Flood safety in the Netherlands: the Dutch political response to hurricane Katrina

A. Wesselink

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49 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper, I discuss why the Dutch culture, although highly technological, remains vulnerable to flooding, with no apparent choice except to continue with its historically developed system for flood risk management. I show that this vulnerability is socially constructed. It has arisen as a result of a long history of technological choices the current political decisions related to financing and a general lack of risk awareness. The question whether there is a need or even a possibility to escape from the present technological lock-in seems to remain out of bounds for a society that imagines flood protection to be absolute. The need for similar absolute protection was demanded in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina caused extensive flooding there. Because of its circumstances and its much shorter history, New Orleans appears to have an opportunity to deal with flood risk in more creative ways.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)239-247
JournalTechnology in society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Vulnerability
  • Technological lock-in
  • IR-78844
  • Risk Management
  • METIS-238931
  • Flood management

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