Connected River

EU Interreg NSR Projekt

Connected River

Connected River is an EU-funded transnational innovation project. It aims to tackle challenges related to shared waterfronts and waterways that resulting from increasing conflicts of use, for example due to urban development, recreational use and port operations. For this, the project focusses on two key targts:

  • Empowering public authorities to act user-oriented and in an agile way.
  • Developing smart solutions for existing challenges in the pilot areas of the project, that help to improve accessibility and usability of shared waterways and waterfronts for all relevant user groups.

Project period: January 2023  – December 2026

Funding Programme: The project is co-financed by the European Union from the EU Interreg North Sea Region 2021 - 2027 (European Regional Development Fund)

Project budget: Total EUR 5,05 million, funding (ERDF): EUR 3,03 million

Project focus:

  • Mobilizing multi-stakeholder ecosystems for user-centric, agile innovation,
  • Conducting user-centric, agile innovation on challenges that shared waterways &waterfronts face, and
  • Accelerating the uptake of digital/smart solutions to improve services to stakeholders.
  • Carried out in 6 pilot regions (Amsterdam, Hamburg, Nijmegen, Lille, Vordingborg & Kleine Nete).

The project consortium consists of 13 partners from 6 different countries (Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands & Sweden) and brings together scientific expertise, public authorities and economic actors.


The Logistics Initiative Hamburg is acting as work package leader for the implementation and acceleration of developed digital / smart solutions. In addition, Logistics Initiative Hamburg is responsible for the project communication and dissemination.

Furthermore, various associated partners support the project:

Waterways and waterfronts are vital for the North Sea Region’s (NSR) economy, ecology and quality of life. This multiple interest leads to issues like conflicting use, accidents and pollution. Such issues increasingly occur in shared waterways and waterfronts of the NSR. This is caused by growing pressures exerted by urban development, commercial, recreational and other activities.

Traditionally, responsible authorities apply a static approach to respond to such issues and pressures. This worked and still works well for their typical tasks, like water management. However, they experience that it is unfit to rapidly respond in a fast-changing environment.

To address this common challenge, some authorities are exploring new, innovative methods of working and introducing digital/smart solutions. Yet, they do so separately and only in larger cities, less so in rural areas. There is a huge opportunity to share knowledge and experiences between countries and between urban and rural areas.

Connected River (CR) will tap this opportunity. It aims to boost capacities of multi-stakeholder ecosystems to deliver services that guarantee safety, accessibility and liveability of shared waterways and waterfronts in the NSR. It will do so by bringing diverse partners and stakeholders together in 3 pilots that take place in 6 pilot areas. Components of the so-called Flow Forward approach are jointly developed and implemented in 3 pilots on:

  1. mobilizing multi-stakeholder ecosystems for user-centric, agile innovation;
  2. conducting user-centric, agile innovation on challenges that shared waterways and waterfronts face; and
  3. accelerating uptake of digital/smart solutions to improve services to stakeholders.

Based on the pilots’ lessons learnt, CR delivers a playbook (strategy) to maximise uptake and transferability of the Flow Forward approach. This sets out the values, processes and procedures for a fit-for-future response to challenges that shared waterways and waterfronts face. CR partners also make roadmaps on how to integrate the playbook into their innovation strategies.

The project is not yet completed. Project work status and results are regularly published on the official project website.


Are you active in the field of user-centric & agile innovation for public authorities and multi-stakeholder ecosystems, do you have questions on the topic or would like to implement or discuss a project idea in this area together with our network? Then you are welcome to contact us!