Dutch Try New Strategies as Tides Rise

With 60% of country below sea level, climate change hits home in Netherlands
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2007 9:52 AM CST
Swans are seen in front of the closed Maeslant Barrier gates in the Nieuwe Waterweg near Hoek van Holland, the Netherlands, Friday, Nov. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/ Bas Czerwinski)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The most famous dike-builders in the world are reconsidering their strategy for holding out against climate change, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Instead of tightly controlled and engineered dikes, the Netherlands is trying out a so-called "soft approach" that breach dikes and allow large areas to flood, while protecting large cities from the brunt of the sea's ever-rising wrath.

Countries all over the world look to the Netherlands as a model of how to deal with rising sea levels, owing to its long and successful history of holding back the North Sea. Unlike many other areas, in the Netherlands, "our problems are not so very different from the problems the people in the Middle Ages had," one researcher says.