Several landscape restoration alternatives were evaluated in the Gorecht area, a cultivated river plain in the northern part of the Netherlands. A landscape analysis was performed to investigate the hydrological functioning of this area. Groundwater composition in the area was assessed by using distribution patterns of indicative plant species. Results proved to be consistent with an interpolation of actual data of the groundwater composition. Groundwater flow was simulated with hydrological models to explain the observed patterns in water chemistry. It appeared that upwelling Ca-rich groundwater is now absent in the area, contrary to the past situation. Because a constant supply of Ca-rich water is an essential condition for mesotraphent fen vegetation, we concluded that under the present conditions the regeneration prospects for these vegetation types are poor. We suggest that the plan to regenerate groundwater-fed fens be abandoned for a plan to create surface-water-fed marshes.