Open space preservation is an important aim of spatial planning. In the Netherlands, the recreational, ecological and historic values of open spaces between cities, the buffer zones, are recognised and thus receive ample attention from policy-makers. This paper focuses on Midden- Delfland, an open area in the metropolitan western part of the country. A specific combination of policy instruments and government regulation has made the preservation of open space in this area very successful even compared to other buffer zones. A quantitative analysis of the land-use changes and a more qualitative review of the applied policy instruments are presented here in an attempt to explain this success. The analysis can help planners in finding ways to effectively protect contested open areas.
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