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Our history

Early on, the Dutch water sector and the Dutch Government saw the need for greater collaboration, especially after the first World Water Forum in Morocco in 1997. There was no cooperation, no united message. Something needed to change. This led to the founding of the Netherlands Water Partnership.

Public-private partnership

1999 was the year: a partnership was born. NWP was founded at the behest of the Dutch Government to foster collaboration in the water sector in the Netherlands. This was not just any partnership; it was the first public-private collaboration on water in the world. Collaboration remained the main focus. NWP has looked increasingly outwards since then, building on the Netherlands’ long history of water management and strong collaborative ethic. This has brought hundreds of national and international entities in the water sector together. It is now a networking platform valued by companies, NGOs, government agencies, knowledge institutions and other entities in the Netherlands. 


With a rich history of collaboration and cooperation, NWP certainly has a number of interesting and noteworthy milestones. One of the first milestones for example, takes place in the year 2000. This was the year when we were setting the stage and the second edition of the World Water Forum came to The Hague. NWP had a central role in this event, which really put the Netherlands on the map. 

Partners for Water Programme

From 2005, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and NWP jointly execute the Partners for Water Programme. This programme was initiated by the Dutch government and is the largest programme aimed at building water relations and collaboration between the Netherlands and foreign countries, such as delta countries. The programme also aims to support the Dutch water sector to make to make the first steps in new markets, with the use of subsidy for projects. Currently, we are in the fourth programme phase of the Partners for Water Programme, which runs from 2016 to 2021. 

New Orleans

The year 2006 was another interesting year for NWP, as we coordinated the Dutch water sector’s contribution to rebuilding New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina.  ‘Let’s work together’ came into life, as NWP increasingly went to foreign countries such as Jakarta, Colombia, Vietnam, South Africa and Mozambique. 

New Orleans loopt onder water
Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans 2006

Nutrient Platform and AIWW

In 2011, the Nutrient Platform was established with the aim to retrieve important nutrients such as phosphate from wastewater. Apart from that, NWP together with IWC, RAI Amsterdam and other partners, also organised the successful, global first Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW) in 2011. As much as 300 people came to the conference. It is still a success, with the fifth edition of the AIWW Conference – part of the AIWW - coming in 2019. Some 1,000 delegates are expected to attend the conference.

AIWW Aquatech 2011
Aquatech AIWW 2011

Young Expert Programmes

In 2010, a new theme emerged at NWP: human capital, to stimulate young professionals to work in the water sector. That is necessary because research has shown that there is a lack of young water experts. The focus on human capital led to the foundation of the start of YEP programmes in 2013. This programme gives young professionals the opportunity to gain working experience abroad. YEP focusses on water and agrifood, together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. The YEP programmes are initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. NWP on the other hand, executes the YEP programmes. This theme of working with young professionals, has been important ever since.

Lastly, the strategy ‘let’s work together’ came into life in 2013. Since this year, in collaboration with the Dutch government, NWP promoted the Dutch water sector abroad. 

And that is what we will continue to do in the future. Will you join us?