wells national estuarine research reserve

The Myth of Dry Feet: Engaging the Dutch in Planning for Flood Defense

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm View more Events

Netherlands maps from

Because the coastal provinces of the Netherlands fall somewhere in the range of 3 to 23 feet below sea level, many figure that planning for flooding is part of the Dutch DNA. Certainly the management of nearly every drop of water does seem to be almost that. But the Dutch have become so expert in this science and art of water management, that even minor flooding is actually fairly uncommon. So uncommon actually, that most Dutch citizens are unaware of their level of flood risk.

Kristen Grant

Following deadly floods in 1953, the Dutch government assumed full responsibility for flood protection and developed an extensive system of dikes and barriers called the Delta Works. This system has protected the Dutch people so effectively since that time that The Myth of Dry Feet has prevailed for generations in the minds of most Dutch. But climate change projections suggest that this level of certainty the Dutch government has provided can no longer be guaranteed and now the Dutch people need to share in the responsibility for flood protection.

Efforts in the Netherlands to counteract The Myth and engage the Dutch people in planning to defend themselves from flooding were the focus of Maine Sea Grant Marine Extension Associate Kristen Grant’s 2016 sabbatical in the Netherlands. What have the Dutch learned? Which of their lessons can we apply here at home? How are communities in New England engaging stakeholders in these same conversations as we become aware of our own vulnerabilities? Join the conversation and share your ideas.

Suggested donation is $2 per person. Please meet in Mather Auditorium and feel free to bring your bag lunch to eat during the presentation.



Map image from Land of the Rising Water

Date & Time

Tuesday, April 11, 2017, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Regular Price: $2.00
Discounted Price: $2.00

For Wells Reserve programs, members of Laudholm Trust enjoy discount pricing.
Discounts offered for other programs, if any, are included in the full description above.


Not Needed.


Lunch 'n' Learns