BRO Soil Map

The soil map is one of the registration objects in the National Key Registry of the Subsurface (BRO) and is referred to as a ‘model’. The soil map is a spatial ‘model’ and is based on pedological field surveys. The map is based on the interpretation of data that have been gathered by experienced soil surveyors during field work campaigns. The information on the soil map concerns the nature and composition of the top soil (soil type), with a further subdivision in pedogenesis, peat type, deviant layers, presence of lime, and disturbances due to digging, raising or levelling of the soil surface. The map doesn’t provide soil information for built-up areas.

New in this version of the map is that all mapping units are linked to so called ‘derived profiles’ (a.k.a. ‘standard profiles’ or ‘sketched profiles’). These are typical soil profiles for the mapping units on the soil map. Derived profiles provide important soil properties for all soil mapping units with an areal coverage of at least 2000 ha. A total of 367 distinct soil units have been described by these derived profiles up to a depth of 1.20 m. For each soil horizon or layer, information on soil properties is available.

The map of water table depth classes used to be part of the Soil Map of Wageningen Environmental Research. In the BRO, these maps are now two separate registration objects. The latest version of the map of water table depth classes will be available in the BRO as part of the Water table Depth Model (WDM).

Application and quality

The soil model will potentially be used by local, regional, and national studies on hydrology, land suitability, soil vulnerability, nature development, and rural and spatial planning. In addition, the soil model serves as a basis for the derivation of thematic maps.

The national digital version of the map is a polygon file with scale 1:50,000. This is the survey scale of the data and provides for that scale the corresponding level of detail (1 cm2 on the map = 25 ha in the terrain). In general, for national, regional, and local applications, the need for information increases as the scale of the problem at hand increases (i.e., gets more local).

The soil map is not intended to be used for urban issues as soil information in built-up areas is lacking. Soil information may have changed for those locations that have become built-up area after the soil survey took place.


Download the documents concerning the BRO Soil and Groundwater model (ZIP partly in Dutch - 11.5MB).

Current and earlier versions

The soil map is continuously updated and improved. The main focus is on areas and soil types that change over time. An example is changes in peat areas due to the oxidation of peat. As a result, the thickness of peat layers will gradually decrease over time. Updating regularly results in new versions of the map. It is traceable which polygons have been updated. In module Subsurface models, the most recent version of the soil map is available.


A list with reports on this model is available on the Report back page.