Dutch Weak Links

The Dutch coast has to deal with an increasing sea level rise. Beside this, the effect of wave-attacks on the coast increases as a result of wave amplitudes and wave periods. This requires extra robustness of the coastal defence. Along the Zealand and North and South Holland coast several places need to be strengthened in the coming 50 years. This is necessary in order to obey the safety requirements (Ministere van Verkeer en Waterstaat, 2003). These places are the so-called 'weak links' in the Dutch coastal defence. The approach to work on these weak links aims to guarantee the safety of the hinterland. This is why spatial reservations are made, which are capable of withstanding a sea level rise of 200 years. The spatial reservation can be realised at the land as well as the seaside of the coastal defence. Beside the safety several other objectives play a role. For example, the sand balance should be kept stable, the ecological quality must be improved, the economic continuity must be guaranteed and the spatial use must be optimised - like vital coastal cities and nature reserves. Along the Dutch coast ten weak links are defined (Fig. 3.2) of which eight have priority. A part of the coast gains priority if it does not meet the safety standards between now and 20 years.

Fig. 3.2 The weak links in the Dutch coast PKB-map in the National Spatial Plan (Source: Ministeries van VROM, LNV, VenW en EZ, 2004)

3.2.3 Integrated Development Perspective for the South Holland Coast

For the South Holland coast an integrated perspective is developed (Bureau Nieuwe Gracht, 2005), in which the weak links play an important role. In the perspective is reasoned from different points of view: the typology of coastal landscape, the relation between urban developments and the sea and the typology of seaside resorts (Fig. 3.3). This framework map offers the context of the South Holland weak links. Within the context the lay out of the area is designed. It makes a big difference if a weak link is combined with a natural reserve or with a seaside resort. Every weak link contains its own specific spatial solutions. The framework map shows the position of different elements alongside the South Holland coast.

After the design of the framework map ideas are developed for the weak links how the coastal defence relates to urban developments. The basis for the Delflandse coast (Fig. 3.4) is a seaward extension in the form of a green fundament, which ensures the safety. In the different scenarios this green fundament is combined intensively or extensively with urban functions. This varies from a moderate scenario (a green living area behind the dunes), a little more challenging scenario (design of urban strips in a seaward direction) to an extreme scenario (by gaining land on which the city and nature can be developed).

Most of the weak links along the Dutch coast are treated like an urgent necessity: the coastline needs to be strengthened and it has to be done quickly. They are supplied with sand or the dike is made stronger and safety is the only issue during the

Fig. 3.3 Framework map of the integrated development perspective South Holland coast (Source: Bureau Nieuwe Gracht, 2005)

planning process. It is a sectoral and simple, though sometimes costly, approach. The exception is the weak links, which are integrated in the development of the South-Holland coast. Here, an integrated development is proposed, in which the weak links are incorporated. This results in an embedded configuration: the weak links are irremovable from the spatial plan. This makes it cheaper, but the realisation is also dependent on the pace of the planning. If the planning process delays, the weak links do so as well.

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