Policy development is a dynamic and cyclic process characterised by successive stages of development, implementation and evaluation. Throughout this process, interaction between science and coastal management plays an important role. An illustration is given in this paper, based on an analysis of the history of coastal policy in the Netherlands over the last two decades. Evaluation in 1995 of the coastal policy of Dynamic Preservation, developed during the late 80's and implemented in 1990, led to a redefinition in 2000. Implementation in 2001, of a sustainable coastal policy in the Netherlands with both a small- and a large-scale approach, is the result.
The analysis in this paper indicates that the successful development and implementation of coastal policy in the Netherlands, is related to the use of a systematic ‘frame of reference’; characteristics are explicit definitions of both strategic and operational objectives applied in a 4-step decision recipe of (1) a quantitative state concept, (2) a bench marking procedure, (3) a procedure for CZM measures or intervention and (4) an evaluation procedure. Applications of this frame of reference show its high potential to better integrate coastal science and coastal policy and -management and to stimulate co-operation.