Land-use simulation can provide important information to regional spatial planning. This paper introduces the application of a detailed land-use model in different phases of the development of a Regional Spatial Strategy for the Dutch province of Overijssel. After introducing the planning and modelling context it first discusses an exploratory study that used potential future land-use configurations according to trend-based scenarios and specific policy objectives. Part of this study focused on visualising potential spatial developments according to three different spatial policy ambitions related to: water management; safety and health; and compact urbanisation. These depictions of policy alternatives were used to help formulate the Regional Spatial Strategy. In the subsequent Strategic Environmental Assessment land-use simulations were used to help assess the potential sustainability impacts of the proposed new set of spatial policies in relation to the current spatial policies. Based on these subsequent model applications the merits of the applied modelling approach are discussed. In addition, we pay attention to several more general issues related to the simulation of land-use changes in support of regional spatial planning. These issues relate to the treatment of uncertainty, the confidence that can be placed in the potential impact of planning initiatives and the need for integrated data infrastructures. © 2010 The Author(s).