About the Journal

Blue Papers: Highlighting the Critical Role of Water and Heritage in Sustainable Development


Water in all its forms is key to human survival and well-being. Humans have created intricate and ingenious solutions to survive and thrive in difficult and complex territories, and adapt to changes in social and environmental conditions. Remnants of past practices, structures and objects are still with us – in the built environment, in our institutions, in our ways of living and in our languages. Sometimes we call these objects and practices heritage, but more often they are so much a part of our everyday lives that we take them for granted.

As emphasized in the UNESCO Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda,1 culture is an important part of the Goals and Targets of the 2030 United Nations’ Agenda for Sustainable Development. Stand-alone technological interventions cannot solve the complexities of the social, cultural and economic implications of climate change in the long term. New solutions require the engagement of local interested parties and local knowledge to address social and cultural dimensions of water and to create a new embedded water awareness in the built environment, in institutions and culture(s), so that we can preserve and protect our heritage, understand and learn from the past, and activate history and heritage for future sustainable and inclusive living.

The biannual peer-reviewed journal Blue Papers explores the complex relationship between water, culture and heritage to assess lessons from the past, to protect heritage sites, to make use of water heritage and to contribute to the development of inclusive and sustainable future water systems. The past can help build a new platform for awareness of water and heritage, which involves shared methodologies and terminologies, policies and tools that bridge disparate fields and disciplines. To achieve this, we also need to rethink the role of water in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water is not fully captured in Goal 6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all; it is also an integral and inseparable key to all SDGs that carry us forward to a more sustainable future.

For every article in Blue Papers, we assigned a number of relevant SDGs besides SDG 6. Icons on the use and meaning of the types of water offer further categorization. All case studies are categorized according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification to indicate specific local challenges.

All issues of the journal will be loosely based on themes that link to water, culture and heritage, including (but not limited to):

  • Transcending the nature-culture divide
  • Tangible and intangible aspects
  • Integrated discourses and practices
  • Capacity building for holistic systems
  • Long-term (living) history perspectives for comprehensive understanding
  • Preservation, protection and reuse of water-related (living) heritage
  • Human and non-human stakeholders
  • New practices and rituals for water awareness and engagement
  • Strategies for inclusive sustainable development, including those drawing on heritage.


Blue Papers is an open-access journal. The journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. You are free to use the work, but you have to attribute (refer to) the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). The easiest way to refer to an article is to use the HOW TO CITE tool that you find alongside each article in the right sidebar.


Blue Papers allows the author(s) to hold their copyright without restrictions. Blue Papers allows the author(s) to retain their publishing rights without restrictions.


Blue Papers does not have article processing charges (APCs).


Blue Papers doesn't have article submission charges.


Authors can archive the pre-print and post-print versions of the work they have submitted to Blue Papers, including the pdf version of the article (the so-called publisher's version) that is available on this website. Authors are explicitly free to copy and redistribute the work they have submitted in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the work they have submitted to Blue Papers for any purpose.


Blue Papers grants you the right to publish the metadata of the series, it's issues and articles under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).


Blue Papers uses guidelines regarding ethics based on the core practices formulated by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Anyone who believes that an contribution published in Blue Papers does not comply  with these principles should raise their concerns with the editor-in-chief.


Blue Papers actively checks for plagiarism, using the services of Grammarly.


Blue Papers is published twice a year. Each issue contains on average 15 contributions.


Blue Papers journal uses a double-blind reviewing policy. All contributions to Blue Papers are peer-reviewed by objective water and heritage experts in our growing network. All conflicts of interest must be declared prior to starting the peer review process. Blue Papers uses the following principles during the review process:

  • Timing – preprints;
  • Identifiability – all reviews are double-blind;
  • Mediation – editors mediate all interactions between reviewers and authors;
  • Publication – peer reviews are not published;
  • Facilitation – reviews are facilitated by the journal;
  • Ownership – reviews are owned by the journal.


2950-1466 print
2950-1423 online


Stichting OpenAccess
Bierstraat 103
3011 XA Rotterdam


UNESCO Chair River Culture

WAMU-NET (Water Museums Global Network)

ICOMOS/ISC Water and Heritage (International Council on Monuments and Sites)

Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for PortCityFutures

Waternet/Waterschap AGV