

The plans will be carefully drafted with local residents, businesses, nature organisations and interested parties. The works in progress will be visible in the area. Visitors may be affected by the works, for instance as access to the site is restricted.

Raising water levels

Although beyond the scope of AddMire LIFE, we are also considering ways to raise ground water levels outside the nature reserve. Stable water levels benefit both peat regeneration and birds, and will attract rare plants and animals, including peat mosses, the black-necked grebe, the tundra bean goose and the common crane.

Key details

  • Project name: Engbertsdijksvenen raised bog restoration (AddMire LIFE)
  • Project code: LIFE18 NAT/NL000636
  • Duration: 5 years (2019 – 2024)
  • Total budget: € 11,750,000
  • LIFE funding: € 7,050,000
  • Project site: Twente (Netherlands)

Project activities, progress and results

International expertise meeting

AddMire LIFE organised an expertise exchange meeting featuring national and international speakers on Thursday 3 September 2020. The webinar hosted presentations by Matthijs Schouten of Staatsbosbeheer about the raised bog system and how it functions;  by Jim Ryan and Chris Uys about raised bog recovery in Abbeyleix (Ireland); by André Jansen and Ulrich Schlette about the raised bog project in Mecklenbruch in Naturpark Solling-Vogler (Germany); and by Frederik Naedts, who discussed the raised bog area ‘de Nol’  on Kalmthoutse Heide (Belgium) and its local challenges. In the afternoon we were welcomed by experts at the Bargerveen site who shared their experiences with us and we saw presentations by Piet Ursem and Adrie Masteling of the Oosterhuis BV firm of contractors. The expert day came to an end with a bicycle tour of the Bargerveen site, and Adrie Masteling, Piet Ursem and Jans de Vries telling us more about some of the area’s sites. You can find the webinar here:

Op de fietrs voor de kennisdag door Engebertsdijkvenen

Project activities

The AddMire LIFE project runs from July 2019 through to mid 2024, commissioned by the Province of  Overijssel; Staatsbosbeheer is responsible for the execution as owners of the nature reserve.

The project primarily consists of the following phases:


  • Applications for permits, licences and permissions
  • Tender route for the design and execution
  • Planning


  • Filling in ditches and trenches, restoring embankments and compartmentalisation


  • Monitoring impact on hydrology and raised bog regeneration
  • Monitoring socio-economic impact

This nature reserve helps us learn and understand more about, among other things, the methods and techniques available for retaining rain water. We share our expertise with specialists and conservation and other organisations, both actively and on request. This is where AddMire LIFE provides added value for European expertise development and exchange.

Progress and results

We are currently in the preparation phase, applying for permits, submitting the tender and finalising plans for reinforcing and constructing embankments in the raised bog area. We have also begun shifting vast amounts of sand and loam soil to be used for the repair of existing embankments and the construction of new ones in the area. Works are scheduled to start after the summer of 2021.

Plans, research, reports and brochures

As the project procedes, we will be publishing progress reports on the AddMire LIFE project.