Building and sustaining resilience after flood disasters?

Lessons learned from experiences in the Netherlands

Prof Chris Zevenbergen
Presented at the Spring Street Conference Centre – Feb 15, 2011 at 6pm

Living with Floods, Space for Water, Room for the River, and ‘resilience’ are frequently adopted as guiding principles and concepts in contemporarily flood risk management policies in European countries. Climate change has become an additional incentive. This certainly holds true for The Netherlands. The wake-up call came in 1993 and 1995 when the rivers Meuse and Rhine almost flooded. A few years later, Katrina fed the debate in The Netherlands on the limitations of the ability to control extreme events by technical means alone. These events raised the awareness of the potential threat posed by the increased value of investments and population growth and provided incentives to reform the Dutch flood risk management policy. This presentation analyses the Dutch response to these flood events and explores lessons to be learned from these experiences.