The Netherlands is a relatively small, crowded country, located in the delta of three European river basins: the Rhine, the Meuse and the Scheldt. The country depends very much on transboundary inflows. Not only in terms of water quality and its vulnerability to upstream pollution sources, but also considering the country’s dependence on over 75 percent of its total water resources coming from rivers abroad. Over 30 percent of the total surface area of the Netherlands lies below sea level, protected from the sea in the west and north by barriers of dunes and dykes. As much as 50 percent of the country’s area is vulnerable to flooding from the sea or rivers. The Netherlands has a population of about 16 million inhabitants, an average of 470 inhabitants per km2, giving it one of the highest population densities in the world. The highest concentrations are in the low-lying urban areas in the west of the country, which is the urbanized area including cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. All Dutch urban areas together cover about 14 percent of the country’s total surface. More than 50 percent of the country’s area is agricultural land, and about 17 percent is water. Through Dutch history, there always has been a tension between urban, economic and agricultural development on the one hand, and the space naturally claimed by water in a delta area on the other. The need to protect the land from high water from rivers and sea, and the tradition of artificially draining low-lying areas, have given the country a complex hydraulic infrastructure. Through the ages the flow and level of almost every water body in the country have been subject to human control.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- Harboring Water in a Crowded European Delta
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 3