Description of the area
The Vecht area is a plain with wetlands, located between the river Vecht in the west (Fig. 5.1) and the sandy ice-pushed hill ridge ‘Het Gooi’ approximately 8km to the east. To the north, a former sea (‘Zuiderzee’), now reclaimed, bounds the area; 20km to the south near the city of Utrecht, the hill ridge and the river almost meet (Fig. 5.2). The area is a wetland region with many shallow lakes. Even where a solid soil is present, the groundwater table is close to the surface. The soil diversity is represented by the presence of three types of soil: close to the river and the former sea, there are deposits of clay soils; the centre of the plain is covered by a peat layer some metres in depth; and in the eastern direction this peat layer gets thinner until it reaches the sandy soil of the hill ridge. The area straddles two provinces (North-Holland and Utrecht) and includes 10 municipalities. The number of inhabitants in these areas is restricted. The centres with significant population sizes are mostly at the border of, or just outside, the area (see Table 5.1).
Agriculture and nature dominate land use; industry is almost absent (Fig. 5.3). Agriculture is primarily dairy farming.