The old city centre of Gouda is still subsiding locally due to the consolidation of the soft peat and clay soil. Most of the historic homes and buildings built between the 16th and 20th centuries have no foundations and so they are subsiding as well. As a result, the water level has been steadily reduced in the past centuries. If it is lowered further, that will put buildings on wooden piles at risk. Some other parts of the city have subsided by decimetres due to dewatering and loading, and that process is continuing. The consequences are tangible and visible: structural damage and high maintenance costs on roads, railways, dikes, water pipes and buildings. One thing is certain: water management and land subsidence cannot be controlled in the long term using conventional measures and with the traditional distribution of roles and responsibilities between the municipality, water authority and the general public. Managing the levels of groundwater and surface waters cannot be seen in isolation from other measures. New strategies are needed to preserve living conditions and the historic buildings in inner cities in the long term.