The Dutch Experience

The Netherlands has a lot in common with New Orleans including that much of the country is below sea level.

Two-thirds of the Netherlands is vulnerable to extensive flooding from the sea and the three large rivers that run through the land

The Netherlands, however, is a bit ahead of the curve regarding flood prevention technology , as it has had many more wake-up calls through history.

The Maeslantkering is a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands, which automatically closes when needed.

The gates are 72 feet high and each 777 feet long.

The construction of the barrier cost over $600 million.

On May 10, 1997, after six years of construction the barrier was put into operation.

The barrier is connected to a self-operating computer system which is linked to weather and sea level data.

The Maeslantkering is expected to be closed once every ten years due to a storm surge.

Location of the Maeslant Barrier (Small scale map, large scale image)

The main objective  was improving the safety against flooding of the Rotterdam harbor

Ship passing through the Maeslantkering

Model of Maeslantkering