The Coast

The coast protects the Netherlands against flooding from the sea. The coastal zone is home to over a million residents and businesses, and it attracts large numbers of tourists and visitors. The measures in the national Delta Programme are designed to preserve and strengthen these functions. The plans for the coast can be found in the Delta Decision for Flood risk management, the Sand Decision and the preferred strategy for the Coast. The Sand Decision describes how sand nourishment can protect the Dutch coastline now and in the future. The objective for 2050 is a safe, appealing and economically strong coast that can cope with sea level rise and its possible acceleration.


The Dutch coastal zone consists of beaches, dunes, dikes and coastal towns with many different functions. The coastal flood defences are currently up to par, but tides, wind, and waves lead to the continuous loss of sand to the sea. It is expected that this erosion will be exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise. Without regular sand nourishment operations, the Netherlands would lose an average of one metre of land a year along the entire coastline. More sand nourishment may be needed in the future.

The challenge is to keep the coastal zone safe, appealing and economically strong. New concepts, such as dynamic coastal and dune management, offer good prospects for both flood risk management and other functions. An example is the Sand Motor off the coast of Zuid-Holland.

Preferred strategy

The goal of the preferred strategy is to keep the area safe, appealing and economically strong in the future. In the years to come, the emphasis will be on elaborating the plans. The region is working as much as possible on integrated solutions such as multifunctional dune zones or dikes.

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