The Netherlands has to cope with large losses of N and P to groundwater and surface water. Agriculture is the dominant source of these nutrients, particularly with reference to nutrient excretion due to intensive animal husbandry in combination with fertilizer use. The Dutch government has recently launched a stricter eutrophication abatement policy to comply with the EC nitrate directive. The Dutch consensus model for N and P emission to groundwater and surface water (STONE) has been developed to evaluate the environmental benefits of abatement plans. Due to the possibly severe socioeconomic consequences of eutrophication abatement plans, it is of utmost importance that the model is thoroughly validated. Because STONE is applied on a nationwide scale, the model validation has also been carried out on this scale. For this purpose the model outputs were compared with lumped results from monitoring networks in the upper groundwater and in surface waters. About 13,000 recent point source observations of nitrate in the upper groundwater were available, along with several hundreds of observations showing N and P in local surface water systems. Comparison of observations from the different spatial scales available showed the issue of scale to be important. Scale issues will be addressed in the next stages of the validation study.