To celebrate 100 years of the Zuiderzee Act, the municipality of Lelystad and fellow local authorities and partners are hosting a water-themed conference on 14 June under the banner: “What will the Netherlands look like in 2118?” That the conference is taking place in Lelystad is no accident: the city is built on the seabed of what used to be the Zuiderzee, a shallow bay in the North Sea. Conference attendees will include the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen.
The plenary session will be followed by a variety of sub-sessions and round-table discussions on the more specific subjects of water security, creating a sustainable future, and collaborating to ensure such a future.
Feddes/Olthof Landscape Architects and Paul de Ruiter Architects were commissioned by the Department of Public Works to create the spatial design for future modifications to the Afsluitdijk. Their master plan takes as its starting point the preservation of the existing profile of the 32-kilometre-long dike, and adopts a sustainable approach to the required reinforcements.
During what promises to be an inspiring session, entitled “Lely in the next 100 years”, Feddes and De Ruiter will revisit the innovations conceived by the renowned civil engineer Cornelis Lely for the Zuiderzee project. They will then take attendees through what they did to build on Lely’s legacy a hundred years later, and describe how they “listened to nature” in approaching the necessary modifications and improvements.
In addition to their personal reflections on their master plan for this fascinating project, they aim to call on all attendees to approach the challenges of the future with optimism, openness to new ideas, and a willingness to question accepted ones. For instance, is the standard defence mode the correct response to rising sea levels and the adverse effects of climate change? Or might the smart use of natural forces and technological innovations offer a better chance for ecological recovery?
Using their combined experience and practical examples, Feddes and De Ruiter will invite attendees to brainstorm ideas that demonstrate what can be achieved when we combine the best that technology has to offer with what nature already does.