A nonlinear model-predictive hierarchical control approach is presented for coordinated ramp metering of freeway networks. The utilized hierarchical structure consists of three layers: the estimation/prediction layer, the optimization layer and the direct control layer. The previously designed optimal control tool AMOC (Advanced Motorway Optimal Control) is incorporated in the second layer while the local feedback control strategy ALINEA is used in the third layer. Simulation results are presented for the Amsterdam ring-road. The proposed approach outperforms uncoordinated local ramp metering and its efficiency approaches the one obtained by an optimal open-loop solution. It is demonstrated that metering of all on-ramps, including freeway-to-freeway intersections, with sufficient ramp storage space leads to the optimal utilization of the available infrastructure. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.