By Bart van Linge
Junior Economic Officer, Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York
It was inspiring and educational to have three Dutch deployable flood defense companies visit the US last week. While the identity of the Netherlands is sometimes typified by large-scale infrastructure, such as the Afsluitdijk or the Maeslant Barrier, the reality is that Dutch water management is a comprehensive system that is composed of many smaller parts.
Around the world and in the Netherlands, deployable flood defense systems are a key layer of protection for individual buildings up to the district scale.
In Boston, our collaborators at A Better City and the Metro Area Planning Council hosted two public programs. Here we told the story of how the Netherlands’ tradition of innovation is a constant thread in the development of new technology, such as modular flood defense systems.
Participants in these discussions ranged from individual building owners (such as the Federal Reserve Bank), representatives of municipal government (such as Boston, Quincy, and Scituate), and stakeholder and civic groups (such as Boston Harbor Now and the Boston Society of Architects).
The last two days we moved to New York, ending with a series of presentations in Hoboken, New Jersey, and a final event at the Dutch consulate. Participants in this event included a number of New York City and New York State agencies and authorities, engineering and design firms, and interested practitioners.
Overall, the dialogue, tours, and detailed Q&A sessions made it an educational trip for the delegation. We hope the three different technologies presented help to illustrate some of the viable small-scale products that are in the Dutch water management tool kit. Whether it is Rebuild By Design, New York Rising, or Climate Ready Boston, all these initiatives show the increasing amount of investment that is coming to urban adaptation and flood protection in the future.
You can learn more from the presentations given at the consulate.