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The Dutch have fought against the sea for centuries. They have had devastating storms and in the Fifties they spent over 50 Billion Dollars to built an elaborate system of water control projects, including enormous dykes. They have also built a storm surge gate to protect the city of Rotterdam and surrounding areas from sudden surges of water entering the Rhine Delta region.
The pictures below shows the storm surge protector near Rotterdam. It is difficult to imagine the enormity of these two gates. One picture is a scale model and the lower picture shows the actual gate system. Each one of the two gates has twice the amount of steel that was used to build the Eiffel tower.
The Netherlands does not have the luxury to participate in endless debates on how much human beings and countries impact climate change and rising oceans levels. A large part of Holland is already below sea level and protected by an elaborate sytem of dykes and gates.
There are a growing number of city sections and even entire cities where the homes and the businesses float and many more are under constructions. They are supported by gigantic foundations of concrete, filled with styrofoam. Holland's future relies on living not below the sea level, protected by dykes that will be inadequate with each passing year, but living on the water level itself.
The greatest accomplishment of this small country of 16 million people may not be the medals earned at speed skating or soccer, but securing the survival of its future citizens with practical solutions that are implemented now.