Dutch consider innovative solution to overcrowding and flood defence

The Netherlands wants to redraw the map of Europe – literally. The world leaders in land reclamation are considering an island in the shape of a tulip to fight overcrowding and shield the coastline from the rising sea. A recent poll showed the Dutch are more afraid of flooding than a terrorist attack, although they have a strong faith in Dutch expertise and technology to protect them from the water. Supporters of the scheme say it will give Dutch companies a chance to showcase water management skills that are increasingly in demand due to global warming, but critics say the plan will be prohibitively expensive and harm delicate ecosystems. Independent environmental group the North Sea Foundation notes that an artificial island could disrupt shipping, fishing and migrating birds.

The Netherlands has a long history of pioneering technology to help it claw back land from the sea and fight recurrent flooding. Dutch marine contractor Van Oord built Dubai’s ‘palm’ island, that juts into the shallow waters of the Gulf in the shape of a palm tree, using more than 100 million cubic meters of sand.