This article presents the results of an institutional analysis on the stream valley of the Drentsche Aa in Northern Netherlands. The analysis starts in the 1960s when nature conservationists proposed to give the Drentsche Aa a new status as National Park. Government did not allow this until 1993. Yet, it took almost ten years, until 2002, to open the park officially. During that time, the ... [Show full abstract] provincial authority spent a lot of time and money to mobilise local people and organisations and to draw up regional plans. The outcome of these efforts was a hybrid policy arrangement, as we call it, which deviated strongly from the traditional National Parks elsewhere in the Nether- lands. In fact, the hybrid represents the future policy for National Landscapes in the Netherlands rather than the policy for National Parks. Though based on authoritative rules, it gives local partners a lot of space to manoeuvre and to negotiate on future developments. National government has been supporting this hybridisation from the beginning. Because of the previous history and the institutional support at both local and national level, we think that the hybrid shows a potentially high degree of governance capacity.