The local government level is considered to be crucial in preparing society for climate change impact. Yet little is known about why local authorities do or do not take action to adapt their community for climate change impacts. In order to implement effective adaptation policy, the motivations for local climate adaptation need to be examined. This paper explores these motivations in Dutch communities by comparing nine urban and rural cases. To be able to draw general conclusions, cases are selected on „projected risk‟ and „extreme weather event experience‟. Motivations for local climate adaptation appear much more determined by local institutional factors such as a green party aldermen or innovative network membership then projected risk or extreme weather event experience. This could be explained by the empiric data showing diffuse channels of climate change knowledge into the local government level and limited capacity to translate this knowledge into genuine adaptation strategies.