Beyond the dyke

Flood safety options

With climate change increasing the risk of flooding, the Netherlands needs to take a broader approach to safety behind the dykes. Measures are needed in front of, on and behind the dykes to make the country ‘water resilient’. This calls for far more than just dyke reinforcement.


In 2009 the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management decided to broaden his policy on flood safety. But the broader policy is making slow progress. In practice, the minister is preoccupied with dyke reinforcement. Few crisis measures are being taken to mitigate flood damage. 


We recommend that the minister make more work of his policy to offer protection on 3 fronts: flood prevention, damage mitigation and crisis management. He can do so by taking a wider perspective and looking beyond the year 2050. The minister can take inspiration from measures abroad.

Background to the audit

We investigated why the broader approach to flood safety policy was making slow progress. Our main conclusion is that the broader approach has not been worked out into a feasible policy.

Do you have any feedback on this investigation?

We welcome all feedback on our audits and investigations. What do you think about our report? If you have any questions or need further information, mail us at We read all emails carefully and treat them in confidence.