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Sound and independent information
on the environment

Video

Floating cities: Environmental Atlas of Europe - The Netherlands

Almost a third of the Netherlands lies below sea level, and over the centuries the country has developed a highly efficient flood-defence system. The tragic floods of 1953, caused by a storm surge and exceptionally spring tides, led to a range of modern-day engineering solutions as well as a heightened awareness in Dutch society of the dangers of sea level rise. But when, in the mid 1990s, unusually heavy rain in Belgium and Germany caused the Rhine and the Meuse to breach their banks and hundreds of thousands of people had to be evacuated, it was clear that long-term action would have to be taken to protect against flooding from river water as well. The government has now launched a wide ranging programme of adaptation schemes to protect the coasts from sea-level and to create 'Room for the River', by establishing unobstructed spaces into which the major rivers can safely over-flow.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100