Landwinning in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a heroic tradition of dredging, land reclamation and landscape building – collectively referred to as “landwinning” in Dutch. More than half of the country is directly reclaimed from nature. This has resulted in extraordinary landscapes such as the Delta Works and Flevopolder.

The Netherlands without any watermanagement

For the study of water management, the Netherlands is a paradise; 25 percent of the surface of the country is below average sea level, and without protection 65 percent would be flooded regularly. The Netherlands can only survive by a massive system to control floods and maintain water levels. It is not astonishing that a relatively rich country can afford such a system (as opposed to a country like Bangladesh). However, since a major part of the country’s wealth is produced by the lowest areas, the historic development of this situation seems astonishing: how could such a highly complex technological and organizational system be created with so few resources?

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