Beautiful ánd Safe

News - 09 November 2023

It is a common sight in the densely populated country of the Netherlands, houses along, on or even partly in a dyke. The result is picturesque scenes, which are an incredible sight if you cycle any of the 17,000 km of water-retaining dykes that protect the country. But those  houses become obstacles when the dykes must be raised to cope with climate change-induced rising water levels. Therefore, Mark Voorendt and colleagues collaborate with other knowledge institutes and stakeholders to develop innovative alternatives. One example is Delta21, a citizens’ initiative and integrated plan for a flood defence system in the form of a row of dunes, a pumping station and a closable barrier. The plan not only offers a solution for water safety, but also energy storage and nature restoration. This type of complex project is central to the minor Integrated Infrastructure Design that started a few years ago. Engineers of the future learn an integral approach to design and do research by design to keep the Netherlands both beautiful and safe in the coming decades.