The Netherlands are used to a high standard of infrastructure and expectations of the Dutch are that this will continue. This imposes high demands both on the construction of new infrastructure as on the maintenance and operation of existing facilities. However, new capital works are predominant in the public mind, whereas renewal of existing infrastructure is taken for granted. The recent rise of asset management in various public infrastructure sectors can be seen as an attempt to approach infrastructure in a more balanced way and to introduce a systematic process of effectively constructing, maintaining, upgrading and operating assets, combining engineering principles with sound business practice and economic rationale. In addition it provides the tools to facilitate a more organized and flexible approach to making decisions necessary to achieve the public's expectations. At the same time in infrastructure management various forms of contracting are used in infrastructure management and innovative forms of contracting are introduced. This paper suggests that asset management objectives and contracting practices incorporate certain characteristics that can be contradictory. In this paper we present a conceptual framework for a comparative research into these tensions. By paying attention to the specifics of both physical and institutional attributes of these sectors we also aim at identifying the conditions that shape or constrain the possibilities to generalize between sectors.