The need to build protection from storms and the sea is an old need for the Dutch

Indeed, the country has been built through the years by claiming land from the sea, and then defending what they gained

Often, the cost has been high.

The Afsluitdijk was built between the 1920s and 30s to protect the Zuiderzee, a vast bay in the North of the Netherlands which has devasted by tens of floods over the centuries

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The dam reached its objective of protecting the land, yet turning the area in a vast saltwater lake, with uncountable damages to the ecosystem

Yet, the Afsluitdijk is minuscule when compared to the Delta Works

These are a series of dams and mobile barriers which are located in the south of the country, designed as the answer to the terrible floods of 1953

On the night of the 31st of January 1953, several dams and dykes collapsed under the combined impact of a strong storm and the rising tide

1.835 people died…

70.000 were evacuated…

The 9% of the Dutch cultivable land was submersed.

1.835 people died…

70.000 were evacuated…

The 9% of the Dutch cultivable land was submersed.

The Delta Works were thus designed so that such a disaster would not happen again, thanks a mixed system made of fixed and mobile barriers, which would allow the exchange of water and the preservation of the ecosystem

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The Afsluitdijk and the Delta Works are however part of a much wider system, also include smaller dykes, buffer zones and much more

Climate change is now demanding an update and expansion of such a system and it sometimes bears a significant cost for the Dutch population which has to change their houses or, in worst cases, to relocate

The ongoing change of attitude, from old concrete engineering to the support of natural processes, is now needed more than ever