Netherlands’s biggest dike being heavily reinforced

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afsluitdijk

The Afsluitdijk, a 32-kilometer dike that is 87 years old, is one of the key water defences against the sea, located between the provinces of North Holland and Friesland. Due to climate change, which causes rising sea levels and storms, the dike is being thoroughly renovated through 2023. You’ll notice that at least the parties involved believe in climate change – they’re not taking any chances. “The Netherlands is currently the safest delta in the world,” the government said. “We want to keep it that way.” Although sea levels have been rising for years, the levels are rising more quickly.

Engineers are strengthening the Afsluitdijk, including laying thousands of custom-made concrete blocks and raising parts of it. They are also improving the highway that runs over the narrow strip of human-made land which lies between the shallow Wadden Sea and the Ijsselmeer inland sea and which, despite its name, is technically a dam rather than a dike because it separates water from water.

This kind of innovation and the constant care needed to maintain the Netherland’s thousands of miles of dikes and levees does not come cheap. The government has earmarked nearly 18 billion euros ($20 billion) to fund such projects for the period from 2020-2033.

(Link: phys.org; photo: lc.nl)

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