The present article is the first of a series in which a new classification of the reed swamp and marsh communities (order Phragmitetalia, class Phragmitetea) in the Netherlands (in WESTHOFF & DEN HELD, 1969) will be tested. The material used consists of the sample-plot analyses recorded by the Foundation for Biocenological Research (SOL) in the years 1954-1956 along former river beds in the forelands of the great rivers. Therefore, the test implies a partial re-evaluation of the results of that study as presented by VAN DONSELAAR (1961). The first community treated, the association Scirpetum lacustris (alliance Phragmition), most of which was formerly included in the Scirpo-Phragmitetum, appears to be easily recognizable. In the river forelands it has about the same composition as along stagnant waters. However, a comparison with the reed marsh communities of the fresh water tidal area (ZONNEVELD, 1960) is difficult and does not meet with success. An all-over reclassification of all reed swamp and marsh communities, taking the tidal area more completely into account, is necessary, but lies beyond the scope of the present paper.