Examples from the Netherlands
Nobody knows as well as the Dutch how to tame a river. The Poznań strategy is based on the best examples of coexistence with rivers, which were applied in the country of tulips.
In the country half of which lies below sea level, this knowledge is simply essential. For centuries, the Dutch have mastered to perfection constructing channels and polders. In the years 1993 – 1995, a series of catastrophic floods forced 250 thousands Dutch people to leave their houses and caused losses of about 100 billion euros. The Dutch government then launched the “Space for the River” programme. Since then, flood safety has been achieved in the Netherlands through co-operation and symbiosis with rivers, instead of fighting with them. Paradoxically, bad experiences from the mid 1990s did not cause turning the Dutch away from water. They simply have started to scrutinize the rivers more closely and to listen to their needs. Implementing the “Space for the River” programme will be completed in 2015. However, even now we can observe its spectacular results.
Island in Nijmegen
Nijmegen, located on the river Waal, was unlucky. Just a few kilometers before the city the river channel is nearly a kilometer wide, but in the very city it shrinks to 300 meters. This narrow river channel caused the city to be often inundated with floods, which did not do much damage in other parts of the country. Under the “Space for the Rivers” programme” an additional, three-kilometer-long canal which drains water excess during high river levels was dug in Nijmegen. The city gained not only safety, but also the extra space – a beautifully located island on which it is already planned to develop recreational and residential areas. The linking of the island with the centre is provided by a new bridge.
Breda like Poznań
Have we heard this story anywhere? A city and a river flowing by it. The sixties of the twentieth century, the world is enthusing about cars. Therefore, the municipal authorities decide to dig in the river channel and make a parking lot there. The river is moved to the suburbs. There, where once trade and services flourished and prices of flats reached pretty high levels, the wind starts blowing. This is not the history of Poznań in a nutshell, but of Breda – a city with 200 000 inhabitants, located at confluence of rivers Mark and Aa. In 2004, the authorities of Breda in cooperation with local entrepreneurs decided to dig out the once-buried channel. The river came back to the city and life came back with it.
Marina in brickyard Rheden
What if a marina was build in an old brickyard? Only several years ago in the vicinity of Rheden there were not too many places which could protrude above the water level in case of a greater flood. One of such places was a small artificial monadnock, on which a brickyard was built. The plant stopped functioning long ago and industrial buildings were deteriorating. Currently, the area is being revitalized – for the inhabitants of the town it is soon to become an attractive, open recreational area with a harbour for small sailboats. Also luxury lofts will find a place here. Everything is in harmony with nature. Thanks to the revitalization, there is a chance that the area around the old brickyard will be inscribed as a Natura 2000 site.