The Coast

The coast protects millions of Dutch residents against flooding from the sea. The coastal zone is home to over a million residents and businesses, plays host to many recreational and tourist activities, and attracts many visitors. The preferential strategy for flood risk management along the coast is aimed at keeping the coast safe, attractive and economically strong in the future. In the years ahead, the focus will be on fleshing out the strategy. The region is exploring opportunities for integrated solutions, such as multi-functional dune zones or dykes. The Delta Decisions and the Decision on Sand constitute the framework in this regard.



Along the coast, taskings in terms of flood risk management may arise from soil subsidence and the rising sea level as a result of climate change. Major interventions will probably not be needed before 2050, apart from regular sand replenishment, and management and maintenance of flood defences. In the long run, depending on the rate at which the sea level rises, measures may be required at a number of locations in order to maintain the desired protection level.

Preferential strategy for flood risk management

The preferential strategy for Flood Risk Management along the coast ensues from the National Coastal Vision: a safe, attractive and economically strong coast. The preferential strategy outlines methods to link up the flood protection tasking and spatial developments, tailored to each individual location. In many cases, spatial developments outpace the flood protection tasking.

For each situation, the parties involved determine whether linking the flood protection tasking and the spatial ambition would be advisable and feasible, and within what timeframe. If the issues are not linked, the parties take one another’s tasking or ambition into consideration when implementing management or maintenance. If linking would be advisable, the parties jointly set down a linked growth concept, for example, a multi-functional dyke. A key choice in this respect is the direction of the future dyke improvement: towards the sea, towards the land or at the current location.

In order to identify linkage opportunities, several parties have taken up the implementation of seventeen designated pearl projects. These are locations that lend themselves to sustainable economic and spatial development in combination with flood risk management.

Governments, Nature organisations, the recreational sector, and drinking water companies have drawn a “Coastal Pact”, outlining the coastal values that underpin their views of the future development of the coast.

Sand replenishment

The coast mainly consists of sand which is moved by the water currents. To keep the coast high enough, both under water and above it, sand must be replenished regularly. This is necessary for the safety of flood defences, and it offers room for other functions along the coast. More sand replenishment is needed if the sea level rises. The current sand replenishment programme will be continued for the near future. The impact of sand replenishment is examined in the Coastal Genesis II multi-year knowledge programme.

Delta Programme 2018

Click here to view the progress made with respect to this area: Coast in Delta Programme 2018.