A large part of our country lies below sea level; that makes us vulnerable to flooding. Protection against flooding will always remain vitally important. Rijkswaterstaat monitors water levels along the coast, in rivers and in lakes.
We issue early warnings of a threat of storms and high water levels, so that water authorities can take action before there is any real danger. If necessary, we close the storm surge barriers.
The Delta Works were built by Rijkswaterstaat to protect the Netherlands against flooding. In total, the Delta Works consist of three sluices, six dams and six storm surge barriers.
Rijkswaterstaat operates five major storm surge barriers. In the event of high tides and high sea levels we close the storm surge barriers to prevent the flooding of the hinterland.
We know that sea levels are continuing to rise as a result of climate change. Our Delta Programme describes how we continue to protect the Netherlands against flooding.
The flood of 1953 was the greatest natural disaster to occur in the Netherlands in the 20th century. The disaster of 1953 demonstrated more clearly than ever the importance of protecting the country properly against flooding.