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Delta Programme Commissioner commemorates victims of the 1953 Flood Disaster and opens symposium

This morning, the Delta Programme Commissioner laid a wreath at the annual commemoration of the 1953 Flood Disaster. Others in attendance included the King’s Commissioner in Zeeland, the Mayor and members of the municipal executive of Schouwen-Duiveland, the regional chief engineers and directors of Rijkswaterstaat, and many survivors and interested parties. Today marks the 64th anniversary of the disaster that flooded huge parts of the provinces of Zeeland, West-Brabant, and the islands of Zuid-Holland. More than 1,800 people and many animals were drowned; over 100,000 people lost their homes and possessions. This was the Delta Programme Commissioner’s first official workday of his second term as Government Commissioner for the Delta Programme.

Delta Programme Commissioner Wim Kuijken: ‘Every year we commemorate the catastrophic flood in order to remember its victims, and to look ahead to protecting ourselves from flooding in the future. The place of commemoration in Ouwerkerk is also a symbolic spot: the past, the present and the future come together here. This is where I began my work as Delta Programme Commissioner in 2010. Since then, I have attended the commemoration every year. With the Delta Programme, we try and prevent another disaster. This means that we need to keep working on our delta. For that reason, I am honoured that the Cabinet has reappointed me to continue this important work in my next term.’

Following the commemoration, a symposium entitled Verhalen over Water [Stories about Water] was held in the adjacent Watersnoodmuseum [Flood Disaster Museum]. In his opening address, the Delta Programme Commissioner pointed out the power and the significance of such stories.