Dutch environmental sciences have a tradition of multi- and interdisciplinarity and are developed in close interaction with Dutch environmental policy. Interdisciplinarity and policy relevance, two elements that are also prominent in the climate change scientific and policy debate, form highly important issues within the theory of post-normal science. The greater part of the Dutch climate research is organised in the National Research Programme (NRP), a research programme that explicitly focuses on delivering a contribution to the policy process. This paper uses four criteria for post-normal science (namely the management of uncertainty, the management of inter- and transdisciplinarity, the management of policy relevance and the management of quality) to detect a trend towards post-normal science. These criteria are useful for indicating long-term shifts but they do not (yet) provide measurable standards to assess scientific programmes like the NRP. The paper concludes that the NRP can not be typified as a post-normal research activity, but that it undoubtedly contains post-normal aspects. Especially the growing attention that is paid to the involvement of different stakeholders and divergent perspectives refers to a post-normal scientific practice. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.