Resilient Cities

The majority of the worlds’ population lives in an urban delta. These huge cities will face many water challenges due to climate change and population growth. People across the globe already face flood risks or water shortages. How do we help people, business and governments adapt? How do we make sure our cities become more resilient to climate changes and water crises? Living on the frontline between land and water, the Dutch have always had to adapt to changes in climate and water. We believe in exchanging knowledge, forging international partnerships, innovation and an integrated approach.

Turning city challenges into city opportunities
A parking garage or a square can double as water storage. Coastal protection can also mean new housing opportunities and a new highway to relieve the congested city of Jakarta. Making New York more resilient gives its’ residents space to recreate and enjoy the waterfront. The Dutch believe in an integrated approach. A challenge is never just a problem, it becomes an opportunity when you look at it from different perspectives. Resilience also means liveability and economic viability.

We have gathered some remarkable initiatives on resilient cities in the Netherlands.


Rotterdam Centre for Resilient Delta Cities
Rotterdam Centre for Resilient Delta Cities (RDC) is a public-private network organisation which aims to accelerate the transition towards safe and sustainable delta cities worldwide. RDC members have an extensive track record in realizing innovative concepts in delta cities. Together they develop strategies for integral solutions which enhance safety and add value in terms of spatial and ecological quality, social outcomes and economic potential.
RDC works on cases like the Rotterdam Climate Adaptation Strategy and adaptation strategies for unembanked areas. Read more 


Blue 21
Our future is on the water. Blue 21 aims to inspire and empower land-based cities to expand on the water. It's a social enterprise and collaboration platform, meaning you can join them. A remarkable project of Blue21 are the 'Floating Homes' in the city of Delft in the Netherlands. One of the major objectives of the project was to develop water homes that minimize ecological impact, by applying energy efficient systems and decentralized water treatment technology. Read more 




Water Square
The water square combines water storage with the improvement of the quality of urban public space. The water square can be understood as a twofold strategy. It makes money invested in water storage facilities visible and enjoyable. It also generates opportunities to create environmental quality and identity central spaces in neighborhoods. Most of the time the water square will be dry and in use as a recreational space. The Water Square is designed by De Urbanisten, Read more


Amsterdam Rainproof
It is raining harder and more intensely. As we have filled cities with buildings and pavements, the rainwater has nowhere to go. This results in flooding and extensive damage to houses, shops and offices. The public sewer system has to process more and more water. But to just keep on increasing its capacity isn't the solution. We have to look further than underground drainage systems and start designing smarter outdoor urban spaces where we can retain and store the rainwater where it falls.

The platform Amsterdam Rainproof collects and connects solutions, products and initiatives to create a more resilient city for dealing with extreme rainfall. Read more




Sustainable cities water index
Consultancy firm Arcadis published the Sustainable Cities Water Index in 2016. The index indentifies which city is harnessing its water assets for the greatest long term advantage. Arcadis hopes that city leaders find this ranking to be a valuable tool in helping them to think of water as an opportunity and as a resource for economic development while also meeting the critical needs and safety of their residents and the environment. Read more


City Deal Climate Adaptation
In 2016 Dutch cities, regional water authorities, governmental organisations and other stakeholders joined forces and signed the 'City Deal Climate Adaptation'. The City Deal is an initiative of the City of Zwolle and focuses on collaboration between cities and regional water authorities situated in the delta of the rivers IJssel and Vecht. The City Deal partners will collaborate by exchanging knowledge and best practices on climate adaptation. As one of the partners of the City Deal, the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP) supports the cities and regional water authorities on collaboration and knowledge exchange with international partners.