Rotterdam among cities adapting to climate change

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Cities like New York, London and Bangkok are anticipating and preparing for the disastrous effects of global warming. Like these cities, Rotterdam is planning for the best defense against its worst enemy, flooding.

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Tom Roeleveld/flickr

For centuries, flood control has been a main concern for the Dutch population, as two thirds of the Netherlands is prone to flooding. The government has dedicated one percent of its yearly funds to its dams, banks, and sea walls. It has been planning since 2003 and improvements have been made to manage the results of climate change.

In the twentieth century, the country has focused on building and maintaining sea defenses like massive steel and concrete barriers which can be easily moved to guard storm surges.

However, the present system is more inclined towards the philosophy of "living with water." Thus, preparations are prioritized over creation of high dikes since floods are unavoidable.

The country’s waterways act as a single, large sponge to soak up abrupt flooding. There have been flood zones and floating houses built too. Large quantities of sand have been placed in strategic areas along the coast, thereby allowing waves to support the defensive dunes.