Society aims at sustainable water management, which means that it is effective (meeting targets for people, planet and profit), robust (able to cope with uncertainties) and flexible (easily adaptable to changing conditions). The past has demonstrated that extreme weather events and their impacts are important triggers for adaptations in water management. Furthermore, societal changes or events lead to changes in perception of desired situations, goals, and valuation of costs and benefits. Insight into the dynamic nature of societal perspectives and responses provides information about the (non-) support and sustainability of water management strategies. The method presented here comprises the 'Perspectives method', derived from Cultural Theory to classify, analyze and explore present and future perspectives and according social response. These are presented in a so-called perspective map. We illustrate the method with a historic example of the river Meuse.